Finding the Best Violin Bow

Best Violin Bows for 2021

Ever since it made its appearance in the sixteenth century, the violin has experienced increasing popularity in the music scene. The violin is a stringed instrument with four strings, which can be played with the bow’s fingers and the wooden part, but the most common style of playing it is by drawing a bow across the strings. The violin can be played as a solo instrument or as part of a combination of musical instruments.

Most violin bows are made from two main types of material – wood and carbon fiber. There are pros and cons for each type.

Pernambuco or Brazil wood are commonly used to make wooden bows for the stringed instruments. That’s the way they are made for centuries. While they are aesthetically appealing, they are vulnerable to extreme temperatures and humidity. Therefore most advanced players would have an extra bow with them as a backup just in case they broke.

Carbon fiber bows, on the other hand, are a lot more durable as they are made from synthetic materials.
It used to be that bows made of carbon fibers came short of producing the kind of vibration feelings as those made of wood. It is no longer the case today thanks to advancements in their design and engineering. In fact, some players will have bows from both types to suit for different purposes. Hence, our reviews will include both wood bows and carbon fiber bows.

To help you choose the perfect bow, some of the best violin bows will be discussed below.

1. Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Violin Bow– Our Number one Pick

This Violin bow features handmade carbon fibre as well as quality horse hair.  This is a Siberian Violin Bow that is a verified quality product. This item weighs 2.12 ounces and its build is made up of nickel plating, Siberian horse hair and Carbon Fibre. This bow is also considered compatible with the fiddle and the violin. The current size of this Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Bow is 4/4. This particular item is made out of quality materials to provide the best user experience. And it is compatible with a majority of fiddles and violins without creating unwanted damages or inconsistent sounds made.

Roisin can be applied on this bow as well. A bonus to purchasing this bow is that it is budget friendly but still maintains proper usage out of it.

Pros

  • Customer reviews indicate an average of 4.5 star ratings.
  • The exterior is decorated with copper.
  • The bow has a well-designed arch; this proves useful for balance and weight distribution
  • The arch is considered to have good bounce as well as action (i.e playing)
  • It is not a weather sensitive item
  • Durable cowhide leather wrap
  • High quality carbon composite stick included

Cons

Cons
  • It is not ideal for beginners.

2. Violin Bow 4/4 Brazilwood Bow for Violin Octagonal Stick Ebony Frog with Mongolian Horsehair

This is the best violin bow for beginners. It is a silver-lined bow made from high-quality Pernambuco wood which is known for its dense grains and a superior choice for making a wooden violin bow. The stick is octagonal, and the frog is made of ebony, which is inlaid with a Parisian eye and abalone slide.

As a result, the bow is well balanced with a quick response. The silver lapping of the grip is wrapped with leather. Due to the Mongolian horsehair’s quality in the bow, it is a favorite among professionals and students alike.

The ebony wood used in the bow frog and the Parisian eye gives the bow a glamorous look. The Mongolian horsehair used in the bow makes for durable bow hair with uniform thickness and a good response, producing good sounds.

Bow specifications

  • Weight: About 65 grams
  • Length: About 74.5 centimeters
  • Size: 4/4
  • Frog Slide: Abalone Shell Inlay
  • Frog: Selected with Parisian eyes
  • Hair: Natural Mongolian
  • Material: Brazilwood and octagonal stick horsehair

Pros

Pros
  • The bow hair is made with high-quality Mongolian horsehair, which enables it to produce professional-level sound.
  • Due to the materials used in its production, it has an attractive appearance and excellent craftsmanship.
  • The Pernambuco wood used in the bow increases its strength and resilience.
  • It is well balanced for quick response and maximum playability.
  • It is a quality bow with a thirty day warranty. The bow can be returned for a replacement or a full refund within that period.

Cons

Cons
  • For some people, the bow is considered to be quite expensive.

VIEW ON AMAZON

3. Violin Bow Stunning Fiddle Bow Carbon Fiber for Violins (4/4, Black)

This bow is made with high-quality carbon fiber stick, making it stronger, lighter, and more stable than wooden bows. The bow frog is made with genuine ebony wood, an abalone slide, and a Parisian eye, making for an attractive appearance. The bow hair is made from a quality, genuine Mongolian horsehair, making for a durable, quick response bow with ear-pleasing sound.

It should be noted that due to the bow being handcrafted, it may come with varying lengths and weights.

The bow has a silver wire wrap, which maintains its balance to provide an awesome playing experience. As a carbon fiber bow, it has a high resistance to humidity and temperature, which ensures that it maintains excellent conditions. It is light and easy to handle, which increases the comfort of the player.

Bow specification

  • Weight: About 65 grams
  • Length: About 74.5 centimeters
  • Color: Black
  • Size: 4/4
  • Frog Slide: Abalone Shell Inlay
  • Frog: Selected with Parisian eyes
  • Hair: Natural Mongolian Horsehair

Pros

Pros
  • The bow frog is made with genuine ebony.
  • Its hair is made with Mongolian horsehair, which is more durable and holds rosin very well.
  • Its resistance to humidity and temperature makes it perfect for outdoor performances.
  • It is lightweight and balanced, which makes for excellent playability.
  • It is light on the pocket.

Cons

Cons
  • It is best used by beginners or as a backup bow. It is not suitable for advanced players as the strands do not seem to last and quality of the sound maybe subpar. 

VIEW ON AMAZON

4. D Z Strad Model 524 Full Size 4/4 Top BrazilWood Violin Bow with Ox Horn Fleur de Lis Frog

This bow is made with quality Brazilwood and is designed to improve its play and sound quality. It is perfectly balanced, has a strong tone, and gives a professional performance. They are handmade, which distinguishes them from bows in their price range.

It is perfectly balanced for quick response, resilience, and great playability from a medium to a strong stiffness range. The Mongolian horsehair used in its bow hair makes for a durable and pleasant playing experience.

Bow specifications

  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Dimensions: 29.5 x 3.5 x 3 inches
  • Hair: Grade AAA Mongolian horsehair

Pros

Pros
  • It is perfectly balanced for the quick response and maximum playability.
  • It is made with genuine Mongolian white horsehair.
  • This quality bow is an excellent choice for beginners and intermediate players as it gives great feel, sound quality, and well made overall.

Cons

Cons
  • Its price can be too high for some.

VIEW ON AMAZON

5. Anton Breton AB-100 Student Violin Bow – 1/10 Size

Best and most affordable student bows, Anton Breton is the brand for you. They make bows of the highest and finest quality, from the affordable student bows to higher models using the finest material and excellent craftsmanship.

The bows are fitted with genuine horsehair and a quality grip. They have great playability and ease in the learning process.

The sticks are round and made with hardwood, making for a great balance, quick response, and clear sounds. The leather wrap makes for easy grip, and the horsehair makes for a long-lasting and durable bow with excellent rosin holding. The nickel silver button used in its frog improves its beauty and provides a great counterbalance.

Bow Specifications

  • Weight: 1.51 ounces
  • Dimensions: 17.25 x 1 x 0.5 inches

Pros

Pros
  • It is ideal for beginners, helping ease their learning experience.
  • It is a descent budget violin bow.
  • Please remove this bullet point – It has an attractive appearance.
  • Please remove – The horsehair used is quite durable and has a great rosin holding ability.
  • Please remove – It is perfectly balanced with a quick response and produces clear sounds.

Cons

Cons
  • This a budget violin bow which is not suitable for intermediate and advanced players.
  • The horsehair used is not specified.

VIEW ON AMAZON

6. PAITITI 1/8 Size Violin Bow Round Stick Brazil Wood Mongolian Horsehair

This bow is ideal for beginners and amateurs players. It is made with high-quality Brazilwood and genuine Mongolian horsehair. The bow comes in a variety of colors.

The horsehair makes for a durable and pleasant-sounding bow. It is quite light and easy to carry around and is very strong and stable. It is straight and well balanced for maximum playability. This bow is handcrafted by professional bow makers and has a fully lined silver mount. The frog is made with quality ebony and is laid with an abalone shell.

Bow Specifications

  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 19.25 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Hair: Natural Mongolian horsehair

Pros

Pros
  • It is well balanced with a quick response and excellent sound.
  • It is made of natural Mongolian horsehair, which is more durable and responsive than other types.
  • It is lightweight and easy to use.
  • It has an attractive appearance.

Cons

Cons
  • Not recommended for serious violin players and professionals.

VIEW ON AMAZON

7. Professional German Baroque Style Beautiful Snakewood Violin Bow

This violin bow is made from genuine snakewood, which is very firm with beautiful grains. It is perfect for players of intermediate skills, as beginners might find it difficult to handle. It has the perfect weight for balance, quick response, and excellent sound.

The genuine Mongolian horsehair used in the bow ensures durability, flexibility, and excellent sound.

Bow Specifications

  • Weight: 16 ounces
  • Length: 695mm
  • Dimensions: 28 × 3 × 3 inches
  • Hair: “AAA” Level Mongolia Horsehair

Pros

Pros
  • It is made of fine quality snakewood.
  • It has an attractive appearance.
  • It has the perfect weight and balance for excellent sound.
  • It is made with Mongolian horsehair, which is quite durable.

Cons

Cons
  • It is not ideal for beginners.

VIEW ON AMAZON

What to Look Out for When Buying a Bow ?

Violins are commonly used in Western classical music and are often seen basking in the limelight during orchestral performances. Due to their size, they are a resonant instrument with high pitches. This makes them suitable for performing high-pitched pieces, which other stringed instruments might not be capable of.

Initially, the violin was limited to royalty and society’s affluent, but its mass production has made it readily available to the masses at a lower price. Presently, its use has spread beyond the western world’s confines and orchestral music to include country music and jazz. The violin has infiltrated non-western cultures, which makes it commonplace to see it used in the performance of tribal pieces.

After having seen some of the criteria to consider when going bow shopping, the next step would be buying one.

Whenever music and violin are mentioned, more emphasis is often placed on the violin’s quality than on the bow used in playing it. Though there are different schools of thought on the matter, the bow’s quality does play a significant role in the quality of the sound produced by the violin. No two bows are the same — bows are made with different materials that all work together to influence their handling.

This does not mean that the quality of the violin is insignificant. Rather, it means that the bow and the violin combine qualities that support each other to produce pleasing melodies. The best violin bow on a lower quality violin can help maximize its potential and explore uncharted territories in music.

Bow hairs are commonly made with horsehair. Though substitute materials have been used, they were found to be ineffective when compared to horsehair. Due to the frequency of use and the materials used in their production, some bows might need to be replaced more frequently than others.

Best Violin Bow Buying Guide

Whether this is your first time purchasing a bow or you’re looking for a replacement bow, there are certain characteristics you must look out for. They are as follows:

The Material Used

For the best violin bow, the most commonly used material is Pernambuco wood, but for student bows, Brazilwood is often the material of choice. In recent years, carbon fiber has been used in the production of wooden bows and is believed by most to be just as good as Pernambuco wood. In the low-grade range, you’ll find fiberglass bows, which are mostly used by novices. Please note that fiberglass bows are not the same as the carbon fiber ones. Fiberglass bows are in much lower quality than the carbon fiber bows.

Bow hair has always been made with horsehair. Different substitutes have been tried over the years, but it was discovered that horsehair trumps them all. When deciding to buy a bow, check the hair. If it has lost a lot of hair and is a cheap bow, you should replace it instead of repairing it.

The Shape of The Bow

There are differing opinions on the question of which stick shape is ideal. Some believe that the round stick is favorable, while others swear by octagonal sticks. Whatever stick shape you decide to go for, it should depend on the quality and the characteristics of the wood used in its production rather than its shape.

Liveliness

When looking for a suitable bow, different bows should be tried on the same violin to provide a common base. Liveliness is the ability of a bow to grip the strings. The vibrations of the bow, when drawn, help it to grip the strings, which in turn makes its strokes sharper and clearer. A bow lacking this quality will slip and slide over the strings rather than play the tone.

Balance

The perfect bow is well balanced. It is neither too light nor too heavy. An extra bow light at the tip will demand more energy to get a good sound out of its upper part, while one too heavy at the end will be difficult to control.

Strength and Flexibility

For a bow to be controllable and produce good sound, it must be both strong and flexible. Strength helps in producing a strong, powerful tone, while flexibility makes for quick responses to touch.

Camber and Straightness

Camber refers to the curvature of the bow. The bow is curved in the middle — that’s the camber. Camber strengthens the bow for playing. A bow that is too cambered is rigid and clumsy, while a bow not cambered enough is weak. A bow loses its camber if it is continually left taut after use or subjected to too much pounding.

With continuous use, a bow tends to lose its straightness and starts bending towards the right. This makes the bow difficult to control and results in unexpected noises while in use. An experienced luthier can repair a curved bow, but the wood loses its strength with each repair.

Cost

The price of a bow to your budget is a factor that shouldn’t be overlooked. Bows come at varying prices. Its age determines the price of a bow. The older and more well cared for a bow is, the better its play and the price.

Another factor that influences price is the condition of the bow. Bows in top condition are priced higher than cracked bows even though they have been fixed. If you happen to be strapped for cash, you might want to go for a cracked bow that has been fixed. It will surely cost less than the brand new bow.

Final Verdict

Finally, the price is also influenced by the manufacturer. The name of the maker carries a lot of weight in pricing. If you’re on a budget, you could go for the bows of a lesser-known brand, which could be purchased at a fraction of the cost of a popular one. Do bear in mind that the maker of a bow doesn’t determine its longevity, and its use style could cause it to wear out a lot faster.

Knowing that a bad bow will hinder your progress as a violinist, we have compiled a list of the best violin bows for you to check out. As indicated by the list above, your ideal bow doesn’t have to cost a five-figure sum. Any of the bows above will work just as well. You should bear in mind that some of these bows are designed according to the owner’s level of expertise. This will help you choose a bow within your current expertise level for a pleasant and easy learning journey. Happy bowing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *