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papawhisky - Posted - 04/25/2022:  12:16:42

I’m an avid old time fiddler and recently decided to upgrade my bow. I play a higher end nickel bow and thought a silver might help me as I continue to work on my bowing. I recently ran across a used silver Roth bow. Reportedly from the 1970s. Price is $1500. More than I planned to spend, but…. Wondering if anyone has thoughts or experience that could help me make a wise choice? Thanks!

DougD - Posted - 04/25/2022:  12:33:09

Do you like it? How does it play?
BTW, I don't either nickel or silver are what makes the sound. The mounting is only an indication of the quality of the rest of the bow, and I don't think too reliable actually.

KCFiddles - Posted - 04/25/2022:  14:20:46

Unless you are really interested in off-the-string work as well as classical tone production, I seriously doubt you'll find much benefit from an expensive bow. I work with a number of pro fiddlers including full-time pros, and most of them seem to be plenty happy with a good veneered CF bow or a $600 - $800 Brazilian Pernambuco bow. If you want a better bow just for grins, feel free, but I wouldn't expect a whole lot of benefit unless you are into techniques that demand a better bow.

OTOH, If it really feels and sounds good to you, and you can definitely perceive the benefits.... it's your money.

papawhisky - Posted - 04/26/2022:  03:38:48

Admittedly, the bow buying process is pretty subjective, and gains can be real or imagined. But I'm wondering two things:
1. are the Roth bows (from the 70s) are worth $1500 in today's market.
2. do Roth bows have a reputation for being whatever a good bow is--sensitive, powerful, balanced, etc.

I know I'm fishing here, but I really don't know much about bows, especially old german ones.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 04/26/2022:  12:05:17

Any decent quality German bow that’s silver-mounted will be at least $1000. If the Roth is in good condition, $1500 is reasonable. If it’s something nicer like a Pfretzschner or a Nürnberger, the price can easily go up to $6000-$8000 for silver, $10000 or more for gold.

Roth bows are just commercial German bows with the Roth factory stamp. They’re not bad, but not as quite desirable as the violins. Anything post-WW2 is worth less than anything pre-war.

papawhisky - Posted - 04/26/2022:  17:34:56

Rich, thanks for giving me the lay of the land--great info. I believe the Roth is in good condition. Still, it seems like a good idea to me now to stick with my original, lower price range. Something good will show up, historic or not. Many thanks!

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