Buying a violin bow is a deeply personal matter.
The right bow should feel like an extension of your arm. That means that the best violin bow for me is not the best for you.
You’ll have to make the final decision for yourself.
But we can help you narrow down the choices to only those that give you value for money.
All of the violin bows below handily outperform their price level, whether it is a deep budget bow or an expensive one.
Read our reviews of each one, and hopefully they will help you decide on the perfect violin bow for you, your instrument, and your budget.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Violin Bows Compared
- 2 Best Bows For Violin Reviewed
- 2.1 Best Carbon Fiber Violin Bow: CodaBow Diamond NX Carbon Fiber Violin Bow
- 2.2 Highest Quality Violin Bow: CodaBow Diamond GX Carbon Fiber
- 2.3 Best Violin Bow For Beginners: Vingobow 100V
- 2.4 Best Violin Bow For Intermediate Player: D Z Strad Model 600 Violin Bow
- 2.5 Best Cheap Violin Bow: Kmise Carbon Fiber Bow
- 3 Violin Bow Buying Guide
- 4 Best Violin Bow: Final Thoughts
Best Violin Bows Compared
Best Bows For Violin Reviewed
The following are our five favorite violin bows. Four of them are carbon fiber and one is wood. The reason for that is that we factored cost into the equation.
Best Carbon Fiber Violin Bow: CodaBow Diamond NX Carbon Fiber Violin Bow
- Amazing, high-quality carbon fiber violin bow
- Great aesthetic and great performance
- Half the price of the top bows
- With a bit more cash, you can buy a great traditional wooden bow
Let’s go back to CodaBow and their magnificent Diamond carbon fiber violin bows series. The Diamond NX is quite similar to the GX (mentioned next), but costs a lot less.
In fact, quite frankly, there is little to no difference between them. While the manufacturing process and materials used are more or less the same, the GX series is better in terms of performance than the NX series.
You feel this most in terms of bow balance (the Diamond NX weighs a bit heavier towards the tip whereas the GX is perfectly balanced), but this is something only an experienced violinist will notice.
Other than that, the Diamond NX is fantastic. It is made from high-quality carbon fiber material, has a blended Kevlar core, a fantastic ebony frog, a great finish, a leather grip, and much more!
There is also a 10-year warranty, which only shows how good this bow is (and for half the price of the Diamond GX).
Highest Quality Violin Bow: CodaBow Diamond GX Carbon Fiber
- The perfect combination of modern and traditional
- Perfect feel when holding the bow
- Durable and lightweight
- Made in the US from high quality materials
- Lifetime warranty
Carbon fiber bows are slowly replacing traditional ones. The technology of adapting and using carbon fiber in creating musical components is becoming highly advanced.
Bearing that in mind, this Diamond GX carbon fiber bow from CodaBow is the pinnacle of such creation. The core of the bow is Kevlar, which is a highly durable and sturdy material, but fairly lightweight.
Both the pressure on the strings and the feel in the hands are perfect. Only the frog is still from ebony, thus retaining the familiar touch.
The quality of the CodaBow Diamond GX is reflected in the inclusion of a lifetime warranty. This is not a cheap violin bow though. It costs quite a bit and is made in the United States from high-quality materials.
Best Violin Bow For Beginners: Vingobow 100V
Much like the CodaBow Diamond GX, the Vingobow 100V uses a combination of carbon fiber and ebony. Of course, the frog is made of nice ebony wood while the rest of the bow is carbon fiber.
Again, this bow is quite lightweight making it perfect for longer playing sessions (such as everyday practicing among beginners).
It is also quite cheap considering its performance. If it is similar to the CodaBow but cheaper, then why not buy this one as a professional?
Well, although there are similarities in terms of materials and looks, this bow is simply not as good as the professional one. For one, the balance isn’t quite right.
That is not something a beginner will notice and is quite common with cheaper bows. But professionals will notice it. If you’re seeking great performance for less money and are willing to sacrifice perfection, this is a great option.
Best Violin Bow For Intermediate Player: D Z Strad Model 600 Violin Bow
To take a short break from new and modern carbon fiber bows, let’s go back to the roots of nice, wooden bows. Made from the good old Pernambuco wood, the D Z Strad 600 is everything violin players need.
The bow is silver-lined, and the wood is of the highest quality, ensuring that the balance is perfect. The pressure is fantastic as well, as with most high-quality wooden bows.
Like with most models, the frog is ebony, but quite stylistic in this case. It is both nice on the fingers and looks amazing.
It comes with Mongolian horsehair of premium quality and you can use it immediately out of the box with fantastic performance. Those who love traditional, retro bows will definitely love the D Z Strad Model 600.
Best Cheap Violin Bow: Kmise Carbon Fiber Bow
- Incredibly affordable
- Good bow for beginners that are still learning how to play
- Looks modern and fresh
- Sometimes you can feel too much vibration in your fingertips
Not all good violin bows are expensive. The progression of technology has made it possible to create violin bows that are both affordable and perform great.
To decrease the cost of production, this bow uses other cheaper materials in combination with carbon fiber. For example, the hair on this bow is mostly horse hair but not all of it.
Similarly, the bow is mostly carbon fiber but not completely. Only the frog remains full ebony, which is always great.
This makes it quite affordable, but not perfect. Be that as it may, the new and modern production manages to provide nice control, balance, and response.
Those who are looking for cheap, but very good bows will definitely benefit from buying the Kmise bow.
Violin Bow Buying Guide
Choosing the ideal violin bow can be a difficult task given the multitude of products on the market. You need to first evaluate you needs and priorities as a musician (or those of the musician, if it is not you) and your budget. Those will then dictate which violin bow is best for you.
If you (or the musician in question) are a student or a novice musician, it makes no sense to choose an expensive and super high-quality bow.
There are violin bows that are sufficiently robust and strong, have the right curvature, are neither too heavy nor too light, and give you the right balance to express yourself at your best, even as a beginner.
With the improvement of your artistic qualities, you can definitely aim higher. But you still don’t want to overbuy.
At this level, you can understand the differences between one type of bow and another, and you are more able to choose the one that best suits your needs.
The choice of the most suitable violin bow is based on some elements of “sensation.” You feel it. It must become an extension of your right hand and it must flow with little effort and little thought, as if it were not there.
This is the feeling a bow must give you, even just to the touch while holding it. Finding the perfect one might be a bit time-consuming, but it is well worth it.
And it all starts with the material from which the bow is fashioned.
Type Of Material
The basic materials used for the construction of the bow sticks are Pernambuco wood and carbon fiber.
Pernambuco wood has been in use since the end of the 18th century and it is still the best wood for violin bows. It has the right combination of strength, elasticity, and reactivity needed for the production of bows.
Obviously, the choice of the best Pernambuco wood allows for the creation of a superior quality product. Finding the best wood is one of the big “little secrets” of every single luthier and producer, who bring their experience into searching for the best wood.
Over the last 20 years, bows made with carbon fiber have become increasingly popular. This is in part due to the diminished availability of Pernambuco.
A carbon fiber violin bow has physical characteristics similar to those produced with Pernambuco wood. The bows are very resistant and have a really good quality-to-price ratio.
In recent years, manufacturers have appeared on the market that use fiberglass to create low-cost bows designed for students, with the advantage of having a longer life despite not having such a high degree of quality.
Different bows produce different sounds. This is audible even to an inexperienced ear.
Usually, a more elastic bow produces a softer and fuller sound. But if the bow is too soft, the sound emitted may lack clarity and definition.
A more rigid one gives a brighter and more focused sound. It is difficult to find a bow that can give a sound that is soft and clear at the same time.
This is because the tension of the bow is different from what’s needed to obtain such extreme and opposite sounds.
A violin bow weighs an average of 60 grams. One that is too heavy or too light may not give the right balance during the performance. A well-balanced bow should be easy to hold at 45 degrees, in a natural way without any effort.
Naturally, the money you have at your disposition plays a big role when buying a new bow. Some bows cost over $1000, which is quite high for people who don’t earn much. And honestly, beginners don’t need to spend big while learning how to play.
Having said all these things, how can you find the perfect bow for your instrument?
- First of all, you need to determine your budget.
- From here, start the search by going to try a lot of models that fir within your budget.
- Try to hold it in your hand by simulating the gesture of rubbing it on the violin; even better if you have the opportunity to try it on an actual violin.
- You want to have the feeling of not having the bow in hand at all; it should become a single piece with your hand, or at least get as close as possible to this effect.
The important thing is to not let yourself be influenced by outside forces, for example by the seller. The bow must feel personal, especially when it comes to comfort and the ease of managing it.
Best Violin Bow: Final Thoughts
The best violin bow is a very personal thing. It depends very much on your needs and preferences, and also on your violin. Naturally, budget plays a role too.
All of the bows listed above outperform their price. Of course, some sell for a very low price while others sell for a high one. As always, you get what you pay for.
But if you are a beginner, there is no need to pay for the absolute best. Get a solid bow that does not cost a ton. You can always upgrade later, once you are certain you will continue to play the violin and perhaps even make money from it.