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Favorite Bows

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Comrade Lewis, May 15, 2005.


  1. Comrade Lewis

    Comrade Lewis Guest

    Jun 20, 2004
    Athens, Ga
    Just out of coriousity who are you guy's favorite bowmakers and why.
     
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The best Bass Bows I know of from experience are from Sartory, Fetique, Vitale(NY), Vigneron, Picatte, A.Lamy, Etc.. These are some of the classics the I have played. I used to own a Sartory but sold it shortly after I retired in 1990.

    Other fine older makers include Morizot, Bazin, Lotte, Paul Bisch and several others..

    Some new makers are out there now with dozens of great Bows and styles to model after. Two Bow Makers I know of are Elizabeth Vander Veer Shaak and Sue Lipkins. I played a beautiful Bow by Elizabeth recently and had great workmanship and style. Sue has a 2 year waiting list as of the moment. I am on her list of course. I would like to get a Bow that will replace the Sartory I used to have but taylor it to how I play now and what I will use it for.

    There are many many other Bow makers I didn't mention as I don't know them all and don't wanna write dozens more name just for the sake of it. Above are some of the main names to look for in both Elite and Good workable Bows. I recently saw Hal Robinson (Philly Princ.) and he has a Vitale Bow and claims to love Vitalies. I also owned one back around 1970 but sold it to Stanley Clarke after it was damaged and repaired. I had bought a 'Roche' bow during the repair time and when the Vitalie was finished Stanley happened to need a Bow so I sold it to him, perfectly repaired as he has used it for over 30 years as-is. As Hal mentioned he likes the Vitale so much, I figured it could go on the "A" list.

    This is a nice thread so let's keep it going with Personal experiences as well as wishes and 'to die for' Bows. We can also discuss all those other Shop Bows from Germany, France and USA makers as well as the copies that are often very workable.

    My two main Bows now are both by Peter Eibert. My Sweet smoothe playing/sounding stick was recently made a few years ago and was just re-haired by Elizabeth. Between her fine rehairing with some slightly darker courser hair and an old tub of Pops I found at Arnold Schnitzers' that had an exipired date, I only have to Rosin the Bow once every day of two.. My other Stick is from about 1979 and it is stiffer and a tad brighter but has great attack and power.

    Tell us all about your favorite Bows and experiences .....Everybody...And.. Ask questions as well.. Free info and tips from others will come..
     
  3. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I second Elizabeths bows. I have played two of hers. The one Ken played (which she made for a cellist that had a bass gig) and the one that Tyrone Brown owns.

    UNfortunately she no longer takes commisions for bass bows. she refers all bass bows to Sue.
     
  4. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I'll also say that Ken's 152g Eibert bow(he has two) sounds about as good as anything I have played. It is a gem that sounds better than bows costing 2 or 3 times as much that i have played.
     
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    DZ and others... I just came back to the office to Drop off my Bass.

    Sunday I played in a 19pc Chamber Orchestra and did the entire Mozarts Requium. The Bass part IS the Cello part as it was written 200 years ago.. What a workout.. I used the lighter bow(lol) 144-146g depending on the weather.. This now sounds alot better with a re-hair. Not as much bite as the 152g but not far from it. It is a little smoother and wider sounding. Perfect on the Gilkes.. Like a marriage.. Bounces like Iverson... and dribbles too if I'm not careful and get a lil sloppy..lol

    I am anxious to have her re-hair the 152. I can't imagine how much better it can get.
     
  6. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    what if anything did she have to say about the Eibert bow ?
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Well, the fact that it worked better for me than the Balint bow did not make her smile but she has others lined up to try it. If it just had the Bite I was looking for, we would have the deal. She also knows her bow is not the specs I am looking for either so it was just business.. She rehaired the Lighter stick of mine and I paid her.. Plain and simple.. Bottom line.. I like the bow..I'm playing it !

    I will give her the other to rehair when I can get it to her. I like her work.. Bottom line.

    Anothe symphony player auditioning for the National Symphony came by sat. night and tried my Bass on stage. The comment was, "This bow bounces better than mine". That was the rehaired lighter 144-146g bow. For some reason my Bows are 2g lighter in the summer now.. Go figure..

    DZ, you can ask her about my Bows.. Know her and Sue, my Bows are not up to that level they make as both my bows have commercial frogs and not handmade ones. Only the Sticks were made by Eibert.. They work.. Im set until I find something like my old Sartory in sound and playability and MUST beat what I have now.. Alot..
     
  8. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    I am interested in this practice. What is the real significance of this approach to bow making?

    I spoke with, tried, and later purchased a bow by a Oklahoma maker named Tom Owen. His bows are very nice for the $$$. My teacher is of the belief that the bow is about as nice anything you'll run across without looking for a long, long time. It plays very well and sounds really good.

    Anyway, Mr. Owen takes the same approach. He uses the best quality European frogs that he can buy, but he doesn't make them.

    His comment to me was that he can see no way that this practice impacts the playability or sound of the bow. All it would really do is raise the price he would be forced to charge. His comments were that, in terms of labor hours, the handmade frog would nearly double the cost of the bow.

    I, for one, am quite taken with his approach, as it has allowed me to own and play a bow of much higher quality than I would otherwise be able to afford.

    I can see how the idea of a completely handmade bow is attractive. I wish to be the last to discount the value of craftsmanship and artistic expression, but if two sticks are otherwise equal in material quality, craftmanship, playability and sound, why pay the extra loot for the handmade frog?

    Thoughts?
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    In fine made Bows and vintage bows, the frog is very important. It is like a Strad with a different scroll. It MUST be all original to have it's full value.

    When I sold my Sartory I was told the Frog was old but not an original Sartory. The Bow fetched 6k in 1990/91. With the Original frog, the price would have been 10K.

    4K for the Frog to be original.. That's a few bucks.. The Balance and feel is also in the frog as well. The Button is also made and put on the screw. that is part of the ART of Bow making, not just Stick making..
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I have a Glasser...I believe it's made out of carbon fiber. German. Cost me all of $56. Symphony gigs, here I come!

    One day I'll have a fancy heavy bow made of pernambucco, but for now it would sound just like my Glasser anyway.

    Comic relief moment over. You may now resume speaking way over my head.
     
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    The $56 Glassers are actually made of fiberglass. Glasser does offer a CF bow, but it goes for around $300 or so.

    I started with one of those bows. The first lesson that I ever took with my teacher included a speech about the bow and how I should put getting a decent bow and getting rid of the "plastic" bow as he liked to call it at the very top of my priority list. In fact he said, "don't buy anything bass until you have decent bow. No books, CDs, strings, nothing."

    As for your sound, if you are able to make anything close to a musical tone with that Glasser, you would notice a HUGE difference replicating the same thing with a good stick. It really is that obvious.
     
  12. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Ken, did you know that the frogs were commercial when you bought the bows ?
     
  13. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Actually, when I tried the first Bow already made (c.1979) at the shop about 4 years ago I thought the Frog was too high for my taste. I asked him to put a lower Frog on it that he had. Did not bother me one single bit at all. I don't think he makes many frogs if at all for his Bows. On the second bow, made to be like a Sartory, I didn't expect him to make a Frog either, just to pick a low frog and make it fit..

    On older Pedigree Bows and Instruments, original parts play a big role in the value. Sometimes, if it is well matched and in keeping with the Instrument, the price is the price..

    Watch out for my Mystery Bass in a year or so. We are almost certain that the Head is Not original but Value will be in the performance of the Bass.
     
  14. littlekatie

    littlekatie

    Jul 14, 2004
    London, UK
    i have a fantastic french style G Werner pernambuco, solid silver fittings, white haired bow. Its a bit lighter than you guys' at about 130g, but then im a little lady. it saw me through holsts planets, mozarts requiem, capuzzi concerto, bottesini tarantella in A minor, scheherazade...and thats just until now! its a fab bow :D

    do you have G Werner over there???
     
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Katie, I did the Planets with my heavier Bow and my Batchelder Bass. I just did the requiem on sunday with the Gilkes and the 146g Bow.. Easier playing Bass, lighter bow..

    BTW, how would you rate the difficulty of the Requiem as far as difficulty goes.. I had a few trouble spots in the Offertorium mostly but thought it was a very challenging part being that it is actually a Cello part.
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Chasarms, hopefully I can hire your teacher to tell me the same thing so my wife will buy into it. But I really don't want to spend a lot on a bow when I have no intention of making classical music my life. So what would be a good price range for a good bow that delivers ease of play vs. cost? Looks like you can spend as much or little on one, but what's the minimum for one that won't get you laughed out of the audition?
     
  17. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    I'm not making classical music my life either, but if you want to play out with the DB, unless your interests are strictly stylized, like jazz, folk, etc, you need to have some arco chops. I've played many 2 hour gigs of all arco that never touched anything classical.

    As for your question, you can get a usable factory bow for around $500. There are bargains out there, but you have to look. At least a cheap Brazilwood, like the Gollihur bows for less than $200, would roughly replicate the feel of a real bow.

    I bought my Oskar E. Meinel (a Roth bow from @ 1950s) for a little less than that but have spent about $350 in repair/storation.

    The Owen bow was more.
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    $500, huh? Phew! This double bass crap is just a big money pit! No wonder electric basses became the rage...who could afford to play double bass?!?
     
  19. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    .........."Silence is Golden" ........

    Releasing steam slowly to avoid explosion............
     
  20. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    The "rage" as you call it had nothing to do with money and EVERYTHING to do with volume...Do you know why the elctric bass came into being ?