bows on ebay - any good?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Hortense&bow, Apr 27, 2002.

  1. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    Okay, I see where the seller offers a refund if you are not satisfied. My question would be, "What is satisfied?"

    It seems to me that if you are serious about picking up a bow, you go to some place (e.g., a quality bass shop) that has many bows. You try several out on YOUR bass. You narrow the selection down to two or three bows. You then take those bows home for a week, and play the #*$@ out of them. You then have a competent bass player play the different bows on your bass with you somewhere in the near vicinity (kind of a blind taste test). This way you get sense of what you are looking for in sound production.

    This way, you get a bow that A) feels right, and B) sounds the way you want.

    Now, if you can accomplish that via E-Bay, more power to you.
  2. Hortense&bow


    Apr 15, 2002
    IDEALY, that's what I would do. UNFORTUNATELY, there may be reasons why one is not able to do so.
    The closest "quality bass shop" is about 1000 miles away; so money is for the trip OR for the bow. I guess many people are in thi situation. We end up having to rely on some sort of shipping procedure to get the bows to our homes and get a chance to play the $%&^ (sorry mis-spelled) out of them.
    The problem then is to find a source that is even
    worth being dealt with; that is a source that will send you something that you may actually not send back.
    So I was just asking if by chance anybody knew that guy. After all I don't necessarly trust Sharr music to send me anything that I may want to keep anymore than that ghy. And I have read on this same discussion group
    many praises on bow makers with whom I would have to deal over the phone and by mail only.

    I am looking for a german bow to check if I like it better than or as well as french bowing and decide whether I want to learn both techniques. So I need something good enough to hold the comparaison (i think my French bow is not a complete piece of crap) without spending too much money.

  3. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Patrick, those e-bay bows do not inspire confidence: what makes a good bow is essentially the stick and, to some extent, the frog which has to be confortable to your grip. Good quality horsehair is necessary, stay away from nylon. As far as bow design goes, conservatism is the norm, and I do not appreciate the emphasis on custom design in these ads. And I doubt you get any decent bow for 125$. So if you try one of those, you probably won’t be able to decide between French and German because these bows are off the wall, unconventional and cheap.
    Tim is absolutely correct: a week trial and a refund-if-not-satisfied-policy are the norm. So why don't you order two or three good quality German bow from Sharr, Quinn, or Lemur? They will refund you, because they know that choosing a bow is more difficult than choosing a bass.
    Good luck, don't hesitate to consult this forum, but don't get mad if the answer does not go the way you'd like.
  4. Hortense&bow


    Apr 15, 2002
    What about Hammond Ashley?
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Just my own .02 -- I lucked out on an inexpensive french bow on eBay. When I found out my 1996 $35 student bow was worth $500 now, I figured I'd better get something else to take to hazardous duty gigs, and the Fiberglas bow just wasn't cutting it.

    I got one through eBay for not much more than $100, and ended up buying them out of their last few, to pass them on to customers. A no-name w/ebony frog, allegedly brazilwood stick (who knows?!), that had a nice feel and good results. They couldn't/wouldn't tell me where they got them, and I've been in search of ever since, have some names from NAMM that I'll probably get singles from to audition.

    But, as it's been said, it is a bit of a chance. I was lucky, and hope I can get lucky again.
  6. I second what Oliver said...I was told that Lemur will ship you several bows (as many as your credit card allows) on a trial period.

    Thats what I plan to do ASA I trick myself into a new bow...
  7. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    I am sorry, the names I gave were just to illustrate my post and are far from being comprehensive list of reputable suppliers. I am confident that Hammond Ashley as well as OTHERS see a lot of bows coming and going.

    The question is what do they have in store: Paesold, Ari, other name, no name Chinese (sometimes you find a good and afordable bow in that category), no Name somewhere-else. Call them, ask them.
  8. Hortense&bow


    Apr 15, 2002
    Merci pour tes conseils et ton aide Olivier.
    Let's switch to English, though everybody
    already figured out that there is a "French Connection".

    Funny you mention Peasold; my french bow is a Peasold. And since I bought it years ago I haven't
    seen another one and never run into the name Peasold again. When I bought it all I could tell was that it was better than my very first beginner bow, and the one I prefered among the few ones I tried within my pice range. But I could not realy tell much about bows. I knew my teacher's bow felt realy much better, but was not in my league.
    I haven't touched another bow since then, so I don't realy know how good or bad my bow is.
    I was wondering if it was worth upgrading, in terms
    of getting a better sound and have more precise and fast response of the strings. And besides, I am also curious to try a german bow; my hope is to get around problems of tension in the right forearm/arm by alternating german and french.

  9. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Then your French bow is German ! ain't that even funnier ?

    Now that's no fun at all, often depressing, actually. It hampers steady practice. Maybe your grip is too tight. You should try a few lessons with someone who knows what's going on with a French bow, even a cello teacher could be of help with that respect. Also, start your practice sessions by warming up arco exercises.
  10. Hortense&bow


    Apr 15, 2002
    What do you know about the Peasold bows, Olivier?
    Are they any good?

    Besides, I tried to pay more attention to the feeling in my arm while I play. The tension and light pain is actually in the shoulder, and when I am working on a piece that is almost all on the G string.

    I usually do a fair amount of warm up bowing at the begining of each practice. My grip is quite firm between the thumb and the first finger, but the other 3 fingers are quite relaxed and free to move naturally as required by the motions of the bow.
    Overall, I don't feel any unconfortable tension in the hand. I can feel my muscles in the forearm at the begining of my warm-up and after a few very fast fortissimo bars. But it relaxes after that. So I think the problem is my shoulder. But I don't know if it is due to bowing or simply arthritis (?). I thought that the German bow which opens the shoulder might help.

  11. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I watch the ebay auctions on bass items, mostly for fun. I've bid on a couple of cheap bows, mostly to get a stick to handle abusive composer tricks.

    However, I believe that every now and then, a real bargain slips through. A year back or so, there was an auction for a French bow by a maker named Dean Seppelfrick, and my reaction to the photo, etc., was that the bow was seriously underpriced. The auction turned torrid in the last twenty minutes, but I eventually got it for under $500, and it has since been appraised (FWIW) at over $3,000. I don't like the bow as well as my Reid Hudson, but it was well worth the money paid.

    Still, it was a gamble for me, and I dove in with my eyes open.