Selecting a Bow

The easiest way to select a bow is to compare bows and again use the process of elimination.

Sound

Two things can influence a bow's sound quality:

  • The type of rosin used

(For more information, see Selecting Rosin.)

  • How fresh the rehair is

A very freshly rehaired bow may produce more side noise (a hissing or gritty sound) than a bow that has been played in. (For more information, see Bow Hair and Rehairing.)

Responsiveness

Use different types of bowing techniques (spiccato, detache, staccato, etc.) to see how well the bow follows your command. The weight of a bow is important. Total weight, however, can be misleading. For example, a tinsel or whalebone grip weighs about 4 grams less than a silver grip, so a bow with a tinsel or whalebone grip will have to be slightly heavier toward the tip of the stick to attain the same total weight as a bow with a silver grip. This will make the bow feel heavier than the bow with a silver grip, although the two bows have the same total weight.

Aesthetics

This is a matter of personal preference. 

Resale Value

Consult with a trusted expert. 

Further Suggestions

Be sure to examine a bow very carefully for hairline cracks around the tip before paying for it. Small cracks can lead to a broken bow weeks or months after the purchase.