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JonPaul “Noir” violin bow, USA, 2019$ 210.00
The Utah-based company JonPaul Bows has built up a strong reputation for making high-quality carbon-fibre bows in their Utah workshops. More recently, it has also started sourcing and distributing selected bows for the student market. The “Noir” bows are well-priced for beginner students and those in the lower grades, providing a straightforward, reliable, strong and easy-to-play product. With a weight of 59-59.5grams, these bows are comfortable in the hand for less experienced players.
Bow weight: 59-59.5 grams
Start sale price: $210.00
“Carbondix***”, Dictum, Germany$ 275.00
Developed by the Dictum company, previously known as Gunther Dick, these well-made carbon fibre rayon bows have a strong, stiff stick which, nonetheless, gives both flexibility and subtlety. The finish is very good and the value for money excellent.
Available in 4/4, 3/4 and 1/2 size.
“Arpege” violin bow by JonPaul Bows, Utah, U.S.A$ 988.00
Initially inspired by the innovative carbon fibre bows of Benoit Rolland, JonPaul Bows have been developing a range of carbon fibre bows for violin, viola, cello and double bass over a number of years. The “Arpege” model was supposed to have gone out production, superseded by the “Corona”, but due to its persistent popularity among both dealers and players, it continues to be manufactured, sought after for its excellent set of playing qualities, combining steadiness, great articulation and bounce. At 60 grams, it is slightly lighter than the “Corona” violin bows.
Start sale price: $988.00
Bow weight: 60 grams
S466 “Coda Bow Classic” violin bow, USA, early twenty first century$ 1,200.00
The Coda Bow company is one of the earliest makers of good-quality carbon-fibre bows. Their “Classic” model is no longer in production but was at the higher end of their range, on a par with their current “Diamond GX” model. The stick is steady on the string and produces a clear, reliable spiccato and sautillé, a little closer to the balance point than most bows, so the bounce feels more “under the hand”. The articulation is clean, as one would expect from a good-quality carbon-fibre stick, and the weight means that the bow can pull a full tone.
Start sale price: $1,200.00
Bow weight: 61.5 grams
S272 Bob Berg, Wellington, NZ, late 20th century
This is very representative of a number of prototype carbon fibre bows handmade in New Zealand by Bob Berg, an American double bass player in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Berg later moved to Indiana, USA, where his carbonfibre expertise was refined by William Duff into the modern Berg Bow. Although the finish on the head is slightly rough, this bow has excellent playing characteristics, with clear articulation, steadiness in rapid legato strokes and a great bounce.
B906 Bob Berg, Wellington, NZ late 20th century$ 2,500.00
Carbon-fibre bows are now a commonplace, though the modern “Berg” bows, manufactured in Indiana by William Duff are head and shoulders above most, if not all, their competition. Back in the 1980s, when Bob Berg, then a bass player in the NZSO, pioneered this process and produced his early prototypes, they were an exciting novelty. These early bows, of which this is one, are visually a little rough, but possess the qualities of clarity and precision that the later Berg bows became renowned for.
S305 “Berg”, William Duff, Bloomington, Indiana, USA$ 4,000.00
Pioneered in New Zealand by Bob Berg, “Berg” carbonfibre bows were further developed in Indiana by William Duff to the point where they have established themselves firmly as one of the very best carbonfibre bows in today’s violin market. This Indiana-made violin bow weights 62 grams but still feels light and responsive in the hand, with the playing characteristics, shared by all top carbonfibre bows, of responsiveness and excellent articulation.