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Classical period bow? What is this thing?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by arwbass76, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm trying to identify an odd bass bow. It's something I've had lying around for years, and maybe someone knows what the deal is.

    The stick is about 25 inches long, and the tip is about 2 inches tall to give you some sense of the scale. I got it with a lot of other bows, and it never had a frog.

    If you are good with this sort of thing, let me know and I can send you pictures.

    Any input, or guidance to resources would be welcome. I can find lots of bow makers online, but not any good pictures and descriptions of bows.

  2. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Unfortunately even for bow makers, there are not a lot of good resources available. Christopher Brown: "Discovering Bows for the Double Bass" is one of the only books around. It was pretty expensive and is currently out of print. Brown focuses almost entirely on French bows and French makers and although it really is great and I would love to have a copy of it, it is far from complete. As for German bows, transitional bows, "Dragonetti" bows, or anything else that has popped up, I'm really not aware of resources.

    Most bow makers have learned the trade by studying with masters, and that knowledge gets passed through "generations" of bow makers as anecdotal stories, some basically myths. A few makers get to see a lot of really fantastic bows over their careers and seek out as much academic knowledge as they can but even then, there simply are not resources available. When good bows come through their shops, many make detailed technical drawings (diagrams with every conceivable measurement taken) and a few are starting to supplement their drawings with high quality photographs. Those drawings and photographs are very rarely shared as they can be the competitive advantage in the business.

    Books, especially those with the number of high quality photographs needed to be a valuable resource are expensive to produce, and accessing enough bows with enough pedigree to produce a book isn't easy. There are very few bow makers internationally and many of them have no interest in bass bows. There are even fewer players that are interested enough to study bows. Unfortunately, it doesn't make sense from a publishing point of view to produce the resources.

    Without a frog, (and I'm assuming a button) identifying the bow becomes even more challenging. George Rubino and Lynn Armour Hannings are both bow makers and bassists who have studied bow history and know quite a bit about older bows. I am assuming that this might be outside of their regular wheelhouse, but they would be two makers I would consider contacting and asking for some help. Some of the big shops (Salchow and Sons is a bow shop in New York) or David Gage, Kolstein, Upton etc. would also be places to inquire.
  3. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for the reply! I looked for the book you mentioned, but it is indeed quite rare. Apparently, it isn't even in the Library of Congress' collection. I will see about emailing those bow makers you mentioned for further insights-which I will post here.

    As always, if anyone wants to see some pictures, let me know.

  4. OldBows


    Dec 11, 2010
    I'd be interested to see pictures! Did you hear back from the other bowmakers that were mentioned here?

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