1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Historic/Pedigree German Bow Makers

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by MikeCanada, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I know there are a lot of posts about who prefers what, and that a Sartory can sell for the price of a small house, and there are a lot of really great French makers out there. I have seen and had the opportunity to play some really nice French bows, a Sartory that was beautiful, a Morizot that needed some repair but was wonderful, and I thought they were great. I don’t usually play French bow, but if I somehow owned one of those fantastic bows, I would likely return to those dark days of my youth.

    Anyway, when German bows come into the mix, the trend seems to be modern makers. I know that there are some fantastic modern makers out there, and I do not mean them any harm. I know that Sue Lipkins comes to mind, and although I have not had the pleasure, I have heard amazing things about her bows. Being Canadian, I know Reid Hudson makes great bows, Max Kasper has pretty much cornered the “Quarrington School” Zdzislaw Prochownik is a fantastic maker, and I have tried a Bernard Walke that I would say was as much a work of art as a good bow. I am sure that there are other Canadians that I have not mentioned (please excuse my ignorance) and I know there are numerous international makers that are fantastic, but I am trying to look a little farther back than that.

    As many of you are aware, a lot of bow makers make copies of famous old makers. A lot of makers that make French bows have a ‘Sartory model’ or have copied a personal favourite of their own, such as an Ouchard or a Morizot. Other than Pfretzschner bows, I have yet to come across too many pedigree German bows. Are there resources out there? I have seen the Chris Brown ‘Discovering Bows for the Double Bass’ book, but there are maybe 4 German bows in it, and I seem to remember one of the Dragonetti style bows, and another transitional bow being among them.

    I am starting to make German bows, and since there are so many different models, especially frogs, I am trying to seek out different options/ideas. Where do I look?

    Thanks for your help.
  2. I think one model to develop should be from an archetypal Canadian wood. You could simply call it 'The Canadian'.

    It sounds regal, yet spunky. That would catch my eye. Marketing. Maybe 'The Yukon' would be a student model and on up to 'The Quebec' (or whatever is appropriate - I'm a Yank).
  3. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I also have a lot of ambition to throw caution to the wind and just make a German frog that fits in my hand well, looks roughly the way it should, and go from there. I feel like that should happen a couple of bows down the road though.
  4. It needs a small, stamped maple leaf somewhere. Mother-of-pearl is stale.
  5. PaulCannon


    Jan 24, 2002
    Frankfurt, Germany
    NS Design Endorsing Artist
    It's been done. Actually, it was a mother of pearl maple leaf inlay. Roy Quade, I think.
  6. scott reed

    scott reed Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2002
    Mike, Albert Nurnberger bass bows are as significant as H.R. Pfretchner's in terms of quality older German-style bows.
  7. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    Bernard Walke is well liked by bass players here in ottawa. He made a long german bow from some design recently and a friend of mine owns one. very well balanced, very even playing, if a bit springy due to length (for my tastes, of course. YMMV). I like his german bows quite a bit, but I find his French bows too tip-heavy for my taste. They are very old school because due to demand. I've got nothing but nice things to say in general, though, regarding both his work and him as a bowmaker and rehairer. He's very accomodating and is always interested in new and interesting things to try. He had a long german bow made out of Greenheart the last time I was there. It's normally used for fishing rods! quite an experience. very quick, very fast bow changes.

    In terms of what you could look at for design stuff, try finding pictures of the different frog styles. I am personally fond of the viennese frog, which kind of has a bit of a tail on the end instead of meeting the stick at a right angle (like this: http://www.seccioncontrabajo.com/e-store/774-487-thickbox/vienna-bow-german-model.jpg) but everyone has preferences.

    my only advice would be to explore! get messy, make mistakes, as Ms. Frizzle said. Try out things that might not work on the off chance that they do.

  8. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    I have a goldmount Roy. G. Quade german bow with a gold maple leaf on the frog.
    If anyone is selling a Quade german bow I will buy it outright
  9. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    I auditioned a Roy Quade french bow many years ago, and I still feel a little regret not purchasing it. I love the bow I ended up with, but man was that a nice bow...

    Mike, it occurs to me reading this thread that I believe we met maybe six years ago at the New Hampshire workshop.
  10. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Joey, I am fairly certain that we were at UNH together many years ago. It is a great program and there aren't too many like it out there, especially on the bow side of things.

    I have been working on a couple of different German frogs and haven't really settled on a model yet. As I see more bows by modern makers and develop my eye there are definitely similarities and many makers draw influence from Pfretzschner and Nurnberger. There are German frogs out there that appear heavily influenced by the French school of bow making as well. Given that the modern German bow is similar to a modern French bow in a lot of ways and that many makers study French methods, that makes a great deal of sense.
  11. Years ago, I played a Lothar Seifert bow that was wonderful. Should've never parted with that one.

    Prior to that, I played exclusively French bow, and I had a very good stick made by Horst Schicker. After I switched to German, I always wondered how Schicker's German sticks felt, but I've never had the chance to try one.

    If I'm not mistaken, Schicker is now retired; however, I believe Lothar Seifert is still making bows.

    BTW, I like the idea of experimenting with different frog sizes. I always sensed that I'd have a bit better bow control with a slightly smaller frog better fitted to my hand. Check out Carbow's Vincent Pasquier model (below) for possible inspiration. (Technically, this is a French bow with tall frog, but it's approaching a 'hybrid design' that looks curiously appealing.)

    Good luck, and be sure to share your experiences on TB.

  12. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
    I'd like to mention Samuel Kolstein and his fine German bows. One person, whom I consider very knowledgeable, told me that it was their opinion that Mr. Kolstein was the maker of some of the finest German bows around.

    Sadly, he passed in 1999.


Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.