Purchasing a Bow
by Yung Chin
If you are considering the purchase a bow, there are several factors to consider. First establish a price range. Only try bows that are within this price range and don't exceed the top of that range. Look at a wide selection of bows. You may be surprised to find that you don't have to spend as much as you thought to acquire a fine sounding and playing bow. When you try bows, play the same passages on each bow. If you do not like a particular bow, put the bow aside and go on to the next. Listen to which bow enhances the sound of your instrument. Of course, the handling aspect or playability of a bow is very important. Try different passages that require various bow strokes. Remember, you are the one who will be playing the bow not your friend or teacher. What counts is how the bow sounds when you play. You may sound great with a particular bow which, when played by another person, is not so appealing. If you think you have found an appropriate bow, check to see that the bow is in good condition. If you are not sure what to look for take the bow to a reputable bow maker or repairman for their opinion.
Do not be swayed by the nationality or origin of the bow. There are fine sounding old bows that are French, German, English, and modern bows that are made in various countries through out the world today.
Generally, the older French bows have the highest monetary value. This being said, one should keep in mind that some of the older English and in particular older German bows are very fine sounding bows for the money. In addition, there are currently many fine bowmakers around the world making first class bows at affordable prices. This is certainly an option one should consider if you are on a limited budget. If you purchase a bow from a modern maker at least you know who made the bow! This is not always the case with an old bow.
It is important to be patient during your bow search . The more time and experience you put into your search the better, ultimately, your choice will be.