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re Kuhnla bows

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Selim, Mar 1, 2016.


  1. Selim

    Selim Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    New York City
    I would love to hear about anyone's experience with and thoughts on Steffen Kuhnla bows.
     
    Mgaisbacher and bskts247 like this.
  2. Better ask in the bow and rosin subforum, this is the string subforum.
     
    bskts247 likes this.
  3. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I have two Kuhnla bows. They are an exceptional value. I am really happy with mine, and would recommend auditioning one.
     
  4. Selim

    Selim Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    New York City
    Oops. Wasn't paying attention. Thanks.
     
  5. Selim

    Selim Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    New York City
    I've been playing for 40+ years but up until recently, with the purchase of a Kuhnla bow, I've always used bows of lesser quality. This had more to do with the nature of the music I was playing (pizzicato) than anything else. But I purchased the Kuhnla because I have resurrected my arco study and I've been going full blast at it. And I feel that after all these years, I deserve the best to work with

    I've got no complaints about the Kuhnla whatsoever - as far as I can tell, I've got a fantastic bow. But the reason I'm asking is because I wonder how much more you get with a premium priced bow (Dolling, Hudson, etc.). I have no experience with any of those more expensive bows, so I have no frame of reference for comparison.

    Is it the law of diminishing returns?
    Are the undervalued Kuhnla bows just a well kept secret?
     
  6. Mgaisbacher

    Mgaisbacher Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    I have also recently heard some great things about them and once people have them in stock I plan on getting some for a trial but string emporium says they may not have them until August.

    I would also love to hear other peoples opinions on them as well.
     
  7. Selim

    Selim Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    New York City
    Can I ask where you got your bows from?
     
  8. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I got them from String Emporium. Steve recommended that I try one. I did a blind audition with a Kuhnla, a Paulus, a Dorfler and a Rodney Mohr. I layed them all out on my piano bench, and picked one up at random. I played a few excerpts, solo sections, etudes, etc with each bow. The Kuhnla and the Mohr were always the top two. I preferred the Kuhnla for certain excerpts, and the Mohr for others, but it was always those two. The Mohr is a fantastic stick and he is making fantastic bows, but it is also 3x the price. I bought my second Kuhnla bow about a week later to have as a backup. It is his 'shop' model bow. I'm not sure what the difference is, but it was a bit less expensive. It is also a nice bow, but I haven't been playing it as much.
     
  9. Selim

    Selim Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    New York City
    Thanks NickyBass, that it helpful. I am loving the shop level Kuhnla from SE. Steve steered me toward it by saying that, other than the (real) silver, there's really no difference between the shop and master level, that the guy just doesn't do 2nd best. But he also said that Kuhnla says there is a difference. Can you give me any feedback on that?

    This less expensive bow is terrific, which is why I am willing to pay for what Kuhnla considers his best work.
     
  10. Mgaisbacher

    Mgaisbacher Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    I really want to try a couple Kuhnla bows but at the moment SE says they won't get a shipment in until August or September, Lemur says they will get some in in a month or so but they also charge $100 more than SE for the "shop" and $500 more for the silver mounted ones. Anyone know anywhere else to get them?
     
  11. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I definitely prefer the master model Kuhnla bow, BUT they are different models, so it's not really fair to compare the value. It all comes down to preference. The shop bow has the same level of craftsmanship. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
     
    Dave Reichle likes this.
  12. Selim

    Selim Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    New York City
    The Kuhnla bow you get from Lemur is different from the one you get from SE. At least the German bows. Lemur's version has wire wrap + grip, whereas SE's have none of those. I have no idea if that would explain the price differential.
     
  13. Selim

    Selim Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    New York City
    Also, gathering from the pictures, different frog shapes. Again, I'm only looking at German bow.
     
  14. Mgaisbacher

    Mgaisbacher Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    Oh okay, I've only really looked at french so I have no idea what the differences are, or if there is any real reason for the price difference.
     
  15. Stephen Koscica

    Stephen Koscica

    Apr 22, 2003
     
  16. Stephen Koscica

    Stephen Koscica

    Apr 22, 2003
    Nick,
    Just browsing here and came across this email about the Kuhnla bows. I have one too (a "shop" bow) and love it! From what I am reading, it appears folks here don't realize that our Kuhnla bows (French models) are "our String Emporium" models of bows that we actually supplied Steffen with in Germany to make for us, so these will surely be different. So there are two lengths of French bows: A shorter and a longer. Both not really a "short" bow, just a little 1/4" or so shorter than the other "longer" one. One, the longer one, was simply Reid Hudson's Sartory model bow (Reid said "ok"!) which Steffen copied for me and then the shorter one was that of my PW Bryant stick that l love so much, but with a wider hair. I try to keep all of our bows nice and clean, no rosin on them so that when players get them to try/buy they are not 'gooped' up with rosin. But one week with 4 different players all ordering the same sticks shipped out for trial, I took the liberty to try them ALL on my bass beforehand. I had about 15 bows on the kitchen counter and I got to try them all. I found two Kuhnlas that matched and one even out played my Bryant. I kept that one!! It is exactly like my Bryant, but it is stiffer wood. (very dense.) For some odd reason the Kuhnla gives me a better spiccato all around and I really enjoy using that one now exclusively. Also, on our models, the hair is a bit wider (like on a very expensive French model, Sartory) I think an important point here is that a frog is NOT the only detail that makes a French model "French". It's the length, the balance, the arching of the stick and the width of the hair. All this comes into 'play' (couldn't resist!). We also keep these in tight weight parameters, between 134-138 grams. We always felt that when making a good stick, we should stick with the proven original 'star' bows. For the German model, we rarely tell the Germans how to make their own models, right!? I tend to like the simple looking ones like Reid Hudson always did, without any wrapping on the stick and without French bow dots on the frog, leaving them simply plain (on the German models.) thanks for reading,
    Steve
     
    gnypp45, Dave Reichle and Mgaisbacher like this.

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