Violin bow size

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You’ve read about the size of bow stringed instruments. Now, what you need is a size chart for bows of violins, violas, cellos, and basses. The aim of this article is not to discuss the inherent quality of the bow. This guide is here to help you determine what type of bow you have. This way, you will know if your bow is at the right size, or on the contrary what size would be better for you.

Bow size
Measure the size of bows and find the one that fits you.

How to measure the bow size?

First of all, run a measuring tape from the button to the tip. This will give you the length of the stick. Then you can use scales to determine the weight of the bow. However, the scales must be precise enough to give the weight down to the gramme. Obviously, the stick must not touch the stand on which the scales lie, or else the result would be wrong.

 

What do I do once I have my bow size?

Even if they are based on the same model, every bow has a different weight, balance, or length. They are as unique as the violin, viola, or cello they are made to play on. Since this article is not here to judge the bows, let’s focus on which lengths and weights are expected to play on a given instrument. Keep in mind that these are average figures. This means they may vary without really affecting the quality of the object. Overall, the appreciation and the needs of the musician will always matter the most.

 

Check out the bows in my shop
 

How to change the weight of a bow

You cannot really change the length of your bow stick. However, modifying the parts can affect the weight and the balance in different ways.

  • The silver winding or nickel silver can be more or less thick. To lighten the bow, a silver-plated silk winding can also be used.
  • The amount of hair is significant as well.
  • Weighing some parts or pieces can change the balance of the stick.

However, this is not relevant on this page. I will save it for another article on bow balance.

 

 

The size of bows for violins, violas, cellos, or basses

You can use these tables to

  • Find the corresponding instrument to the bow you have.
  • Or find the corresponding bow to the instrument you have.
  • See if the instrument and the bow use are a good match.

Violin bow size

Instrument size Length (in centimetres) Weight(in grammes)
4/4 74,5 60g
3/4 69 55g
1/2 62 49g
1/4 55 46g
1/8 50 42g
1/10 46
1/16 43

Standard size and weight – these measurements can be different in reality

 

Viola bow size

Instrument size Length (in centimetres) Weight (in grammes)
4/4 74,5 75g

Standard size and weight – these measurements can be different in reality

For small size violas, there is no ideal solution. I suggest that you go for a violin bow and get used it.

 

Cello bow size

Instrument size Length (in centimetres) Weight(in grammes)
4/4 72,5 80
3/4 67 74
1/2 63 68
1/4 59 61
1/8 56
1/10 50
1/16 48

Standard size and weight – these measurements can be different in reality

 

Bass bow size

Instrument size Length (in centimetres) Weight (in grammes)
4/4 70 135

Standard size and weight – these measurements can be different in reality

 

 

Why are there different bow sizes?

Violin bow size
Bows and their different measurements.

If you read the tables carefully, you may realise that a violin bow is bigger than that of a cello or of a bass. And yet, since a violin is smaller, you could think that the bow would be smaller as well. It turns out it’s the opposite!

To sum up, how frequently a string vibrates depends on how high the note is. The higher the note (on a violin), the quicker the string must vibrate to maintain the sound. If not, bowing would only get in the way of the string, and the sound would be rather disappointing. That’s why, on high-pitched instruments, the bow should always move quicker.

For the same reason, maintaining a note in one bow stroke without going back and forth on the violin requires more length – that’s when the different bow sizes come into play.

For instance, small bows are for children. They have been created for body reasons: they allow even the youngest players to take good bowing habits.

 

Check out the bows in my shop
 

How to find the bow corresponding to your instrument

Finally, if you want your bow to fit the size of your instrument, you should read this article.

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