Glasser 403SH-3/4 Horse Hair Cello Bow Review

If you’ve encountered problems with the bow that accompanied your cello, purchasing a replacement like the Glasser 403SH-3/4 Horse Hair Cello Bow could be the optimal solution. When I first started playing, I rented a cello with a bow that had warped from age. Investing in your own bow can make a big difference in ease of use and sound quality.

Things to Consider When Looking for a Cello Bow

Typically, if you are an entry-level cellist, you will begin with a rental. Rental cellos tend to be dated. The bow may be warped or unkempt, which will negatively affect your sound. This can easily be solved with a fiberglass bow like the Glasser. If you are an intermediate player seeking the best possible quality, a different material like pernambuco wood or carbon fiber might suit you better. Fiberglass bows, however, are inexpensive, but still provide the boost in quality that you need when dealing with vintage equipment.

The Glasser 403SH-3/4 Horse Hair Cello Bow

The Glasser 403SH-3/4 has a fiberglass stick with traditional horse hair strings. Much like similar models, this bow was manufactured by Glasser to satisfy beginners in need of a supplement to their rental setup.

The bow is rather light at approximately 68 grams, allowing for more practice time without tiring. It’s not as strong as wood, but it does the job well at a significantly small fraction of the price.

Pros

  • Hair: Uses horsehair for a realistic and reliable grip.
  • Reliability: The bow offers good reliability and decent materials for the price.
  • Reconditioning: The company offers a reconditioning program if the bow ever stops performing well.

Cons

  • Brand: Doesn't have a reputation as a top-notch bow brand.
  • Materials: The bow is made of fiberglass, which is generally not recommended.
  • Grip: The grip is an imitation lizard grip, which may feel unnatural to most players.

Features & Benefits

Fiberglass Stick

Glasser 403SH-3/4 Horse Hair Cello Bow

You might find the variety of bow materials to be a little overwhelming. Each material has its own positive and negative aspects, as well as its own price range. As a beginner, your best bet is fiberglass.

Fiberglass is light and easy to maneuver. It is also very inexpensive. While a pernambuco wooden bow might cost you upwards of $3,000, you can expect to pay less than $100 for fiberglass. This doesn’t mean that the bow is cheap, it just means that more easily sourced materials are used to optimize the entry-level bow.

Horsehair Strings

The most important part of the bow is the strings. Traditionally, horse hair is the material of choice for both cello and violin. Although synthetic substitutes have been made available, you can tell the difference between synthetic string and horse hair immediately. Horse hair goes a long way in improving your sound, which makes the Glasser 403SH-3/4 Horse Hair Cello Bow a strong choice.

Lightweight

The weight of the bow is something to consider, as well. For starters, you should be using a lightweight bow, so that you can learn to maneuver the instrument with ease. A heavier bow, such as wood or carbon fiber, will quickly and easily exhaust the muscles in your arm and hand. This could seriously stunt your growth in terms of advancing with the cello. You may need to use more force than you would with heavier bows, but lighter materials like fiberglass are suited to beginners.

Inexpensive

Whether you are renting or buying, playing an instrument like the cello is expensive. While you’re still learning to play and getting a feel for it all, I recommend that you keep yourself within a restricted budget. You want to get the best deal possible without sacrificing the quality, but you don’t want the same old bow you have now. Inexpensive fiberglass bows like the Glasser 403SH-3/4 Horse Hair Bow serve perfectly as your happy medium.

​Rating

Design

4.5

Performance

5

Construction

4.5

Value for the Money

4

User Satisfaction

4.5

Alternatives

If you aren't a beginner and you don't want the most inexpensive, starter quality cello bow around, here are some alternatives:

Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Cello Bow 4/4

Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Cello Bow 4/4

This carbon fiber bow is much heavier than the Glasser 403SH-3/4 Horse Hair Bow. It would best suit an intermediate player on a budget. If you already own a lightweight bow and feel that you need something with more weight to it, I would suggest looking into carbon fiber next.

Compared to Glasser 403SH:

  • Hand-made Carbon Fiber Cello Bow
  • Quality Siberian horse hair
  • Nicely Decorated Copper-Mounted Ebony Frog
  • Great Balance and Weight Distribution
  • Nice Arch with Good Bounce and Action

Vio Music #980 Full Size 4/4 Cello Bow Hybrid Carbon Fiber & Pernambuco

Vio Music #980 Full Size 4/4 Cello Bow Hybrid Carbon Fiber & Pernambuco

For the player who wants to take a step up to the rare, expensive pernambuco wood, but isn't quite sure of their ability, this bow should be just right. It is a hybrid bow, meaning that the stick is composed of a combination of carbon fiber and pernambuco wood. You get some of the benefits of more expensive materials without spending a fortune.

Compared to Glasser 403SH:

  • Hybrid Carbon Fiber with Pernambuco-best Gift for Cellist
  • 4/4 Size, Perfect Pernambuco Performance.
  • Nickel/Silver Mount
  • Natural horse hair
  • 718mm/28.3" ~ 80 grams/2.8 OZ

VingoBow Full Size Tourte Model MASTER Pernambuco Cello Bow

VingoBow Full Size Tourte Model MASTER Pernambuco Cello Bow

If you have a few years of experience under your belt and you'd like to try something more refined to take your sound to the next level, this bow may be appropriate. It's the most expensive on the list, but the high price is surely owed to its high quality construction and performance.

Compared to Glasser 403SH:

  • Pure pernambuco stick.Natural Mongolia Horsehair. Pure silver Parts. Master Level.
  • 100% handcraft.Great curve.Straight stick!
  • Sterling Silver Fitted Head Tip. Sterling Silver Fitted Forg and Screw.Sterling silver winding
  • Approx.80.5g,71.5cm (Including screw). Balance point is 260mm.Good combination of strength, flexibility and balance!

Final Thoughts

I have to say that the most important thing you can do to save time and money is to do your research before purchasing.

The most common problem for beginners is that their rental bow doesn't cut it. Either the hairs are frayed or the wood has been warped — regardless, there is a negative effect on sound that can be remedied by replacement. As I've explained, making a small investment in a fiberglass bow like the Glasser 403SH-3/4 Horse Hair Cello Bow is your best shot. It's lightweight, inexpensive, and designed to succeed.

Stephanie Su
 

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