Catch of the day

Edited: February 13, 2019, 4:41 PM · After running into my beloved Gregory Gohde violin bow in 2017 which now serves as my #1bow and was bought out of a heritage for peanuts (actually 10% of it's retail value as I learned later) and another fairly good Marcel Lapierre from another source for an extremely attractive price (it obviously had been abandoned after a messed up rehair), it happened again!
Richard Geipel (stamped Rich.Geipel***), mid 20th century Markneukirchen, not one of the big prestigious names but solid and consistent workmanship, rather on the light side with it's 56,5g but perfectly balanced, strong and highly precise - first time fast upbow staccato feels manageable! (Except a beautiful Lamy which wasn't for sale and would have been out of my budget anyways...) It runs smooth and stable even in fast long down bows (something I always had problems with) and doesn't tend to break out. And it even can bear some weight. The long thumb leather makes "fake-baroque" a fun game. Only disadvantage: tonally it doesn't really fit my picky violin... There were worse, and also quite a few better. But for €180 I just couldn't resist, even the hair is like new. And if I should ever run into a dark sounding violin in need of a bit opening up, this might well be the right tool for it.

It's interesting - if people inherit a violin, they expect it to be God knows what, are highly disappointed to learn it's not a "real Straduarius" and prefer to let it detoriate in some closet rather than to give it away for a small amount, or donate it for a beneficial project. But nobody seems to care about the bows - rather glad to get rid of them. "What did you ask for that dirty old stick? 180? And that fool didn't even try to haggle?!" - 15 minutes of work to clean the stick and hair, and do some polishing. Looks like new, for the price of two rehairs (or, in the case of my Luthier, one and a half). Seen between €950-1800 retail... (Don't know what the Fuchs Taxe is saying, but the way it plays overrules this anyway.)

Question A - should I suffer from bad consciousness now?
Question B - how do you react if someone offers you a bargain? Would you say, "hey man wait, let's ask someone who knows about it first, I want you to get a fair price!" - ?!

Replies (12)

February 13, 2019, 4:44 PM · (Disclaimer: I'm not an expert nor a profound player myself. And I always fell for these bows and bought them on the fly before doing some research about their provenance and potential value.)
Edited: February 13, 2019, 6:12 PM · These things make good stories )I think!

Apropos -> there was a bit I saw on "Antiques Roadshow" a month or so ago (which I might think watch only once or twice a year) in which a woman brought in her family's attic violin only to learn it was an early 20th century fiddle (originally sold perhaps Sears or Monky Wards) - but the bow! The bow was a name French (even I recognized the name, though now forgotten) appraised at about $15,000 to $20,000. Without that bow it never would have made it to the TV show.

You gotta look at everything in the case!

Edited: February 13, 2019, 6:44 PM · I'd suspect that most people who don't play string instruments simply think the bow just comes with the instrument. That's certainly been the case for several of my non-string-playing friends who have found violins in family attics.

I learned early on that bows were sold separately, but that's because my first stringed instrument was an old violin that had sat on a shelf in my uncle's house for over 20 years. I had to buy a bow immediately when the violin got to me, because there wasn't one in the case. (By the way, that's still what I use on the rare occasions I am asked to play violin. It's an early 1950s West German Strad copy. I'm confident of the date because it was purchased brand-new by my late great-uncle in 1954.)

Edited: February 13, 2019, 10:02 PM · The violin and the bow were firewood ... but the rosin!
February 14, 2019, 1:53 AM · Yeah Paul, original cremonese early 18. century - it's just crumbles and won't stick, but gives you such an authentic feeling!
February 14, 2019, 3:51 AM · Low end student violins are often sold with bow(s),case, rosin, chinrest, and metronome - the whole package. This may contribute to non-players' misconception that violins automatically come with bows.
February 14, 2019, 4:11 AM · Recently, Nathan Cole had Joseph Bein as a guest on his excellent podcast, and he asked, as corny concluding question if B&F had ever encountered a valuable Italian violin in the proverbial attic.
"Never. Not even close," said Bein. But occasionally one runs into a really good bow in these "stuff my grandpa forgot about" heaps, he said.
February 14, 2019, 12:58 PM · Bad consciousness is not the same as bad conscience. You seem to be OK in both departments...
February 14, 2019, 2:13 PM · Thank you Erin. You're right, I'm not immune against mixing up similar words... :-)
February 14, 2019, 3:14 PM · @Herman West: Did Bein explain how excellent bows end up with factory-quality violins in attics? Why did grandpa get a well-crafted bow for his factory violin?
Edited: February 15, 2019, 4:10 AM · If I would sell an instrument without bow, or give it to a family member with one bow, I'd store all the rest including bows somewhere together - for example in the crumbling wooden case of another existing violin, like Grampas first violin he was given at age 7 when it was (remember it as it was yesterday) way too big for that little schoolboy (*but so proud!*), and which he always kept for sentimental reasons even after the fourth trade-in generation of his later #1-violins. Most probably Grampa (or his widow Granny who wasn't too much into violins herself) felt similar.
Even if you find a bow and a violin in the same attic in the same case, they were not necessarily meant for each other.

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