What is the best cello bow

The violin bow, viola bow, cello bow, double bass bow

In this guide you will not only learn something about the history of bow making and the construction of a bow, but also how you can take care of your bow.

«Le violon, c'est l'archet» ("The violin is the bow"). The well-known violinist Giovanni Battista Viotti coined this phrase at the beginning of the 19th century. He thereby draws attention to the outstanding importance of the bow in playing and sounding string instruments.

The bow is usually made of pernambuco or other types of brazil wood (nowadays more and more made of carbon or composite) and a horsehair covering. By playing on the strings, a vibration and thus the sound is generated.

The back end of the bow (usually ebony with the jig for the bow hair) is called the frog, the front end is called the tip. If you move the bow on the string of a violin, viola, cello, double bass from the tip to the frog, this is called an upstroke, and vice versa as a downstroke.

In the case of viols / viol bows, this direction of the stroke is reversed. To increase the frictional resistance between string and bow, the bow hairs are rubbed with rosin (interesting facts about rosin).

A good bow is particularly characterized by the choice of pernambuco wood, the balance and strength of the rod with simultaneous elasticity. All of these features support the violin player in producing a lively and stable tone. Most of the bows are made of pernambuco wood. Further information can be found here!

Because a good bow is so important to tone development, you should be just as careful when choosing your bow as you are when choosing your string instrument.

What is the best care? In order to maintain the elasticity and tension of the bow rod, the bow is relaxed after playing. To the extent that the bow hairs are neither tight nor hanging loose. A good level is achieved when the hair is just "tidy".

Every now and then the bow rod is cleaned with a dry, soft cloth after the game to avoid stubborn contamination with rosin dust. We have also had good experiences with care products (e.g. from Bellacura). If possible, the hair should not be touched when cleaning and grooming. However, should the horse hair ever become soiled by grease, it can be cleaned with pure alcohol. After that, however, the bow has to be colophoned again. Please make sure that the alcohol does not come into contact with the bow pole.

Sometimes a few bow hairs tear. This usually happens in the context of natural wear and tear. Torn hair is cut off. Do not tear off bow hairs at the end, otherwise the tied hair in the box could loosen. If the hair should come out in clumps, however, it could be a processing error or the air is too dry.

Depending on the length and intensity of the game, the bow hair should be replaced approximately every 6 months to two years.

The head plate protects the bow head and takes over the tension from the head wedge. If the headstock is damaged, it must be replaced to protect the arch.

Approximate dimensions of string bows

Violin bow / violin bow

4/4 size total length: 74.6cm, length of the rod: 73.3cm, game length: 65cm, weight: 59-65g,

3/4 size length of the rod: 67.3 cm,

1/2 size length of the rod: 61.3 cm,

1/4 size length of the rod: 55.3 cm,

1/8 size length of the rod: 49.3 cm,

1/16 size Length of the pole: 46.3 cm


Viola bow / viola bow

Total length with screw: 75.2 cm, length of the rod: 73.6 cm, weight: 68-75 g,


Cello bow / violoncello bow

4/4 size total length: 71.8 cm, length of the rod 69.8 cm, game length 61.5 cm, weight: 79-85 g,

3/4 size length of the rod 67.3 cm,

1/2 size length of the pole 61.7 cm,

1/4 size length of the rod 58.5 cm,

1/8 size length of the rod 53.5 cm,

1/16 size length of the rod 48.5 cm,


Bass bow / double bass bow

German form (also Dresden form):

4/4 size length of the rod 78.0 cm,

3/4 size (standard size) total length: 75.0 cm, rod length: 69.0 cm, play length: 56.0 cm, height of the frog: 5.0 cm, height of the head: 3.5 cm

1/2 size length of the pole 71.8 cm,

1/4 size length of the rod 69.0 cm,


French form (also Leipzig form):

3/4 size (standard size) total length: 72.0 cm, rod length: 69.7 cm, game length: 57 cm, height of the head: 4 cm, height of the frog: 3.2 cm