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UPDATE** After few weeks I noticed The bow tends to "jump " when its middle part touches the strings.. that's not good. ****** My previous bow was a Shar carbon fiber Fusion. Fiddlerman has a better balance, Shar is more on the frog side. Finishing is much better on Shar, Fiddlerman looks cheap. Horsehair is wider on Fiddlerman, the Fiddlerman wasn't a huge improvement. I think it has a better playability than Shar due to the balance. Shar's bow feels heavier, and it needs less pressure to sound lounder. The violin tone sounds richier with Fiddlerman but not louder. I was looking for something really special, and expecting a great change with the Fiddlerman ( I saw so many good ratings and 5 stars given to Fiddlerman) .but it was not the case, not a great change. Maybe I need to try a very expensive bow to notice the difference, and realize how good it really is, but I'm not planning to spend 700$ on a new bow. Fiddlerman is way much better than the cheap wood bow you get with your inexpensive beginners violin. I'm sure about it.
I really want to give the bow 2.5 stars because it's a really good bow, but I suppose I'll just round up. The bow that came with my violin was overly bouncy and I couldn't play smoothly. This bow fixed that. It seems to be the same weight as the other bow but the balance feels better and I had far fewer issues with bounciness. It doesn't produce as much volume, but that's not an issue for me. I really enjoyed the softer sound from this bow.
The issue I'm having is that the bow is shedding hair really fast. I've had it for a little over a month and I lost 4 hairs a week since I got it. Last week I noticed that one third of the hairs are slowly being pulled out of the tip of the bow so I just stopped using it. My other bow has been with me for about 3 months and I've only lost 2 hairs. I'm not sure if this is the cause, but the bow was shipped fully tightened and I have no idea how long it had been in that state. That's a bigger deal for wooden bows, but surely it can't be good for the carbon bow to be in tension for long periods of time.
Works as advertised, appears more stable during humidity changes. After a year and a half in the deep south of the US it hasn't warped. This is important as it does not relax completely when unscrewed; the carbon fiber composite doesn’t take a set like wood.
It is relatively heavy, 59 or 60 grams depending on whose report you read, but it is balanced so well that it feels lighter than a 52 gram tip heavy bow. I play mostly old time American fiddle tunes and Irish fiddle tunes and it reverses well, keeps up with 16th note runs and syncopated runs very well. It is stiff enough without being too stiff. This bit of stiffness gives good definition of those same runs without making them choppy. It has pretty good feel of the string vibrations, but then I don't like a bow which is too sensitive in its feeling. It needs a forthright playing style, doesn't do as well as some other bows I have when I try excessively light bowing.
It is good enough for student fiddles and my carbon fiber five string Glasser battle tank, but I recently got a luthier made fiddle and it is there the differences stand out. Comparing it to my old German bow it doesn’t give at all as much complexity and warmth for low notes and the high notes are harsh, sounding at times like its being played too close to the bridge. This is most obvious playing hymns and Scottish laments, the sort of tunes which are meant to sound more violin-like.
I keep a couple of cheap student bows for emergencies and to take with the carbon fiddle, since they would be no great loss if exposed to the environment, a 1980ish Lark in The Morning and a new Stew-Mac cherrywood. The Lark is bright and focussed without so much harsh edges as this one. It is a tossup whether this one or the cherrywood sounds better. That being said, it is perfectly OK for a student fiddle or a carbon fiber fiddle. And it is much cheaper than what it would cost to replace my good bow.
Edited to add that as I advance in my fiddling I am seeng this bow is too bouncy for consistency playing double stops and also for those long end to end sweeps which are one of the thins you have to learn on the old hymns and for Texas swing songs. Those need a stiffer, harder feeling. Having said this, I’m reducing my rating to three stars.
Edited again to add that I’ve decided the Vingobow is a better buy in terms of a cheap CF. The latter has a better feel and is more sure for fiddle tunes. This one is still dependable and has held up well, but not more than hree stars worth.
This bow is a little heavy for my liking. If you like an aggressive sound, then this might be the bow for you. I have small hands and that factors into my comments as well. At the same time I bought this, I also purchased a high quality set of strings and some high quality rosin. I'm using my old bow for the most part, but I do like this bow for deeper, heavier tones. The bow I have is one that came with a $100 violin at a Farmer's market. My teacher was surprised that I got the violin for so little, since it sounds much better than the standard cheap violin you can buy online. I only say this here, because my guess is that my bow might be better than the standard cheap bow as well. With my situation, the new strings and rosin gave more improvement than this bow. However, it might be worth a try and I like having two for playing different types of music.
Sounds dead like you would expect from a carbon fiber bow, it is very stiff. You can't do any fancy bowing techniques with it, but the hair is OK.
I ended up getting a Becker bow from Shar and a 2 star Holstein which are both great bows for the price with the Holstein having better hair. I would recommend either of those bows and stay away from this unless you know it is what you want.
If I ever really just need a carbon fiber bow for outside work or something, I would invest in a better one than this.
Bought for my daughter and she was happy with it but the hair on the bow didn't last as long as I would have expected given how much she plays. I still would have given it four stars since it was a good bow for the money but I just purchased another bow that cost much less and it looks and feels identical to this bow minus the brand name etched in it. I had seen another review that said all the carbon fiber bows on Amazon are the same and didn't believe it but after receiving the new one I think they might all be coming out of the same Chinese factories using the same design and materials but with different branding. Time will tell and I will try to report back if the new one ends up not holding up as well.
The bow is satisfactory for a student bow. It sounds nicer on my daughter's instrument than the bow that came with her student violin. My only two complaints are, it seems to break 2-3 strings every time it is played, it is not being used hard or inappropriately. The other complaint is that the carbon fiber does not hold its arc when the hair is slightly tightened. I would think that the carbon fiber would be rigid enough to hold its arc, but this bow acts as though it is made of plastic with regard to how the bow starts to bend when the hair is tightened. I have checked to make sure that my daughter isn't over tightening the bow, and she is not. If the hair is tightened so its not touching the stick, the hair can only be tightened very slightly before the stick begins to lose its arc.
This is balanced good and pulls a nice sound. I like it better than my French and German pernambuco bows. The only complaint is that I wish it had a thicker hank of hair. I would purchase another.
Update 7/22/2017 After playing this bow for a week I am losing too many bow hairs. I must admit I do play hard sometimes,but I should not loose this many in this period of time. Other than that the bow is great.
Worked really well initially. However I noticed over time despite taking the tension off the bow that whenever I would leave it in the case for any length of time and bring it out I would notice that the strands of horse hair will be falling off.