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bow prices

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Leco reis, Sep 28, 2005.


  1. Leco reis

    Leco reis

    Sep 2, 2004
    Astoria, NY
    Is it really worth it to pay 5K,6K,7K and up(some alot more)
    for a Bow?
    Do they really make a diff.
    Even if you count the art of making factor, some are more money then a bass(alot more wood).

    Just questions!!!!
    :eek:
     
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    YES. My Sartory (1871-1946) with a replaced old Frog sold for $6k in 1990. Now they go for 10-15k. I have a Bultitude (1908-1990) Bass Bow that I just got from London. There are 2 for sale I found in USA. One is 5K and one is 7K. Mine is the same model as the 7K one. I think it is as good as the Sartory but he just died 15 years ago. The prices for his bows are starting to climb rapidly. Only two Bows I have played in my life match this one, the Sartory and a Lamy selling for over 10k.

    Here is my Bultitude; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Bows/Bultitude/Bultitude.htm

    The Bow must be right for you in the upper price ranges. Pedigree also adds into the price as well. My Bultitude actually 'plays me'!
     
  3. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    Skeptical--I have to say i'm skeptical. First, it seems reasonable to distinguish playability from collectibility--the Bultitude bow didnt get any better after Bultitude died. It just suddenly became part of a permanentlly limited edition. So "worth it" as an investment is a different question from "worth it" as a tool.

    Second, I'm not a great or experienced bow player--all I have is a $150 brazilwood bow, and I'm not very good with it. So I'm far from an expert, and I'm asking here, not telling. But it seems to me that what makes a bow good has to do with the weight of the bow and its resiliance, its stiffness. The tone differences would seem to come from those two things, no? And it would seem like there must be a high degree of randomness in the way any given piece of wood sounds or hanndles once it's made into a bow. And then different playng styles work better with different tools. So isn't it true that a cheap bow could conceivably be a great bow? I suppose your chances of getting a bow you really like are higher with a skilled maker, but isn't it also possible that if a factory makes 1000 bows, some of them are going to be really good bows? Doesn't Edgar Meyer use a really cheap bow?

    So if this is true "worth it" is a tricky question. if you spend 150 bucks and wind up with a great bow--and maybe this never happens, I don't know--and you earn 50, 000 dollars with it over the next 20 years, it's a better investment than an expensive bow. Maybe--I don't know, I just wonder
     
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I was just down at Shank's yesterday and fiddled with a Samuel Kolstein bow, a copy of a Phretchner (sp?) that he made. It's the most over-the-top incredible bow that I've ever touched! I've been in love with this thing for a couple of years now, and every time I make it down to the shop and play it, my arco chops have advanced and I appreciate the bow even more.

    Barry Kolstein just did an appraisal on it at $8,500, and commented that it could be sold at $10,000 with a clear conscience. Now, I really hate the idea that instruments fall into the 'collectible' category and so eventually are only held on the hands of collectors (a la Picasso paintings and Ming vases), but I have to admit that this bow is worth every freakin' penny of that price tag and I'd have dropped the coin already if I had it.
     
  5. ...and then there's Edgar Meyer who reportedly plays a cheap-ass student bow that has been broken and mended in a couple of places, though I'm sure he could afford play any bow he wanted.

    Just an observation.
     
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    True Dat :) Of all of the other bows that I played yesterday -- about a dozen, varying just through just about the entire range of bow-dom -- the two that I liked the best were the one I driveled on about above, and my modest Jan Kulik. The Kulik probably because this is the one that I spend all my time with.
     
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    The differences between a well-crafted bow of quality pernambuco and a whatever wood factory bow are quite obvious, and even one with modest arco skills can easily tell the difference in tone and playability.

    These types of bows start around $1k depending on the maker and go up. I have played a bunch of these from various makers.

    The most expensive bow I have ever played is my teacher's bow. It was recently appraised at @ $4,500. It is an amazing bow, but I am certain one could be had that was equally amazing for less money.

    It's no different than a bass really. If you were somehow able to find a well-seasoned and absolutely amazing sounding bass of undocumented origin in good condition and later gathered evidence and research that pointed to a maker that is deemed a "master" you'd probably instantly double or triple the monetary value of the bass even though the bass is no more great than it was the day before.

    Many arco players are more attached to their bows than they are their basses. It makes sense to me.
     
  8. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    And in the interest of creating a rift, I would say that while his playing is unparalleled, his tone blows chunks.
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ray, you might have passed my shop withing a few minutes going to Shanks. I am just below RT.78 off of 309. A shame you didn't stop by.

    A Kolstein Bow for 8-10k would maybe be a one-off sale. I don't think the market is that 'rich' yet for Sam's Bows. I played a 100 year old Lamy for about 10k or so that I would buy but that's an old classic. I would have to compare it to see if I like it better than the Bultitude or not.

    On Bultitude Value is it possible that in his life time he was underrated and or under priced as he made many Bows and they were available. You don't see many around for sale but they are pricey!

    On Edgars Bow, until YOU or someone here actually plays it on Their Bass it would be impossible to pass juddgment on it. Edgar playing it does not make it a great Bow. Also, he is mainly using a Solo Italian Bass with tight string Spacing. I wonder if he uses the same Bow with his 5-string German Bass he uses in Chamber groups as I have seen him on TV.

    Some Bows play fine until you have to play Beethovans 5th or Figero. Then you play something with long sweet bows at ppp and you discover your Bow has no sound, tone or power by the tip unless you press down with the wrist. A Great Bow has tone, color, attack, balance for easy spicatto and everything else you can do in your head that you need the Bow hand to follow. That's what a great Bow is for me. I have a few good bows but only one Great Bow. I have played many many Bows and only a few are Great as I see it. If you need a great Bow, then a Good bow will not do. If you need a Good bow, then a cheap bow will not do either unless it's a lucky find. The Bass is hard enough to play as it is. Get the best tools you can afford and make it as enjoyable as possible.
     
  10. Hey Ray,

    I played that bow at Shank's a couple of months ago and loved it as well. That thing can bounce! Too bad Mike said he has no interest in selling it any time soon. Not that I could afford the price tag anyway.

    adam.
     
  11. prelims222

    prelims222

    Sep 20, 2004
    Southeast US
    5K is high for a lot of folks, and many people might never see the point. If you made your living playing with a bow and thought about your sound production for hours every day for decades -You might see differently.

    Or if you're loaded like Ken...
    :ninja:
     
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I work for a living and I don't drink. That's two ways I will never be Loaded. Loaded with wood and Basses? That's a different story. Almost every Bass I buy, I am buying a Job. The Shens and my Batchelder are the only two Basses that only needed set-up. The Batchelder needed some gears too..That's all..

    All my other Basses needed from 2k-15k of work. The Dodd needing the least as it was almost playable but needs the full set-up treatment. I re-wroked the Bridge and fingerboard, cleaned up the gear plates, made a new Nut and re-strung it. Luckly the Bass was fully restored and everything is still tight!

    I do have more than most and that I will admit that but I have to work to pay for everything I own. I have been working for 35+ years full time and worked as a child/teen part time since I was 10. I think I have earned all that I have aquired.
     
  13. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Nobody is faulting you for that. I just think that most could not even consider buying a bass that still needed $15k of work to be done. It's great that you or anybody is willing to restore these old instruments.

    You've worked hard (up hill both ways). Your company puts out a sought after quality product. Don't get defensive. Enjoy it.
     
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Damn, Ken! Had I known I was so close I would have stopped by.

    I don't think that this bow is valued on Sam's name as much as it's a ridiculous bow.
     
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Not trying be be defensive as much as being informative. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Ray, I have a great German Bow that will only sell up to it's Pedigree. If it were a Fetique, it would be 4-5x the $. I have two Eibert bows that play as good as many 3-5k Bows. I can maybe get 3k for one and 2+ at most for the other. If they had a more famous name, it would go higher. Bows are usually sold within the market range of that maker. I have a Morelli bass that has a 40-60k tone easily. It is priced at 21k because of what it is. If a maker is good or his products in circulation are, the price will go up in time.

    Next time you are coming out to PA, you must stop by. I have 5 nice bows to play with and a few nice Basses to try them on, just for fun ofcourse....Don Z is also in the area. We can all do lunch up by me as well.
     
  16. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    everyone is telling me I'm wrong but no one is saying why--what are the qualities that make a great bow great, and what does the maker do that assures greatness?
     
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Sounds very good!

    I guess that all I was trying to get across was A) How I feel about 'collectability' and B) That this bow would draw that kind of money out of me based not on if Sam, or Gus at the Texaco in Park Slope, made the bow, but that I would walk away happy at that price -- and, in fact, probably consider it a steal. I think that the magic that this bow possesses is evident in the coveting that this bow creates (I'm not the only one) and the fact that it'll likely never be sold at all. This is one of those things that gets passed on to special folks from special folks.
     
  18. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    And, if Edgar's tone sucks, I wanna suck, too!
     
  19. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    There was an explosive old thread with a former 'friend' of ours name Maestro called something like 'When is More Really More'. That topic that you're getting to is collectability v. value, etc., etc.

    Ultimately, it's worth it to you or it ain't, and there's not a lot to get done by trying to convince anybody why it is or isn't.
     
  20. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I think that first, the maker must choose good wood. Then he has good experience, design and craftsmanship. On the Great Bows, the maker makes the Frok and screw from scratch as well. Value comes when the maker has proven to the pros and dealers what his bows on average are actually worth and what people are willing to pay for them.

    Here is a quote I made in an earlier thread today. Please read it if you missed it;

    "Some Bows play fine until you have to play Beethovans 5th or Figero. Then you play something with long sweet bows at ppp and you discover your Bow has no sound, tone or power by the tip unless you press down with the wrist. A Great Bow has tone, color, attack, balance for easy spicatto and everything else you can do in your head that you need the Bow hand to follow. That's what a great Bow is for me. I have a few good bows but only one Great Bow. I have played many many Bows and only a few are Great as I see it. If you need a great Bow, then a Good bow will not do. If you need a Good bow, then a cheap bow will not do either unless it's a lucky find. The Bass is hard enough to play as it is. Get the best tools you can afford and make it as enjoyable as possible."