Sorry about the mildly NSFW painting of the Scales of Justice. It was not my intention to be prurient. My goal was to pick out a softer rendering as contrasted with a photo of a cold statue at a courthouse. The painting, by Elizabeth Briel, is used here under a CC license.
I’m getting frustrated with my current bow, and with my modest book advance I have an opportunity to upgrade. I’m going to take that opportunity before my money vanishes, which it often does.
A few things I’m learning about bow trials:
- Play simple things, like scales and open strings so you can focus on the bow experience.
- If you don’t know, ask.
- Make sure you are price blind when you take the bows home for trial. If you want to try a bow out of your price range, it might be worthwhile to play it in the store, but not take it home for trial.
- Have somebody else play your cello for you
- Play simple songs that you know cold, not the stuff you are working on now!
In my price range, it was hard to get a bow that has everything (not surprisingly). I have a bow that felt strong (code name CF1) but the sound was just so-so. I had a bow (code name W1) that sounds warm, but had some issues in the lower half. Another, better Carbon Fibre felt great to play (code named CF2) , although also lacked a warm sound. Dan told me that it was too bouncy in some respects. I would not have detected this myself.
I think I know where I can find one more wood bow in my price range so I can get a full comparison. There’s also a good argument to be made for getting CF2 and waiting for another time to buy the wood bow when I may have the ability to buy a more expensive bow.
On the other hand, so I should get the bow that gives me the most enjoyment during practice right now and not be so pragmatic. In other words, I need to pick this with my artistic sense and not use too much analytic logic.
Currently, W2, a more advanced bow is out because it was better than the others, but not by such a margin that it is worth the amount it would take me out of my budget.
Summarizing: CF2 and W1 (more expensive CF bow, less expensive wood bow) are still in the running.
To be fair to the merchant who is giving me these trials, I am not revealing too much, so as not to impair confidentiality. I would like to try out a couple of bows from other merchants. Is this unethical? I always feel bad about doing this, but perhaps I need to get over that. But what is the polite way to say I need to try a few bows from other merchants before I make my final decision?