Friday, November 19, 2010

Violin Bow Buying Tips - Conidering Bow Weight

Even violin players who are quite experienced are sometimes naïve to the factors they should consider when choosing a violin bow. Buying a violin bow should be a long-drawn out process because it can really make or break the quality of sound for a violinist. The advanced you get, the more important it is to consider every variable and try out as many bows as you possibly can. A very important variable when it comes to choosing a violin bow is actual weight of the bow.

How heavy are Violin Bows?
Violin bows range anywhere from 56 grams to 64 grams depending on the density of the stick and frog. With this in mind, even if two bows are exactly the same weight, there will still be a potential difference in the distribution of weight across the stick. But the actual weight is a good indicator how a bow will feel and if it is right for you.

How Heavy Should my Violin Bow Be?
Every violinist has a different style and each and every bowing technique is different from player to player. A more aggressive violinist will typically play better on a lighter bow because he doesn't need as much weight to play notes cleanly. On the opposite end, typically a more conservative player will sound a lot better if they use a heavier bow than if they used a light bow. Now comparing between 56 grams and 64 grams is a huge difference and these two particular weights are very much on the opposite side of the spectrum. It is rare for me to recommend either of these weights in particular. Typically a good weight will range between 58 and 62 grams where most violin bow makers try to aim their bows to be.

How do you choose the Right Bow to Buy?
The key to buying the right violin bow is to first choose the material that you are looking to buy, then find out which weight range works best for you. After these two things are determined, you will hopefully still have about 5-10 bows to choose from that you can try out. Now the key would be to play on each and every one the same piece over and over again to see the differences. A very important thing to note is that price is not a direct determinant of quality but just a general guideline. Once you are in your particular price range, don't let the price bias you away from one or the other. Many violin shops have a price code on the bow to prevent you from doing this already. I recommend narrowing down your bow selection to about 2-3 bows and then getting second opinions over at least a week to make sure it is the one that works best for you. Don't make your decision right away especially if you are spending a decent amount of money for a bow.

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