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Best Violin Bow 2023: 10+ Bows To Supercharge Your Sound!!

Which is the best violin bow? How do I pick a good violin bow? We reveal all...

Tracking down the best violin bow is NOT something to be underestimated!!

Because when you really look at it, your bow is as (if not more) important than the violin itself; at the core, violin bows govern how able you are to interact with your instrument. They’re what translates your arm movements into sound, so without a good violin bow, even the most expensive well-crafted pro-grade violin can be rendered completely useless.

Hence why when people say that violins are key to achieving the sound of the greats (like Paganini & Itzhak Perlman), we have to interrupt & steer the subject onto violin bows. After all, Paganini become SO incredibly great, not by using a state-of-the-art D Z Strad or some brand spanking new custom instrument, but merely a neglected Guarneri violin that came as a hand-me-down!! Point being that, as much as pro violins can make a difference, the real difference comes in the bow + how it’s used.

Hopefully now you can see why violin bows can get CRAZY expensive + the importance of choosing the right violin bow, both for your instrument & style of play. In which case, if you’re here because you find yourself asking “how much does a high quality violin bow cost?” And “what violin bows do professionals use?”, keep reading… & we’ll reveal all.

After something specific about which is the best violin bow? Or just curious how much a good violin bow costs? Use the menu below to track down all the answers you need in 1 click…

high quality violin bows for sale

NOTE: Here for more than just to find a good violin bow? Be sure to also jump into our reviews of the Best Violins For Professionals + the Best Violin For Beginners.

Choosing a violin bow starts here… although don’t be fooled.

Violin bows aren’t exactly a ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of thing. See, just like with most instruments, there’s a TON of factors that affect how well-suited they are, both for you & your style of play. Everything from wood type & bow hair, to things like their overall size & style, can all have an impact on your sound. Then consider that each bow will work differently with each violin + the type of strings you have fitted, & yep – it’s VERY easy to choose the wrong bow.

Thankfully though, you needn’t worry. Because we’ve done 90% of the work for you, & tested over 30 bows to see which we feel is the best violin bow you can buy today. So without further ado, here’s our rundown…

NOTE: Before using any of the violin bows listed below, you will have to coat the bow itself in a substance called rosin. Otherwise, the bow won’t make the proper sound. To learn more about applying rosin, be sure to also check out our full in-depth Guide To Violin Rosin.

1: WinsterBow VN 210 D.Peccatte Copy violin bow

close up of the horse hairs on a violin bow

2: D Z Strad Model M4 carbon fibre violin bow

3: Yinfente baroque-style snakewood violin bow

4: Vingobow 810v violin bow

teacher applying rosin the carbon fibre violin bow

5: CodaBow Diamond SX carbon violin bow

6: D Z Strad Model 600 violin bow

7: CodaBow Prodigy violin bow

CodaBow being used by a professional violinist to create a deep rich sound

8: D Z Strad (Richard Wilson Marais Edition) violin bow

As a beginner, your bow is not only important, but it also doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Besides, if you’re not 100% sure that playing violin is for you, why invest astronomical amounts of cash in a bow? It make NO sense! Equally though, while you don’t want to be paying professional prices, neither do you want to be landed with a cheap violin bow that’s so incredibly bad that it puts you off playing the violin altogether. Point being that, as a beginner you’re after 1 thing – a balance.

And if you ask us, that’s why we think Fiddlerman have made one of (if not ‘the’) best violin bow for beginners…

9: Fiddlerman carbon violin bow

violinist stood up on stage at a festival, backing up a headline act

If you’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel, then you’ll be pleased to know that not all cheap violin bows are trash. And also, that they can actually teach you a think or two…

Now granted, in comparison to a good chunk of violin bows, those towards the cheaper end of the scale are ‘less desirable’. BUT where they come into the their own is when you realise that cheap violin bows are a superb way to hone your skills. Why do you think Paganini became such an iconic violinist? It’s not because he had pro-grade kit – at best, he had kit what violinists of today would dub as ‘okay-ish’. And that’s the entire point. Doing so, made him 10x more adaptable.

So if you want to get ahead of the game, there’s nothing stopping you from doing the same. Hence why if you’re after a decent emergency bow or just want to give yourself a new challenge, downgrading your bow to a cheap bow may actually be the best thing you ever do…

10: Kmise carbon fibre violin bow

If you’re going to be using your violin bow during a performance, then it needs to look the part.

DON’T FORGET: as a violinist, you’re one of the rarest types of musicians on the planet, so you want every aspect of your gear to SHOUT exactly that!! Something we find you can do by opting for a bow with an intricate grain pattern or just a unique look & style. And while it may sound a bit vein – bows are all about the sound, right? – if you’re performing regularly, this is something to seriously bear in mind, as you image as a violinist is largely what’s going to persuade potential clients to book you.

Plus, being able to flex a sexy-arsed bow in your social media snaps, quickly does a lot to distinguish you as a proficient player. With that in mind then, here’s what we consider to be the best-looking violin bow you can buy today…

11: Yinfente snakewood violin bow

Enjoy this review of the best violin bows & eager for more? Jump into our recent Reviews Of Stringed Instruments, as well as our know-how regarding Instrument Accessories. Recently, we also did a Review Of The Best Violin Rosins + another on the Best Electric Violins, which may also be good read.

snakewood violin bow gliding across a pair of strings

Or if you’ve still trying to decide what violin bow is best for you, keep reading & we’ll answer more of your burning questions…

As you’d imagine, the best violinists use what’s considered to be the best violin bows.

These are bows that you could call boutique, because of how they’re manufactured with such precision in such small numbers. The majority of these bows are made by CodaBow & D Z Strad, who’ve both got a strong reputation as the ‘go-to’ brands for pro players. However, spotting a professional violin bow isn’t as simple as a brand name. In fact, go down that route & you could end up missing out on some pretty great bows.

So here’s 3 ways to spot a professional grade violin bow…

  • Carbon fibre – Now, while a lot of bows do come in carbon fibre, it’s the type of carbon fibre you need to pay attention to. Most cheap violin bows that’re carbon will just leave it as that, whereas more pro-grade bows will include details like the type. For instance, D Z Strad does a type of carbon fibre that’s silver braided!!
  • Extravagant woods – The majority of violin bows are made of acoustic woods – ebony is a clear favourite! However, those bows professionals use, can often be found in more exotic forms of woods, mainly for 2 reasons. The first being to create a quirky aesthetic & the second, it effect on the sound. Snakewood for instance, is said to create a more subtle sound than you get with mahogany.
  • Replicas of icons – Just like a Stradivarius is considered the top of the violin hierarchy, bows made by D.Peccatte are much the same – icons, that if you want to buy today, will set you back well over £50k!! So while it’s unlikely you’ll come across a real-life D.Peccatte or other iconic bows (most are now collectors’ items), you can still buy replicas. And if you ask us, this is not only a tell-tale sign of a pro violinist, but also of a competent well-engineered bow. Professionals use replica bows for a reason – they’re designed to imitate/ improve upon an icon. So any replica that’s selling must be good, otherwise enthusiasts wouldn’t continue to buy it.

When hunting for the best violin bow, you have SO many factors to consider.

To the point that it gets difficult to understand which are even the ones to focus on. So to help you spot a good violin bow first time round, here’s 3 tips for choosing a violin bow…

  • Material type – Arguably the main thing to focus on when buying a violin bow, is the material that it’s made of. For most bows, this will be some sort of tone-wood (usually mahogany), although if you’re after a real stunner in terms of looks, then there’s also options like Snakewood too. In the case that lightness is what you’re after & you perhaps don’t want to pay extra for wood, then you can also opt for carbon fibre. Just be sure to check the type, as not all forms of carbon are the same.
  • Brand reputation – As much as materials are an indication of quality, you can hazard a good guess at a bow’s quality simply by checking the manufacturer. Now granted, this isn’t foolproof, but there are a LOT of brands out there that specialise in violins & accessories, opposed to every instrument on the planet. So to buy a bow from a specialist violin bow brand, gives you more reassurance that you’re investing in a quality product that’ll (A) do the job & (B) last the test of time.
  • Reviews, Reviews, Reviews – Speaking of reassurance, the real way to get a sense of whether a violin bow is worth your while, would be to see what other violinists (i.e. people in a similar situation to you, & who’ve bought the bow) are saying. Do so, & you might find that the build quality of certain bows isn’t what you’d imagined & that the general consensus is that they only work for certain styles of play. All useful info to have before handing over your credit card details!

The cost of a violin bow really all comes back to factors, such as…

  • The type of materials used – Not all violin bow brands use the same materials to construct their bows, let alone the same grade of that material. For instance, you can get cheap carbon fibre, as well as that which is more pricey. Much the same principal applies to types of woods & how they’re sourced.
  • Where it’s made – It’s worth noting that where a violin bow is made can have a significant impact on its overall construction. Buy a bow that’s made in China, & as you’d expect, the quality is likely not to be as good as a brand that makes their bows in the USA or Europe; D Z Strad for instance are still make their violins & bows in New York City! However… because labour costs in these countries are higher, you will see that reflected in the price of the bow.
  • The market it’s aimed at – Generally when it comes to violin bows (& in fact any product-selling business), there’s 2 main markets that manufacturers can aim for. The first being the boutique market, where a brand will ensure their product is tailored specifically to a more affluent audience in order to achieve a high sale price, & thus more profit per sale – i.e. the Ferrari pricing strategy. The second is to appeal to the mass market. In other words, making the best version of a product (in this case, violin bows) & selling it for the smallest price, in order to achieve a mass amount of sales, each of which return a small profit.

In regards to figures, you should expect to pay around £80 for a cheap violin bow aimed at the mass market. While you can pay as much as £500 (if not a bit more) for a boutique violin bow that’s made of the finest quality & designed to be acoustically superior.

Indeed it does.

Being the main point of contact between you & your violin, a good violin bow really can make all the difference. Be that acoustically – typically higher quality woods & carbon formulations produce a warmer & crisper sound – or just because the bow’s more comfortable to hold.

There’s also factors like the type of hair used on the bow too, which can also impact your overall sound. While horse hair is a favourite of violinists, a lot of modern bows have now (in an effort to be more eco-conscious) made the move towards synthetic bow hairs. Something that can have a noticeable impact on your sound!

Then consider that each bow will react differently depending on your string setup & your choice of rosin, & yep – to say your choice of bow doesn’t impact your sound would (to be blunt) be a tad naieve.

In short… the best violin bows allow you to be more ‘expressive’ when you play, in every sense of the word.

100% – carbon fibre bows are SO worth the hype!!

DID YOU KNOW: Carbon fibre is one of the toughest materials on the planet!! It’s 2 times stiffer and 5 times stronger than steel.

So as you can imagine, for ultimate control it’s really the way to go. Carbon bows allow you to make super smooth strokes across the violin & (in our experience) allow you to be that bit more precise about how you play. Never a bad thing!

The sound of a carbon bow is surprising too. Being essentially woven metal, you’d expect carbon bows to give off a slightly more bright sound & be accused of ringing when you make hard strokes. However, that’s anything but the case. Carbon bows (like wood) have a soft smooth tone to them. So much so that you really do struggle to tell the difference between them & a wooden bow.

Don’t believe us? Jump into this direct comparison & see for yourself…

According to The Strad, the most costly violin bow ever to be sold was a silver & ebony violin bow that wad the product of Francois Xavier Tourte – a French bow maker, who was one of the finest to ever live!!

The bow sold for a whopping $687k at the Vichy Enchères auction house in France!! Not bad, when the estimate was just $100k-130k. Then again, the bow is no longer produced & came in ‘as new’ condition, so on the rarity scale it was a solid 10/10!

Plus, it was silver mounted & had been unkept with ALL original parts. Mecca in the eyes of a pro violinist!

While there’s no set period as to how long a violin string should last, providing you play fairly regularly (say once a week), you should expect to restring your violin bow every 6-8 months. However, the duration for which your bow lasts, will depend on factors such as…

  • How often you play – Play every day & you’ll likely need to change your bow hair every couple of months. Whereas, if your violin’s more of an occasional hobby, you may even be fine with a re-string as little as once per year.
  • The durability of the hair you choose – Spend mega £$€ on a tougher bow hair & you should get longer out of your bow. Coincidentally, if you cheap out, (perhaps you’re trying out different hairs to find the best) prepare to be changing your bow hair more often.
  • Your chosen strings – Some strings allow you to put greater pressure on the violin bow than others, in other to create your desired sound. The more pressure you apply when playing, the shorter the bow’s likely to last.
  • How much rosin you use – Rosin is what creates friction between the bow hair & your violin strings. So the more rosin you apply, the more friction you fight with every stroke. Something that can easily impact the amount of wear & tear on your bow hair.

Every violinist knows it’s just good practice to have 2 bows.

Because not only does it mean that they’ve a backup should one break, but it also allows them to achieve a whole host of new tones/ sounds in the switch of a bow. Incredibly useful in a concert situation, where a flexible sound is key to achieving the right mood/ tone for each song.