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Upton Brazilwood

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by McGryff, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. Anyone tried out the Upton brazilwood bows? I'm hunting around for an afoordable upgrade from my Glaser fiberglass and I ran across the Upton Bass website. I was leaning towards the Bob Gollihur $150 bows, but I have to investigate the Uptons now, since they are $99.

    Any experience or thoughts on them out there?
  2. azflyman


    Apr 24, 2004
    Astoria, OR
    Give Gary Upton a call. He will give you the straight scoop. He has probably used both.

  3. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com
    The price, yeah it's a little too low, I mean $99 for a wood bow, it can't be.. :eyebrow: ...well that's why we offer the satisfaction guarantee, you have nothing to loose. You can't touch it for 2 or even 3 time the cost....really.
  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Gary is one of the few people who can utter such a statement and have me believe him!
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I pay $85. for rehairs in Philly. With a money back guarantee I can't see how you can go wrong unless you are looking to get a 2-5k bow and spend only $99. That might be a problem. Coming from fiberglass it can only get better.
  6. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I'm looking to switch to a German bow. I think this just might be what I need. I will probably contact them next week. I currently have a french FC Pfretzchner bow that I got about 25 yrs ago.
  7. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com
    Exactly, it's not a 2-5k bow. If that's what you are expecting well then it will disappoint but otherwise I'll say it again....a great bow.

    Ken, Our rehairs are $65 and we always feel like we are way high, I guess not. We really cover everything; the hair, polishing the silver, cleaning up the stick, correcting both mortises. I am sure that's what you get for the $85 rehair. Not just fresh hair.......

    I have a Sartory violin bow...sorry Ken....I don't think that will cut it on your bass.

    SO many bows we take in need mortise correction in both the frog and tip. Eric and I have been throwing around the idea of the first rehair you do with us being charged at a double rate $130 and then any after that at the normal rate of $65....opinions? This would obviously exclude a bow purchased from us.

    A good bow takes less time to rehair than a bad bow.
  8. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    The double rate would probably cut down on your "new" business. I could understand an extra fee for the extra work but a blanket double rate may not go over well.

    But then again, some people believe that the higher cost means superior work and would be willing to pay for it.
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I think the cost is also real estate. Biase does re-hairs as a courtesy for around the same as you and has his shop in an office building. The place I go to in Philly is a Bow maker friend of Sue Lipkins who also does the Bow work for Fred Oster. Funny thing, when talking to her while working on one of my Bows (Elizabeth Vander Veer Shaak) about my Sartory I had mentioned that I bought it in 1973 from Fred Olivero in NYC. Her eyes widened and said "This is Olivero's Bench! I bought it from his wife after he passed away years ago". Talk about a small world. As far as re-hairing my Bultitude, I have to stand and wait for it. I will not leave it anywhere with anyone.
  10. Hmm, I think I'm picking up on a little sarcasm there :D I'm fairly sure that I'll dive in and grab one of your $99 Brazilwood Germans when it's time to upgrade from my Glaser fiberglass one, which should probably be sooner than later. Then again, there's the whole argument that as a beginner on the DB my technique needs improving more than my bow...
  11. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    A better Bow and or Bass will improve your technique. If you have the best available, you can stop fighting it and start playing it. It's hard to learn to drive with 2 flat tires, a foggy wind shield and no powew steering.. not to mention no AC in 100 degree heat. That's how I feel about playing cheap gear.. It discourages more than it inspires..
  12. Point well taken, Ken. My budget can only allow the purchase of one of the student-grade Brazilwood bows (or something comparable in the $100-200 range), but I assume that would be a distinct improvement over a fiberglass bow. Luckily my bass is of pretty good quality... a fully carved Shen, so I don't have to worry about upgrading that soon! :D
  13. I just purchased a $99 Upton French brazilwood bow, and I am truly amazed how nice it is. To me, the UB bow compares favorably to much more expensive bows. I will definitely be ordering another soon.
  14. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Your first second choice™ Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Why would you order another one? A spare? If so, then why not buy a $198 bow if you can afford that much?

    - Steve

    My web page
  15. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I'm pretty curious how these stack up to the Gollihur bows. I'm looking for a decent student German and have my sights set on either an Upton or a Gollihur.
  16. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Probably because any $198 bow you're likely to find will pale in comparison to the $99 Upton! I was just at Gary's shop yesterday and picked up one of his $99 French bows for a friend. VERY impressive, indeed! Okay, so I still prefer the pernambucco bow I've had for 30 years but you won't see that for $99 (or $199, or $299, or $399, or $499, or $599...).

    Yeesh-- and a money-back guarantee to boot!
  17. Sooner or later all bows need maintenance. If you intend to play while your bow is in the shop being rehaired or repaired you need a spare. I have two Gollihur bows for that reason. If you are in business;- not just music business, you will find that you really need a duplicate or spare of just about everything you use. When I go to a gig I have a spare cord, spare tuner batteries, etc. If you drop a bow and knock the tip off, the show must go on...
  18. Well, I haven't tried the Upton's bow, but from the enlarged photo of the tip, I can tell that the bone (if it is bone) doesn't have an ebony tip liner between the bone and the brazilwood. Bob's bows do. That thin little piece of ebony is kind of important in strengthening the tip where it is thin. That might be why I just had a loose tip after dropping mine and not a broken off tip.

    It is more difficult to tell from the frog photo but (on the Upton's bow) I do not see the edge of the metal (usually nickel-silver) frog liner that is on both of my Gollihur bows. Frog lining is a pretty good advantage. Perhaps it is in there, but it is not visible. Whether there is $50 of value in those small details is difficult to say. A side by side would be useful. I would agree in any case with Ken's observation that there is no where to go but up from fiberglass. I had one of those for about a year and after using wood for a day, the fiberglass just didn't feel like a real bow.

    With the money back offer, you really have nothing to lose. For $99 if it plays well for a year or so, it is a still a bargain. I have seen several $99 brazilwood bow deals, but really even if these are similar bows, I would recommend ordering from Upton's or Bob Gollihur because of their reputations and personal accessibility.
  19. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    No, there is no black lining. Most bow's in the low end of the price scale that do have a lining are not even ebony, they are usually paper fiber. I have never heard anyone ever before say that the ebony adds important strengthening. IMHO it is purely aesthetic...but if you have some source worth reading about this then I am open to it.

    If you dropped your bow on the tip, and something didn't break...then "merry Christmas" to you as that was a gift from the gods! ;)

    Nope, the frog is not lined, but does have an abalone slide. Half lining is when a plate of silver continues past the slide (which is usually mother of pearl or abalone). Fully lined is when that plate of silver then continues along the back edge of the frog to the stick. If you mean the three faceted metal lining that is actually between the frog and the stick, then yes, that part is there as it allows for smooth travel of the frog. THAT is important, I agree.

    Again, other than aesthetics and perceived value, how is lining important? If the bow is properly weighted and balanced...the lack of lining can be compensated for. Also...lack of lining means one less thing to come loose and fall off. This I see on cheap bows where the frog was not seasoned...so as the ebony shrinks...the lining falls off or causes a sharp edge to cut into your hand.

    Prob not. But if these things are important to you...there are bows that cost more. Again...it's just aesthetics, and by cutting off the "fat" during production, it allowed us to hit the $99 target...something Gary worked on most of the summer. It also allowed for a better stick to be used.

    Better stick, less frills. Cheap price. Good bow for you!

    I agree 100%. Both Bob and Us have similar goals...find the products that we would use ourselves and bring it to you. Sure...we all make a buck doing it...but we all do it because we love the bass! ;)
  20. I think I did read that the tip liner was for extra strength, sort of a stop gap to make the tip stiffer and more durable but I can't locate the web site (bow making) since it was some time ago. On the Gollihur bows, the piece is ebony. That was the piece that stayed glued in place and the bone became semi-detached after the fall. I scraped it to remove the old glue after completely removing the bone, and it was definitely ebony. I even took the caution to pick up an extra tip blank and ebony liner blank in case I botched the repair, but all went well. The bow got knocked of a table and hit a tile floor spinning. The frog was damaged a little also, so the gods were fair. All is repaired now. I'm sure that the tip liner would be pretty inconsequentail in the most important performance characteristics of the bow, and certainly the quality of the stick is most important.

    I should not have called that metal a "liner" (particularly bad since it can refer to something else) and yes it is the piece between the frog and bow that usually shows a fine metal edge along the frog that I was referring to. It's just difficult to see in the photo.

    I couldn't help but notice when I was looking at the bow photos that you also had a 2 bow case at a good price.