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Higher-End Range Bows

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Aroneng, Mar 21, 2004.

  1. Aroneng

    Aroneng Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2001
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    Interested to hear those who own or have auditioned bows that would be considered in the higher end or higher pedigree. Did you have a hard time deciding between different makers or between bows of the same maker. Which makers did you consider. Thanks
  2. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I recently stopped looking for bows after having one made for me by Sue Lipkins (French stlye). The bow is absolutely fantastic, and it makes my bass sound great.

    I shopped for bows for a couple of years, and there are lots of good ones. But for me, the Lipkins bow improves the sound and responsiveness of my bass so much that it almost seems like a different, higher-grade instrument than it does even with other fine bows.

    And that's the great thing about fine bows. Few of us can afford a stellar, pedigreed bass. But most of us can afford nearly the finest bows available. Your bow is responsible for a huge part of your sound. (How much? To me, it seems like half the equation, though that's obviously subjective.) Someday I'd like a Maggini or Gabrielli bass, but I think I have the bow half of the equation solved.

    As for your shopping question, I recommend finding a dealer or forum allowing you to play a lot of bows on your bass. The ISB convention every two years is probably as good an opportunity for that as we get. In between conventions, a dealer with a lot of bows is your best bet. Kolstein, Robertson's, Hammond-Ashley, Shank's, Gage, Guarneri House, and others probably would fill the bill. Pick the one closest to you, pack up the bass, and pay a visit!
  3. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    YES! Sue makes wonderful bows. I've owned two, one French, the other German. And the value increases over time as people catch on to her work. My Lipkins bow has been tried by players from the Met, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, and the faculty of Manhattan School of Music. The reaction is the same every time: before they give the bow back, they smile at it.
    Good choice, Pete.
  4. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    I'm a little late to this thread, but I too have one of Sue Lipkins' bows, and can also attest to its greatness. Mine is a copy of a Vingneron, and it plays and feels as good as the original from which it was copied.
  5. The Jazz Lawyer

    The Jazz Lawyer Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    Northern NJ
    Lipkins, Susan (845) 679-4453
    2290 Glasco Turnpike
    Woodstock New York 12498 USA
    Making of bass bows. By appt.
    Email: sue@ulster.net Website:

    I thought it would be a good idea to put Sue's contact info up.
  6. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    And you want to see a wonderful bass maker?


    That is her partner's web-site...talk about one stop shopping! You can get yourself a bass and a bow all in the same visit!
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Yeah, I love his website, especially the "Eric's New Cello" photoessay. I've looked that one over many times.
  8. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    If you like that one Marcus, you'll love this:


    It's not finished yet, so bookmark it and keep checking back to follow the progress to completion!

  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I used to own a fantastic Sartory Bass bow. I bought it in 1973 and sold it about 20 years later after I retired from playing in NY. I also owned a Kolstein for a short while as well as several Morizots, Gustave Villaume(was nice but too long so I had S.Kolstein shorten it),Vitalie(sold it to Stanley Clarke after getting the Sartory) and several other now esteemed bow names which then were just common.
    The Sartory was KING. Once when I was selling a French Bass(Barbe) to a young player in NY his teacher, then in the Met. came over to try it for him. I gave her the Bow to try the Bass and she took one look and said " You wanna sell this Bow?" I said "No, it's the one I use" .... She answered," If you Ever wanna sell it, Call ME"....... I heard that same line several times and even got called by several Dealers when I started my company to sell the Sartory.
    A Morizot is considered a nice Bow today but back then it was just a spare compared to a Sartory.

    A 'good' Bow will help you play. A 'great' Bow will make play your best !
  10. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    +1 -- my bass teacher has a couple of Sartori bows, and they are quite nice indeed.
  11. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    my teacher owned one. he left it on his stool during an orchestra rehearsal, forgot it was there...sat on it...and it snapped in half. :crying:
  12. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I played an Andre Vigneron bow that is supposed to be worth around $14,000. It was a pretty incredible experience. Of course, I was also playing it on a Panormo bass that is supposed to be worth $175,000. Yep... best bass-playing experience I've had.

    Sue Lipkins bows are sort of overpriced. I would not pay more than $3,500 for one of them. Nor would I wait 3 years.
  13. supply and demand, man. if enough people are asking for your stuff, the prices go up.
  14. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I don't know what your experience is with the Lipkins bow nor do I know how you play. I just recently bought one used but very new. It was made just last year for a Pro Orchestra Player in NY. He has 3 Bows now and just bought an expensive Italian Pedigree Bass. To raise money he offered to sell me the Bow and I gladly accepted. I love this Bow. I can do some things on it that I can't with the Bultitude but not much. The Bultitude has a slightly more mature sound but plays a hair (slightly!) shorter than the Lipkins. It needs some new and good hair. It had Black hair when I got it and never liked it. When I have time, I will get Sue to re-hair it for me. I like the hair on the Lipkins.

    I ordered a Lipkins Bow about a year ago so I have one more year to wait from the 2 year time back then. I called here to let her know I have the other Bow and to confirm I still want another one. Maybe like my Sartory but it's been over 15 years and my memory is faint of the feel of my old Bow.

    Recently at an Orchestra rehearsal two other Philly Pros tried my Bultitude and commented on what a 'machine' it was. One of the players has a DeLuccia and the other a fine Morizot. The Morizot owner mention that if money were available would buy the Bultitude and use the Morizot as a spare.

    These are Pros that play for a living and can judge the difference between good and great Bows. When the price doesn't matter because that is the going rate for Bows or Basses of similar quality, then the purchase is a matter of taste only.
  15. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    I didn't realize they were up so high -- I got mine almost 10 yrs ago, so the price and wait were quite a bit less. Great bow though.
  16. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I believe they are now $5800 with a 3 year wait.

    Ken, I've played 3 Lipkins bows, and she did one rehair for my Ary (which is a mediocre bow).

    To me, this is like the "is Miles Davis overrated?" debate. Lipkins bows are fabulous, but they still cost more than I think they are worth. In 10 years a new one will probably cost less than it does now -- once every major orchestral bassist has one already.

    I played a Vigneron copy made by a local bassist last night. And then I compared it to the amazingly nice/valuable original. The differences were not huge. And then the guy tells me he can make me a bow in a week (40 hours of work), for $1250. What am I supposed to think? Lipkins bows, to me, are not $4500 better.
  17. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    If you don't already know, Jean Grunberger makes incredible bows. He makes Francois Rabbath's bow. jean@grunbergerbows.com
    His bows are extremely balanced, on the lightweight side, with alot of curve, and a wide ribbon of hair. I held one once. Amazing. He designed the Carbows, but his real wood bows are where it's at. At $4K, it's worth every penny. His Carbows are reasonable for about $950 or so. Gilles Duhaut also makes great bows in the Rabbath school of bowing. I'm probably going to buy me a Prochownik bow though, as it's more affordable, and more along the lines of something that could be used both for Rabbath style playing and orchestral playing. George Vance is very knowledgable and you can contact him through his website, www.slavapub.net. Look at his downloads, you'll find more about it at "Equipping the Beginner". Not much is mentioned about the high end Grunberger bows, but George has two of them. So dang nice, let me tell you. I can't afford that this time--but I'm shooting for a Prochownik bow and a Kolstein Guarneri within the next six months. I'll have to sell some stuff soon.....keep looking on Bassgear dot com!!!!
  18. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    Chacun a son gout.

    I can't tell you how many bows I "test drove" before settling on my Lipkins bow, including a Grunberger, a Fuchs, and a number of bows by Reid Hudson. To me, without disparaging any other very good bows, the Lipkins bow *IS* that much better -- certainly enough better to justify the cost differential to me.

    Obviously, not everyone will agree. There are people who think a top plywood bass is plenty good enough, and if that meets their needs, God bless 'em.

    But the notion that Lipkins bows will decrease in price is unconvincing. Sue doesn't make a lot of bows, and those who sell bows can't keep them in stock at any price charged so far. She's getting better. She has good pernambuco.

    Ask yourself, what basses by good makers have gone down in price? Not Hachez. Not Arvi. Not Lakeberg & Baer. Not Pollmann. Why should bows be different? For that matter, have prices gone down on bows by Fuchs, Grunberger, or other top makers? I don't think so.

    Quality sells, and it sells at the top of the market. I don't know of anyone who makes a higher quality bow than Sue these days, though, as Ken says, at a certain price range personal taste plays a great role in individual's decisions.
  19. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Comparing my Bultitude Bow (7k market price) and my Lipkins Bow (@5k+ market price) I can see clearly what each Bow can do. Now I also have some monster Basses to test them on. I have compared side by side these two bows with my Martini and Dodd as well. One must have the taste know what they are listening to. If you play a plywood Bass or a new carved Bass and that's what you are used to, these tools are on another planet by far.

    I don't expect everyone in the world can tell the difference. That's why we have fast food in USA. It's good enought for most but not all.

    I can do things on the Bass with the Lipkins Bow that I can't do with the Bultitude and can't even dream of with other Bows. I have owned, used and tried a rainbow of Bows in the 'who's who' in Bow making. After playing all these Bows of some great and some not so great I can tell you that the Lipkins Bow is one of the finest Bows made ever anywhere, Period!!
  20. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    If you can't spend 50k on a new bass, do spend 3k or up on a new bow. It really helps that much. I think for a student with an ok bass, 5-10k, the most meaningful upgrade below 5k is a new bow.
    Steve Freides likes this.

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