REVIEW: Cello Bow Force - Bow Training Aid from Shar Violin Shop (originally posted on Instagram on June 13, 2019)
I bought this device specifically to review. I have used it for a month now. With all the business I have given to Shar over the last 2 decades, their customer service is less than stellar, but the only reason I come back to them is because of their unbeatable sale prices. I say this to highlight that I BOUGHT the Cello Bow Force to review. They didn't offer it to me free of charge to promote their new product.
PROS: This device does what they say it does: helps the player keep his/her bow straight. It is easy to put on and remove. I know many teachers are against such devices, but I believe that if used in moderation and stimulating critical thinking in the student, the Cello Bow Force is a great tool. The key is to have the student note the results of the better bow arm usage and the narrower rosin spot on the string.
CONS: The $34.95 price ticket. The Cello Bow Force is a simple concept made out of cheap materials. I believe $15 dollars would be a great price. As far as the cons for bow technique, there are a few. This device doesn't allow the player to go all the way to the frog (because the arch is too tall and wide) or the tip (because on the bow change the tip goes through the loop). Any kind of retakes are bound to get the hair stuck on the arch. This device works best for small, on-the-string strokes. My baroque bow was a total fail with Cello Bow Force.
CONCLUSION: This is a great concept and I would recommend it for a teacher to have in his/her arsenal. It should be used specifically to show the student how the bow arm and bow placement change for the better. The rest is up to the student to work out with a mirror. The build and materials don't warrant a $35 price ticket. $15 would be the best price in my opinion.
I hope this review helps teachers of beginners and intermediate students.