Magazine article Strings

Bows R Us

Magazine article Strings

Bows R Us

Article excerpt

Pricing of student bows varies greatly. Prices at the low end are highly influenced by market forces such as the cost of labor, currency exchange rates, and the purchasing power of the individual retailer. For simplicity, let's divide the market into four price levels roughly corresponding to $50 increments in price.

Entry Level: About $50

Bows under $50 are typically fiberglass or Chinese-made brazilwood and should at least meet the minimum standards, fiberglass is virtually indestructible, making it a prudent choice for players too young to resist sword ." fighting. Wood has a warmer, more interesting sound, but in this price range a certain percentage of bows break under normal playing pressure, says dealer David Kerr of Portland, Oregon, resulting in potential trips to the violin shop for a replacement. "It's up to the person," he says of the choice between wood and fiberglass. Like any reputable shop, Kerr's will replace bows that break under normal use-be sure to ask about that guarantee when you shop.

There are real bargains to be had at this price. At best you may find a good quality brazilwood stick with a fully lined ebony frog. But there are bad bows, too, warns Kerr. At worst, your bargain bow may be unplayable.

Better Beginner: About $100

Expect a better-quality stick that is both stronger and more flexible, better balance from end to frog, and a more complex tone. Also look for better-quality fittings: fully lined ebony frog, metal winding, leather grip.

Sticks in this range are typically better-grade brazilwood, made in China or Germany, or, increasingly, even entry-level pernambuco made in China. …

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