Is It Important To Select A Good Bow ?

Is It Important To Select A Good Bow ?

The french term for the bow is baguette, which is fitting, since a good bow complements an instrument like a thick slice of fresh bread complements a gourmet meal. People spend so much time trying to find the right violin, viola or cello that they often give short shrift to its better half. So, after you’ve chosen your first good instrument, you should repeat the process for the bow.

It is just as important to look carefully for the bow as it is to find the perfect instrument. Like instruments, no two bows are alike. If 2 people play on the same instrument with the same bow, the bow will sound quite different in each person’s hands. You have to go by how you feel.

Where to Begin?

Look for a bow of moderate strength and flexibility. With very strong bows, you lose a lot in sound quality and nuance. And with one that’s too soft, you lose control. If you’re torn between one that’s light and one that’s a bit heavier, go for the lighter one. You’ll get clearer trebles, more delicacy.

When you’re looking for a bow, there are several characteristics that change how it feels in your hand.

First, The first one is weight. For violin bow the optimal weight is between 60 and 65 grams. For a viola bow,it’s between 70 and 73. A cello bow is about 80 and up.

Second, The second one is the way the bow digs into the strings. You want a bow that will dig in without the wood hitting the string. If you’re digging you can get that nice accented sound. But if the bow isn’t strong enough, the stick will flex so much that the hair is caught between the string and the bow and you don’t have as much control over it. 

The third one is elasticity.
The quality of the wood will determines it’s elasticity.

The last and most critical characteristis is the balance. A lots of cheap bow lack balance and tend to be rather tip-heavy. Typically, the fiberglass or cheap wooden bow has poor balance and is not lively in the hand. A step up from that would be either brazilwood or pernambuco which has really nice balance because it can feel light and really lively

Those are the characteristic that you need to check everytime you’re looking for a bow. The key is that you must be the one playing; the bow will sound compeletely different in someone else’s hands.

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