How Much Should You Really Spend on a Violin Bow? 

Violin bow prices vary by type, material, and quality. While you can find violin bows for sale online for as little as $10, you'll undoubtedly get what you pay for. Here you'll learn about the factors that determine a violin bow's price and what you can expect to pay for different levels of violin bows.

Violin Bow Price Factors 

Material: A violin bow and the hairs can be sourced from various materials, each with its own price point. 

  • Pernambuco wood: Pernambuco wood has been used since the 18th century to craft some of the world's best-sounding violin bows. The wood can be sliced very thin and still maintain a balance of strength and suppleness. It was once the go-to material for French bow craftsmen like Tourte, Pajot, and Pecatte. However, pernambuco wood is now extremely scarce and endangered, which has pushed the price of pernambuco wood violin bows to an all-time high
  • Brazilwood: Brazilwood is a catch-all term for wood taken from a variety of tropical trees. Violin bows made from Brazilwood tend to fall on the more affordable side of the spectrum, and quality can vary greatly. A cheaper bow will have a plastic frog and plastic windings and fittings. A more expensive and higher quality brazilwood bow will have an ebony frog and leather or metal windings and fittings. 
  • Carbon fiber: Carbon fiber bows are made from one of the most durable materials on earth. Carbon fiber is 5x stronger than steel and 2x as stiff. When used to create a violin bow, carbon fiber delivers exceptional consistency and clarity. In the hands of experts, carbon fiber can be intentionally engineered to achieve tailor-made, hyper-detailed specifications. Plus, a carbon fiber bow won't react to heat or humidity like one made of pernambuco wood or Brazilwood and rarely needs to be repaired. Carbon fiber bows are reasonably priced for all skill levels, from beginner bows that cost about $345 to master level bows that cost $1,500. 
  • Hair: Violin bow hair is made from horsehair or synthetic hair, which is cheaper. The best violin bows use horsehair and about 160-180 individual hairs at that. At CodaBow, we use three different grades of Mongolian horsehair in our carbon fiber bows: student, performance, and master-level horsehair.  

Story: Is the bow an antique? Was it once used by Fritz Kreisler, Niccolò Paganini, Antonio Vivaldi, or another decorated musician? Like any other object, whether it's a car, book, or even a piece of clothing, history matters. The more storied, rare, or unique the bow, the more expensive it will be.

The most expensive violin bow was made by Francois Xavier Tourte. The silver and ebony bow sold for $288,960 US and was believed to have been once owned by the Polish virtuoso Bronislaw Huberman.

Decorations: Some violin bows come with extra designs on the windings, tip, or frog. While these cosmetic additions can add to the bow's beauty, they can also impact the price and potentially the balance and weight of the bow. If you opt for additional design elements on your violin bow, make sure they do not interfere with the bow's sound or playing comfort. Also, check that the bow isn't made from any banned elements, like lizard skin or ivory. 

Beginner Violinists Bow Prices

A good beginner violin bow will cost a couple of hundred dollars. Look for a target range of $100 to $500. When you're a beginner violinist, pick a bow that is a tad stiffer, as it will be easier for you to handle. Also, look for one made from strong horse hair since you'll probably be a little rougher on the violin strands. As you advance, you'll develop your playing style and learn how to hear the different sounds that different bows can produce on an instrument. From there, you can pick an intermediate or advanced-level violin bow that best matches your playing style.

Intermediate Violinists Bow Prices

At the intermediate level, a good violin bow will cost between $300 to $700. Are you an intermediate player? If so, you're likely playing four to five times a week and are dedicated to your practice schedule. You can pull off difficult musical passages but might lack the phrasing or articulation that goes along with them. On the flip side, you may play with intense passion and lack technical accuracy. Either way, you're well on your way to developing a personal playing style and improving your skills.

Advanced Violinists Bow Prices

A good price range for a master-level bow is $1,000 to $2,000. When you're a master-level violinist, you know exactly what you need. You can hear and feel how different bows respond to your violin. You can tell when a bow is a natural extension of your arm and hand and when it's not. You may already play with a few different bows depending on the occasion or music piece. 

Violin Bow Warranties

You can find violin bows for all skill levels that include a warranty. You just have to find the right manufacturer. We offer the best warranties in the industry at CodaBow. Our student bows come with a 5-year warranty. Our intermediate bows come with a 10-year warranty, and our professional bows come with a limited lifetime warranty.

Your Violin Bow Price

In the end, how much you should spend on a violin bow is up to you. You can spend a couple hundred dollars or a couple thousand. As the price increases, so does the sound quality (Esther Abrami proved it!), and you'll be able to hear the difference as your skills advance, too. Try a CodaBow for just $35 with our risk-free in-home trial. Sign up today, and CodaBow will cover all costs of shipping and returning bows.

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