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Shopping For a Violin Bow


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I recently purchased a violin made by Ming Jiang Zhu, and by teacher is now telling me I need to upgrade my bow to match the instrument.

I am looking to go from the bow that I am currently playing on, a pernambuco bow, Klaus Becker bought from Shar, about $400...

I am looking at spending around $1000 on the next one, and I was wondering if anyone has any tips for shopping around... Where would you order from? Are there any deals on pernambuco bows, anything that plays better than the price?

Any feedback is appreciated...



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This is off the topic, but I just watched Stradivari Movie and realized that he didn't know how to play violin. What a surprise for me! I also heard that Zhu did not play violin either, but made excellent violin. It's like Zheng Quan is the Chinese Strad in the North and Zhu in the South. Therefore, if I may, I would like to know how you like your Zhu violin? Thanks in advance.

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I suggest contact shar and have them ship you bows to try on your

price range. Maybe you can trade-in your becker as well? They seem

to have an impressive french workshop line on your price range.


I would really love to hear more about Zhu. The internet lacks info

about him and examples of his personal works. Ive seen some

workshop models and even the lower end ones seem very promising...

but still gotta hear if it sings. Shops? Dealers? I am refering to

personal works...

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Josef P. Gabriel has wonderful violin bows, albeit sometime difficult to find! I've had mine for seven years and it's a joy to play. It takes some searching on the Web to find dealers, but you could actually contact him directly at:

Josef P. Gabriel, Bow Maker

Jakob-Nein-Str. 19

Erlangen GERMANY D-91056

Tel: 011-49-9131-990994

He has a range of prices starting around $500, but mine sells for around $1000 or so these days (gotta get a new appraisal on it!). When my luthier (Kurt Widenhouse-fantastic violin maker!) rehaired my bow, he was completely impressed with it. That was good enough for me to know I had made a great purchase.

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Some of the Brazilian bows perform well above their price class. The problem is that such bows don't stay in the shop long at all. The time to get a prime bow would be the day the salesman makes his next visit. Marco Raposo bows can be examples (that I know of) of such bows). But the rest of the bows will not be special for the price.

One can also find quite good bows made of "Brazilwood" (~$150) that outperform average-quality lower price pernambuco bows (~$500).

It's all in the search - and if you can get to a shop with a lot of bows you should try them all - on your cello. When I bought a Coda Classic cello some years ago, it was because no bow that I tried (up to about $8,500) was really any better on the cello I took along to test the bows.

Some of the lowest price Glasser-Composite violin bows I tried years ago way outperformed supposedly good pernambuco bows (W. Seifert, for example).

It also takes some time to get used to a specific bow; they don't all handle and play the same way so you can really miss a bow's magic if you dont' use it right. At one time I tried out a Michael Duff (Berg Deluxe) violin bow and it wasn't until I sent it back after trying it for 2 weeks that I realized what I had not done right in handling it and ordered it back again - and did it right that time - and bought it.


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In this price range I have heard some people say that the carbon fibres are better than pernambucos.

Personally I think you should save up... what level are you at? Even in university I see kids with violins ranging from 10,000-25,000 with $2000 bows... obviously to put a price to quality (especially with bows given the unprecedented amount of makers) is silly, but most people totally ignore the bow as a playing tool.

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