French or german bows?

June 12, 2006 at 01:47 AM · Can anyone tell me how to assert whether a bow was made in France or Germany? Is there any typical characteristics for each country? Thanks

Replies (7)

June 12, 2006 at 02:28 AM · Listen to it’s accent? :-)

Probably better, show it to someone who studies and appraises bows. I don’t think there’s a casual way for you to learn how to ID bow origin. Many players, who get enough exposure to bows over the years, start to recognise certain features or makers... but most cannot reliably do so outside of specific group (those they are used to seeing).


June 12, 2006 at 04:32 AM · I would say that the country of origin matters less than the style. In other words, how the bowmaker was trained matters more than where the bow maker currently lives. Given today's world of easy plane flights and easy ability to move around, bow makers can and do move anywhere they want to live.

I've found that there is a definite "Germanic" bow style. I haven't had enough experience with French bows to be certain of that style although I've noticed some things.

My advice -- if you really care, go to a shop that's good and has a good range of bows. Talk to them about this stuff. They'll probably be able to steer you towards "representative" German-style and French-style bows.

But really, what matters most is that you find a bow that you like. Even among bows made by one maker, individual bows may be suprisingly supple or suprisingly stiff since the best makers work to bring out the best of the wood as opposed to trying to force all sticks to feel the same.

- Ray

June 12, 2006 at 05:20 AM · Thanks for your helps.

How does one study to appraise bows? Is it simply a question of seeing as many bows as possible or reading Millant's L' archet?

June 12, 2006 at 01:14 PM ·

June 12, 2006 at 02:12 PM · "How does one study to appraise bows? Is it simply a question of seeing as many bows as possible or reading Millant's L' archet?"

Rhetorical question, right? Reading a book and seeing a few things isn’t going to teach you “how to” do anything on a professional level. Learning to appraise and identify is like mastering pretty much anything else. Study, exposure, mentorship, practice and research...

June 27, 2006 at 02:50 PM · Yes, time, experience, then more time, and finally more experience (lol). Even when dealing with bows on a regular basis, comparing bows from various makers, and yes, comparing bows to the L'Archet pictures it still is difficult. To get to the level of Pierre Guillaume, Paul Childs, or others takes years. When I have a question on a bow and I talk with someone like Paul Schuback I keep learning more and more.

December 21, 2013 at 05:21 PM · French makers tend to use pins to hold the silver fittings to the frog. German makers use tiny screws. French bows are stamped with the name upside down on the side of the bow. German bow makers stamp them right side up. There is one more characteristic, that I can't remember. Told to me by a gentleman that has examined thousands of these items over many years. It's that the adjuster tends to be either bigger, or, smaller than the radius of the butt end of the bow. Can't remember which! Good luck. Only an expert can tell for sure about how to tell the difference between German and French bows.

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