Contemporary Bow makers that are as great as old french bow makers?

January 15, 2005 at 05:50 AM · Can you tell me any contemporary Bow makers that are really really awesome?

makers that are as good as antique french bows..

Replies (14)

January 16, 2005 at 03:09 AM · Probably can do better than many of the great old makers as there is new technology and reasearch that didn't exist back then (with bows, older isn't necessarily better).

That being said, look toward Michael Vann, Salchow family of makers, John Norwood Lee (used by Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman)...hmm, that's all I can think of off the top of my head.

I'll bet anything Michael Avagliano would be able to point you in the right direction.

January 16, 2005 at 06:44 PM · Benoit Rolland's bows are fantastic. I am also a fan of Roy Quade.


February 4, 2005 at 11:11 PM · I have a collection of Fine French bows old and new (including Peccatte, Maline, Voirin etc). I have a suggested short list of todays finest Bowmakers who happen to be French: Sylvan Bigot, Yannick LeCanu. In the US, it is the late Keith Peck (1953-1998), Robert Morrow, Paul Siefried.

For me it is a question of sound and playability.

I represent LeCanu & Bigot on the West Coast. If anyone is interested, feel free to contact me. Also check out a website in memory of Master Bowmaker Keith Peck.

February 5, 2005 at 12:05 AM · Some other well respected bow makers are:

Jose DaCunha (Miami, FL)

David Forbes (Gainsville, FL)

David Samuels (Houston, TX)

I believe their contact info is on the AFVBM webite (

From what I understand, great pernambuco wood is harder to come by these days since the tree is endangered and its export is restricted by the Brazilian government. That makes it harder for todays makers to get the same quality of wood to work with as the 19th Century French makers.

In the 19th Century there were boat loads of it coming to Europe and bow makers could look through huge quantities of it to find the best wood.

So I've been told.

February 5, 2005 at 05:30 AM · I don't know how I missed this thread before...

All the makers listed above are excellent. The fact is that just as there are violinmakers living today who will be collected and remembered in the years to come, there are bowmakers who will remembered in the same breath with Peccatte, Sartory, or Voirin.

Paul Siefried is one of my favorites, as well as Roy Quade. I had a chance to try some of Roy's bows at last year's Viola Congress, and I thought they were exceptional. I also like Lynn Hannings -- her bows have a suppleness about them that I find very easy to play with.

February 5, 2005 at 06:27 AM ·


"John Norwood Lee (used by Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman)"

Is this recent? I'm sure they may own Lee bows, but the last number of times I saw Mr. Zukerman, showed me the Guthrie (MN) bow he was using. If my memory serves me, I believe Mr. Perlman plays an Henry.

February 5, 2005 at 06:12 PM · Maximillian, if there have been all these technological advancements then why are new violins not as good as violins made 300 years ago?

February 6, 2005 at 12:08 AM · Enosh, don't you think there's something in the aging process that makes an instrument sound better as the decades and centuries roll by?

Also, there have been many blindfold tests wherein a new instrument has been picked over a strad.

February 6, 2005 at 05:25 PM ·

"Also, there have been many blindfold tests wherein a new instrument has been picked over a strad"

I think the trick here is which Strad, which modern instrument, what venue (it's hard to determine what's going on when an instrument is played alone... very different results can occur when it is played against an orchestra or in a quartet), which player... and if there is an agenda. There are plenty of great sounding contemporary instruments out there... but most great players still aspire to own, or do own, a great old concert fiddle. :-)

February 6, 2005 at 05:47 PM · True, I'm sure. I've never played a truly great instrument but those who have say it's the playability, the response that make the difference more than the sound. It's a multi-faceted issue, but apparently among string instruments with a finish or varnish the sound matures over the decades. If true, I've got a good viola and a good guitar, both made in the 1990's, which I will not live to hear at their very best. So it goes...

February 6, 2005 at 05:47 PM · True, I'm sure. I've never played a truly great instrument but those who have say it's the playability, the response that make the difference more than the sound. It's a multi-faceted issue, but some say that string instruments with a finish or varnish mature over the decades. So much of it is subjective, so who really knows?

February 7, 2005 at 03:04 PM · Hi,

In violin as in bows, age can make a difference in the wood. Many great French bows are special for that reason. The wood hardens and becomes more responsive over time.

This said. There are many great modern instruments and modern bows. All the makers listed above are very good. To that list I might add Fran├žois Malo from Montreal, Canada who makes very fine bows.

Again, bows are individual and depend on the players. Zukerman for example likes modern bows, and very very heavy bows that are not common in French bows. As far as I know, he plays only modern bows. Even some players of the past played bows that were relatively modern in their time. For example, Kreisler used "modern" Hill bows very often, and Heifetz's Kittel wasn't that old or well-known in his time, etc... Again, it's all a matter of personal taste and individual bows. A bow is bow. A great bow, is a great bow.


February 8, 2005 at 01:52 AM · With the exception of a Pajeot I believe he keeps in his case, I think you are correct about Mr. Zukerman... and his Guthrie was rather heavy (64-65 grams, as I recall).

February 8, 2005 at 10:54 AM · Interesting...I remember Perlman saying once "what bow do I use? A baseball bat."

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