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upgrading my bow...where to start?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by slapfish, Aug 9, 2000.

  1. slapfish


    Jul 16, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    All right...I've got a few questions for anyone who might be able to help me out. I'm trying to decide whether to get a French bow (I currently play German) in order to learn how to switch-hit, so to speak, or to upgrade my current bow, which is a pretty cheap fiberglass one that came with my bass. What are the benefits of upgrading a bow? Is it a sound thing, or more a matter of playing comfort, etc.? Where can a guy with limited financial resources and no transportation start in Northern Indiana? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Your bow is very much responsible for the tone that ultimately comes out of your bass. Each bow has tonal and response characteristics all its own and each bow will sound very different from the next.

    Even bows from the same maker won't sound exactly the same as each other. When I bought my last bow, I had the bow maker send me 3 bows to choose from, and each was unique. Also, another thing to remember is that a given bow may sound better on a certain bass and not as good on another. You usually have to consider how a particular bow sounds with YOUR instrument.

    Certainly you should notice a great improvement in tone from a fiberglass bow to a wooden bow, particularly if you buy a bow made of pernambuco (the wood of choice for fine bows). Brazilwood is generally a good step up from fiberglass but pernambuco is the way to go if you can, however expect to pay at least $1000 for a pernambuco bow (although most are quite a bit more than that).

    I guess it all depends what your needs are. For me, I'd almost rather have a great bow than a great bass. It's that important to me. I can generally make most moderately good basses sound the way I want with my favorite bow, but I'd have a harder time making a fine Amati bass sound great with a cheap bow.

    My advice, if you are interested in playing arco, is to get the best bow you can afford. :)
  3. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    Slapfish (from God's country--under the Golden Dome):
    You need to check out the Cincinnati Bass Cellar. Andy Stetson has a great selection of bows and basses. Plus, he's a pretty good bassist, and understands guys on a budget. If you e-mail him, he will send you a price list of bows and basses. Their website is:


    Good luck, and buy the best bow you can afford.

    Be patient, the shop is closed until 8/14/2000, so he won't send you the list until he is back in town.

    [Edited by Tim Ludlam on 08-10-2000 at 07:32 AM]

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