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LRVS offers an excellent selection of bows for players of all ages and abilities. From 1/16 size bows for very young beginners to rare and antique bows for professional players and collectors, LRVS is sure to have what you're looking for on hand.
See our tips below for purchasing your next bow, or click on the following links to see our inventory of bows. At any given time, we may have more bows in stock than listed online, so call or visit the shop for the most up-to-date list.
Without breath of bow, a string instrument's voice is silent.
The three basic materials used in bow sticks are brazilwood, pernambuco, and carbon fiber. Brazilwood is a generic name given to several kinds of tropical hardwoods used for inexpensive student bows. Since the late 18th century, pernambuco has been the wood of choice for the best bows. It’s a dense, heavy wood that comes from several areas in Brazil and seems to possess just the right combination of strength, elasticity, and responsiveness. Carbon-fiber bows—manufactured from various grades of carbon fiber bonded with a resin—possess many of the qualities of pernambuco. Also, carbon fiber is durable, and at its price range represents a good value.
The frog, where the hair attaches to the bow, is traditionally made of ebony. Student bows are usually “nickel mounted,” meaning that the metal parts are made of “nickel silver,” an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc. Frogs are described as “fully lined” if they have metal pieces behind the pearl slide and down the back of the frog. Inexpensive “half-lined” frogs do not have metal behind the slide, resulting in a lighter- weight frog.
Shopping for a Bow
When you come to LRVS, be sure to bring your own instrument and current bow with you as a benchmark. Each bow will perform differently on different instruments, so remember that you're looking for a bow that complements your instrument.
Don’t read music; play from memory, even if it’s just a scale. When you are comparing tone between various instruments or bows, it is an exercise of listening, not replicating. You’re there to find a bow, not to perform or practice. Play a combination of bowing styles, including legato, spiccato, sautillé, etc.
The bow shouldn’t seem too light or heavy in the hand. It shouldn’t be too weak or soft: it shouldn’t collapse easily on the hair when playing or flex too much laterally. If a bow feels right in your hand, it probably is right. Play slowly, listen to the sound each bow produces, and feel how the bow handles. You’ll notice subtle differences in clarity, fullness of sound, surface noise, and so on.
Once you’ve picked out the two or three bows you prefer, ask to test them out for a week.
LRVS allows customers to take home up to three bows for a one-week trial. Our approval policy offers players the opportunity to try instruments and bows in relaxed, familiar settings and allows students to get teacher approval before buying.
Accidental damage to approval bows is covered by LRVS's insurance policy. A copy of a valid ID and credit card may be required before taking bows on approval.