There are some great bows available on e-bay and some less than great ones. This guide is to help the student cellist and the keen amateur orchestral player.
These are the very cheapest bows, light, weak and nasty. Just don't do it.Avoid these bows as you will likely be disappointed. For the same money here on ebay you can get something much better.
Brazil wood bows.
A big range here, right from very cheap up to quite well made and very playable. Look for something around the £20 -£30 area. This price range here on ebay will get you something fairly decent. Buy new preferably as the integrity of the strength and spring of the Brazilwood can 'go' on older brazilwood bows. A good barazilwood bow will suit a student up to about grade 6 and orchestral players in fun orchestras, looking for a replacement or a decent spare.
Much better bows. The wood these bows are made from is the 'musicians choice' and the traditionally favoured material. Tough, marvellous spring, good weight and control, these bows come in many weights and have different balances to them. A good general guide is to buy a medium weight, something around 69 - 73 grams, so that you will get yourself a good all rounder, that you will manage well in the hand.
More experienced players and those approaching grade 8 may find they like something a little heavier.
Don't overlook the excellent new pernambuco bows coming out of China. Many are excellent value for money and would retail here for very much more that you can get them here on ebay.
I bought a spare - pernambuco with a fake ivory frog and was thrilled with it. it's a bit on the light side for my personal taste but it's out on loan to another cellist in the orchestra I play in she likes it so much.There is also a regular American seller who has a nice selection. To get a decent pernambuco bow here on ebay expect prices to start around £70. Avoid old bows, antique bows or "name" bows unless you are sure of what you are doing.
These are a more specialist bow, and can be a bit pricey.They are almost always very heavy indeed, so only really suitable for the more advanced player. Snakewood is dense, with excellent flexible properties, and extremely strong, though more brittle than pernambuco. I have a snakewood bow as my main bow and love it. Snakewood bows almost always come in above 80 grams, yet have great balance on the string, and respond well to the hand, as long as you have the stregth and technique to use the bow to its full potential. Expect to pay a minimum of around £150 maybe more, for a snakewood bow.
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15 August 2010
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