How to Buy a Bow

There are many factors to consider when trying out a bow for purchase. In addition to the initial considerations of price, size, materials, workmanship and age, you can evaluate a number of playability factors. When calling LAH Bows with the intention of trying out a bow/bows, I will ask you about your initial considerations (including what level of player you are) so that I am able to help find the best match for your needs.

Click here for a printable chart for use during bow comparison and evaluation. (Download the FREE Acrobat Reader to read, navigate, and print this PDF file.) 

Initial Considerations




full size | fractional size (for children)


wood | other


new | restored

Playability Factors

Comfort of Frog & Grip

comfortable | moderately comfortable | uncomfortable

Perception of Weight 

good | too heavy | too light

Strength of Stick 

good | too stiff | too flexible

Tone Quality 
of Long Tones

pleasing | too bright | too dark

Consistency of Tone 

good | changes gradually | changes suddenly

Loud Dynamics 

plays very loudly | plays moderately loudly | does not play loudly

Soft Dynamics 

plays very softly | plays moderately softly | does not play softly

Action of Spiccato
and Sautillé

bounces well | too much bounce | too little bounce

Tone Color Contrasts 

many colors | few colors | only one color

Vibrato Color Contrasts 

allows many colors | allows few colors | allows only one color

Bow Directional 

not noticeable | somewhat noticeable | very noticeable