Great Value? You bet!
This screencap from early 2003 shows our product page for these same bows -- 19 years ago, we sold them for $148 + $7 to ship (USA). We've only raised our price on these amazing bows by about a dollar a year! We always endeavor to bring you the best gear for the best prices.
We've carried this same bow, in both German/Butler Style (top in photo) and French Style (bottom) from the same maker, for two decades now. It's been consistently and enthusiastically praised by customers worldwide for its balance, playability, and value. The same dependable maker has been crafting these bows for us the entire time, and they are in fairly constant use by students, professionals, and bass majors in colleges everywhere.
A little learnin' for ya:
Brazilwood is not actually a specific wood, but a named grouping of closely related woods (several trees of the family Leguminosae, if you want to geek out a bit.) This grouping of woods is wonderful for making bows; they have straight grain, wonderful acoustic properties, and a warm reddish color. Further geeking out: the color is where it gets its name; Portuguese explorers finding the trees on the South American coast found that the wood yielded a valuable red dye, and named the tree pau brasil, meaning, loosely, "red wood." Trivia time: That's where the country of Brazil got its name!
Pernambuco is a particular tree of the Brazilwood family that is traditionally prized for bow making; it's more expensive to obtain, so a true Pernambuco bow is often also more expensive. We have Pernambuco bows available, from the same maker -- with upgraded fittings like silver wire wrap -- as well. You can find them listed in the "related items," below.
The bows have octagonal Brazilwood sticks with a fully lined* (French) and half-lined* (German) ebony frog, which at this price point is a very pleasant surprise! A typical French bow weighs in at around 135g, the German around 136g, and the balance feels very good. They all come with a leatherette grip for comfort, and the eyes in the bow frog are of real abalone mother-of-pearl (not plastic). They have striped plastic whalebone material on the frog end of the stick, exactly like Bob's personal bow -- and that bow has held up since 1964.
Yes, there are much cheaper -- as well as much more expensive -- "Brazilwood Bows" out there. As with most anything, it's not just the base materials, but quality and craftsmanship that matter. Your bow is as much a musical instrument as your bass is. I can easily get bows to sell for a cheaper price to compete with the lowballs you can find on eBay, but I would rather offer a better quality bow at a reasonable price. The excellent reviews for these bows over the last several years speak for themselves.
Our Brazilwood bows currently come with black horsehair; it's a really nice feeling hair, not too coarse but with nice grab, which players have found to be very agreeable for many different arco needs. The French bows are considered 3/4 size, while the Germans are officially considered 4/4 bows (though be aware that there are no strict rules on sizing, and we consider these bows to be the "right" size for most adult and advancing young players). The French bow is 27¼ inches end to end, with about a 20¾ inch hair length. The German bow is 29 7/8 inches end to end, with about a 22 3/8 inch hair length.
What About Bow Trials?
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT BROKEN BOWS:
A wooden bow is a fragile musical instrument in and of itself. Especially when under tension, a simple rap against a hard surface (like the post of a music stand) can easily break a bow. Bumping into a bow that is perched on the lip of a music stand is also a common "maker of unhappy bassists" -- the bow hits the floor, and suddenly the stick is in two pieces. I really hate taking those phone calls, because I feel bad - I really do - but it really is exceedingly rare that it's the bow's fault.
Breakage from seemingly innocuous raps against a chair leg is not a sign of a "defective" bow, any more than shattering a glass vase by grazing a marble countertop would be considered the fault of the vase.
We STRONGLY recommend that you (or your children) exercise prudent care with ANY wooden bow, whether bought from us or not.
There are bow "holders" available to help keep them safe; we sell bow quivers (a leather bow "holster" that ties to the tailpiece) as well as inexpensive hooks that clip onto the music stand, providing a safer means for putting the bow down for pizz sections.
Excellent bow for the price! Easy to play in various articulation styles.
My son had to switch to German after a bad broken arm affected his ability to us a French bow. He's an intermediate middle school bassist. So, he needed 2 new bows since the school doesn't have any German bows. The grandparents bought him a $100 bow off of Amazon to keep at school, and I purchased this bow for home practice and performances. From the reviews I figured it would be as good as his Upton workshop French bow. After a week he kept saying it wasn't as good as the bow he had at school. He also said it wouldn't hold rosin right. I have no way to judge the validity of that statement. But, figured it might be worth something to an experienced bassist. He brought his school bow home after a performance one night, and the next day practiced with that. Even I, with my horrible ear, could tell the difference. To be clear; I wasn't expecting it to be amazing. But, I did expect to be better than it is. [store note: it's important to note that brand new bows with totally clean hair will need time to "break in" and require extra rosin before that process happens.]
This bow may not be the highest quality or meet all the requirements of more serious, experienced bassists, but it's a great value for casual players who want a bow of reasonable quality for an affordable price. Out of the box, the bow just needed a modest base coat of rosin and some bowing to be up and ready to go. The weight and balance suits my tastes, and I am able to get decent arco tones from a student bass with cheap strings.
This is a shockingly good bow for under $200. I purchased this a backup and was really impressed with how easy it plays, and how well haired it is. The sound is not going to change your life, but really good for the price. Highly recommended if you are on a budget.
I have had one of these for about 4 years. I bought it to replace the fiberglass bow supplied with my rent-to-own bass. I was impressed with the balance and feel and I liked the salt & pepper hair. Four years and a re-hair later this is still my main bow. An excellent value.