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German bows under $1000

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by dbgal, Dec 8, 2005.


  1. dbgal

    dbgal

    Nov 28, 2005
    Idaho
    Anyone have recommendations for german bows under $1K? I'm thinking of just calling Lemur & having Jerry send a few in that range to try. I'm at least a full day's drive away from a bass shop, so can't go in person. Looking at past threads on this topic there were positive endorsements for Carbow, Tom Owens, & Ary 500, which Lemur carries, & Marco Raposo, which they don't.
     
  2. dbgal

    dbgal

    Nov 28, 2005
    Idaho
    Well, I decided to bite the bullet & called Lemur. After some more research, I decided to up my budget to $1500. Anyway, Matt at Lemur asked me a bunch of questions about what kind of playing I do (community orchestra, nothing particularly challenging there, & some solo, plus a little bit of rock/country/whatever). I'm an intermediate level player & have no delusions of ever going pro. Anyway, Matt tried several bows, then called me back with his recommendations, & got them in the mail to me on Monday. I received them yesterday (Wednesday), which is darn-near miraculous because my town is very much in the middle of nowhere (2-1/2 hours from the nearest McDonalds). Anyway, here's my first impressions after a limited amount of play time last night:

    W. Seifert Lemur stock no. AB244G. $575.00 137g, 22.5" hair length, 3/4" hair width. The balance point is 4.5" from the frog. This bow has a round stick with a large diameter, & feels a little tip-heavy. The grip is somewhat square- I've got fairly small hands and I notice it in my palm. The tone is very strong and warm, and easy to play loud. The tone is even the entire length of the bow & on all strings, all registers. This bow sounded great on lyrical pieces, such as the Largo of the Eccles Sonata in G Minor. String crossings and faster passages lacked clarity compared to the other bows, but were fabulous compared to the POS I'm currently playing.

    Carbow Lemur stock no. AB640G. $890.00. 135g, 22-5/8" hair length, 11/16" hair width. Balance point 4" from frog. Salt and pepper hair, mostly salt. The camber on this bow is the deepest of the three. This bow has a nicely rounded grip & fits my hand perfectly. It feels balanced. The tone is bright and crisp, very clear. The sound is even across all strings, all registers, and at all points of the bow. This bow was way above the other two in it's ability to pull a clear sound from the strings, and performed equally well in slow & fast passages. Three & 4 string crossings were clear. An extremely comfortable bow that handles beautifully & sounds very nice, although bright.

    Otto Durrschmidt Lemur stock no. AB605G. $1,100.00. 139g, 23.25" hair length, 3/4" hair width. Balance point 4" from frog. Nice octagonal stick, very pretty mother of pearl slide. The whalebone lapping reminds me of the cheap plastic wrap used on some student bows; IMO the silver wire wrap used on the other two bows looks classier. This bow pulls a beautiful, warm, rich tone from my bass, but doesn't handle as well as the Carbow. It's very even across the G-D & A strings, need to work slightly harder on the E. The grip is nicely rounded, but slightly larger than the Carbow. A comfortable bow that sounds great and handles well.

    Bottom line: I'm glad I have several more days to try these bows out. They all have their strengths & it's going to be a difficult decision for me. I'll post again next week & let you know what I decided. :)
     
  3. dbgal

    dbgal

    Nov 28, 2005
    Idaho
    Still haven't made my final decision, but it's between the Carbow & the Durrschmidt. Took both to community orchestra last night to get everyone's opinion... I played two measures of "Hallelujah Chorus" with the Durrschmidt, then picked up the Carbow. Got about 5 notes out & everyone yelled- "That's it!" "Keep it!" "Wow!"

    I'll play them through the weekend & decide on Monday, but I figure that if the Carbow sounds that great to the listener, plus is so manageable & comfortable, it must be a keeper...
     
  4. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Sounds like you've found your bow!

    I've got a durrschmidt too and yeah mine is like the one you tried...not so easy for the fundamental to come out on the E but a great bow for the price otherwise IMO good volume

    Mine has a deep camber and so I'm always wanting to have tight hair with it (that's what I get for pressing too hard)...the down side is that I have a rougher time with spiccato on it this way (again, I'm probably pressing too hard)...plus slow bow near the bridge is more difficult and it likes to argue with the wolves

    But I've got a better bow now and don't have these excuses to leverage anymore when something's not right

    (oh yes my durrschmidt only set me back $600 so I don't know maybe you're trying a better one)
     
  5. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Thanks for the rundown--I'm doing the same search right now to replace a Seifert from Lemur (the $1100 one in the catalog) which is a quite nice bow but which, alas, I'm just borrowing. I had a lower-quality carbon-fiber bow, and my teacher insists that the next bow I purchase be made of wood, so I don't know how the Carbow would come across to him.

    What was the POS bow you were using in the meantime? It wasn't one of the Gollihur or Upton bows, was it? Because I'm thinking of grabbing one of those to use until I make a decision on a better bow...
     
  6. dbgal

    dbgal

    Nov 28, 2005
    Idaho
    The POS is a no-name I got off E-bay for $40- I just wanted to try the grip, but knew if I liked it I'd be replacing soon. My French bow is a Gollihur Brazilwood- a very nice bow for the cost & you'd definately be happy with one until you're ready to spend the bucks. I just switched to German because the French was wreaking havoc with my right shoulder- I just couldn't break myself from trying to force the bow into the strings. Now my shoulder is happier, but my chiropractor isn't :p When I told my teacher I was thinking about a CF bow, he was very interested- don't think he knows anyone who has a good one. Wish I could get his input on this, but I only get to see him every 4-6 weeks (he's 2-1/2 hours away). Anyway, I don't know anything about the Upton bows, but Bob's bows are very good for the price.

    Good luck! :)
     
  7. When I played french bow, my main bow was a Carbow and I was always very happy with it. I was just recently in the market for a new german bow and played a Carbow owned by a friend of mine. It was the Gary Karr model, and it did everything better than an old pfretzschner that I was trying out at the same time. They are very clear, articulate and loud bows and all of the Carbows I have played have been the best bow in that price range. Some people don't like having a bow that isn't wood, but when a bow plays that much better than bows in their price range, it is hard to go with anything else. Let us know what you decide!
     
  8. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    A heads-up for everyone (and dbgal, maybe you can work this out after having already received the bow): I just saw that Lemur is selling the Carbows at a "winter sale" price of $695 instead of the normal $890. Might be a good time to jump on one of these, if they're as nice as they seem to be...
     
  9. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    All this talk about the carbon fibre bows reminds me of the snakewood bow I tried recently. It was really loud and brought out the fundamental nice and strong and had a "king of beers" kind of attitude (but it was priced way higher than a carbon fibre bow). It felt good to feel the vibrations coming through that stick.

    I liked it a lot but I didn't like it for everything particulary its ability to start notes quickly in the higher positions and especially the tone was not so rich there to my perception.
     
  10. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Yeah this was my experience too when taking lessons it was a blast...I made it though a year and ran out of money but it was all worth it
     
  11. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    just fyi, david gage has the carbow listed on his site for $695, so it appears that lemur isnt really offering a sale price after all. they're discounting from the list price, but everyone does that. i hate it when a company tries to pass that off as a sale of some sort

     
  12. dbgal

    dbgal

    Nov 28, 2005
    Idaho
    After more playing time over the weekend, and using the Carbow in our holiday concert on Saturday, I've decided that that's the one I'm keeping. Funny how our perceptions change- after putting in that much time with the Carbow, I picked up the Durrschmidt and what sounded warm and rich before now sounds murky. The clarity of the Carbow was very stiking initially, but now I really love it. I also thought pretty hard about upgrading to the Gary Karr model- that snakewood grip and button has major drool-factor. But, when I talked with the folks at Lemur this morning, they suggested that for someone at my playing level, I wouldn't really notice a change in performance. The GK model is a little heavier (about 5 grams), and much prettier. I decided not to splurge, but if anyone's interested, Lemur has the GK model on sale for $890. Anyway, Carbow has my two-thumbs-up. BTW, Lemur is giving me the sale price, even though I received the bow before their winter sale was posted.

    Happy Holidays to all- :)
     
  13. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    it's not really a sale!!

     
  14. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Besides, if they didn't offer the "sale" price then you could just tell them that you didn't want them, return them, and then purchase at the reduced price. They just did the reasonable business thing and reduced the BS.