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I have had this bow for a couple months, played almost every day. I have not overtightened the bow, nor has the bow been subjected to any unusual humidity or temp changes, so no unusual tension stress, and this happened today. Will upgrade my review if the seller deals with this appropriately, but buyer beware, I also was getting spammed by this company for a review.
Okay, first of all I have to admit I ordered this bow with a great deal of skepticism. I've been playing the violin for...gosh, over thirty years now, and my degree is in music ed. Bows, while admittedly a mixed lot, tend to be a "you get what you pay for" kind of thing, and a decent bow at this price range tends to be scarce as hen's teeth, as they say. I was pleased when I first pulled this bow from the box with its appearance--the black carbon fiber is very sharp-looking, especially with the clean fittings. But when it comes to bows, looks aren't everything--or even the most important thing.
I compared this bow to three other bows, and admittedly some of the comparisons weren't fair. I used a student-level Erich Steiner bow, an intermediate Josef Schuster pernambuco bow, and a fine pernambuco bow. The results were not what I expected. This bow outperformed the Steiner bow, hands down. What surprised me was when it outperformed the Schuster bow as well--I did not expect that. This bow had less bow hiss, and better handling. While a good bite could be gotten from either bow, it was easier with this bow.
The fine bow did outperform this bow. That I would have expected. I was surprised to realize that, unless you are willing to spend several times what this bow costs, you are probably better off with this bow. I used this bow only for several days' worth of practice, and found that when I returned to my fine bow, I could handle it better, and it was easier to achieve the sound and techniques I wanted.
The only negative I found with this bow was that it arrived with broken hairs--somewhere between 3 and 6 if memory serves. I just clipped them close to the ends and didn't worry too much about them. If the bow continues to lose hair, I'll adjust my review accordingly.
For any student, this bow is a step up from what likely came with your instrument. This also makes a great backup bow, practice bow, or bow for outdoor or otherwise unpredictable performance venues where you wouldn't want to take your fine bow.
Update 6/10/2016--This bow has been in daily use since its arrival, and has become my go-to bow for most practice sessions. I haven't had any further trouble with hair loss. I have also noticed that the bow tends to hold rosin longer than my other bows; it doesn't need to be rosined as often and produces less dust when it does. Still happy!
I bought this bow because of its stellar reviews. I received the bow and noticed that the craftsmanship is incredible, and it is gorgeous. However, for whatever reason the sound was more breathy and scratchy than with my cheap bow that came with my violin. I tried using the bow for a couple of days and rosined it multiple times, but the performance was always not as satisfying, so I decided to return it. The customer service has been excellent however.
Update: I was initially using a light colored rosin that came with my violin and I think was a cheap product and produced a lot of dust. On Fiddlerman's suggestion, I tried their bow again and used a dark rosin (D'Addario Kaplan Artcraft Rosin, Dark) which worked amazingly well. The new bow with the recommend rosin has been excellent, and the sound is great. Very happy with it.
Well add me to the chorus that is singing praise about this bow.
This was intended to replace a bow that came with a student outfit (Stentor II). The Stentor bow was...ok, I guess, but it just didn't have a balanced feel to it, which wasn't a surprise.
I think the packaging bears mention, though there is a fine line mentioning that in an Amazon review. I was disappointed that it was only secured in the box with some crumpled up paper. The bow was rattling about in the box some, but fortunately this is a strong bow (how strong? Check out Fiddlerman's video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOjs84ShSp0) and it didn't seem the worse for wear. Still, I'd prefer that it were packed a little more securely.
The bow I received was a little different than the photos...the "Fiddlerman" name is simply engraved, no gold to it or anything. However, it was in good shape. I have to say, when I picked it up it seemed much lighter than the bow it was replacing, so much so that I had to weigh it. Nope, came in right around 60 grams. That's what proper balance is going to get you...the bow is going to feel much lighter than it actually is. I found it quite easy to hold with no pinkie strain at all.
I decided to go dark rosin with this bow, and though the hair was not pre-rosined (really, thanks Fiddlerman for that...I like to be able to pick my own rosin) it only took me about five minutes to get it all set up. And then, heart in my mouth, I drew some notes.
In the back of my mind throughout this process, I confess to thinking "how good can this thing *really* be?" Had I fallen for a gimmick and cheap marketing talk? Am I doomed to wander the Earth forever in search of a decent, reasonably priced bow? Well, it's pretty darned good and there is nothing oversold about this bow. It's balanced. it's agile. The weight is appropriate and drawing it is effortless. In short, it's a dream to use, and before I knew it, a half hour had passed with me just jamming on the violin. That's when I knew I could not give this to my kid.
Or at least...I'd have to get another one. After all, if you're going to learn, why not learn with a great bow?
I don't know how I found this bow. Honestly I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to these things and wasn't looking for a bow made of space-age materials. But found it I did, and I couldn't be happier with this. It's a very good bow.
This is the worst violin bow that I have ever bought. Craftsmanship in this product is surprisingly poor!
Look at my pictures: 1. The hole to attach frog is sloppily drilled. 2. Head has many indentations. Maybe they are the trace of bubbles at production. 3. Tip has jagged edge, looking awful. 4. Finger pad is worn as if the bow is used one. I bought this bow from Amazon and it was shipped from Amazon as NEW.
Besides, the hair is poor in quality and condition. Many strings are screwed. The maker did not screen bad strings. Apparently the hair is improperly installed and many strings fell out while I'm examining the bow.
This bow is much worse than my Chinese bows that costed less than $50. I feel I could not trust Amazon reviews any more.