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Does Violin Bow Quality Matter?

When it comes to playing the violin, there's a lot of attention given to the quality and craftsmanship of the instrument itself. However, an equally important component that often gets overlooked is the bow.

Does the quality of a violin bow really matter? The answer, as you'll find, is a resounding "yes." In this blog post, we'll delve into why the bow is crucial and how it affects the overall performance and experience of playing the violin.

What Makes a Good Violin Bow?

Bow Components

A violin bow is made up of several components: the stick, frog, hair, and the screw. Each of these parts contributes to how the bow performs and feels in the hand.

  • Stick: The main part of the bow, typically made of Pernambuco wood, carbon fiber, or Brazilwood. Its flexibility and strength are crucial.
  • Frog: The part you grip, usually made from ebony, with some variations.
  • Hair: Most commonly made from horsehair, it's the part that comes into contact with the strings.
  • Screw: Used to tighten or loosen the hair tension.


Craftsmanship can vary, and even minute inconsistencies in the wood carving, hair placement, or weight distribution can affect the bow's performance. A well-crafted bow will have a balanced weight, optimal flexibility, and will respond well to different bowing techniques.

How a Quality Bow Affects Sound

Tone Quality

The quality of your bow can significantly impact the richness, projection, and clarity of sound your violin produces. A good bow offers a range of tonal colors and enables the player to produce a variety of dynamics, from pianissimo to fortissimo, without losing sound quality.

Bowing Techniques

Techniques like spiccato, sautillé, and flautando are much easier to execute with a bow that responds well. A quality bow can make these techniques more accessible to the performer, thus enhancing the overall musical expression.

Player Comfort

A good bow feels comfortable and balanced in your hand, making it easier to play for extended periods without fatigue.

Bow Material: The Key Differences

Pernambuco Wood

Pernambuco wood bows are often considered the gold standard for professionals. They are highly responsive, allow for excellent control, and are usually crafted with the highest levels of craftsmanship.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber bows are robust, offer excellent balance, and can also provide a very good sound quality. They are also less sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature.


Generally considered a good option for beginners, Brazilwood bows are less expensive but still offer a reasonable level of performance.

Price vs. Quality

Is More Expensive Always Better?

While it's true that quality often comes with a price, there are exceptions. Not every expensive bow is automatically better, and there are budget-friendly options that offer excellent quality for their price range.

Consider Your Needs

If you're a beginner, you might not need a professional-grade bow. However, investing in a decent bow can make your learning experience much more rewarding.

How to Choose a Quality Bow

The Importance of Personal Experience

We can't stress enough how essential it is to physically try bows before making your purchase. Bows are as individual as the players who use them. What feels good in one musician’s hand might not feel the same in yours. Moreover, different bows bring out different qualities in violins, so you'll want to try a bow with your own instrument.

Ask for Expert Opinion

The Value of Outside Input

Sometimes it's hard to make a decision in isolation, especially if you're relatively new to the violin. In such cases, asking for an expert opinion can provide valuable insights. Teachers and professional players have the experience and the ear to guide you toward a bow that complements your skill level and playing style.

In-Store Assistance at Kennedy Violins

When you visit our store, you’re not just looking at products; you’re also gaining access to a wealth of knowledge from our staff. Many of our team members are experienced musicians who can offer you tailored advice. Whether you're a beginner seeking your first bow or a professional looking for an upgrade, we are here to help.

Our line of Antonio Giuliani Orchestral Bows offer high quality workmanship and materials at a price well below what would be expected for bows of this caliber. Each bow is strung with genuine gold medal horse hair, inspected and pre-rosined so that it is ready to play by the time it reaches your hands.

Consider Upgrading

When to Upgrade

As you grow in your violin journey, your bow should grow with you. An upgrade can offer enhanced responsiveness, better balance, and a richer palette of sound. If you find yourself limited by your current bow, it's time to consider upgrading.


In summary, the quality of your violin bow does matter. A good bow enhances your technique, makes playing more comfortable, and most importantly, contributes to the richness and variety of sound that you can produce. Regardless of your playing level, investing in a quality bow is investing in your musical future.

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