Bows play an important part in the quality of sound made by a stringed instrument. A beginner generally needs a bow that is comfortable to use, screws up and unscrews effectively and is fairly robust, especially if the user is a child. As the player progresses, however, the material from which the bow stick is made (brazilwood, pernambuco, carbon fibre, etc.), its profile (octagonal or round), the weight and balance, all affect the sound coming from the instrument, as does the quality of the bowhair. What suits one player will not suit another; what suits one instrument will not suit another. Then there are cosmetic issues like nickel silver, silver or gold fittings. There is even choice over the lapping used on the stick.

Simon Dubber Violins can offer a selection of bows in various price ranges, both new and used. Prospective purchasers are invited to come and try several, and Simon is happy to offer guidance if required.

As you would expect, most of the bows available have brazilwood or pernambuco sticks, and in the last few years a range of bows from several small Brazilian companies have proved very successful, comparing favourably alongside their more traditional European counterparts.

Carbon fibre is now well established as a material for bow making. At the student end of the market, inexpensive carbon fibre bows are available and are a worthwhile alternative to wooden bows. Further upmarket, Simon Dubber can supply carbon fibre bows from L G Chen or Maestro Archetier which have great playability while still modestly priced. Some of these are veneered to look exactly like pernambuco bows. For serious or professional players, Arcus bows are worth considering. These are hand made in Germany and look, feel and sound different from wooden bows. Although expensive they are well worth considering, providing a degree of strength, lightness and responsiveness which wooden bows cannot match. They are also much more forgiving to use for players who have suffered arm injury.

When you need to buy a bow, contact Simon Dubber Violins. And don’t forget, Simon Dubber also carries out bow repairs, including rehairing.