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Jul 22, 2021 - 11:23:21 PM
1466 posts since 7/26/2015

I don't know what brand they are, but I have a violin bow and viola bow labeled 1076VN and 1076VA. They are Brazilwood. Are these good bows?

Jul 22, 2021 - 11:52:18 PM

19 posts since 5/17/2013

The viola bow retails for $35 (1076VA)
The violin bow retails for $32. (1076VN)
Often times there are sleepers among any group of bows that stand out from the rest. You may have one of those.

Howard Core is the company and they also sell some very good bows.

Edited by - TimeTension on 07/22/2021 23:55:04

Jul 23, 2021 - 12:02:06 AM

512 posts since 3/1/2020

They’re entry level student bows. Brazilwood is softer than pernambuco and much more prone to warping. Most bows of this type play like wet noodles. They cost less than a bow rehair, so quality is not the appeal in the market. When the hair wears out, it’s cheaper to just throw them away and buy something else.

These bows are typically used for student rentals or as part of cheap outfits. Occasionally one will play better than expected, but not better enough to be significant when compared to a decent carbon fiber or pernambuco bow.

Jul 23, 2021 - 7:30:22 AM
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2381 posts since 10/1/2008

Good is such a relative term. $$ versus $$$ or $$$$ will usually be indicative of a level of material and workmanship. But finding a bow that you are comfortable with that plays well for you is really what makes a "good" bow. It's not a question of money it's a question of music.

Jul 23, 2021 - 7:46:14 AM

512 posts since 3/1/2020

Sound quality may be somewhat subjective, but workmanship and quality of material are not. A bow made poorly with cheap materials just isn’t as good as one made well with good ones.

As you spend more money, historical significance and collectible appeal become a part of the equation, but prices do roughly correspond to playability. That’s why as musical styles change, certain bow makers become more prominent. Just look at Sartory bows—it wasn’t so long ago that you could buy one for a few thousand. Now the garden variety is heading toward $50k. Some makers whose bows were highly sought-after once are less so now. But the basic qualities of the bow remain regardless, which is why good bows don’t tend to depreciate even when they lose appeal.

At the Violin Society of America’s competition, the bows are never rosined or played, as the playing characteristics are too elusive to quantify, but the quality of the bow can be easily ascertained by a knowledgeable judge.

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