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Emily Grossman

Mr. Hill Meets Mr. Nurnberger

September 1, 2010 at 2:20 AM

I was in love with the Hill bow, but I needed to be sure to think rationally, not emotionally, about things, so I promised myself to visit at least three more shops before I concluded my shopping. The Tulsa Violin Shop had a few, but none interested me. After a small bit of internet research, I decided that Kanasas City was the closest town with the most options. My mom was game for a road trip, so we set out early for a pleasant day in the city. After all, everything's up to date in Kansas City...

Dan Lawrence's shop, the first one we visited, lay in cognito. From all outward appearances, it could have been simply someone's home in a suburban neighborhood. We were almost certain we'd read the house number wrong, when finally we saw the shop's sign next to the back door. But passing through the entrance was like stepping into Narnia! Inside lay a beautiful, spacious shop with rows of instruments in all price ranges. My favorite bow in his extensive collection was a contemporary Brazilian by M. Pereira, which I would highly recommend to anyone shopping for a great bow in the $2000 range. Still, it didn't sing like the Hill. Dan and I talked about his rental program, and I tried several of his student models in case I needed to track down a good instrument for someone in my studio. Alaska is not the place to shop, and ordering on line can be risky, since you can't try your instrument out until you get it in the mail. I'd been hoping to find some trustworthy sources for my students to use, and his instruments were of great quality and fair price.

After about an hour at Dan's shop, we headed to Matt Wyatt's shop over in Independence. Matt's dad greeted me at the door. Both are fiddlers, and Matt currently plays with the group Swing DeVille. With a warm welcome, he led me upstairs to a room with a slew of bows and let me play away, waiting on me hand and foot, talking about the interesting features of each bow. His enthusiasm was contagious, and I found myself as giddy as a girl tasting 40 flavors of ice cream.

Some bows you can tell the moment it touches the string that it won't be what you want. Some have distinct personalities and demand to be played a certain way, so you must take a little time to get to know them before you decide. Then's there are the ones you have to take home with you for a while. Without looking at the names, I gradually whittled it down to the final three: the Hill, a Knopf, and a Nurnberger. A blind test helped me to conclude that the Knopf only made it because of the tortoise shell frog. So now we were down to Mr. Hill and Mr.Nurnberger. My heart wanted the Hill, but the Nurnberger wouldn't let me put him down just yet. I played passages back and forth with them until my head began to spin, and I couldn't make sense of anything anymore. Matt played each of them on my instrument, and I still couldn't decide. It was time for intermission.

From Tess Z
Posted on September 1, 2010 at 3:09 AM

Which one did Mom like?

From Emily Grossman
Posted on September 1, 2010 at 6:11 AM

She said it was like choosing between children. 

From Tom Holzman
Posted on September 1, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Jeez, Emily, you've left us on the edge of our seats.  How does the film end?  Given what you have said, it is hard to imagine anything other than a Hollywood happy ending, i.e., girl meets the bow she is looking for and they live happily ever after.  It even looks as if either one would be fine.  So, please do not keep us on the edge of our seats for long.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on September 1, 2010 at 4:22 PM

 Where was Dan Lawrence's shop?

Would be fun to peek in on, when I'm in KC, visiting family.

From Michael Divino
Posted on September 1, 2010 at 4:55 PM

 Wow!  That sounds like an amazing problem to have!


From Emily Grossman
Posted on September 1, 2010 at 5:19 PM

It was! 

Terez, if your going E on 470, you'd take the Douglas exit and head North.  Douglas bends to the left and becomes Lees Summit Road.  His house is on the left, about 1 1/2 miles.  8420 on the mailbox.  You'll like it!

From Terez Mertes
Posted on September 1, 2010 at 6:34 PM

Cool to know! (I was just sort of hoping you'd say "oh, in Prairie Village" and I could gasp and say, wow, under my nose when I visit family. Ah well. Lee's Summit is doable.)

From Emily Grossman
Posted on September 1, 2010 at 6:50 PM

A good shop is worth the trip.

From Ray Randall
Posted on September 2, 2010 at 4:30 PM

A good friend in the Pittsburgh Symphony likes her carbon fibre top-of-the-line bow better than her old expensive French Bows. FWIW.

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