A bow is one of the most important pieces of equipment that any cellist should possess aside from the instrument itself. The right cello bow can make a mediocre cello sound like a Stradivarius. Hence, it is necessary to do some research and compare different options (try some if possible) before you purchasing one. As a beginner, a good bow can help you quickly enjoy the pleasure of viola playing and take you to the next level.
Knowing the materials will help you to choose the right bow for your level, and it will make the online purchase really easy, as there are some standards here that you can ask for. Students and beginners mostly use bows made of Brazilwood or synthetic materials.
Brazilwood is a generic name given to several kinds of tropical hardwoods used for inexpensive bows. It comes from Brazil as well as other tropical countries.
Synthetic materials from the other hand, are fibreglass or composites, resistant to any change of temperature or any kind of carelessness of an amateur.
Pernambuco is known as the best wood for bows, it’s a dense, heavy wood that comes from several areas in Brazil and seems to possess just the right combination of strength, elasticity, and responsiveness.
Carbon fiber is a material -of the same quality as pernambuco- that is preferred in the making of cello bows in the last ten years, as it doesn’t bend out of shape during the changes of temperature or humidity.
Bows come only as round (French makers stick to that shape) or octagonal. It is said that round bows allow a better control, and octagonal offer a harder, stronger tone and sound. But, the technique of every musician plays such a roll, that we can’t conclude to a clear decision. So, many commercial-bow makers take advantage of that, by producing round and octagonal versions of the same bow, putting a higher price on octagonal ones and feeding that way the rumors that want octagonal bows to be better.
3. Weight And Balance
It is more important for the balance of the bow, to have some more grams weighted at the frog, rather than the tip. Then, if the bow feels balanced in your hand, this is it. As an advanced music player, you already have the experience to understand it. But if you are an amateur, I recommend you to just follow the rule of 60 grams weight (a viola bow is 70 grams; a cello bow 80 grams) ). Stay to that standard, or risk to follow your instinct, though as a beginner musician it would be better to have your teacher near you, as an adviser.
Don’t forget to hold the stick in front of one eye and see if it is well levelled, from frog to tip, without any bending or twisting.
This may sound dumb, but many newbies do not have the correct sized bow, we’ve seen many youngsters using a 4/4 bow on 3/4 or even 1/2 cello, some do this due to lacking of knowledge, but many others do so to save the money and hassle of switching bows, which is highly unadvisable.One should , always make sure that the size of your cello corresponds to the size of your cello.
Now, let’s get take a look at the 10 best beginner cello bows in the market:
Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Cello Bow 4/4
Fiddlerman is famous for making high qualoty instrument and accessories. This one is rated as one the best to come from the brand. The bow is very sturdy, just as expected from every carbon fiber bow. However, this model from Fidderman comes with a touch of difference—well crafted, light and incredibly bouncy. The bow has a copper mounted ebony frog and Siberian horse hair. The bow weighs ~80 grams.
SKY 4/4 Full Size Brazil Wood Cello Bow
A decent student level cello bow provide by Sky company, for this price point, this bow is perfect for newbies and students. It has round stick with ebony frog, hand-crafted with oil varnished finish. Lightweight and easy to carry, well-balanced, very strong and stable. Good stiffness, good control and response. Bright sound and soft on fingers. If you need something to get started, you cant go wrong with this one.
D Z Strad Cello Bow – Model 301
The 301 Carbon Fiber Cello Bow model from DZ Strad is a full –size cello bow for professionals or advanced cellists. This cello bow boasts exceptional performance for players. The workmanship let it stand out from anything else in its price range. Properly balanced for quick response and resiliency. Features genuine white, unbleached Mongolian grade AA horse hair.Traditional Frog made from Polished Premium Ebony.
ADM 4/4 Brazilwood Octagonal Cello Bow
ADM offers a fine selection of Brazilwood and Carbon Fiber bows. Nicely-crafted and finished, with fine balance and playability in a medium to strong range of stiffness. They are of the finest quality with premium aged material and superior workmanship. High Value, Low Cost. The bow features Brazilwood design, which is good for people looking for rich and warm tonation, as well as durability.
D Z Strad Model 805 Pernambuco Cello Bow
The D Z Strad Model 805 cello bow is fully silver-lined and made of select, high quality, dense Pernambuco. Featuring a round stick and Ebony frog with Parisian eye inlay and abalone slide, the bow is properly balanced for an even response. The thumb grip is wrapped leather over silver lapping. Equipped with genuine white, unbleached Grade AAAA Mongolian horsehair, the Model 805 is a great choice for intermediate to advanced players.
Presto Carbon Fiber Cello Bow Black 4/4 Size
The Presto Carbon Fiber Cello Bow is a full-size bow designed for full-size cellos. The perfect bow to teach young players correct technique, the Presto bow is also used by many advanced players for outdoor or pit work, or as a backup bow. Black with finished stick, ebony frog with Parisian eye (bass bows with pearl eye). For the advanced player looking for a backup bow or second best option, the Presto is something to consider.
CodaBow Prodigy Carbon Fiber 4/4 Cello Bow
Precision-engineered to provide select professional characteristics at a pre-professional price, the CodaBow Prodigy Carbon Fiber 4/4 Cello Bow boasts exceptional performance for exceptional students. The dynamically balanced shaft offers off-string agility commonaly reserved for high-performance bows while also providing the on-string forgiveness and comfort desired by young players. CodaBow has united time-honored traditions with the science of today’s advanced materials.
CodaBow Diamond NX Carbon Fiber 4/4 Cello Bow
The CodaBow Diamond NX Carbon Fiber 4/4 Cello Bow represents the shared vision of master bow makers and professional teachers. Agile and accommodating, the CodaBow Diamond NX Carbon Fiber 4/4 Cello Bow elevates advanced players to new levels and brings out the best in your instrument. Just like its sister version (the Diamond GX), the CodaBow Diamond NX Carbon Fiber Cello Bow features a Kevlar-made core, a material used in the making of bulletproof vests.