There is this tendency to spend a lot of time selecting a Violin but very little time on the bow. The Best Violin bows do not fall off trees. You have to find them, and they have a major impact on the sound of the instrument.
Just as it is with the instrument, the higher the quality of the bow, the better the sound. It may surprise some people to know that the bow gives you half of the sound you get.
There are a variety of choices of material used in construction. Different types of woods, some very expensive, others not so. Here again, there will be a noticeable difference. If Nigel Kennedy plays over 20,000 UK pounds for his bow, there is a reason why.
But then you also get modern-day materials such as carbon fiber and fiberglass. This will be one of the sticking points for what is best. Virtuoso’s like Vanessa-Mae may use carbon fiber with her electric violin for her ”rock” performances. But Kennedy will use the best wood for his Classical and Jazz shows.
The stiffness of the bow has an impact. If it is stiff it will be easier for a beginner and produce a clear sound. But it will also be a rougher sound. A softer bow will give a softer sound. It is a big subject. If you want to sound good, then you need a superb violin bow.
Top 10 Best Violin Bows To Buy 2020 Reviews
1 CodaBow Diamond GX Carbon Fiber 4/4 Violin Bow
Codabow is known as one of the leading designers of the carbon-fiber bow. They have taken the traditional designs and styles and added modern technology to produce a range of bows that are admired. Make no mistake; this is a high-quality carbon-fiber bow made with high-end materials. It produces a powerful and rich sound that is designed for high-level performances.
It might not have some of the more gentle nuances of the high-end wooden bows. This though is a different technology, and it is going to give a different sound. Its construction gives sounds that the wooden bows could not achieve. It is recognized as one of the best violin bows. Excellent tracking and a confident playing feel it is an exceptional bow.
It is longer than the usual bow length at 31 inches, so you will need to use the dedicated case it is supplied with. This full-size bow is built with a Kevlar core, which makes it extremely lightweight, weighing just five and a half ounces. It is also finely balanced, an essential ingredient to a quality bow.
The frog is a traditional design made by Walter Paulus. The polished ebony offers an attractive style. The tightening mechanism is very smooth and easy to use.
This is a quality bow as we have said and does not come cheap. It is going to suit higher-level professional players, though students will also feel its benefits.
When you are spending this level of money, the decision is not necessarily about the quality. We know it has that. It’s’s more about style. A carbon-fiber bow will give you a different sound to a quality wooden bow. The trained ear will recognize the difference.
This is a superb bow by a recognized manufacturer of quality.
- Professional-level quality and materials used in the construction.
- High-quality sound and performance.
2 Glasser X-Series Carbon Fiber X-Bow With Horsehair
This X-series Violin bow from Glasser is made from carbon-fiber. It features a round carbon stick rather than octagonal, which many agree produces a better sound. It has a synthetic grip that offers comfortable stability when in use.
Carbon-fiber is recognized as an excellent material. Perhaps more durable than the alternative fiberglass, and not that much more expensive. It has a flexible stick, which is a good feature. But it is not too flimsy to make it weak. It is also lightweight at just over 2 ounces. It is a standard length of 29.5 inches.
The frog is made from polished Ebony. This gives the bow an elegant look and, of course, is very durable. It has imitation pearl slides and eyes. The strings are genuine horsehair, not synthetic hair. This gives the violin its natural sound. Using synthetic hair will result in reduced performance in quality.
This is a bow of some quality but is at a very affordable level. It has all the attributes of a bow that costs much more and has a nice balance and feels comfortable. Regardless of these attributes of these more expensive bows, it is still good value. It is certainly much better quality than you are likely to have bought with the violin and might be considered the best violin bow for the money.
The price point is set realistically and is therefore worth considering if you are thinking of upgrading your bow.
- Well-made using good materials.
- Affordable price.
- Sound quality is not as good as some wooden bows.
3 Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Violin Bow 1/2
This is a budget range half-size Violin bow from Fiddlerman. It might be relatively inexpensive, but it has a lot of good qualities. It is made from a plain Carbon-Fiber composite and is the standard half-size 25 inches long and weighs just 2.5 ounces. They have gone to great lengths to try and copy the curve of some of the expensive bows which will suit some players.
The weight and balance of the bow, of course, are extremely important. This bow is lightweight and is nicely balanced without being perfect. We think this bow will best suit a beginner or improving player who wants to upgrade their bow. Maybe they have bought a Cremona, Mendini, or Stentor violin, and it is time to move up a level.
The build quality is surprisingly good for such an affordable price and features a nice arch that will give a good bouncing action of the strings. The frog is fully-lined and is made from Ebony and is copper mounted. There is a cowhide leather wrap. It has pure Mongolian horsehair and is made in China.
As we have already remarked, this is a budget level bow. It is an upgrade from what is often supplied with a violin purchase. But if you are expecting a high-quality bow, then you will be disappointed. You are not paying high-quality money, so it cannot be.
This is purely an upgrade to what you may have been supplied with originally. Look at it as a progression through the stages as you might when you upgrade the Violin itself. The sound is acceptable if a little scratchy at times, but it will almost certainly be an improvement.
- The build quality is quite good, featuring a nice arch design with decent materials.
- Affordable price.
- Some may want a higher level of performance and better quality.
4 Crescent Carbon Fiber Violin Bow 4/4
This bow from Crescent is very much a budget model. Not a bow that is likely to be thought of as one of the best violin bows. Certainly not a bow for higher-level players of professionals, it is aimed at those wishing to upgrade their first bow.
It is made from carbon-fiber and has a round rather than an octagonal shape. Featuring a gentle arch in the frame that many players appreciate as it can provide a little extra bounce from the strings. It is also nicely balanced and weighs just two and a half ounces.
It is full-size and is 32 inches in length, which is quite long. And features a smooth action and is, therefore, a good choice for a new player. It features an Abalone inlay on the frog and also has bleached Mongolian Horsehair.
For a budget level bow, it is good, and the performance level is quite surprising. It produces a good sound and plays comfortably.
Set at a price point that is very affordable, this carbon-fiber bow is definitely a step up in performance level. Made in China, it is not the best bow you will find, but it is still good value for money.
- Good materials used in construction.
- Affordable price.
- Some will want higher quality.
5 Vio Music Full-size 4/4 Silver Winding Violin Bowxz
We know it is not even close to being the right reason for buying a bow, but please indulge us. This is a beautiful looking piece of violin hardware. It is a full-size bow and has been hand-made using a selected hard Brazilwood. That is not the most expensive of woods used in bow manufacture. Nevertheless, it is still recognized as being suitable for a decent quality bow.
It has Mongolian Horsehair, so the materials used are of good quality. The frog is made of Ebony, and it has a silver/nickel winding with a golden mount. The screw is also gold plated. It weighs just over three ounces and is nicely balanced and, therefore, comfortable to use.
The crowning glory is its Fleur de Lys motif. That is a motif that is supposed to refer to life and perfection. It was adopted as an official symbol by the French monarchy sometime around the early middle ages.
Not quite sure why it is on this bow, but it is an attractive addition. If it is alluding to its ”perfection” reference, that might be a little bit optimistic. Whilst not being in any way perfect, this is a good bow for the money.
It is quite strong, and the wood gives it that extra special feeling that is sometimes missing with other materials. It plays quite well and has a nice response to the strings on the instrument. Plus it’s a great looking bow.
It will not win too many awards for the highest quality, but for the money, though, it is a decent buy. It will certainly be a vast improvement on any bow that was bought as a package with a violin. And, dare we say it again, it looks a lot prettier. The price point is set at a very affordable level to encourage an upgrade.
- Well made Brazilwood bow at an affordable price.
- Great looking bow.
- Care needs to be taken as wooden bows can sometimes warp in certain humidity levels.
6 VINGOBOW New 4/4 Size Carbon Fiber Violin Bow
This full-size bow is made from carbon-fiber and has a good look to it. Some may argue that artificially made materials like carbon-fiber and fiberglass do not have the same feel as wooden bows. There is a certain truth in that some might say, but there are advantages to such materials. The downside is that they tend to be a bit stiffer. This will affect the sound produced somewhat.
Most bows are made of similar materials, but this Vingobow exhibits a huge difference. It has black Mongolian horsehair, instead of the usual plain. Quite a shock when you first see it, but it is not dyed. It is a natural color. So here, the discussion starts.
It is certainly different. You will sometimes find it on the bows of Double bass players or Cellists. It is coarse hair and grips the strings better. Especially the low, thicker strings. It does, though, make a much coarser sound. Some will prefer it, others not.
We return to more traditional materials with the frog, which is Ebony. It has a nickel silver mount. It has a shell with a motif that resembles the French Fleur-De Lys but is actually a peacock.
They have certainly tried very hard with the build quality. It has a real leather grip with thread winding made from nickel silver and a mother of pearl slide. It is lightweight and well-built and a very good option.
At a time when to replace the hair on a bow costs more than the price point on this item, it must be worth considering. It could be considered the best value violin bow available.
- Good materials and nice playing action.
- Very affordable price and attractive looking bow.
- Some may not like the black horsehair
7 Giuliani Brazilwood Violin Bow 4/4 (Full) Size
This is a full-size bow from Kennedy violins from the Antonio Guilliani company. It is made from Brazilwood and has a round designed shaft. Being a wooden bow, it is a little heavier than other materials and weighs one pound. The wood has flexible qualities that allow it to maintain its strength.
Being flexible, it has plus points in the bounce and the way it responds to your playing style. It is nicely balanced and so feels comfortable even at the slightly higher weight. It is fitted with Mongolian horsehair that has been bleached and has an Ebony frog that has a metal mount.
This bow has a real leather grip and silver winding. Adding mother of pearl eyes and bow slide gives it a nice styling. It is an understated design with nothing of any great note to make it stand out from the crowd. Some will prefer that. It is a plain and simple but nevertheless attractive bow.
It does its talking with the way it plays and sounds and is another bow that would be considered as the best violin bow for the money.
- Well made wooden bow with a nice understated design.
- Affordable price and a very nice action and sound.
- Some will prefer other materials than wood.
The hair texture is very smooth, which encourages the player to create a full, open sound. For the price point, it is well made and is another bow that is excellent value for money.
8 D Z Strad BrazilWood Violin Bow Model 200 (4/4 – Size)
We recently were able to review a Violin by DZ Strad and found it to be a decent starter instrument. Let’s take a look at what they can produce with their bows.
This is a full-size bow made from selected Brazilwood. It has an octagonal stick rather than round, with an ebony frog. It is fitted with white bleached Mongolian horsehair. Some attractive features have been added, including an abalone slide and a Fleur-de-Lys inlay.
The grip is leather, and the screw piece has an eight eye design. Just like the slide, this also is given an abalone addition with the button.
If you are looking to take the quality of your bow up a level, this will be worth considering. Usually, the bow that comes with a starter violin is very basic and often not of the highest quality. It will suffice in the very early stages. But as the player progresses, they will need to move to a higher quality.
At the price point, this bow is a step in the right direction. It offers a good quality build from quality materials and produces a good sound.
It is handmade and is nicely balanced, and at six ounces is lightweight for a wooden bow. And has a medium to strong stiffness rating.
- Well-made with good materials.
- Produces a nice rounded sound.
- Some prefer other materials than wood.
9 Violin Bow Carbon Fiber (4/4, Black)
Kmise has produced this black carbon-fiber bow for those who prefer this material over wood. One of the big advantages that carbon-fiber and other materials have over wood is that they are not affected by weather conditions. You will not always be able to choose the humidity or temperature of the venue you may play in. It makes no difference to a carbon-fiber bow.
It’s full-size and is fitted with bleached Mongolian horsehair. It has an Ebony wood frog with an abalone slide and also has a Parisien eye decoration.
Specially designed to be lightweight at two and a half ounces, it has a standard length of 29 and a half inches. It is nicely balanced, and so you are likely to feel a quick response to the strings. Whilst the feel of a carbon bow is different from wood; it is still possible to feel the music through the bow. This is evident with this bow,
Kmise is a company with a good reputation for its work with stringed instruments. This bow is offered with its culture of quality materials and workmanship. It is set at a reasonable price point and is a good value for money.
For a young improver, this is a good option when they want to improve the quality of their bow. All players reach a stage where their improvement will depend on their equipment. This bow will take them up a level from their first bow and take them through that critical improver stage.
- Nicely made at a very affordable price point.
- An attractive bow made from good materials.
- Some will prefer wood construction.
10 Haoyue Carbon Fiber Handmade Violin Bow
Haoyue is a company that makes a range of bows in different formats and materials. They use high-grade wood as well as Carbon-fiber.
This Haoyue bow is a full-size carbon-fiber product that is durable and is going to last a decent time. It is a straight bow design with no arch and weighs ten ounces. It is a standard 30 inches in length and has a silver and nickel screw with an Ebony wood frog. The weight is well-distributed, and the bow nicely balanced.
It is fitted with bleached Mongolian horsehair, which is more or less standard with every bow at this level. And is attractively made with its Abalone slide and the Parisien eyes on the frog. It is fitted with a leather grip. It comes with a fitted black textured case.
This is another bow that might be considered as the next step forward. The original bow bought with a starter instrument is rarely of a decent quality. Upgrades are then inevitable for the improving player. Many users prefer carbon-fiber rods, but at the end of the day, it is a personal preference thing. There are positives for both carbon-fiber and wood rods.
This is an impressive looking bow that is devoid of any fancy design attributes. Plain and simple, it is going to do the job.
It is set at a very realistic price point, which takes the financial sting out of an upgrade. Unlikely to win any high-quality awards. It is a good bow set at an attractive price.
- Well-made and attractive looking bow with good materials.
- Nice sounding upgrade at an affordable price.
- Some will prefer wooden bows.
Best Violin Bows Buyer’s Guide
Changing Your Bow
Not as easy as it sounds. Whether it is replacing an old bow or upgrading for a beginner, it is an important decision. There are some things to consider because this is a critical phase. So what should you be looking at?
Weight & Balance
Obviously very important. Violinists say the bow should be a natural extension of your arm. You can stare at weights and factors forever. They are all fairly similar, but it is what feels right for you. Most will weigh somewhere between 2 and 4 ounces, but it is more important; it just feels right. And we might add, feels right not for one bowing style but for all of them.
The Shape Of The Bow
This will affect its stiffness, which will affect its sound. Most bows are made round. This makes them very supple and flexible. Some are made octagonal, which will be stiffer. A bow that is made too soft will struggle to produce clarity and attack when it is needed.
This can sound like technical flaws in the playing. It is the fault of the bow, not the player.
On the other side of the coin, a bow that is too stiff will not allow the gentler nuances to be executed delicately. Bows will make a different sound depending on these issues, and it requires a careful ear to pick up those differences.
Many pros prefer a round stick. For a student or beginner, a stiffer bow will probably initially make life easier.
Wood or Something Else?
We could argue this point until we run out of Mongolian horses; for a long time, Pernambuco bows have been thought of as the top of the shop since the 1700s. They are stiff but also very sensitive and responsive.
Some manufacturers will claim that their artificial materials equal the sound of the Pernambuco bow, but they don’t. At this point in time, nothing can. They are simply the best as someone once sang. That is why they are so expensive.
If you want a wood bow, there are other much cheaper woods, one being Brazilwood. This is commonly used and is a decent wood for bow manufacture. They don’t, though, give the same level of responsive feel or the stiffness of Pernambuco. At the price, you wouldn’t expect them to.
Carbon fiber and fiberglass are also popular these days. They can be very stiff and long-lasting, and are not affected by weather or humidity. They are also sometimes better at dealing with a variety of bow strokes.
What About The Horsehair?
As far as we know, they don’t kill any horses to get the hair. We understand that the hair is taken from a deceased horse, but yes, it is real. The highest quality comes from a white stallion. Other horsehair is often bleached to make it look like it is white. Bleaching will weaken the hair and make it vulnerable to a high level of usage.
Black horsehair is also an option. We reviewed one such bow. It is coarser and rougher and produces a sharper tone. Not everyone likes that. If you feel awkward with real horsehair, as many do, then try something else.
There are imitation synthetic materials that are very good. You could try Coruss instead of real horsehair. If you like it as many do then, we can leave the horses alone. Not many can distinguish between the two for sound.
Something To Go With Your Bow?
If you’re upgrading your bow, it may also be time for some other upgrades? So please check out our reviews of the Best Student Violins, the Best Violin for Kids, or even the Best Electric Violins currently available.
So, What Are The Best Violin Bows?
When one of the bows you looked at cost more than ten times and more of the others, then, of course, it will be better. Most people could not afford and would not need that level of instrument. We will, therefore, rule it out of our decision. We have decided to choose the best value violin bow for the money.
There are a lot of bows at very near the same price point, so it is not easy. All very similar in materials and what they offer the upgrading student. However, we want a wooden bow that is full-size, and we’d also like it to look attractive. We have therefore chosen the…
That is our choice for the very best of all the violin bows currently available.