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Feb 19, 2023 - 12:16:19 PM

Creole

USA

79 posts since 4/19/2022

Best Bow you have ever had under $100.00 ??

Feb 19, 2023 - 4:36:55 PM
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1415 posts since 3/1/2020

At the shop we recently ran out of the cheap carbon fiber bows we offer beginners or give away in cheap outfits. When we called GEWA to reorder, they were out but told us about a new bow they’d gotten recently. It’s a carbon fiber bow with a veneer in the outside to look more like real wood. We bought a dozen or so and were quite impressed. A couple leading Suzuki teachers were in to pick out instruments for students and happened to try them. They ended up buying bows for themselves because they were so pleasantly surprised.

Feb 19, 2023 - 7:07:41 PM
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875 posts since 6/11/2019

I bought one of these Fiddlershop bows many years ago.  It performed well; many upgrades later to $1000+ bows, I can go back and play it and it still stands up reasonably well.

Feb 20, 2023 - 10:22:04 AM
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358 posts since 6/21/2007

I’d recommend the Fiddlershop carbon fiber bow. I did a blind test of 4 bows with some folks at a bluegrass festival, and the Fiddlershop bow won hands down.

Feb 20, 2023 - 10:32:03 AM
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2575 posts since 8/27/2008

I agree about Fiddlerman bows. It's what I use.

Edited by - Brian Wood on 02/20/2023 10:32:20

Feb 20, 2023 - 10:37:10 AM
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1415 posts since 3/1/2020

I’ve seen a few of the Fiddlershop bows. For entry-level, they seem to be good for the money.

Feb 20, 2023 - 10:37:25 AM
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134 posts since 12/26/2021

I have a Fiddlerman carbon fiber bow and I'm well pleased with it. I've heard good things about Kmise bows on Amazon. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out the Kmise and Fiddlerman are the same product with different decoration and brand. If some tragedy befell my Fiddlerman (that's right Kitty, I'm looking at YOU!) I'd probably try the Kmise. Whatever, if you're paying less than $100 I'd definitely go carbon fiber.

Feb 20, 2023 - 11:50:50 AM
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2575 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by crunchie812

I have a Fiddlerman carbon fiber bow and I'm well pleased with it. I've heard good things about Kmise bows on Amazon. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out the Kmise and Fiddlerman are the same product with different decoration and brand. If some tragedy befell my Fiddlerman (that's right Kitty, I'm looking at YOU!) I'd probably try the Kmise. Whatever, if you're paying less than $100 I'd definitely go carbon fiber.


A few years back I found a bow online that looked identical to Fiddlerman bows, minus the Fiddlerman branding. There was no name at all. It was much less expensive than the Fiddlerman so I bought one. When I got it I concluded it was the same.

Feb 20, 2023 - 12:26:10 PM

2575 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

I’ve seen a few of the Fiddlershop bows. For entry-level, they seem to be good for the money.


I am a fan of blind testing when possible to reduce name brand bias and other visual cues. Have you or anybody else come across anything like that with bows? My experience with bows is limited, and I have no experience with expensive bows at all. I've always wondered how well prices actually correlated with the variables between different bows.

Feb 20, 2023 - 12:41:08 PM
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2445 posts since 12/11/2008

After I had garnered a bit of experience in the fiddle game I went to a couple of L.A. shops with my fiddle to audition bows to replace my entry level one. The salespeople put a handful of bows in my general price range (low to mid three figures) on a table and invited me to go at it. I invariably ended up with wood bows. They just sounded and felt better.

Feb 20, 2023 - 4:44:08 PM
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1415 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood
quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

I’ve seen a few of the Fiddlershop bows. For entry-level, they seem to be good for the money.


I am a fan of blind testing when possible to reduce name brand bias and other visual cues. Have you or anybody else come across anything like that with bows? My experience with bows is limited, and I have no experience with expensive bows at all. I've always wondered how well prices actually correlated with the variables between different bows.


Blind testing sounds nice in theory, but in the long run it's no more useful with bows than it is with violins. The more you're paying for them, the more important it becomes to know as much as possible about what you're buying, and that includes things other than just a maker or brand name, such as condition, authenticity, and provenance. Those things help to eliminate items that aren't worth looking at and could be problematic. 
 

When a customer inquires about bows in the high end, there's almost always a request for the makers whose bows we have available at the time. The really fine makers were generally consistent, and their bows do seem to have a character. Of course, there are small nuances that further distinguish them, but if you bring up the name Sartory, for example, everyone has a general idea of what to expect. Inconsistent makers are unable to command the prices of their more reliable competitors.

Does price correlate with playing quality? That's a loaded question, because price is not dictated by playing quality alone. That answer can sound frustrating to some, but if playing quality was the only criterion, pricing would be a real nightmare, because one fine bow might be worth a quarter of a million but another might be worth just a few thousand. Add to that the fact that players will never prefer the same bows and that one bow will work well on one violin but not necessarily on another.

Given that, I'd say that cheap bows are priced by the quality of the materials and the cost of production. A silver-mounted pernambuco made in a Chinese factory will be the least expensive because the labor is very cheap, even if the materials are pretty good.  A silver-mounted bow made by a Brazilian company will be more expensive than the Chinese bow because it will be made with more skilled labor and fewer hands and it will have a good quality German frog, as well as better grade pernambuco than the Chinese factory can obtain. A German silver-mounted bow will be comparable in price to a Brazilian bow or a little more, because the labor is equivalent or in some cases slightly better. The pernambuco selection may not be as a good as that in Brazilian bows, but that's sometimes balanced by precision and quality of finishing. A bow made by a single professional bow maker will command a much higher price because the cost of labor is considerably higher and the quality of the materials will often be at the highest level the maker can obtain, or at least the equal of the best production bows.

Feb 20, 2023 - 8:58:27 PM

2575 posts since 8/27/2008

Very informative. Thank you. Maybe my question would then be more aimed at carbon fiber bows, with characteristics that are essentially uniform, free from historical considerations, although country of manufacture will have some bearing on cost. These could be compared objectively it would seem? 

Feb 20, 2023 - 11:01:22 PM
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1415 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood

Very informative. Thank you. Maybe my question would then be more aimed at carbon fiber bows, with characteristics that are essentially uniform, free from historical considerations, although country of manufacture will have some bearing on cost. These could be compared objectively it would seem? 


It would seem that way, but I have to say that if you play a dozen carbon fiber bows of the same brand and model, they actually end up being less consistent than you'd expect. One of the teachers I mentioned spent an hour playing the dozen bows we got to pick his favorite one. 
 

I can't say whether this is the result of subtle differences in each carbon stick or the quality of the hairing. I've wondered about this a lot. On just about any bow, the quality of the hair itself and its installation can make or break a bow.

You make a good point about the branding on bows--cheap bows are often sold to a variety of resellers who will stamp them and sell them as their own personal brand. This is similar to the practice of private-labeling violins for shops. It's a way to avoid the online-price wars. If you've found other bows that look identical, there's a good chance you're correct (sometimes the manufacturer will just change a small detail, like the style of the frog's eyes.) However, the way I look at it is that I want to buy from a company I can trust to stand behind the product. There are so many different middlemen in the factory production business that you almost never actually get to the source. The best you can do (short of going to China and doing some serious sleuthing work to track down real factories where you can buy by the container-full) is to find a reliable retailer. 
 

There is a violin case that my supplier sells that is rather popular. I know for a fact that there are almost identical cases being sold by at least three other companies (so similar that the only differences are in the handles). I still prefer to get things from the same supplier I've used for years because I can trust them to do a good job checking things before shipping and to handle any issues that could arise. 

Feb 21, 2023 - 4:14:16 AM

Erockin

USA

888 posts since 9/3/2022

Glad I made the right choice with the Filddlerman Carbon Fiber Bow. $75 delivered. Maybe even a little less than that.

Feb 27, 2023 - 10:56:52 AM
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Creole

USA

79 posts since 4/19/2022

Love the answers..GRReat feedback from all. Looking into Fiddlerman. They are here in MY home state and I have one of their Fiddles. Good CS always.

Mar 20, 2023 - 4:58:58 AM
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55 posts since 9/22/2021

It's about $20 over your budget, but the Fiddlerman hybrid is a good one. Pernambuco outside, carbon fiber underneath. I do think the wood veneer helps warm the sound a bit. I prefer Pernambuco but I keep several hybrid bows for playing in damper conditions (or other situations where I want to avoid harm to good bows). These are VERY good for the money. Definitely better than the straight carbon bows in that price point.

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