The best cello bow is The Piano Guys Carbon Fiber Cello Bow. It’s a stable, long-lasting bow with quality to match its lifespan.
A cellist’s bow is as important as the instrument itself. A first-rate cello loses some of the quality if the tools aren’t up to scratch.
Not only should the best cello bow sound pleasant, but it should feel comfortable and be easy to use. That way, your playing is simple, enjoyable, and elegant.
The best cello bows are:
Reviews of the Best Cello Bows
The Piano Guys is offering a bow with the sound and responsiveness of a wooden bow, but with more durability and consistency. The carbon fiber bow is stronger, waterproof, and humidity proof. They’re designed to last.
If you’re looking for a less classical bow suitable for any genre, this may be it. That’s the intent with all TPG bows; you’re not stuck in a box for performance. Plus, TPG wants you to have a bow with style. We think these goals have been achieved.
The carbon fiber paired with classic ebony frog and silver fittings should look and sound incredible. And if it doesn’t, don’t fret. A lifetime warranty guarantees that your problems with the bow will be taken care of.
You’re getting quality with these materials, and a sturdy bow. But without the weight something so stable might bring. The weight of the bow itself is unspecified, but we’re guessing it’s around 2.46 ounces by the shipping weight of 2.71 ounces.
If you’re looking for a professional bow, you’ve found it. This stunning carbon fiber bow with a burgundy walnut diamond finish is the height of professional-level quality.
The bow is light and easy to play, and JonPaul claims it’s unbeatable in its price range. With its elegant look and premium construction, we don’t doubt it.
This bow is targeted at professionals, but there’s no reason a beginner couldn’t use it too. It’s fitted with the best materials and finished classically. If looked after, it should last years, through the beginner stage right into the pro-level sound.
Its round stick is carved in one piece, and it’s of an exclusive caliber. The frog is fine ebony, and the head is Peccatte-Maline style.
Charles Peccatte and Nicolas Maline were two renowned bow makers, among the most skilled there’s ever been. That’s how you know you’re getting a high-quality bow. There’s nothing like modeling your playing tools after the works of the greats.
CodaBow is one of the best cello bow makers. It’s known among musicians for making bows of exceptional quality and durability.
This bow isn’t your traditional wooden bow but made of carbon fiber. There’s debate about whether carbon fiber or wood is better that’s yet to be won, but many carbon fiber bows are cheaper. That’s a bonus because it means this is a professional-level bow for a pre-professional price.
Yes, a pro player might like an upgrade at some point, but as the name suggests, this one is perfect for prodigies.
And yes, the price seems high—but other CodaBow bows sell for double the price. Other non-CodaBow ones can cost thousands!
This bow includes nickel fittings and an ebony frog. Nickel is another reason the price point is lower than a pro bow. It wears down faster than silver, which is usually used in the fittings of a cello bow. This is why the bow is excellent for students.
By the time you master the craft, your bow might be ready for a replacement. Then you can invest in something even more professional, with shiny silver fittings.
All MIVI cello bows are hand-carved and strung with Mongolian horsehair by luthiers. The individual attention from knowledgeable professionals ensures that not a single bow lacks promised quality.
This bow is made of the standard, classic Pernambuco wood. It also features an ebony frog, a wood commonly used in instruments, especially string instruments. On top of that, the fittings are classic silver, made to last.
The classic bow is lightweight, but the exact weight isn’t specified. It’s excellent for beginners who want to get a feel for the bow and instrument as it’s light and inexpensive. You can move onto something more professional later.
Coming with rosin makes it more suitable for beginners. New players likely don’t have that gear yet. Overall, this is an excellent bow with incredible value.
If you’re an absolute beginner wanting to know if the cello is for you, here’s a bow that should be suitable. It’s inexpensive, but still high-quality for what it’s made of.
This bow is made of brazilwood, which is a lower quality Pernambuco. That doesn’t make the bow low-quality itself, though. It’s well made and handcrafted, with an oil varnish finish for a stunning look.
The materials outside of brazilwood aren’t specified. Due to how common it is, we can assume the frog is ebony. The fittings are likely nickel or similar judging by the price and use of inferior wood.
It’s a lightweight bow, easy to carry and hold, and of great beginner quality. It’s strong, stable, and should last until you’re confident in your playing.
Types of Cello Bows
Cellos are more complex than they seem, with three main types to choose from. Two of these types are featured in this list, with the third being fiberglass.
The strength, sound, and price of the bows vary based on the materials used.
Wooden bows are a classic, and formerly an industry standard.
Almost every cellist will own a wooden bow at some point. Traditionally the bows are made of a Brazillian wood called Pernambuco. It’s chosen for its quality, including sound quality.
An example of a Pernambuco bow is the MIVI. It’s a fine bow made with a classic look and feel in mind.
Cheaper wooden bows are made of brazilwood; this is Pernambuco too, but lower quality parts of the wood. The sound quality won’t be as good, but it’s a great budget or beginner option.
The SKY is a prime example of a beginner, budget brazilwood bow.
Carbon Fiber Bows
Carbon fiber bows have the luxury of being both sturdy and possessing a stunning sound. Carbon fiber is also more waterproof than wood, making it better to use.
Wood, even treated, can absorb moisture over time; this may cause it to break and warp faster than a carbon fiber bow.
In the past, it wasn’t as easy to get a wooden-bow sound with a carbon fiber bow. Since then, the technology has advanced, and in some cases, carbon fiber bows are better. Of course, this is subjective, and many cellists choose to carry a bow of each type.
An excellent carbon fiber bow is the CodaBow Prodigy.
How to Hold a Cello Bow
Holding your cello bow correctly should help prevent any accidents beginners may have.
Hold your bow in your right hand, at the end, with the frog in your hand. The rest should be pointing away from you.
Place your thumb between the leather pad and the frog. It’s best placed closer to the frog. Then fold the rest of your fingers loosely over the stick.
For a more stable grip, your second finger should be parallel to your thumb on the other side of the stick.
A firm, stable, yet flexible cello bow grip is best. You don’t want to drop the bow and have a mishap, but you don’t want it held rigidly. As you draw the bow back and forth, your grip will change slightly, so keep your dexterity in mind.
It’s also a good idea to keep a loose arm, too, further allowing you to move the bow fluidly across the strings. Just don’t keep things too free as you want to keep the weight of the bow evenly balanced as you play.
Best Weight of Cello Bow
The weight of your bow will depend on the size of your cello. Younger players won’t have a full-size instrument yet, so the bow will be smaller and lighter. Be aware of this when buying for a younger player and note all the bows we’ve reviewed are full-size.
The average weight of a full size bow is around 2.29–2.82 ounces. But don’t take this as law. Whatever feels most comfortable and easiest to play with is the best weight of a cello bow.
Consider trying out different weights at a music store before you order the one you want. If this isn’t possible, order a few online and weigh them against each other and return the ones that aren’t to your liking. Beware that this can be pricey.
How to Determine What Feels Comfortable
With this, it’s usually a case of the old cliché: when you know, you know. But if you’re unsure of what feels best, consider this: does your bow weigh you down? If your bow refuses to stay steady and isn’t easy to control, then that’s probably not going to be the most comfortable in the long run.
You want an evenly balanced bow when playing, that’s the key to mastering your technique. A bow that’s too heavy or light for you won’t let you achieve this goal.
Sound Qualities Depending on Weight
Beautifully playing the cello requires the right pressure on the strings. Heavier bows are often better at this with less effort. Their weight does some of the job for you. So, heavier bows can help produce more sound with less work.
However, overly heavy bows can be tiring to play with. They take more effort to play fluidly, making them contradictory.
None of this means heavier bows are objectively better than light ones, though. It just means if you want that big sound with a light bow, it’ll take more work on that front. Press harder, and you should achieve it—just not too hard, because that can distort the sound.
The Cello Bow Sensation
The most sensational and best cello bow of this group is The Piano Guys Carbon Fiber Cello Bow. It’s a stunning, sturdy, non-traditional bow that won’t weigh you down despite its strength.
The carbon fiber nature makes it more likely to last than a wooden bow. It shouldn’t absorb any moisture making it warp or swell.
If you prefer a more traditional looking bow, the JonPaul Avanti Model is the way to go. Classic, quality, and long-lasting. It’s got a high price tag, but it’s made to last, so it should be worth it.