Tag Archives: violin bow

Buying a violin/viola bow

Buying a violin bow


violin viola bow. the essential parts
The vio­lin bow and the impor­tant parts

If you are a begin­ner i would rec­om­mend to buy a vio­lin from a local shop or online. The bow, the vio­lin-case and rosin are usu­al­ly includ­ed in the pack­age. How­ev­er there are cas­es in which you might have to buy the bow sep­a­rate­ly, espe­cial­ly if you are look­ing to buy some­thing more advanced. In that case you should vis­it sev­er­al local music shops (in case of Cyprus most prefer­ably Vio­lin -mak­ers) where you can try out sev­er­al bows. In this arti­cle I would like to sug­gest some tips about what to con­sid­er buy choos­ing a vio­lin bow. Keep in mind that you will have to spent some time play­ing and try­ing out sev­er­al bow tech­niques ( if you are famil­iar with stac­ca­to, spic­ca­to, Sautille, ric­o­chet etc.) in order to find the right bow for you. Here are some fac­tors you have to con­sid­er:

1. Price

The most expen­sive bow are not nec­es­sar­i­ly bet­ter, so try quite a few. There is always the option of choos­ing between wood­en bow and car­bon bow. The wood­en are usu­al­ly the more expen­sive but not nec­es­sar­i­ly the bet­ter. Car­bon bows are becom­ing recent­ly very pop­u­lar, and the choice of many pro­fes­sion­al musi­cians

2. Warping

Check the length of the bow and make sure that it has now bold curve towards left or right. Have also a look at the mech­a­nism of stretch­ing (screw and frog) the hair  and make sure that func­tion flaw­less ( you can also unscrew the frog to make sure that every­thing is fine with the sock­et of the screw)

3. The Quality of hair

The qual­i­ty of the hair is also impor­tant espe­cial­ly in cheap­er bows. I still remem­ber my self try­ing to pro­duce sound with a bow that had not the usu­al hank of horse hair, but some­thing made out of fiber…

4. Weight

Bows come in a vari­ety of weights. Have an expe­ri­enced vio­lin­ist help you pick one out that is nei­ther too light nor too heavy for you. A bow that is too heavy can cause hand strain over time, while a bow that is too light makes it dif­fi­cult to get a big sound.

5. Flexibility of the arc

Get the bow in your hands press the bow against left hand as shown in the pho­to.  Then you can also test to make sure it main­tains a good arch and has a good spring when pressed against the vio­lin strings.

6. Balance

The bow should be thin­ner and lighter at the top and heav­ier at the frog (low­er part). Note how­ev­er that it should not be too heavy at one end or the oth­er.


Final note:

As said above the best way to judge how good the bow meets you expec­ta­tions or needs is to play with it for a while. If you have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to bor­row the bow and try it out for a cou­ple of days, DO so.