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Tom Owen Bow

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by robgrow, Mar 11, 2008.


  1. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    A few months back, I was on a serious hunt for a new bow. I tried several different bows ranging from $400 to $1200. I had as many as 10 bows on audition at one time, which was a little crazy for me. Among the bows I auditioned were two that were sent to me by Tom Owen, who is a bow maker from Coalgate, OK. Both of the bows he sent were very nice, yet slightly different. They also compared very favorably to the best of the other bows that I auditioned. I ended up buying a slightly used Tom Owen bow from a fellow TB'er, and it is by far the best of all the bows I auditioned and certainly my favorite. Very lovely with great feel and a warm tone. Everyone who has tried this bow has been very impressed.

    If you are looking for a new bow that is hand-made in the US for an amazingly affordable price, I'd highly recommend that you give Tom Owen bows your consideration. Please feel free to contact me via PM for more info on Tom Owen. Disclaimer: I have no connection whatsoever with Tom Owen. I just like his bows.
     
  2. Russell Bergum

    Russell Bergum Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    Rochester, MN
    Tom is sending me 2 to audition this week!
     
  3. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    That's great! The bow that I ended up buying was significantly different than the first two that Tom sent me to audition. So there really is some variation in his bows, and he will send you others to try out if you don't like the first two. I think he will make you just about anything you want too.
     
  4. If the Tom Owens thing doesn't work out, I see you live in minnesota. I've had wonderful luck buying bows through Chris Brown. He is Principle Bass in SPCO and sells and trades bows. He has an amazing selection and it would totaly be worth your time to visit his house or just email him. He is extremely informed and only keeps the best stuff around his place. Again, just and idea if the Tom Owen bows don't work out.
     
  5. Russell Bergum

    Russell Bergum Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    Rochester, MN

    Thanks. I'll probably look into it.
     
  6. "He is extremely informed and only keeps the best stuff around his place."
    Yes mr. Brown is extremly informed and has a great selection always, but i,m sorry say that the best stuff around is always on the hands of top orchestra players in use, not at dealers shelves. At least that has been my experience. if you are looking for a good top bow i would look with retiered or about to retire bass players from major orchestras.
     
  7. Tom sent me two to try out last week. I must say that i am impressed with both of them although they are both very different from one another. One of the bows is very "pretty" sounding while the other one is louder and gives my Upton the extra "oomph" that it is lacking. Im planning to give the Cincinnatti bass cellar a visit when they get back from their expo in germany on the 19th to see what they have.
     
  8. fathead1

    fathead1

    Apr 19, 2003
    Joplin, MO
    Not Applicable
    Robgrow,
    I'm happy to hear the bow worked out! Tom makes a great bow, and is really a nice fellow. Cheers..:hyper:
     
  9. Russell Bergum

    Russell Bergum Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    Rochester, MN

    I received 2 bows and they were VERY different from each other: in length, weight, wood color, width, balance, material used in the grip, tone, and volume. The only things similar were that they were French bows, and they had "Tom Owen" stamped on the side. With the 2 being so different, I contacted Tom to ask him to send a couple others out to audition, given the range I was seeing in the sample of two. No luck...he said he keeps a small inventory, and didn't have any others to send.

    Makes me wonder...a lot........
     
  10. Aleph5

    Aleph5

    Feb 24, 2004
    Tennessee
    To the extent that you wouldn't have guessed the same person made them?
     
  11. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I've seen basses made by the same luthier that are significantly different from one another, so I'm not sure why bows shouldn't be this way too. All I know for sure is I've tried three bows from Tom Owen that were all nice but each was unique. I bought the one I liked the best, and to me it is at least as nice as anything else I tried in the same price range (<$1.2K).
     
  12. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Same here. The three bows I tried by Tom were all quite different. I eliminated one immediately and it was a toss up for a while between the other two - and I am very happy with the choice I made.

    Louis
     
  13. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Love my German Bow by Tom Owen. He sent me three. One with black hair, One with chestnut and a white hair. They sounded very different form one another. I chose the white hair. I really love the tone it produces. Notes speak immediately, nice balance. Nice bow!

    Also, re-hair by Owen is a steal at $35.00
     
  14. Russell Bergum

    Russell Bergum Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    Rochester, MN
    I can understand making bows with different designs and sounding different, but not having more than 2 bows in your entire inventory?
     
  15. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    Well, if he sold all the bows that he has made... then maybe he only has two left in stock.:confused:

    Would you rather he had piles of bows laying around that no one had purchased?

    When he finishes making the next one, he will have three in stock- unless you buy one. Then he is back down to two.

    He isn't Fender. Those things aren't made on an assembly line.

    BG
     
  16. Dbassmon

    Dbassmon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    This guy only makes a few bows a year. It's not a factory. Each one is hand made and each one is a little different. Either it's French or German Style but each individual bow is slightly different and sounds and feels differently, is of different weight and is haired with different hair.

    Interestingly, I spoke to Tom on the phone, he doesn't even play a stringed instrument. He doesn't even know what they sound like. He likes building them, sells them for extra money. Took the time to learn bow making from some of them best bow makers out there. His product is quite good and very reasonably priced.
     
  17. Russell Bergum

    Russell Bergum Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    Rochester, MN
    Tom was pressuring me to send the 2 bows back (after having them to audition for almost one week) because another customer wanted to audition them. I was planning on going on vacation, so I stayed up late and played them like crazy and decided on one. I bought one of them and sent the other back he next morning. Now he has one in stock. I guess that means that the other customer has only one to choose from...the one I rejected.

    I have read posts on other threads about Tom Owen bows, where people have mentioned that they have auditioned 6-10 bows at a time from Tom. :meh: Thus my my concern when he said he only had 2. I understand that he's not "Fender", but I seriously doubt that he only makes two or so a year, as has been posted. Pretty hard to feed the family on $1500.
     
  18. Russell Bergum

    Russell Bergum Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    Rochester, MN
    Apparantly, he only had 2 around that no one had purchased (i.e. rejected).

    Just to be clear. I am not questioning the quality of his bows. I thought the 2 that I played were very nice, ESPECIALLY for the price. I have not played any of the Chinese bows (such as ones available from Ken Smith) to compare them with in that price range (actualy the Ken Smith ones are cheaper). I just felt that the dramatically different designs on the 2 bows he sent me was a little weird.

    One would think that he he had differnent designs that he was building, that he would offer different model names, rather than just "Tow Owen bow".
     
  19. Aleph5

    Aleph5

    Feb 24, 2004
    Tennessee
    So, how does it compare to your previous bows? I saw in the Gage thread that you loved your CodaBow. Granted the Owen costs more, but maybe not too much more so than the Metropolitan version.
     
  20. Russell Bergum

    Russell Bergum Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    Rochester, MN
    I definitely like the Tom Owen bow much more than my CodaBow. The CodaBow was a big step up from my high school Emil Dupree bow, but the Tom Owen bows sounded much better. The 2 Tom Owen bows I auditioned both sounded much better than my CodaBow. One had a more midrange - almost cello sound to it. The other had a more balanced, smooth tone with more low end. Interestingly, I played them both for my wife (who is a vocalist, but does not play an instrument) and she described the sound of the two bows the same that I did. The bow I selected was the second one with the more smooth tone, and it felt better balanced in my hand. I have not tried a Metropolitan. It would be interesting to hear comparisons of a Tom Owen with the Metro.
     

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