I bought one of those cheap chinese "pernambuco" bows (Vingobow 800BGB)

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Nohrellas, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Nohrellas


    May 11, 2016
    German frog
    weight: 127g
    balance point: 19.5cm (~7 5/8 inches) measured without the screw or ~25cm measured with the screw
    overall length: 75cm
    hair length: 58cm
    price:~155€ including express DHL shipping

    I'm afraid to say that this will be yet another review or post from a beginner at arco playing so take everything with a grain of salt. I will, however, update this post if any issues arrive in the future or if I learn some new information regarding this specific bow.

    I ordered this bow because I was sure that I broke my cheap beginners fiberglass bow (50€) after attempting to rehair it myself, as it turns out the bow survived it and I'll practice rehairing on it until I'm confident in my abilities, but that's besides the point. This bow was available with black hair from the factory (which, as I found out during my rehair, works better for me than the original white hair on my bow) and it was at a pricepoint where I expected it to at least be made with some degree of care as opposed to the really cheap bows that come from China. After contacting the seller they told me they would pick out a good bow for me and show me pictures of the actual bow I will be receiving. They wrote back the next day and showed me pictures and gave me measurements of the weight, size and balance point. After comparing the measurements and the pictures I can say that they did actually pick out a specific bow and sent me that exact stick, a very nice service, especially without any extra charge, in my opinion. It arrived 8 days later, well packaged in a hard plastic transport shell which I will be using to line the bow pouch of my DB gigbag so I can transport a bow in it without worrying about putting stress on it.
    According to the research I did the weight and balance point are within the parameters of a good German frog bow. I know that weight and balance point are far from the only parameters that matter, but I'm really not sure how I should determine these other factors as a beginner and I'm happy that these rough outlines are at least correct. The camber, to my untrained eye, seems nice and deep and I can easily put the required tension on the hair. It feels nice and balanced in the hand, significantly better than my 117g fiberglass bow, and draws a full sound without any issues (using Kolstein soft rosin). There are no crossed hairs, the band actually lays decently flat without any tension on it, and I've been putting significantly more time into arco practice ever since this bow arrived.

    And that's where a very superficial point comes in. This bow is a joy to play compared to my previous bow, not only in terms of how it actually handles and sounds, but also because it looks very, very nice and fancy compared to the cheap plastic look of a black fiberglass bow. I know this is a very stupid remark, but I'm happy to have bought this bow as opposed to a carbon or fiberglass bow simply because it looks "right" to my eyes. I look at it, sticking out of the bow quiver, and just feel like picking it up and practicing some more arco.

    As for the negatives, nothing major that I can spot right now. If you look very closely you can find the occasional scratch mark that hasn't been sanded out perfectly or maybe a little blotch of lacquer in a spot or two. We don't know where this "pernambuco" comes from, or if it really is pernambuco at all, that should probably be stated as a negative for many people. I'm not sure if they rely on glue to secure the plugs or the hair, I'll find this out in a year or two when I might attempt a rehair. I will, as I said, update this if anything arises or if I can compare it to better bows and find flaws with this one. Or maybe after gaining some insight from having more experienced players try it out, like my teacher.

    Here are some pictures I just took of the bow, if someone wants to see a specific part of the bow in more detail I'll be happy to provide a close-up:
    IMG_20200603_065444.jpg IMG_20200603_065506.jpg IMG_20200603_065517.jpg IMG_20200603_065525.jpg IMG_20200603_065552.jpg IMG_20200603_065603.jpg IMG_20200603_065609.jpg IMG_20200603_065613.jpg IMG_20200603_065719.jpg IMG_20200603_065900.jpg
    Keith Rawlings, jj.833 and equill like this.
  2. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    Good value, the stick looks great.

    I believe the pernambuco they use is an Asian version of the tree. They call it pernambuco because that is what we want to hear.

    You may be lucky with the hair. Of 4 Asian bows I have bought, I replaced the hair on 3. So only one had hair I could live with. 4 good sticks though, each one different to the other.

    The Asian hair did not respond too well, especially at the start of a session. A solution is to wipe the hair with a cloth back and forth 5 or 10 times to get it warmed up. Don’t add rosin right away every session unless the hair really needs it. The hair on your bow may fine.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  3. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vingo is one of the better, more reputable Chinese bow makers. I'm talking to them about two different projects.
  4. Nohrellas


    May 11, 2016
    I'm happy that the stick itself looks good, I think that's more important than the quality of the hair that is currently on there. It's certainly good enough for me right now as a beginner, significantly better than the white hair on my beginners bow. After either getting good enough at doing rehairs myself or after giving up and paying for a professional rehair I'll make sure to give it some high quality black hair in the future.
    I'm aware that this is probably not the same pernambuco that is used in other bows and that the chinese manufacturers lie in order to appeal to other markets, but they also lie in their own domestic market so it's actually quite hard to pass any judgement on that. It's probably best to just accept their products for what they are and ignore most of the marketing talk. The hair on my bow is also referred to as "mongolian horse hair" in their description, but that's again just something we want to hear so they'll say that's what it is (and I also heard that all "mongolian" hair is actually from china nowadays, the difference in quality just comes down to the proper sorting actually).
    I do, however, think that the black hair you get on chinese bows is of better quality than the white hair for exactly that reason. They know that very uniform, very white hair is considered to be "premium grade" so they probably use bleached and chemically treated hair, again in order to appeal to a specific market. With the black hair on my bow the color is not completely uniform, there are a few strands of brown or grey hair in there as well. That means it might not be the best quality but it is, at least, not dyed or heavily chemically treated to mask these flaws.

    It's fascinating to deal with chinese manufacturers, and I'm glad to know that my gut feeling was right about them. They seem to have existed for several years as a brand, so they're not some shop that popped up for a few months or a year to sell garbage and then close down as soon as the reviews paint them in a bad light. And they also don't do ludicrous things like advertising a 40€ bow as "individually handcrafted by our experienced master craftsmen" or something like that.