The violin bow went through dramatic evolution from the 1600s until the late 1700s. These were many styles and sizes of bows used prior to the standardization of musical instrument bows into what we now call Tourte or Modern bows in the late 1700s. The primary difference is length. The earlier bows were, in general, shorter and the later bows longer. Baroque bows that are almost like a modern Tourte bow tend to be called "Transitional Bows."
There is no such thing as a bow that is perfect for everyone. Bow preferences tend to be strong among violinists and fiddlers. This is especially true when it comes to bows for Baroque violin.
Contemporary Baroque violinsts usually develop strong preferences for very specific types of Baroque Bow. These preferences are, to some extent, based on whose music they play, as well as the preferences of their teachers (just like modern violin playing).
Through our association with one of the largest, if not the largest, maker of Renaissance and Baroque instruments in the world (located a mere 25 miles from our workshop), we have access to a very large stock of quality Baroque bows of every conceivable type, weight, wood and size. Prices start at about $400 for violin and about $600 for violoncello da spalla.
If you forced me to opine on the typical preferred Baroque violin bow, it would be the following:
- Short; in the 24" to 26" range
- Made of figured snakewood
- Absolutely straight (no camber) when de-tensioned
- Slight camber when tensioned (i.e. very stiff shaft)
- About 53 grams
- We look forward to helping you with your decision.