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Which to choose...

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by bassboy7, Aug 16, 2004.


  1. bassboy7

    bassboy7

    Jun 21, 2004
    Chicago
    I need help deciding which would give you a better tonal quality, an expensive brazilwood bow with real horsehair or a cheap Pernambuco bow with real horse hair. Please advise.
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Can you try them and see which you like? A lot goes into choosing a bow, like in how it reacts with your strings, your bass, your touch, etc. Sometimes the less precious bow will be the one that works for you.
     
  3. bassboy7

    bassboy7

    Jun 21, 2004
    Chicago
    The only one problem is they for sale by someone on the net. So I cannot really try them out.
     
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Perhaps put up what you're playing on and what you're looking for and someone more arco experienced than I will chime in.
     
  5. Buying a bow without playing it is not a good idea, and if the dealer you're working with won't send you a few bows to try out, he's probably not someone you want to do business with anyway. A good brazilwood bow can be just as good as a pernambuco one, it just varies from stick to stick. The only way to find the right bow is to play as many as you can, preferably side by side, for as long as you can before buying. Also, have other people check them out too, playing them on your bass so you can hear the differences.
     
  6. Cheap Pernambuco vs. expensive brazilwood? Usually it's the other way around. I just recently made the choice between expensive bows I could try out all day long and less expensive ones that were sight unseen but from a reputable online dealer who allows a 7 day return period.

    While I agree with everyone who says try before buy, there are situations where that is not possible, or at best inconvenient.

    My solution was to try several of the bows I could admire but not afford to hear and feel what they were like. While I didn't get to try so many bows (I use a German bow and most available that day seemed to be French), I did get to know a little about what I was looking for without making a purchase.

    Then I ordered a German brazilwood bow from Bob (you know, URB Bob). When I got the bow, it played as well as some that I tried that were 3 to 4 times the price. After 7 days of breaking in the hair (you can't judge the bow when the hair is brand new) I kept it.

    I've seen several endorsements of Bob's bows but most just say "nice bow" and don't say much else. More specifically:

    This bow was longer than all the other ones I saw;- longer than my old fiberglass by 3/4 of an inch. While length is not everything, I can now play notes 3/4 inches longer! You may not beleive this is important, but it also seems to have a longer sweet spot in the middle and better flexibility because of this.

    Bob's bow resonated as well or better than most other bows I tried. I'd never really experienced this before, but finally I could get an idea of what a good wooden bow should be doing that fiberglass never will. You will feel the stick vibrating during the stroke. Some of the stiffer pernambuco bows I tried did this to a lesser degree, but this is the biggie where every wooden stick is different.

    Also the tension/springyness of the bow is excellent. You can dig in easily because the stick responds to the extra pressure very well. With just a little tension on the hair it is difficult to bottom out the hair to the stick, which is a good thing.

    And it is a beauty to behold as well, fine materials and workmanship.

    If you have limited choices other than the sight unseen one, and you get it from a dealer with a good "no questions asked" return period of seven days, sight unseen can work. Just try as many local bows as you can to put it into context and if it comes up short, send it back. You only have your shipping to lose.