9 Best Violin Bows On The Market (All Budgets & Carbon Fiber Options)

If you’ve been scouring online, trying to find the best violin bow then I’m very happy to say I can sort you out!

Maybe you’re a beginner looking for your first bow or maybe you’re a seasoned player in search of the next best upgrade.

Either way, I’ve got you covered!

I’ve scouted out the 9 best violin bows on the market and I’m excited to share them with you.

Whether you’ve got a tight budget or expensive taste, the perfect new violin bow for you is on this list!

Let’s get into it…

Snapshot: 9 Best Violin Bows

  1. D Z Strad J.B. Vuillaume A Paris Pernambuco CopyBest Overall
  2. D Z Strad Pernambuco Violin Bow Model 701Best Under $1000
  3. D Z Strad E4 Tourte Copy
  4. Vingobow HybridBest Under $300
  5. CodaBow Diamond GXBest Carbon Fiber Bow
  6. Vingobow Carbon Fiber Bow
  7. D Z Strad Model 524Best for Intermediate Player
  8. D Z Strad Model 202Best for Beginners
  9. Kmise Carbon Fiber Bow

Choosing a Great Violin Bow

Best Violin Bow

I’m sure you’ll know that your bow will either make or break your performance.

So, it’s important to know how to choose a great model.

Playability is key but when you’re shopping online it’s not easy to figure out which bows would suit you. That being said, certain things guarantee that you’re looking at a great bow! That’s expert craftsmanship, amazing materials, and Mongolian horsehair. All of these combined make a beautifully balanced and even bow!

When it comes to violin bows, you kind of get what you pay for. However, there are some brilliant affordable options on the market too.

So, no matter what your budget is, I’ve got an excellent option for you!

The Best Violin Bow in 2020

1. D Z Strad J.B. Vuillaume A Paris Pernambuco Copy – Best Overall

D Z Strad Violin Bow - J.B. Vuillaume A Paris - Pernambuco Copy
  • The D Z Strad Vuillaume violin bow is an elegant reproduction of the bows created in Vuillaume's celebrated workshop.

Well, I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to bows you can’t beat D Z Strad. This gorgeous copy of the J.B. Vuillaume A Paris Pernumbaco bow is easily the best violin bow on the market.

Here’s why!

Bow Materials & Craftsmanship

If you’ve read my blogs before, you’ll know I always preach about buying from brands you know and trust. D Z Strad always showcases incredible craftsmanship so they’re the first brand that comes to mind when I’m asked for a recommendation.

I’ve never been disappointed by their bows! I think their copies of famous luthiers’ work are always the best-crafted bows. That’s why this J.B. Vuillaume A Paris copy has taken first place! The stick is made of high-grade, dense Pernambuco and is completed with a gorgeous lizard skin grip.

Its ebony frog is silver-lined and incredibly durable. This Strad bow will be a companion for life. If you’re looking for luxury, I think you’ve found it!

Playability

Now, on to the most important part! The weighting of a bow isn’t very easy to get right. It should be light enough that you don’t wind up with biceps the size of your thigh (unless that’s what you’re into), and equally weighted from the frog to the tip. I’m quite a light-handed player, so I love a lightweight bow that’s weighted just enough to give me volume without having to add too much pressure myself (if that makes sense).

That’s why I adore this bow from Strad. It’s super light and incredibly well balanced! You’ll be surprised how much of a difference a well-crafted bow will make to your playing.

Sound

Two words – silky smooth. I love the way this bow makes my violin sound. I feel like it gives me such a seamless transition between the strings. I don’t know about you but, when I was learning, I used to have trouble transitioning between the A and the E string.

I found that it sounded a bit disjointed and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. It wasn’t until I upgraded my bow that all of a sudden my transitions were like butter. That’s right, I’m blaming my dodgy playing on the bow (of course I’d never be the problem)!

Spec Summary

  • Stick Material: Pernambuco
  • Strung With: AAA grade, unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Frog Material: Ebony with mother of pearl inlay
  • Lapping: Silver
  • Grip: Lizard skin
  • Weight (grams): 64

The most luxurious bow on the market, the perfect upgrade or gift for any violinist

Final Thoughts on the D Z Strad J.B. Vuillaume A Paris Pernambuco Copy

I really can’t fault this bow. It’s more on the expensive side but if you’re looking for a luxurious upgrade this is the one. Plus, nobody would know it’s not a real J.B. Vuillaume and we all know I love looking high-end!

2. D Z Strad Pernambuco Violin Bow Model 701 – Best Under $1000

D Z Strad Pernambuco Violin Bow Model 701 with Abalone Frog Full Size 4/4 (4/4 - Size)
  • Pernambuco, fully silver-lined, octagonal stick with polished abalone frog

Because I know we’re not all made of money, I thought I’d give you a great option for under $1000. This bow isn’t quite up there with the J.B. Vuillaume copy, but it’s pretty close. The Strad 701 is the perfect affordable upgrade!

Bow Materials & Craftsmanship

The is another gorgeous Pernambuco bow. If you’re wondering what the heck Pernambuco is, let me explain. Pernambuco and brazilwood are the two most common kinds of wood used to make bows. They actually both come from the same tree but Pernambuco is the heartwood of the tree which is essentially the older wood.

Have you ever seen a tree stump and tried to count the lines in the wood to see how old the tree was? Well, Pernambuco comes from the middle of the tree where the lines are further apart (bet you loved that useless bit of info).

Essentially, Pernambuco is denser and stronger than brazilwood. It may be more expensive but it certainly makes a damn good bow! The main difference between the Strad 701 and the J.B. Vuillaume copy is the materials used. It doesn’t have a lizard skin grip but if you’re not too boujee then I’m sure you can let that slight.

Also, before I move on, can we take a minute of silence to appreciate that gorgeous abalone frog? Thank you, I’m ready now.

Playability

This bow is slightly lighter than the J.B. Vuillaume copy. Well, it’s only two grams lighter, to be precise, so you probably won’t notice the difference. I’d say anywhere between 60 and 65 grams is the sweet spot. It’s perfectly balanced and lovely to play with. I don’t have a bad word to say about this guy!

Sound

Well, I almost didn’t have a bad word to say… Just kidding, it’s not bad it’s just not quite as smooth as the J.B. Vuillaume copy. However, the Strad 701 produces such a lovely, even tone. It’s really beautiful! You’ll definitely notice an improvement in your phrasing by using this guy (I know I need to stop referring to the bows as guys but I probably won’t, just FYI).

Spec Summary

  • Stick Material: Pernambuco
  • Strung With: AAA grade, unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Frog Material: Abalone
  • Lapping: Silver
  • Grip: Leather
  • Weight (grams): 62

Produces such a lovely even tone

Final Thoughts on the D Z Strad Pernambuco Violin Bow Model 701

I think this is an incredible bow considering it’s under $1000. It’s pretty and it produces such a gorgeous, even tone! You really can’t go wrong with the Strad 701, in my opinion. It’s certainly one of my favorites! 

3. D Z Strad E4 Tourte Copy

D Z Strad Tourte Copy E4 Violin Bow
  • Tourte Copy violin bow, handmade by prize winning bow makers

If the J.B. Vuillaume copy is a bit too luxurious for you but the 701 isn’t quite the high-end bow you were looking for (Goldilocks, is that you?) then here’s an option that meets in the middle. The E4 Tourte copy is a gorgeous mid-range bow!

Bow Materials & Craftsmanship

Fancy a bit of a history lesson? Francois Xavier Tourte is known as being the most influential figure in the development of the modern violin bow (wow, I think I should become a lecturer or something)!

So, although it’s not the real deal, this Tourte copy is pretty special. It’s another little Pernambuco number so, again, it’s incredibly well balanced and durable. This one is round rather than octagonal. That probably sounds like a load of gibberish so let me just get my lecture on again.

There’s a pretty big debate amongst violinists as to which is better – octagonal or round bows and, honestly, there’s not much difference. In my opinion, you’re better off looking for a well-crafted and perfectly waited bow! The shape isn’t as important!

Playability

The Tourte copy is the lightest of the three Strad bows I’ve mentioned so far. It has incredible playability, you won’t get wrist cramp with this bad boy (sorry, that just came out)! This guy is honestly a joy to play with. It’s just one of those bows that seem to make me sound better than I actually am. So, it’s an A+ from me!

Sound

For some reason, I think the Tourte copy makes my violin sound more mellow. I’m not sure why that is (maybe it does have something to do with the round stick) but I absolutely love it. It’s not a major change, I just think it gives me a bit of a warmer tone!

Spec Summary

  • Stick Material: Pernambuco
  • Strung With: AAA grade, unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Frog Material: Ebony
  • Lapping: Silver
  • Grip: Leather
  • Weight (grams): 61

The perfect mid-range violin bow with excellent playability that produces a lovely warm tone

Final Thoughts on the D Z Strad E4 Tourte Copy

This is the perfect mid-range bow. It is a joy to use and I’d recommend it to any player. I love the extra warm it gives my violin and, although I hate to feed the debate, I think the round stick is really pretty. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the octagonal vs round stick argument!

4. Vingobow Hybrid – Best Under $300

VINGOBOW Wood and Carbon Fiber Hybrid Violin Bow 4/4 Size
  • HYBRID CARBON FIBER - Surprise! Its stick is strong carbon fiber core with wood skin. It looks just like a wooden bow but stronger even than Pernambuco, as a wonderful combination of hardness,...

Did someone say affordable? This Vingobow carbon fiber/brazilwood hybrid is ideal if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Pernambuco.

Bow Materials & Craftsmanship

The Vingobow hybrid is one of my favorite affordable bows. The carbon fiber core makes it incredibly strong and durable but its wood wrap keeps the classic look alive. If you live in a hotter country, this bow will be perfect for you. Carbon fiber isn’t affected by humidity or temperature changes, so you don’t have to worry about any tedious upkeep!

When I’m buying a more affordable bow, I always look to see how it’s been crafted. This one has the same beautifully rounded shape as the Tourte copy from Strad and it’s beautifully thin towards the tip. Also, I have to say something about the tension adjuster. The mother of detailing is absolutely gorgeous!

Playability

When you’re spending under $300 on a bow, the playability does get a little bit poorer. However, I’m pleasantly surprised by this Vingobow hybrid. It’s nicely weighted and glides along the strings with just enough friction. Of course, it’s a little heavier than the high-end options from Strad, so it’s not quite as smooth.

Plus, the horsehair isn’t quite as high quality as the previous bows on the list but it clings onto rosin pretty well. It might take a little longer to get it sounding just right, but that’s to be expected at this price!

Sound

The response you get from a more affordable bow usually isn’t that great. However, this guy has surprised me once again. The Vingobow hybrid gives you such a pure tone. I love the volume you get from a carbon fiber bow as well. You really can’t go wrong with this one, in my opinion. 

Spec Summary

  • Stick Material: Carbon fiber/brazilwood hybrid
  • Strung With: Unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Frog Material: Ebony with mother of pearl Parisian eye
  • Lining: Nickel silver
  • Grip: Leather
  • Weight (grams): 70

A brilliant affordable carbon fiber hybrid violin bow, perfect for violinists of any experience level

Final Thoughts on the Vingobow Hybrid

I think this is an incredible little bow considering its price. It produces lovely volume and resonance and it’s got pretty good playability. The only downside is the quality of the horsehair but, again, that’s to be expected.

5. CodaBow Diamond GX – Best Carbon Fiber Bow

Sticking with the carbon fiber theme, the CodaBow Diamond GX is a pretty famous little violin bow. Carbon fiber bows are ideal for violinists living in hotter climates or for anyone who travels a lot!

Bow Materials & Craftsmanship

Carbon fiber bows are a great alternative to Pernambuco. They’re much better than cheap brazilwood bows because they’re much stronger and better balanced. However, it’s important to note that not all carbon fiber bows are great. They still have to be well-crafted, otherwise, you’re gonna have some issues. I have to say, the Diamond GX is fantastic.

It has a heat-resistant kevlar acoustic core which is just brilliant for anyone who struggles to control the temperature in their home. Let me tell ya, nothing could warp this bow. I actually dropped it once (it landed on the tip and I could have cried) and nothing changed whatsoever. So, if you’re looking for a durable bow, this is the one!

Playability

You can tell how incredibly well-crafted this bow is when you’re playing. Some carbon fiber bows are just too light. They tend to swing all over the place! No matter how straight you try to keep them, there’s just no stopping a poorly weighted bow. That’s why I love that the Diamond GX is traditionally weighted, it’s not too light or too heavy! Plus, the tone it produces is unbelievable.

Sound

If you’re looking for a beautiful balance of volume and resonance, you’ve found it. I think the Diamond GX is perfect for professionals and performers. It has such a lovely, warm tone. Plus, you won’t have to worry about those hot stage lights messing with your tension!

Spec Summary

  • Stick Material: Carbon fiber
  • Strung With: AAA grade, unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Frog Material: Ebony
  • Lapping: Silver
  • Grip: Leather
  • Weight (grams): 61

The perfect carbon fiber bow for professional violinists with a beautiful warm tone and brilliant resonance

Final Thoughts on the CodaBow Diamond GX

If you don’t want to spend over $1000 on a new bow, carbon fiber is definitely the way to go. I think this is the perfect bow for professional violinists. The tone it produces is so warm but still lovely and precise. Plus, it will elevate the sound of your violin especially when you’re using a pickup.

6. Vingobow Carbon Fiber Bow

VINGOBOW Carbon Fiber Violin Bow Deep & Powerful Tone! New 4/4 Size Art No.106VB
  • ※ Black Horsehair - We use unbleached BLACK Mongolian horsehair with great resilience, be easier to rosin. Black horsehair is thicker than white hair, you will get louder and wild tone surprisingly....

This Vingobow Carbon Fiber bow is one of my favorite new discoveries. If you’re a folk violinist looking for an affordable new bow, this is your guy.

Bow Materials & Craftsmanship

I have a feeling classical musicians would have something to say about the black horsehair but I absolutely love it. White Mongolian horsehair is one of the components that makes violin bows so expensive and I love that Vingobow have found an alternative.

I know the black Mongolian horsehair may look a little strange but, trust me, you won’t think that after you’ve used it. The stick itself is well-crafted and well balanced considering the price. I think this bow is the solution to pricey upgrades. Plus, we all know I love standing out from the croud!

The only downside to this bow is the nickel silver lapping. It’s not quite as durable as genuine silver but hey, we can forgive them, right?

Playability

The reason I think this bow would be perfect for any fiddlist is because it has such great bounce stability. Us folk players tend to get a bit carried away and jump between strings like it’s our job! Sharp transitions from the G to the E string can prove to be a little bit, shall we say, unpredictable.

The last thing you want is for your bow to start shuddering and jumping! As with most carbon fiber bows, it’s nion impossible for that to happen with this one. I love it.  

Sound

Black Mongolian horsehair is much coarser than white. That means it clings onto rosin incredibly well and it gives you so much volume. I mean SO much volume. The black horsehair combined with the carbon fiber stick is honestly a match made in heaven for folk performers. Plus, the tone is nice and precise!

Spec Summary

  • Stick Material: Carbon fiber
  • Strung With: Black Mongolian horsehair
  • Frog Material: Ebony
  • Lapping: Nickel Silver
  • Grip: Faux Leather
  • Weight (grams): 60

The best affordable carbon fiber bow, perfect for folk players

Final Thoughts on the Vingobow Carbon Fiber Bow

This is one of the best affordable bows I’ve ever used. It’s perfect for any style of performer but I know any folk player would adore it as much as I do!

7. D Z Strad Model 524 – Best for Intermediate Player

D Z Strad Model 524 Full Size 4/4 Top Brazil Wood Violin Bow with Ox Horn Fleur de Lis Frog
24 Reviews
D Z Strad Model 524 Full Size 4/4 Top Brazil Wood Violin Bow with Ox Horn Fleur de Lis Frog
  • The new design of the D Z Strad bows is taking the next step to improve the playing and the sound of your instruments.

Okay, back to the Strads! Sorry, I just love them… Model 534 from D Z Strad is the perfect bow for an intermediate violin player. So, if you’re looking for your first upgrade, I’ve got you covered.

Bow Materials & Craftsmanship

I love the ox horn frog! Sorry, I just had to say that first. I think it’s really unique and gives you that almost tortoiseshell look, or is that just me? When I was shopping for my first upgrade, I wanted something completely different from the bow I had because I was sick of the sight of it (I’m just being dramatic, it wasn’t that bad).

That’s why I love little touches like this that really spice up your bow. This is a brazilwood number and, although I bashed brazilwood earlier, it’s a really great bow. If you are in the market for a brazilwood bow, you just need to make sure it’s nice and dense like this one! The Strad 524 is a very traditional bow, so it should feel very similar to the bow you’ve got but it’s going to sound a heck of a lot better.

Playability

D Z Strad bows are perfect for students. Even the more affordable models are so well balanced. Now that you’ve got the hang of using your bow, an upgrade will make such a difference to your playing. It’s very light, yet nicely weighted throughout for the smoothest of playing!

Sound

When you upgrade your bow, you’ll notice a huge change in the sound of your violin. The Strad 524 will give you a good amount of volume without being too fluid for an intermediate player. You’ll love the way you can feel the vibrations of your instrument through the bow! It will make you way more perceptive to intonation.

Spec Summary

  • Stick Material: Brazilwood
  • Strung With: AAA grade, unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Frog Material: Ox horn
  • Lapping: Silver
  • Grip: Leather
  • Weight (grams): 61

A lovely brazilwood bow with brilliant playability, perfect for intermediate players

Final Thoughts on the D Z Strad Model 524

I think the Strad 524 is the best bow for intermediate players. It’s incredibly lightweight but still perfectly balanced from frog to tip. You will definitely want to practice when this guy lands on your doorstep!

8. D Z Strad Model 202 – Best for Beginners

D Z Strad Model 202 Pernambuco Violin Bow (4/4 - Full Size)
  • Brazilwood, fully silver-lined, octagonal stick with Ebony frog with fleur-de-lis inlay

Beginners, this one’s for you! The D Z Strad 202 is my go to recommendation for any learner. Having the right bow is just as important for beginners as it is for professional violin players!

Bow Materials & Craftsmanship

As a beginner, you’re probably wondering whether buying a good-quality bow is worth it, right? I think having a well-balanced and well-crafted bow is just as important for beginners as it is for advanced players.

At the end of the day, it’s completely up to you as to whether you want to spend a little bit extra on a great bow but it will make all the difference to your playing! The Strad 202 is beautifully crafted from brazilwood. It’s not as dense as the 524, but it will do the job. It’s strung with grade AA Mongolian horsehair, rather than grade AAA.

Now, this just means the hair wont cling to violin rosin quite as well and you won’t get so much volume. Most beginners are pretty scared (and by pretty scared I mean absolutely petrified) of playing loud though, so you’ll probably be glad to hear that!

Playability

This lightweight bow will make your practice sessions a little less of a workout! If you’ve been struggling to control that squeaky noise your bow makes some times, don’t worry, we’ve all been there. A really well balanced bow like this one will help you to control it! You might want do some “air bowing” to practice before you go straight to the violin though. That will help you get the feel of your new bow.

Sound

When I’m looking for a great beginner bow, I think a precise tone is really important. Although this one isn’t strung with the highest grade of Mongolian horsehair, it’s still incredibly high-quality so it will make a huge difference to your sound. The Strad 202 is ideal for beginner violin players because it will give you a lovely clear tone and help you to train your ear!

Spec Summary

  • Stick Material: Brazilwood
  • Strung With: AA grade, unbleached Mongolian horsehair
  • Frog Material: Ebony, mother of pearl
  • Lapping: Silver
  • Grip: Leather
  • Weight (grams): 61

A fantastic, lightweight beginner bow that will help you train your ear

Final Thoughts on the D Z Strad Model 202

I honestly can’t say a bad word about the Strad 202. I think as beginner bows go, this is by far the best. As a learner, you don’t need anything too fancy. A nice, well balanced brazilwood bow with high-quality Mongolian horsehair will make all the difference to your playing.

 9. Kmise Carbon Fiber Bow

Violin Bow Stunning Fiddle Bow Carbon Fiber for Violins (4/4, Black)
  • Crafted using advanced molding techniques,the violin bow is constructed of carbon fiber and other modern materials,delivers a new level of performance way,beyond that of traditional wood construction

You know I always love to throw a little surprise in at the end! This Kmise Carbon Fiber Bow is incredibly surprising. If you’re looking for an incredibly cheap bow, you’ll love this. Usually, I’d never recommend a bow under $50 but I’m breaking my rule just for you!

Bow Materials & Craftsmanship

Okay, so I don’t have too much to say about the craftsmanship. There’s no gap between the frog and the stick which is a great sign on a cheap bow. The balance is pretty good but it’s not quite on point. It’s a ittle bit bottom heavy (much like myself, lol) but it’s actually not too bad.

Carbon fiber is definitely the way to go if you’re looking for a really cheap bow. But, as I said you just have to make sure it’s nicely crafted and not just a load of rubbish with some horsehair stuck to it. Don’t worry, as far as I’m concerned, this one passes the test!

Playability

Now, I’m not going to say this is the best bow I’ve ever use. It may, however, be the best bow under $50 that I’ve ever used! I actually did a little comparison with my Diamond GX and I was quite surprised!

Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t sound anywhere near as good (I’ll get to that in a second) but the feeling of the bow was quite similar. I could tell it wasn’t as evenly weighted but for a cheap bow, it was pretty close!

Sound

The Kmise Carbon Fiver Bow sounded quite (quite being the operative word) similar to the Diamond GX on the lower strings. You could really tell the difference when it came to the A and the E string, though, which is unfortunate. It just didn’t have the same resonance, or warmth but that’s not to say it’s a rubbish bow.

A cheap bow will never sound as good as a high-end model but this one is definitely the best I’ve tried! Trust me, I’ve had some disasters with cheap bows…

Spec Summary

  • Stick Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Strung With: Grade A Mongolian horsehair
  • Frog Material: Ebony
  • Lining: Nickel silver
  • Grip: Leather
  • Weight (grams): Around 64

A surprisingly good, incredibly cheap carbon fiber bow

Final Thoughts on the Kmise Carbon Fiber Bow

If you’re looking for a decent, durable bow, this may be the one. Of course, it’s not the best bow I’ve ever used but considering its price, I’m pleasantly surprised. It would be a great option for a complete beginner who wants to progress a bit before investing in a better-quality bow.

Your Bow is as Important as Your Violin

woman holding violin bow

I know the last thing you want to do is splurge on a bow, especially if you’ve recently invested in your violin.

I hope I’ve shown you that you dont need to spend thousands of dollars to get a brilliant violin bow. Granted, if you’re a professional, a thousand dollar bow is worth the investment. But, if you’re still learning, all that matters is that you get a good-quality, well-crafted bow.

Luckily, all the bows on this list are exactly that! Whether you’re a complete beginner or a professional soloist, I hope I’ve helped you to narrow down your search.

Your bow is just as important as your violin, afterall.

As the great Marvin Gaye once said, “it takes two, baby!” I know, that was cringy, I couldn’t help myself… Happy music making!

Further Reading: