Without the bow, the violin is little more than a decorative object. Bows must have a combination of strength, balance, and flexibility, and they should fall within certain weight limits. Pernambuco is the wood of choice for the creation of better bows; Brazilwood is relegated to less-expensive entry and student bows. Recently the development of carbon fiber shafts has revolutionized the student bow market. Where Brazilwood tends to be unstable (unable to hold its curve) and has a low strength to weight ratio, carbon fiber can be engineered to overcome these shortcomings. Most of the bows in this shop below $200 are carbon fiber. My entry-level bows are, and have been for 40 years, the fiberglass bows from Glasser.
THE BOWS FROM BRAZIL
Fifty-Five years ago Horst John left Germany for Brazil with the idea of going into the wood business. He immediately found a population of skilled woodworkers; so eventually his wood business evolved into a bow making shop. Horst is gone, but Horst John Bows lives on, along with at least five other workshops including Arcos Brasil, Waterviolet, and Marco Raposo. Brazil prohibits the export of Pernambuco in log or board form (legally, anyway), only allowing it to leave the country as manufactured products. The bowmakers simplify their process by importing German frogs from Paulus and by concentrating on making the sticks. In my opinion, the bows from Brazil are the finest bows obtainable below $1000 in the world. Since representatives of the makers visit my shop, all of the Brazilian bows offered for sale are personally chosen by myself.
Below is a sampling of the new bows we have most of the time. Please visit to see our selection of vintage bows.
NOTICE AS OF SEPTEMBER 2023
The new Pernambuco situation is dire because, due to the amount of poaching in the reserve where Pernambuco grows, the Brazilian government (believe it or not–under ol’ “burn the rainforest” Bolsinaro), is prohibiting the export of Pernambuco in any form, and the policy is being continued by Lula da Silva. How long this will go on nobody knows, so the Brazilian bow makers are selling bows made of Masaranduba and Ipe (commonly known as “Brazilwood”) for the same price that Pernambuco was bringing 2 years ago. Never in my life did I predict that Brazilwood bows would be selling for $500. So anything you see below refering to new Brizilian bows is not to be believed since I have almost no stock left.
|FIBERGLASS AND CARBON FIBER BOWS||VIOLIN||VIOLA||CELLO|
|GLASSER FIBERGLASS||$ 45.00||$ 50.00||$ 65.00|
|GLASSER CARBON X SERIES||$ 95.00||$ 105.00||$ 150.00|
|CHINESE WOVEN CARBON||$ 100.00||$ 125.00||$ 150.00|
|Coda won’t sell to me because I don’t want to carry their entire line.||$ 295.00||$ 325.00||$ 350.00|
|CHINESE WOOD OVER CARBON FIBER Special price. How long will this last? No idea.||$ 100.00||$ 125.00||$ 150.00|
|HORST JOHN OR WATERVIOLET, 1/2 LINED NICKEL FROG||$ 350.00||$ 375.00||$ 475.00|
|HORST JOHN, FULLY LINED NICKEL FROG||$ 425.00||$450.00||$525.00|
|ARCOS BRASIL, FULLY LINED NICKEL FROG||$ 500.00||$ 550.00||$ 600.00|
|HORST JOHN, SILVER FROG||$ 800.00|