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Favorite American makers

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by anthem274, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. anthem274


    Jul 19, 2003
    Arlington, TX
    Just out of pure curiosity, who are your favorite living American bowmakers? List as many as you would like.

  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I have played Bows by Peter Eibert (NY), Sue Lipkins (NY), Guiseppe Vitale (NY) and know of Deluccia (Pa) and have heard or only a few others that make Bass Bows. I've owned two by Eibert, one by Vitale and played only one by Lipkins which I had previously ordered one by reputation alone. I think she is one of the top Bow makers to be considered in USA.

    The problem with Bow makers today is the Wood. If they didn't by the wood 10 or 20 years ago, it will be difficult to make a great bow. Good is easy but Great doesn't come easy!

    Oops.. Living.. Just saw that.. In That case the best that I have played made by a living maker in USA is Eibert (84-85 years old now) and Lipkins. I would place Lipkins above Eibert as he does not make the Frogs or Screw, just the Stick. Sue makes everything. Also in Philly is Elizabeth Vander Veer Shaak who is a good friend of Sue's. I have also played one of her Bows that was Custom made for a client that requested an extra long Bow like that of a German model but with a French Frog. Her work is also beautiful but I don't think she will make Bass Bows anymore, just Violin, Viola and Cello.
  3. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    In the Phila area, there is also Bob Riccardi, who is located in Pennsauken, NJ. He makes bows as well as fixes basses.

    You can look up his site either on Google or Bob G.'s luthier's link.
  4. Recently bought a german bow by Robert Dow of Salt Lake City after trying out quite a few bows against it. I'm very happy with it, and feel he is one of the top makers around. Also played a Lipkins bow (wasn't for sale) while shopping and was impressed with it. There is a good reason she has a two year waiting period currently.
  5. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I wasn't aware that he made bows. Have you tried one? I must say, I've been going to Bob for over 10 years and he has been nothing short of great every time. Super nice guy and very fair. I'll have to ask him about that next time I see him.
  6. I just ordered a bow from her. She has a four or five year waiting list. She gave me an almost completed stick to look at during my last visit. I could feel the excellent balance and weight distribution. I'm really anticipating receiving that bow and using it.
  7. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    Ok, so I tried a few of Bob Riccardi's handmade bows last week. They are on the higher side, so I don't know if they are going to be an option for me, but they were all great bows. So quick to respond and I got such a huge sound with them. I am going to continue my search, but if I had the cash in my pocket that day, I would probably be playing one now.
  8. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    George Rubino in Maine is a fine bowmaker. He sells both completely hand-made bows and "student" models for which I believe he outsources the frogs and trimmings.
    Berniez40 likes this.
  9. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Plug for my brother-in-law, Tom Egan of Los Angeles. He's got many client in the LA Phil and (just as importantly) in the studio crowd.
  10. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005

    Wow! Any idea the price range of these bows? She must put an awfully lot of detail into these bows if you have to wait five years for one! But is it really a necessary wait? Surely there are other gifted makers that could comission a bow on much shorter notice with similiar precision?
  11. jfv


    May 5, 2003
    Portland, OR
    She doesnt take five years to MAKE a bow, she is just so
    popular that the line is that long to get one :)

    As for the price, I've heard they are >$5K, does someone
    know if you have to give her money up front?

    A lot can happen in 5 years, maybe you wouldnt really
    have to wait that long?
  12. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I got in touch with Sue last month. Here is what I found out. As of then, there were 35 people on the list with a 4 year wait. She does not require a deposit, just that you're serious about buying the bow. The cost cannot be determined at the time of purchase, but she is getting $4500 now and doesn't expect that to change in four years. Personally, I would be nervous about buying a bow sight unseen. Plus waiting 4 years may be fine with people who have a nice bow already, but, for me, I can't wait that long.
  13. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    I think that the Bows selling now for $4500 were ordered at least a year ago. I ordered last year at a 2yr wait and it was up to 5k. Now she just told me a few weeks ago it is $5500 and 3 years wait. I assume she takes over a month to make one bow with whatever other work like rehairs and repairs she takes in. I would guess next year it will be at least 6k for one of her bows.

    I bought one a few months ago (slightly used) and it just dances on the string like majic. I have a beautiful Bultitude that is older and more mature sounding but the Lipkins in time will be the beast to have. I expect to get my original order next year but if I find another, I might just grab it as well. Imagine owing a few Sartorys today! That's where these Bows are headed.
  14. David Forbes.....he is an amazing maker in central flroida. His violin bows have won countless competitions and I have a bass bow of his and it does whatever I want. When I showed it to Mr. Hurst here at IU he actually contacted him (not sure if he has ordered one yet) but Hurst gave his thumbs up
  15. jfv


    May 5, 2003
    Portland, OR
    So Ken, I've always wanted to see one of these babies,
    can you post pictures of yours, the Lipkins I mean...
  16. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    The nicest bows I've tried were a Bultitude when I was in NY at the Kolstein shop, and this beautifully crafted Reid Hudson Tom Martin Model.

    There's a bow going for 6k Canadian which my teacher owns, he says it was used by Tom Martin when he was in the Montreal Symphony. I might check it out, but 6k is a TON of cash!! :crying:
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Well, when I get some time I will put it up on my website but it is not for sale. I used the Lipkins last night and the Bultitude tonight. The Bultitude has some old brittle black hair and is in need of a re-hair. I will most likely have Sue do it. The Lipkins currently 'grabs' the string better but that could be the hair. Also, I used Oak Rosin last night with the Lipkins and Kolsteins soft Rosin tonight with the Bultitude. Different hair, different rosin, different music and different orchestras. Only the Bass and the player (me) was that same. Not quite an Apples to Apples A/B testing so it's hard to tell which Bow I like better.

    Kolsteins Bultitude was a similar model to mine. I also tried a Martin model Hudson Bow recently but it was no match for either of my current Bows.

    6K is not high for a great Bow. The Bultitude at Kolsteins was 7k and my Lipkins with an additional Screw for solo playing was just valued by her at 6k ($5500 + $500 for the second screw) so it depends on what you are spending it on. I can't get a Bass completly restored for 6k so that's a small amount in some circles. Now Golf Clubs, that's ALOT for clubs.. But they don't make that much on Clubs in Golf. It's the Balls they get you by!:D
  18. I don't mind the wait. It will take me that long to save for it.
    I'm sure I could get one sooner that would be of comparable quality from someone else, as you say.
  19. fendt1820


    May 3, 2006
    The best modern bows that I have played from North American makers are Grunberger and Lipkens. I have played at least 7 or 8 Lipkens and find that they pull a nice sound, but require you to play them as they want to be played. They bounce well in one spot in relation to their balance but not throughout the stick. The Grunberger's are great bows. I have played on nine of them before and currently own one. Mr. Grunberger has been making bows for many years while living in the US, but as of 2002 changed his model to be based on a hibrid of a Deluccia and a Vigneron. These bows have a great balance and vary in sound. The best American bows regardless of age that I have played are from the makers Deluccia and Vitale. I used to own a Deluccia and it pulled a massive sound out of the Italian bass I owned at that time. It was heavy, and a sort of a one trick bow, but I have played a few others. In particular, Peter LLoyd's is a magnificant bow. My former teacher Hal Robinson owns three Vitales and they have a beautiful sound and are his everyday orchestral sticks. The greatest bows ever, to me, have to be Vigneron, Sartory, and Fetique. I own a Jules Fetique which does anything you ask, and has the largest and richest clear sound of any bow I have played (and only weighs 138g). To me modern bows either sound covered without clarity or bright without richness. I am sure the old French makers had the same problem, but you cannot duplicate 80 years of playing in time even if the craftmanship is of superior quality. This is my first post and it is not meant to degrade any equipment, only just relay my personal findings. Thanks.
  20. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    i dont know anything about bows really....but i do know that someone is gonna ask Fendt1820 to fill out his profile...

    so, Fendt1820 you should fill out your profile so people can know some details about you, it's kind of curteous too.