No matter where you are in your journey as a violin player, having the right bow is just as important as having the right violin. But finding the perfect bow to match your instrument can be tricky and sometimes downright confusing.
A bow is very individual to a particular player. Some prefer a heavier weighted bow that will dig into the string and produce a loud sound. Some prefer a lighter weight bow that will not tire out the arm too quickly. Bows can also be individual to the instrument as multiple bows of the same model might play differently on the same instrument. One mistake players often make is to put the majority of their budget into the instrument, and then skimp on their bow purchase. Because bows can make such an impact on the sound of an instrument, it is wise to make sure the quality of bow you’re buying will match the quality of the instrument.
We at Violin Pros prefer bows made of wood or carbon fiber.
Wood is the traditional material for bows. Quality wood bows have a good flexibility while still being sturdy. Many wood bows are made of Brazilwood or Pernambuco because of their flexibility. While wood bows are weighted nicely, they are also more sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature, which can cause warping. Having a good violin case helps prevent this.
Recommended wood bows:
The Knoll 303K is an octagonal Brazilwood bow from a company with the highest bow making pedigree. For three generations, the Knoll family has been handcrafting violin bows. The Knoll family's craftsmanship is well displayed in the 303K as it is an affordable, high quality, and great sounding bow. Advancing violinists will appreciate the Knoll 303K. The bow is a good match for the Scott Cao 750, 850, 950, and 1500 Artistic Series violins.
Döerfler's Pernambuco bows use only selected woods that have been stored and dried for approximately 30 years. Thanks to its great hardness and density, this wood type is the only choice for bow making of a high standard. Pernambuco wood comes from the northern and east-central parts of Brazil. The tree from which the Pernambuco is won is called Caesalpinia echinata, also known as Pau Brasil.
This octagonal Pernambuco bow is ideal for beginning and student violinists on a budget. The grip is made with imitation whalebone or silver and the bow has a fully-lined Parisian eye frog. This Pernambuco bow will pair well with beginning and student violins, such as the Scott Cao 017, 500, 600, or the 750 models.
Carbon fiber is the newest bow material. Carbon fiber bows are typically made with a woven carbon fiber stick. Because of this, these bows have all the flexibility of wood without any weak areas and are typically lighter in weight. Because they are made from synthetic material, carbon fiber bows are resistant to weather issues, such as warping. They are also sturdier and will likely hold up if dropped or whacked against a music stand. One of our favorite carbon fiber bows is the Coda Diamond NX Violin Bow.
We have played on all types of bows from many makers and our featured bows have great consistency in their manufacturing, a good weight, and produce a quality sound. Good luck!