The Bow

My short cello journey has brought me back to the bow.  While I was looking for a cello I ran into the issue that choosing a cello is about choosing a cello AND bow (and strings but I’ll leave that for another post).  A few weeks ago, I changed strings, but for some odd reason, the G string had very unusual overtones.  I took my cello to my luthier, and we went through the process of diagnosing the problem and in the process, I ended up trying a different bow (I left my bow, accidentally or was that in purpose, in the case).   I ended up with a Pierre Guillaume bow.  The sound was distinctly different from what I was used to.  It was very clear, almost a pure sound from C string to harmonic E on the A string.  It was lighter which made it very responsive.  It was also very stiff.  And, yes, it was thousands of dollars more than my bow.   Now my current bow is no slouch.  It is a Manoel Francisco, pernambucco bow with silver winding.  It produces a wonderful warm sound.

So this started me on a round of bow trials.  So I tested a Guillaume, a Zabinski, and my Franciso for a week.   Bottom line is that I am staying with my current Manoel Francisco bow.  This bow and cello combination produces a warm sound that, imo, just engulfs you (It’s my stuff so I’m pretty sure there is some bias in my writing) .  My one complaint about my bow – it felt a bit heavy but I now hold it so my thumb is on the pad, which just is enough to make the tip feel lighter.  I think, in general, more you spend the better product you get.  But there are also many other factors that makes bow, “your” bow.  Sound, handling, weight, stiffness and let’s not forget about $ (in the case of music instruments $$$$$).  I’m glad I did this.  I’ve confirmed what I have is excellent (dare I say perfect) for me.

My advice to anyone looking for a new bow, go out and try as many as possible.

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