found an amazing bow but its a lot of money

April 10, 2014 at 02:09 PM ·

Replies (23)

April 10, 2014 at 03:25 PM · Not worth it - you could find a modern bow that plays just as well for less than half that amount; a friend of mine was trying bows in the 30+ price range (liking examples by Sartory and Charles Peccatte) until I suggested that she look into modern bows - she ended up buying a Tourte copy by Benoit Rolland and a D. Peccatte copy by Vladimir Radosavljevic, both first class modern makers, and she is way happier with these two bows than she was with any of the numerous Sartory (and other) bows she went through.

Also, a Sartory bow that is going for such a low price most definitely probably has something wrong with it! I would bring it to an expert like Isaac Salchow or Christophe Landon for a second opinion before putting money down on something like that, if you decide to go for it.

April 10, 2014 at 03:29 PM · How many bows have you tried? I would suggest that one needs to have tried dozens of bows before deciding on one that is such an investment... especially if the money's coming out of someone else's pocket or you're putting yourself in debt for it.

April 10, 2014 at 05:05 PM · I'd look more and pay less.

Your last question is a good one, but maybe not as you ask it. Do you want the worry of owning such a bow during college? Will you pay the insurance on it? DO get your material insured before you go to college.

And although you might be able to use the bow for your whole career, you might not; technique changes, needs change. Even if you can get a stellar certificate for it, it's probably not worth the $$ at this stage, especially with the other associated expenses of college.

April 10, 2014 at 05:22 PM · I'll offer an opposing view:

While $11,000 is a good amount of money, it may be a real steal for a Sartory. I know two people who have Sartories that were priced according to similar issues, either different frog or repair, and they both love them.

The real issue here is the stick itself, not the frog: Sartory bows have become THE bows of the 20th century, much in demand for their playing qualities. While there MAY be other fine modern bows for less money, it might take you years to find that bow that you love--one that has the balance, the sound, etc. It's a needle in a haystack, just like finding a violin.

The issue is that the price of fine French bows just goes up and up. A few years ago, I could have a Voirin or Lamy for $12,000. Now they are approaching $20k. If you are a serious violinist--and you must be if you are starting at Juilliard--the price between this bow and typical bows should not stop you if you can possibly swing it. This is not wasted money. Sartory bows are ones you arrive at, not use for a while and then grow out of (like Hill bows).

If there are any issues with the stick, they should be easy to spot by a trained luthier or bow person. It's not rocket science.

April 10, 2014 at 06:06 PM · For all of you wondering if there is something wrong with the bow- it just doesn't have the original frog, only the stick is original. Also, the shop I am looking at it through is a reputable place and the people there really know what they are doing and what they are looking at.

April 10, 2014 at 06:48 PM · If you're in love with it, just make sure you get a second opinion from another source before you pay that much, and then get a written guaranty. If there's any question about its authenticity, price needs to be adjusted accordingly, and a reputable shop will do that.

April 10, 2014 at 08:28 PM · Is it the same bow as in the ad at the top of the page? Seems like quite a coincidence - or is this the breeding season for the faux sartori-frog...

April 10, 2014 at 08:43 PM · Back in 1985 I was at a summer school and a Greek guy there had a Dominic Peccatte bow, a present from his father. He was using it to practise and let me tell you he was not a stellar violinist. One Day he broke the head off while practising. You really do not need a Sartory to go to college with. These bows are meant to be played by soloists and for listeners to enjoy. Buy a new bow that will get you through college and then think about a Sartory.

If it's an original, having a replacement frog means it was played and the frog got worn out and replaced. In my book this means this is a good playing stick that was used all the time, unlike other Sartorys that people passed them by, which remain like new.

April 10, 2014 at 09:09 PM · "Buy a new bow that will get you through college and then think about a Sartory."

In which case you won't find a Sartory at this price.

April 10, 2014 at 09:47 PM · Its a tough one - but its something we all face, take a big opportunity now but a financial hit or leave it and run the danger of not having the opportunity in the future.

I've been through it with houses, cars and jobs. My experience - for what its worth - is that its a mistake to get in over your head regardless of the opportunity. I guess there may have been one or two that I regret but mostly when I look back the 'opportunities denied' would have become the future liabilities. For example buying a house on the edge of my finances - and then not being able to support a family. The fact is that time changes your needs. I am going to bet that 10 years from now you are not going to want to play with that bow - indeed it will be a millstone forbidding you to buy what you really need such as a custom made modern bow, a heavier and stiffer german bow - or even a baroque bow (you could go that route).

Smile and walk on. Choice is also a valuable - each time you commit you reduce your choices...


April 10, 2014 at 10:05 PM · Elisse,

a Sartory bow will be a millstone around his neck?

He will probably sell it for a profit to finance his home in 10 years from now.

April 10, 2014 at 10:53 PM · Helen is probably a she. Just sayin.

When you have very little its as important to conserve your assets as it is to find new ones. Thus, Helen has to balance the possible future advantage of an expensive bow with the near-term lack of financial alternatives. You might as well tell her to invest in gold...

April 11, 2014 at 01:03 AM · Benoit Rolland's (one of the best living bow makers) bow is within that price range. You would also get a bow with his patented frog design.

There are many excellent bow makers all across the globe, less pricey but still excellent. If close to Montreal, pay a visit to Eric Gagne, or ask him to send a few samples via Fedex.

With old bows, if a deal is too good to be true, then there must be something hidden, such as a crack repaired using 21st century dentist's technique, or corrected camber. Ask yourself: is the missing frog really worth $19,000?

Unless they are willing to give you a 1 year warranty and 100% money back guarantee, don't walk, run.

... and plese, please don't ever buy dealer's story that will create a "tunnel vision", "a deal off lifetime", etc. There is plenty of great bows waiting for you!

April 11, 2014 at 01:05 AM · The thing is, she's a VIOLONIST. She's not looking for a house, or gold. Getting a great fiddle or bow should absolutely be priority #1 for someone going off to a top conservatory. What could possibly be more important? A great bow can, even more than a great violin, enable you do things you couldn't do before. If that's the way she feel about this bow--that it will do things others can't--then it's a great investment.

A violin or bow that enables the musician can make all those other things--cars, houses, even gold--possible.

April 11, 2014 at 01:30 AM · Restrain yourself. Although right now this bow may be "it", as you develop your violin playing you will find that your taste in bows will change. If you want a great bow that plays like a Sartory, is a good investment (unlike your Sartory with replacement frog), look for a Hoyer. He worked in Sartory's shop but had a German name. You can get a great one for $6000.

April 11, 2014 at 08:26 PM · Hey; We don't know exactly what the financial situation is, and we don't know enough about the bow.

All or almost none of the advice presented here may be valid depending of the pesky little details.

One exception: If going forward, a second opinion from a bow specialist is very good advice. Bows are priced according to authenticity, example, condition and originality. Though less significant, even the quality of the replacement frog has some effect on the value. One should be clear concerning all those details.

Another exception: I believe the idea of looking forward, and planning some flexibility into your purchases, is an excellent idea. Tastes and needs change. Problem is, we can't tell enough about this specific bow from our armchairs to know how appealing it might be upon resale. Goes back to the first exception.

Contemporary bows can be excellent (great makers out there). So can Prell bows. I had a Prell six months ago that played very well (players commented that it played like a Sartory before they knew what it was), but though the initial investment is lower, it's performance on the market may not keep pace (percentage wise) with something like a Sartory (even one without a frog). So kay. I doubt the market for them will go down. Same goes for contemporary bows (I keep telling my luthier colleagues to list their high risk behavior on their websites to boost their values, but nobody seems to listen! :-)).

Anyway, my point is that this is one of those times that others may not be able to reason out your priorities for you.

Good luck!

April 12, 2014 at 01:36 AM · how many read the OP, shes not just going to "college" shes trying out for Julliard and shes an "aspiring professional violinist". My guess is a Sartory bow would not be unusual for an attendee at Julliard as opposed to just any college. On the other hand its good advice to try other bows, but it sounds like shes been doing just that and this one was the best she found......

April 12, 2014 at 03:31 AM · If a Strad with a non-original scroll, say, can't be really called a 'strad,' (and it wouldn't be, would it?) how can a Sartory stick with some other frog be a 'Sartory'?

April 12, 2014 at 04:31 AM · Of course a Strad with a non original scroll would be called a Strad, the scroll doesn't effect the sound, and a perfectly made replacement frog won't effect the playability of the bow either, or its tone.

The frog is at least half the labour of making a good bow, but much less important to the playability/tone hence the understandably lower price.

April 12, 2014 at 09:51 AM · I love Sartory bows, it doesn't get much better than that. If you like it and you can afford it, it has a certificate and there is nothing wrong with the stick,get the opinion of other players better than you and buy it. You will always be able to sell it if you need to do so.

April 12, 2014 at 01:09 PM · Sartory bows are hard to come by. I wanted to try a Sartory when I was searching for my own bow, but was not able to find one for sale. You should have no problem selling it, especially at that price.

That said, I would second the idea to look at some modern makers (Rolland, Fuchs, etc), but also make sure to try some older German bows (Bausch, Pfretzscher, Nurnberger). If you have already done that and the Sartory is still the best, then go for the Sartory.

Congrats on getting into Julliard. I am in awe!

April 12, 2014 at 09:53 PM · If you go to NEC, you can visit Rolland and he'll make a bow up custom for you and your playing style right here in Boston.

May 5, 2014 at 06:20 AM · Surely the best contemporary violin bows will meet your needs, just as they meet the needs of some of the best artists. More expensive gear can come later.

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