Best Tourte Copy bow makers?

September 20, 2016 at 12:27 AM · After some research, I've found that Tourte bows are different from other bow makers like Sartory, Lamy, and Voirin.

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So basically I was wondering who has the best Tourte copy bows out there? Does anyone have or tried a tourte copy that they've liked? If so, whos the maker?

Replies (9)

September 20, 2016 at 02:11 AM · I've never played a Tourte copy that felt or sounded anything like an actual Tourte. Even the Tourte-school bow I tried, which had a similar sort of feel, lacked the miraculous qualities of an actual Tourte.

Arguably the next closest thing you could get is a Kittel. But a Kittel is also insanely expensive. I've never actually gotten a chance to try one.

September 20, 2016 at 02:51 AM · I've tried a Kittel. But I am not the right guy to be asking.

September 20, 2016 at 04:35 AM · What was the Kittel like for you?

September 20, 2016 at 05:19 AM · There is a lot of conflicting information about bows out there, but here is a general rule of thumb : A copy of a bow does not necessarily play anything like the original. This is not a,ways a bad thing, as there are some great Tourette's out there, but also lots that have been recambered, and played heavily in orchestras to the point of feeling like a "wet noodle." I love flexible bows, but you do need at least some strength in the stick.

In order of general strength and "stiffness" Sartory>Lamy>Voirin>Peccatte>Tourte, but there are exceptions to every rule, and each bow must be considered individually. More flexible bows, inspired by Tourte, Peccatte, Adam, Persoit, etc, are generally more colorful, and can often be "faster" feeling in the hand. Modern concertos require power, and often an easily controlled spiccato, which is one reason Sartory's bows are quite popular. Excellent bows, but they excel at different things.

When making a "copy" of a bow, the bow maker can reproduce the actual dimensions perfectly, but the playing characteristics and sound (just like with a violin), are often quite different. Particularly with bows, the structure, density, and flexibility of pernambuco isn't uniform.

I would recommend looking at bows by good modern makers who follow the classical French bow making tradition. I believe that Josh Henry is fairly close to you. Morgan Anderson, Charles Espey, Eric Fournier, Emmanuel Begin, Yannick LeCanu, the Nehr Brothers, and many, many more modern bow makers have revived older French traditions, and look back to the early and mid 19th century as inspiration; we are in a new golden age of bow making.

September 20, 2016 at 06:40 AM · My main bow is a nameless Tourte copy, and while I can't compare it to a real Tourte [because I never tried one], I have tried literally thousands of bows over the years and I can't find one I like best than that nameless one. I really wish I knew who made it!

September 20, 2016 at 09:05 AM · From what I've read, I believe Kittel was a dealer not a bow maker, who had his bows made for him by Bauch and Knopf, then stamped them with his name.

Cheers Carlo

September 20, 2016 at 09:44 AM · To answer the OP I would say the best Tourte copies I've tried were by the Nehr family -especially Gilles- and Edwin Clément.Sorry I can't tell about American makers. But I don't think they pretended to be exact copies but rather inspired in Tourte model. The Tourtes I have tried were very good bows but is always very dissappointing to find out that a bow that costs almost €200,000 can play and feel like others 10 times cheaper; once again we create the myth in our mind due to the tremendously high price. Best investment bow? No doubt of that. The Kittels I tried were good too but to my hand and taste not as good as the Tourtes, too soft and light. Interesting to see how that kind of bow was Heifetz's favorite, I would say not very suitable for today's common way of playing putting more weight into the strings.

September 20, 2016 at 02:42 PM · I'm assuming that the OP is asking out of curiosity, not because he intends to buy a Tourte copy himself. Based on what he's said in previous threads, the modern makers that Chris recommended above are priced above his budget for a violin, and well above his budget for a bow (his parents are balking at a few hundred bucks for a bow).

Morgan Anderson's bows don't feel like old French bows to me. Josh Henry's do, but they are still for modern tastes, not a Tourte-style bow. I haven't tried bows by the other makers named. I do think modern bows can play very well, and importantly, are economical alternatives to older bows.

The thing about a Tourte that seems miraculous to me is the range of colors it can draw. Playing one literally changed my conception of what a bow could do, and the kind of resonance that could be drawn from the instrument. It was different enough that it felt difficult to handle, though -- to use it properly would probably have required weeks of acclimatization. A bow that had similar handling but didn't draw that resonance and range of colors would have been meh.

September 20, 2016 at 03:24 PM · It seems to me that when a bow is called a copy of this or that, often it just means the style of the tip. In order to have a bow really sound and play like a Tourte, I'd think the maker would need access to the same wood and the ability to graduate the stick exactly as Tourte did.

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