The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Cello Bow + Reviews
This article should provide you with the comprehensive guide you need to find the best cello bow on the market. If you don’t have the time to look through all the cello bow reviews you will be pleased to find out that our team took the time to examine the most sought-after models out there for you. We analyzed the pros, the cons, the value that they offer, and after an intense analysis we found out that the Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Cello Bow 4/4 model is the one that you should have a look at. It is handmade and as such exceeds expectations. It comes with Siberian horsehair that has been treated to have the strength needed for intense play. Made of carbon fiber, it will last a long time. If you can’t find it, have a look at the D Z Strad Cello Bow – Model 756, which is next on our list.
Our Top Choice
If you’re looking for a bow in which a lot of attention has been put, this handmade model will meet your expectations. It comes with Siberian horsehair and thanks to that it has the strength it needs to be used by anyone, from beginners to experienced players.
The hair, although strong, doesn’t hold rosin all that well, and you’ll have to re-rosin it often.
Made to closely resemble the qualities of a Pernambuco wood bow, this one has the bouncy feel and the needed weight to make your playing experience a pleasant one. It has an ideal weight distribution.
You won’t find many other bows that are capable of delivering such flexibility and responsiveness. Top-end carbon fiber ensures that the bow is sturdy in all weather conditions. Offering an even playing response, this bow helps you get the best sounds.
The horsehair used for making this bow doesn’t stay in place for too long and you’ll have to replace it.
The brand making these bows is known for creating its models with ease of play in mind. It’s no wonder thus that this bow is so well balanced, and it offers such a good feel. The carbon fiber gives it durability.
Experienced bowmakers created this model with the patience needed to achieve the perfect balance. It is a bow that can help you get the sound volume you want. The dark Mongolian horsehair holds any kind of rosin and produces a great sound.
This bow doesn’t stand the test of time too well, especially the hair, which falls off after a while.
Coming in an all-black design, this bow looks elegant and it also does the job well. The Mongolian horsehair hasn’t been bleached and that means it will be more resistant. This bow is made by experienced masters.
10 Best Cello Bows (Updated Reviews) in 2020
We had a look at what experts had to say about each product, we gathered information from customer feedback, and affter seeing how each bow performs, we created this top of what we believe to be some of the greatest models. Check out each cello bow review below.
- 1. Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Cello Bow 4/4
- 2. D Z Strad Cello Bow Model 756
- 3. VingoBow Black Mongolia Horsehair Cello Bow
- 4. MI&VI Basic Pernambuco Cello Bow
- 5. The Piano Guys Carbon Fiber Cello Bow
- 6. D Z Strad Model 301 with Fleur de lis frog
- 7. D Z Strad 205 Cello Bow Top Brazil Wood
- 8. Vio Music #680 Full Size 4/4 Cello Bow
- 9. Vingobow 4/4 Black Carbon Fiber Cello Bow
- 10. ammoon Octagonal 1/2 Cello Bow
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Cello Bow 4/4
Rated as one of the greatest cello bows to come out of Fiddlerman’s factory, this one will give you everything you need. It’s a really sturdy bow, as you might expect from something made of carbon fiber. Additionally, it is well-crafted, really bouncy and lightweight. Those that created it wanted to make a cheaper yet decent replica of the Pernambuco wood bow, which is considered to be the top tier in the market.
Having this in mind, it’s important to notice that the quality, the curve, and the weight of this cello bow replicates the characteristics of the bow made of Pernambuco wood. To give it more tenacity, those who created this bow made it with Siberian horsehair, and a mounted ebony frog.
Thanks to its balanced build, the bow gives you the ideal weight distribution all-across the strings, and at the same time, it helps you play the instrument comfortably.
This is a hand-made bow, meaning that a lot of attention has been given to every small detail, and every bow is unique.
The Siberian horsehair will give this bow the strength needed to be used by any kind of player.
Thanks to it being made of carbon fiber, the bow will hold on well even in the hands of inexperienced players that might misuse it.
Furthermore, it’s a bow that is well-crafted and more importantly lightweight, so it can give you the bouncy feel you need when playing the cello.
It resembles a bow made of Pernambuco wood, in its curvature and weight and that means it is close to some of the greatest bows for cello out there.
The horsehair used on it doesn’t hold rosin too well and you will have to re-rosin it very often.
If you play with force, some of the horsehairs will get pulled out.Buy from Amazon.com for ($77.79)
2. D Z Strad Cello Bow Model 756
Coming from a brand that offers ease of play, it’s no surprise that this bow will help you get those notes that you want without breaking a sweat. Because it’s made of carbon fiber, the stick will be more durable, and that means it will be able to do well even in changing environmental conditions.
The material used also helps it get a good balance, and it offers an even playing response. The bow is thus capable of giving a powerful and dynamic sound. Made using advanced technology, you will find that this bow has the necessary characteristics to give a good tone and great tonal balance.
Its small weight gives a balanced focus on the middle part and that also offers a quicker response and makes the bow sturdier. The bow is fully silver-lined, or nickel-lined, depending on your choice, and it has a classic Ebony frog and beautiful inlaid fleur de lis.
One thing to notice about this bow is the responsiveness it gives you and the great balance it has.
If you’re looking for a beautiful bow, this one won’t disappoint you. The great-looking Ebony frog and the fleur de lis model on it will catch the eye.
The top-grade carbon fiber used in making the bow will ensure that it’s resilient to changes from the environment, so you can play it in any weather.
You will also be able to get great sounds out of your cello with the help of this bow. That is because the bow offers an even playing response and good balance.
This is a strong bow and as a result, the sound will also be powerful and dynamic.
Although the tension and rigidity of the horsehair are good, it doesn’t hold up well in the long run.
It feels like a bow made for students only.Buy from Amazon.com for ($159)
3. VingoBow Black Mongolia Horsehair Cello Bow
Just in case you’re looking for a stunning bow, this one, made with Mongolian horsehair is one of the most beautiful out there. Furthermore, it comes with a high-density ebony frog that comes with nickel and silver fitting. All of these give it great design and great sturdiness.
Although not priced as high as some of the most sought-after professional models, it still offers all the quality you need. However, it is not really a bow made for advanced players, but beginners and intermediate students will love it, as it makes a great step-up bow.
The quality of the hair used in making it can be observed with ease when the bow is used. The sound produced is a beautiful one, and it will stay the same as time goes by. You will feel that this model is a bit less agile compared to other models, and that will be a bit of a challenge for some players.
Made by professional and experienced bow-makers, this model is handcrafted and specially designed to offer you the quality you expect from such a product.
It is a strong bow that will help you deliver great sound with high sound volume.
The black Mongolian horsehair will work well with any kind of rosin, hold it up good.
Thanks to the carbon fiber construction, the stick of this bow is supposed to be stronger than Pernambuco wood, and also offer better flexibility and a good bounce.
It is not a large bow, which means it’s easy to handle, and it is also lightweight. This makes it great for beginners or children.
Because the balance point is important for a bow, the fact that this one has it’s point right in the middle makes it easier to control.
Although beautiful, the Mongolian horsehair could have been stronger. It doesn’t stand the test of time too well.Buy from Amazon.com for ($52.65)
4. MI&VI Basic Pernambuco Cello Bow
Renowned for centuries, the wood that makes this bow is the Pernambuco type – one that gives all the needed characteristics for a great bow. As the Amazonian rainforest in Brazil becomes smaller and smaller, this wood is harder to find day by day. Offering excellent value for money, this bow is great for students of all levels, and can be a great step-up bow.
Thanks to the fact that it’s made of pure wood, it will be porous and this allows for great elasticity. This, in turn, results in offering the musician the possibility to execute nuanced bowing skills with ease. For the needed strength and flexibility, the horsehair used in making this model is of high quality.
This bow offers a quick response, it’s very dynamic, and is able to produce a strong tone that also feels balanced. It also looks nice with the classic ebony frog having a Parisian eye model.
The most important feature of this bow is the fact that it is made of Pernambuco wood. This means it will have the quality of a top-of-the-line model.
It is a suitable bow for all kinds of students, from the absolute beginners to the more experienced ones.
The bow has great elasticity thanks to the quality wood it is made of and this will allow the player to play with more ease and execute complex skills.
Focusing on the horsehair, it will stand the test of time as it is strong and flexible enough.
The bow is made with quality in mind and as a result, it has the needed qualities to offer a dynamic and strong sound, while feeling balanced and offering a quick response.
After you play it for a while the horsehair will start falling out and you will need to replace it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($32.8)
5. The Piano Guys Carbon Fiber Cello Bow
Coming in an all-black design, this bow is named Bruce, after the great Kung-Fu master Bruce Lee, and it will help you elevate your skills and get to the “black belt” of cello playing. The Piano Guys wanted to make a special bow and they managed to do that with this model.
Due to its special design, this is a great-looking model featuring a custom ebony frog that has a special pearl signature. It also comes with black nickel winding and lizard grip. Let’s not forget that the hair is also dark and it is Mongolian Aduu horsehair.
The durability of this bow is given by the carbon fiber it is made of. Its composition and consistency give a reliable and clear tone which is great news for players of any music genre. Furthermore, in the process of making this bow, a lot of attention is put into details to ensure the resulting product is a strong one.
Its all-black design is excellent for those that don’t want to draw too much attention, allowing them to focus on playing the instrument.
The dark Mongolian Aduu horsehair is strong, will hold well for a long time and it is capable of holding rosin for a prolonged time.
Made of strong carbon fiber, this bow is a strong one.
The design is suitable for offering a clear and reliable tone and that will be helpful for every kind of player, from the novice to the advanced one.
The manufacturing process implies extra attention to details, so you can find this bow easy and fun to play.
This model has a level of responsiveness and quality that you would normally expect from a Pernambuco wooden bow.
Being so sturdy comes with its disadvantages – it is one of the heavier models in its range.
It doesn’t come with many stylistic elements.Buy from Amazon.com for ($239)
6. D Z Strad Model 301 with Fleur de lis frog
Despite being created for professional and advanced cellists, this model is one that can be effectively used by any kind of player. One thing that can be immediately observed when using this bow is the responsiveness that it offers and the balance it has. Giving a quick response and having a balance that is focused on its middle points, it is a lightweight bow that works well under any condition.
Because sound quality is quintessential to any bow, this one doesn’t disappoint there either. The hair used in this bow is unbleached and that gives more resistance; it is a genuine high-grade AAA white Mongolian horsehair that helps you get a loud and clear sound out of the cello.
If you’re also looking for something that looks good, this bow won’t disappoint you, as it features a traditional frog made of high-quality ebony. It is also a model that has a handmade design.
If you’re looking for a bow that a professional can use, but that can also do well in the hands of a beginner, this is a great choice for you.
When playing with this bow you will feel how responsive it is and how well-balanced it feels. That gives you the possibility to play more difficult passages.
It is a lightweight model that works great in the hands of a child or an inexperienced player.
As it gets balanced on the middle part, it will offer you more control over it.
The unbleached white Mongolian horsehair will be sturdy and will give you the volume you want from your instrument.
The looks of such a bow matter and this one delivers in that regard as well.
Although of great quality, the hairs are not attached well enough and they will break from the top after some time.Click to see the price on Amazon!
7. D Z Strad 205 Cello Bow Top Brazil Wood
Constructed of well-chosen dense Brazilwood, this model from DZ Strad will help you get the desired sound out of your cello. It is fully silver-lined and comes with an octagonal stick that makes it look sleek. The design is a beautiful one thanks to the Ebony frog and the fleur-de-lis inlay.
Thanks to the elements of detail and the way it is made, this bow has a good balance and an even response all across it. It offers a soft grip thanks to the wrapped leather that comes over the silver lapping. The chosen hair for it is Mongolian grade AA horsehair and it is unbleached genuine white and as such much more resistant.
Brazilwood or Pernambuco wood is known as one of the best kinds of materials to be used for bows thanks to its elasticity and resistance. The octagonal shape offers this bow a good balance point, making it feel lighter.
Made of Pernambuco wood, otherwise known as Brazilwood, this bow will have the strength and flexibility required of it.
Furthermore, thanks to its shape it has a good balance point and it will make your playing time easier and more comfortable.
It comes with wrapped leather covering its grip so that you can hold it tight and comfortable at the same time.
The fleur-de-lis inlay and the Ebony give it a classical look and are proof of its quality.
The bow offers a good response across all strings and it has the bounce you would expect from a Pernambuco bow.
The elements of detail don’t seem to match stylistically that well. The stick is brown, while the frog is black, the hair is white and the ligatures silver.
The material it is made of is a solid one and that means it weighs more than expected.Buy from Amazon.com for ($89)
8. Vio Music #680 Full Size 4/4 Cello Bow
If you’re looking for a stylish yet simple bow that can offer you the simplicity you need when you’re playing the cello, this is for you. Made of carbon fiber, it has a strong stick that also doesn’t weigh too much. The Ebony frog and fleur-de-lis inlay give it the classic look that every bow should have.
It’s a great gift for young musicians thanks to the beautiful weight distribution and how easy it is to use. It comes with white natural Mongolian horsehair, which offers great resistance. All of these make it comfortable to hold, light and well-balanced.
You won’t be disappointed by the sound this bow can offer you, as the horsehair will smoothly slide across the strings, and with the correct rosin used bounce graciously. Being made of carbon fiber, it is a lightweight bow that is easy to control.
Coming in a combination of black and white, and with added extra elements that don’t let things be too plain, this bow is a beautiful one thanks to the Ebony frog and the fleur-de-lis inlay on it.
It is made to have a great weight distribution and that is what makes it great for beginners that aren’t used to holding a bow.
The natural Mongolian horsehair is of high quality, being AA graded, and it has a beautiful white color, being unbleached and thus offering more resistance.
If used correctly, this bow will give a great sound and it will smoothly slide across the strings.
For some reason it makes your cello sound brighter than needed, and that feels a bit aggressive to the ear.
The elements that keep the bow in one shape seem of poor quality, as some of the hairs get pulled out with use.Buy from Amazon.com for ($65.99)
9. Vingobow 4/4 Black Carbon Fiber Cello Bow
Created by hand by experienced bowmakers, this model will make you feel like you are holding a piece of art in your hand. The bow has the capability of giving you a clear and warm tone, and that is why it is recommended for advanced players. Of course, intermediate students can still use it as a step-up bow.
The quality carbon fiber used in making the stick means that it has more durability than wooden bows. This makes it great as a practice bow that you can take with you anywhere without worrying that it breaks. It also has a great bounce and great flexibility, and it weighs so little.
Unbleached Mongolian horsehair is used for this model and that gives good resilience and good material on which the cello bow rosin to stick. As the balance point is really important in a bow, the makes of this bow adjust it several times until it comes out perfect.
Thanks to the bow being made by an experienced bowmaker, you will get the feeling that it is a unique bow, made just for you.
It has a stronger stick compared to other models thanks to the quality carbon fiber used in making it.
It can be used by professionals as a backup bow thanks to how strong it is. They won’t risk breaking an expensive bow.
The materials used in making it and its design give it a great bounce and good flexibility, and also make it lightweight and easy to play.
Natural horsehair coming from Mongolian horses has been used in making this bow thanks to the strong fibers and the fact that rosin sticks well to it.
Because the bow is handmade, the bowmaker takes the time to perfectly align the balance point to ensure the best quality.
The top cap has a tendency to come out of the fiberglass.Buy from Amazon.com for ($57.85)
10. ammoon Octagonal 1/2 Cello Bow
You don’t always find a quality bow made for half-sized cellos, but fortunately, this one is made especially for that purpose. Made of Pernambuco wood, this bow will have the qualities that bring it close to the top-end models. It should have both the strength and the flexibility needed for playing the cello with ease.
To ensure a good grip, the part where you hold the bow is covered in leather. Subtle elements of detail make this bow a nice-looking one, from the wire windings to the half-lined Ebony frog. The horsehair used is white, yet the manufacturer doesn’t say if it has been bleached or if it’s natural.
The quality materials and the advanced manufacturing process that this bow goes through ensure a strong and fast response. Furthermore, the makers pay extra attention to having it well-balanced.
The good part about being a ½ bow is the fact that it provides what children that play the cello really need – a bow small enough for their hands.
Despite being so small, it is made of quality Pernambocu wood and that means it will have properties close to those of high-end models.
The quality material used means the bow has the flexibility and the strength needed to withstand intense hours of practice.
To help you hold it more easily, the bow has a grip covered in leather.
The makers of this bow pay good attention to details and to crafting it into a well-balanced bow.
Being a bow for ½ cellos comes with the disadvantage that this model is too small to use with full-sized instruments and as such only kids playing small cellos can use it.
It’s unsure whether the horsehair used is bleached or not. This can mean it is not as durable.Buy from Amazon.com for ($23.99)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
Nowadays you can find an affordable cello bow that works wonders thanks to the cheap materials it is made of. However, there are some characteristics you need to take into consideration when buying a bow. Here they are.
One of the most important factors that influence how a bow performs is the type of wood it’s made of. Sticks are made of three main materials – brazilwood, Pernambuco, and carbon fiber. The first of these is a general name given to a number of species of trees that produce hardwood. They all come from Brazil and other South-American countries.
These woods are good for bows created for beginners or intermediate players and they are less expensive. As a result, a bow made with Brazilwood should cost between $50 and $200.
The best wood of choice for any kind of bow that has been created in the past two centuries has been the Pernambuco. This is a really dense wood that is heavy and comes from certain areas in Brazil. It has the perfect combination of elasticity, strength, and responsiveness and that’s why it is the best choice.
Handmade bows are created using carefully selected pieces of this wood. Makers spend a great deal of time looking for the perfect wood. Because of the recent environmental degradation and the fires that have been ravaging the Amazonian forest, this type of wood has become scarce, and Brazil now has restrictions in exporting it. As a result, it is now rare and expensive.
Because there was a need to replace the Pernambuco wood, in the past 20 years the carbon fiber models have become popular. Made from various grades of carbon fiber bonded with resin, bows possess similar properties to the bows once made of Pernambuco. This is a less expensive material and that is why you can find a decent yet cheap cello bow made out of carbon fiber.
Bows change the sound
It takes an experienced ear to hear the subtle differences in the sounds that bows produce. A bow that feels supple will have a smooth sound with a fuller complexion. However, if you have a bow that is too supple or soft there will be a lack of definition and clarity in the sound.
On the opposite side, heavier and stiffer bows will give a sound that is brighter and more focused. But if the stick is too stiff you get a rough type of sound. Finding the perfect mix, the sweet spot between these two extremities can be a difficult task, but not an impossible one.
Weight, balance, and shape
The average weight of a cello bow is around 80 grams, and that means it’s really light. There are some players that prefer their bow lighter, while others want it heavier. Whatever the case, it’s clear that the balance point is more important than the weight. A good bow needs to feel natural in one’s hand, and if the balance is not there, you won’t have a good feeling when you hold it.
Furthermore, the weight should be equally spread throughout, so you can play each string accordingly.
There are two types of shapes when it comes to bows – round or octagonal. The octagonal ones are stiffer, considering the same overall diameter. But this means they can also have a stiff sound, a one-dimensional one that isn’t as colorful.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is a cello bow made of?
The bow has more components, and the main piece that forms a bow is called a stick. This piece is usually made of three different types of materials. It can either be made of Pernambuco, which is a high-grade hardwood from certain areas of Brazil or from Brazilwood which is still a hardwood but it can be found in a more diverse area. Or you can find carbon fiber cello bows.
Then there is the part of the cello that holds the hair, and this is called the frog. Frogs are usually made of ebony and they sometimes have decorative elements like ivory and tortoiseshell. Thumb cushions are usually made of leather or snakeskin.
The horsehair comes from different types of horses, most often Mongolian breeds, and it can either be natural or bleached to get the white color. Then there is the tip of the bow which can be made of ivory, bone, or other materials like nickel, silver, or gold.
Q: Based on what criteria should I choose my cello bow?
Getting the ideal bow for you is most often a thing that is purely based on personal values. The perfect bow for you is one that will fit your style of play, and if you’re a beginner, purchasing a top-end model is not a good choice.
The most important idea to follow is the feeling that you have when holding a bow. The bow that suits you best is the one that feels like an extension of your hand, and not something clumsy that you have to hold to. When holding a bow you need to be able to focus on other things and forget that you are holding it. Its motions should flow from you in a natural way.
To find the bow that suits you best you will have to try many different ones until you find the right one. Seeing a bow online won’t give you the whole picture.
Q: Is it easy to learn the cello?
Unlike keyboard and fretted instruments, the cello is a bit less natural – it doesn’t give you the visual cues to help you learn it. In the case of guitars or pianos, simply pressing your finger on a fret or key will produce a certain musical note, but that’s not the case with the cello. That is why you need a teacher to be guiding you almost all the time.
A teacher that goes with you through the early stages of learning will be of quintessential importance. The right teacher will help you progress extremely fast. But you also need to get accustomed to reading the notes, knowing the music theory, and keeping the rhythm.
If you have played another instrument, the experience gained from that other instrument will serve you greatly. As you might expect, the younger you are, the quicker you will pick up on the information fed to you.