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Apr 18, 2017 - 9:15:50 PM

lucasmg

Colombia

5 posts
Joined Apr 18, 2017

Hi

I've been looking for a new bow, for a month now, because I want to improve my skills and I feel my bow is holding me back, so I started looking for a new bow, and I've been reading reviews about the CF bows, so I would appreciate your thoughts on these bows.

Codabow NX, Codabow SX, JonPaul Bravo, JonPaul Arpege.

I'm from Colombia, and we don't have the opportunity to test it before buying and the bows that are on sale are very low end bow, so I'm thinking on buying online and I've been playing for a year now.

Thanks

Edited by - lucasmg on 04/18/2017 21:16:28

Apr 18, 2017 - 9:48:53 PM
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2028 posts
Joined Dec 23, 2007

Welcome, Lucas.  

I will preface my opinion with yet another opinion:  Just like with strings, specific brands/models don't matter much, as long as you have a quality product.  People might debate the merits of specific brands, but the truth is that good equipment is good equipment.

My only experience is with NX, so I will give my opinion on that one.  The NX feels really good in the hand, it's light, stiff and nimble.  However, it doesn't draw a good tone with just its own weight.  You have to add some pressure to get it to speak.  I really liked the bow, and think it would work well when paired with a very responsive violin.  My fiddle is average, so I couldn't get it to perform as well as I wanted.  I ended up choosing the GX over it because I could get a better tone out of my fiddle.  

 

Now, the final question:  Should you spend $500 on a bow at 1 year in?  I don't know the answer to that.  At about 1 year in, I spent $90 on an upgrade and it lasted me 9 years.  Of course, I was able to try it before buying, so my situation is different, but I think you should see my point.

Apr 19, 2017 - 12:35:34 AM
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115 posts
Joined Jun 23, 2007

Buy the "BEST" you can afford. i had the Arpegge, nice bow, but you had to be firm with it to get a great tone. Returned it and bought the Jon Paul Corona, it's been AWESOME.. Cheap bows are...well, Cheap and you'll always be looking for a better one as your skills improve.... the GX is sweet too.....Just my 2 cents..

Apr 19, 2017 - 4:40:26 AM

lucasmg

Colombia

5 posts
Joined Apr 18, 2017

I see your point wildman, but as Jasper said everyone has told me that I should buy the best I can afford, so I wanted something better.
Apr 19, 2017 - 5:15:43 AM

Tobus

USA

226 posts
Joined May 7, 2015

quote:
Originally posted by lucasmg

I see your point wildman, but as Jasper said everyone has told me that I should buy the best I can afford, so I wanted something better.

I agree, you should buy the best you can afford.  Playing a cheap, shoddy fiddle with a cheap bow is one of the best ways to lose inspiration and hold yourself back from improving.  There is a mindset out there that beginners should only use "entry-level" equipment and then upgrade as they get better.  I say "phooey" on that!  Start with an instrument and bow that are good enough quality to provide many years worth of good learning before you even start to question whether your equipment is holding you back.

With that said, the only bow I've used from your list is the Codabow Diamond NX, and it's the bow I use the most.  Before that, I was using a JonPaul Fusion bow.  Both are decent, but I like the heft and tone better from the Coda NX. 

I don't know who you are planning on ordering from, but I believe Shar Music will allow you to order a bow and try it out.  Or at the very least, they have a decent return policy.  I'm not sure whether that applies in Colombia, though.

Edited by - Tobus on 04/19/2017 05:16:21

Apr 19, 2017 - 12:41:10 PM
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mswlogo

USA

3465 posts
Joined Apr 15, 2009

I tested all the upper Coda's against the upper JonPaul's. Coda's felt sluggish compared to the JonPaul bows.

Part of it is, the factory hairing on Coda Bows is way to thick. Out of the Coda Bows the Luma was the best.

Apr 19, 2017 - 2:01:15 PM

64 posts
Joined Nov 26, 2009

I just got my 3rd carbon fiber bow Chinese made and its super nice and plays really good on my old french fiddle. $ 44.00 on ebay including shipping I thought it was worth the blind shot in the dark to try. If you try one of these dont get in a hurry to get it, figure on 3 to 5 weeks to get one in. http://www.ebay.com/itm/252031391124?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
I am sure some bad Chinese bows out there maybe I got lucky 3 times in a row.

Apr 21, 2017 - 6:58:28 AM

3497 posts
Joined Jun 24, 2007

Some of the nice Chinese bows are surprisingly good fiddle bows. Lots of what one is paying for in the top bows concerns classical fancy work, and doesn't apply to fiddling.

My go to is an ancient German pernambuco, some good multi-star stick done well, silver mounted. It's probably a $1000 bow, more or less. Unless there's a Luma in the house, then I use it. Luma gets my carbon vote.

Apr 22, 2017 - 7:30:53 AM

lucasmg

Colombia

5 posts
Joined Apr 18, 2017

Hi Steve

Do you know how much does the Luma weight? I don't do well with light weight bows.

Thanks

Apr 22, 2017 - 7:33:30 AM

lucasmg

Colombia

5 posts
Joined Apr 18, 2017

Hi guys

I've been looking and reading a lot and I've red very good reviews about the JonPaul Avanti bow and I would consider saving a little bit more to get it, do you think it worths it? or save a little bit mooore to get de Cooda GX??

Thanks

Apr 22, 2017 - 8:16:15 PM

3497 posts
Joined Jun 24, 2007

Luma is light, but with balance further out than the other coda. lies on the strings well.

Apr 23, 2017 - 9:51:40 AM

1345 posts
Joined Jun 21, 2007

When Vassar Clements was asked what bow he preferred, he replied:
"It doesn't make any difference. Any old bow works fine for me."

A bow is a wooden spring that holds horse hair taut. The horsehair makes no sound at all.
The sound is produced by the rosin. The springs vary in stiffness.

Paying thousands for a stick that is the same shape  as the $10 stick that Eck Robertson used is an enormous scam.

IMHO

stay tooned,

Glenn Godsey

Apr 23, 2017 - 11:50:57 AM

3497 posts
Joined Jun 24, 2007

Unless one can use the bow worth thousands. My shop test bow is probably a $1000 bow and it will do many sensitive things and not get in the way of testing instruments. I've played bows worth 100x more - and they are incredible. I don't need that kind of performance.

Fiddling isn't fancy classical stuff, so the demand are quite different. Unfortunately, I am rather spoilt and always pick the high dollar ones out right away, even without the price tags on them!

Apr 24, 2017 - 3:18:52 PM
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934 posts
Joined Aug 27, 2008

This is something I've wondered about a long time. I'm inclined to agree with Glenn. Only a few qualities matter in a bow, its overall weight, it's distribution, and the flexibility of the material it's made from. I can't fathom what difference fancy classical stuff has to do with it. That's elitist BS. Any player wants good tools. What is the magical quality you are paying for in bows that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars? Is it real? Can one, in a double blind testing, really tell them apart? I'm willing to change my mind but personal testimonials won't do it. Is there an objective way to demonstrate the improved playability in ever more expensive bows?

Apr 24, 2017 - 7:51:20 PM
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3497 posts
Joined Jun 24, 2007

Sure. Play them. It's painfully obvious how much better some bows handle. Consistency from tip to frog, bounce characteristics, damping, all kinds of things, many things. Below a certain point and I'm fighting. Above a certain point I can't use what I feel, but it's clearly there. I can rank bows very consistently and quickly. Used to go to a supplier and lay out 50 or so. Just walk down and pick each up. Usually get rid of half that way. It's that obvious. Only takes seconds.

An issue with wood bows is that the characteristics that match one player and violin may not be the same for another.

Anyway, there's no elitist BS. Look in Aubrey Haney's bow case sometime, if you don't think some great fiddlers don't like great bows. They simply handle better in all ways.

Apr 24, 2017 - 9:04:34 PM
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Fiddler

USA

3600 posts
Joined Jun 22, 2007
Online Now

Yes, there is definitely a difference! When I was in the market for a new bow many years ago, I went to a shop and asked to have a dozen or bows set out for me. I told them the price range I was interested in. I told them I would consider slightly beyond my price range, if it was obviously better. I asked to include two bows in the mix - a very cheap one and a very expensive one. I asked not to be shown the price and to mix them up. They agreed and I started in with my test runs with my own fiddle while my wife patiently waited.

I played the same phrases with each bow. I was looking for the weight and balance of the bow, the sound quality, and the overall handling for my playing style. I was most amazed at the differences in the sound production!!

What was interesting was that I culled the cheap bow (~$50) on the first round! The high dollar bow ($10K!!) was culled in the 2nd round. It took a while longer to cull it down to two bows. Turned out the prices were about the same - one had an octagonal stick and the other had a round stick. Both were pernambuco. I chose the octagonal stick.

I have been quite happy with my selection and have absolutely no regrets. That bow has served me very well!

Up until that experience, I had thought that the bow really didn't matter that much. I thought it was all elitist cow hockey and full of snobbery. Was I ever wrong!! When I hear a talented classical violinist talk about a $15,000+ custom bow, I know they have the tool they need to bring out the highest performance quality for them.

By the same token, when I hear that a novice fiddler has spent $2000 or more on a new bow, I shake my head. Yes, of course, I'm a little envious they have that kind a disposable cash laying around. In my opinion, they would have done better with a less expensive bow and more time in the woodshed practicing. So, for them, the bow is nothing more than a status symbol.

I now have two 59 gram octagonal pernambuco bows. You would think they would sound the same. No, they don't!! Each has subtle differences in sound quality. (They were both rehaired at the same time, so it's not the hair.)  They handle slightly differently, too.

Here's my two cents -- set a budget for what you can spend and test drive bows with your fiddle. Play a short phrase to test the response in the low, midrange and higher registers. Each will sound differently and will bring out different qualities in your fiddle.

Good luck!

Apr 24, 2017 - 9:20:49 PM

934 posts
Joined Aug 27, 2008

quote:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Originally posted by giannaviolins
 

Sure. Play them. It's painfully obvious how much better some bows handle. Consistency from tip to frog, bounce characteristics, damping, all kinds of things, many things. Below a certain point and I'm fighting. Above a certain point I can't use what I feel, but it's clearly there. I can rank bows very consistently and quickly. Used to go to a supplier and lay out 50 or so. Just walk down and pick each up. Usually get rid of half that way. It's that obvious. Only takes seconds.

An issue with wood bows is that the characteristics that match one player and violin may not be the same for another.



Anyway, there's no elitist BS. Look in Aubrey Haney's bow case sometime, if you don't think some great fiddlers don't like great bows. They simply handle better in all ways.


Well, my comment about elitism meant to refer to your implying that very expensive bows were somehow beyond the appreciation of folk players, assuming that very expensive bows do perform like you say. I don't  care what Aubrey Haney plays. I want to understand how more expensive bows perform their magic, if they do. You have vastly more experience than me with them, no question. I take you at your word though it doesn't settle it for me. I'd like to understand it better. Sometime I will try some of these bows myself. But I am wary the power of self-deception. Especially where money and prestige are involved.

Apr 25, 2017 - 2:13:44 AM

gapbob

USA

425 posts
Joined Apr 20, 2008

Glenn, have to disagree with you on this one, the violin is an amplifier, the bow generates the signal, it vibrates in response to the hair oscillation.  If you tap the bow, it should vibrate like a bell, though much quieter.

I have some good bows and each is different than the others, sounding differently and playing differently.  Vasser was a great fiddler, but there are styles of fiddling that require more from a bow than what he did, so just because it worked for him doesn't mean it will for others.

I find that although I have many bows, There are a few that I return to, because they offer tone, ease of play, and more power. Also, as one progresses, one's technique becomes what it is because of the need to compensate for the equipment used.  If the violin is not responsive, the player tends to play more forcibly, or if it is responsive, the player might choose to be more restrained.

I have learned bad habits because of the bow and violin I primarily use, I was looking for one sound, but it did not give it to me, so I learned to bear down, but this got in the way of the techniques that I was working on developing.  It is a fine fiddle, and interestingly, it plays better now.

But when it comes down to it, does the gear you use give pleasure, and will different gear give greater pleasure.  For me, it does, and if I enjoy playing more, I will play more.

My wife gave me the funds to buy a good fiddle and I had been saving to buy one, so .I went to Shar, which is just down the road, and asked to try their high end wooden bows.  I had 20-30 of them to try and I played through them all for about an hour.  I would say that I wasn't skilled in some classical techniques that some of these bows might offer, but there were two that matched my violin well, one that played well and had a good, softer tone, and the other, which played better, drew more power, and was brighter, so I bought them both.  These bows get the lion's share of use, even though I have other fine bows.

Edited by - gapbob on 04/25/2017 02:26:11

Apr 25, 2017 - 4:04:49 AM

3497 posts
Joined Jun 24, 2007

More consistent material. Contoured appropriately for that specific material along its length. Cambered to match. With appropriate resonance and damping. Of appropriate strength. All balanced with each other. Gives consistent response, including especially bounce, along the length of the bow, handles delicate and strong playing, sets the violin off very quickly, cleanly, and consistently. Bottom line: does what the player needs in a way the player likes. What the player needs depends upon the sensitivity of the instrument, the demands of the music being performed, the demands of the place the music is being performed, and the skill/sensitivity of the player relative to those aspects.

In this context, much fiddle work does not involve a complex and subtle relationship with the bow, which works fine as a fairly simple flexible stick. In fact, excessively responsive bows may well interfere. That doesn't mean they aren't "better" in general, just not better in that context.

Turning to one line, compare the Coda GX to the Coda Luma. The GX is far more twitchy and really likes to do off the string work, sizzles the strings, intensely lively. In contrast, the Luma is less inclined to bounce, pulls less sizzle, and is more forgiving. I can play either, and the music, mood, and whether I've had a beer or not determines which I would select.

If you're in WalMart parking lot or on a curvy road, then a formula 1 car won't do. If you're a soloist, then a sloggy stick won't do, something that allows subtlety and power is required. If you're in the pit, a calm and capable stiff bow that let's you crank away for hours and doesn't get in the way is a better choice.

There really is a tremendous range. Certainly equal to that between a Ford Ranger and a Ferrari.

Apr 25, 2017 - 5:24:43 AM

Tobus

USA

226 posts
Joined May 7, 2015

I can understand and appreciate all the finer nuances of bows that y'all are talking about (though I'm not enough of a fiddler to be able to bring them out).  I can see how the balance, stiffness, and handling of the bow would be most important.  But one thing really confuses me about this, when it comes to how the bow affects tone and volume, or anything to do with the sound.  How in the heck are you supposed to be able to test-drive a bunch of bows in a shop, when they are rosined with whatever the shop uses, instead of your own rosin choice?  I mean, I could see falling in love with a bow at a shop, buying one and taking it home, getting it rosined up, and then finding out that it sounds completely different.  Is this something that happens, or am I overthinking it?

Apr 25, 2017 - 6:02:37 AM

456 posts
Joined Jun 12, 2010

Pernambuco for tone, carbon fiber for  performance. I drive a 96' Ford Ranger with a bow to match.

Apr 25, 2017 - 8:36:57 AM

gapbob

USA

425 posts
Joined Apr 20, 2008

If you try a bunch of bows with the same rosin, then they should pretty much be the same.  Rosin does not contribute much compared to the amount a bow contributes, and its contribution should be the same across the group.  Now, the hair can make a difference, but that would be the same at home.

I bought a cheap CF bow online (Glasser, $300) and it is kinda clunky, heavy, pulls a bunch of sound, I should try it again, it has been sitting someone out of sight/mind for awhile.

No matter what bow you find, you will probably find that your playing adjusts to it, so in some ways, your bow is playing you.

Apr 25, 2017 - 8:47:49 AM

mswlogo

USA

3465 posts
Joined Apr 15, 2009

I think the hair Job and Rosin is as important as the bow itself.

I recall a story of some well known fiddler, that would buy cheap $50 bows and just have them haired at his favorite shop.

Apr 25, 2017 - 10:23:12 AM

934 posts
Joined Aug 27, 2008

Can anybody explain the mechanics of how a violin bow does what it does?  Doesn't it all boil down to to how stiff the wooden spring is, its weight and balance? Is it also in the variation of sprung tension under differing pressure against the strings? For example, do poor quality bows have progressively more tension as you bear down, as you would expect, while refined bows increase tension at a different rate? Is there a different response on different parts of the bow, i.e. tip to frog? How does that work? How would a mechanical engineer describe it in general terms?

I'm not disputing the claims about very refined bows for now. I would love to try some higher priced bows sometime. I'm also the kind who likes to understand how things work.

Apr 25, 2017 - 10:42:42 AM

gapbob

USA

425 posts
Joined Apr 20, 2008

The reason why violins sound differently is because they amplify different frequencies at different amounts. When you put different strings on them, they change pressure as well as the mechanism by which the string vibrates.

Look at this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JeyiM0YNo4

​It shows how the string responds to the bow, but also look at the bow hair, it is responding to the motion of the string also, so when you bow a string, your bow is also being actively stimulated by the frequencies and harmonics of the violin, in fact, I think it is doing more to create the sound than the violin is, at this point.  In my experience the bow can have as much influence over the sound a violin creates as the corpus of the violin.  Everything in the violin/string/bow/rosin/hair system interacts, each of them changing, through diminishing or augmenting through resonance, the vibration that is turned into sound by the plates of the violin and the shapes of the f holes, the chamber size, plus all the incredible number of nuances, beyond anyone's comprehension.

It is possible for your bow to respond to a frequency of vibration by absorbing it, by amplifying it, by creating/amplifying/reducing the harmonics of the fundamental.

While the hair can affect the sound somewhat due to variations in its density along its length, the rosin only affects the system by increasing the grab (or friction) between the bow hair and the string, whereas the stick of the bow responds to frequencies differently due to mass, stiffness, and density variations.

May 2, 2017 - 8:07:45 AM

lucasmg

Colombia

5 posts
Joined Apr 18, 2017

Hi guys

I made my choice and bought de JonPaul Avanti, I hope it really makes my playing better. 

I had some troubles though with the shipping expenditures 

1. I got to use a coupon from ebay with a 15% discount for mothers day.

2. the third party shipping company, charged me 30 dollars for the shippment

3. They charged me another 20 dollars for a repackaging.

4. They charged me 119 dollars as duty tax.

5.The bow must be here in about 10 days.

I will write to you as soon as I get it in my hands.

Hace a nice day everyone and thanks for all your replies and comments.

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