Any sense in pairing bow to violin by age and origin?
Hello fellow musicians, I've been lurking here for quite some time but this is my first thread - I hope that I've made no mistakes creating it, if I did, please feel free to point them out!
So, with none of this being anonymous and me being a tad paranoid, I wouldn't want to go into too much detail in a public thread, but the gist of things is this:
I am (hopefully) about to finish my violin bachelor this semester (given we return to some kind of normality in these difficult times), and switched violins half a year ago. It was long overdue and I am absolutely in love with my new instrument, but of course, there's always something one would like to experiment with. After having played many different string sets on it - currently on Passiones and about to go back to green Evahs, with both of them sounding very nice - I started pondering a potential future bow change. I'm reasonably content with my current bow, a nice Richard Grünke bow I picked up a couple of years ago (pairing it to the previous violin), but I'm well aware of how each violin asks for its own bow and know the general 20-33% of the violin's price rule, which doesn't apply anymore, either. All of that is how I started looking around out of pure interest, through many threads on violinist, among other things. My specific question comes up because the violin I have now is a very nice French violin from the middle of the 19th century made by Buthod (it is indeed not a factory instrument) and not only are there bows made by Buthod himself, but also many bows made in the workshops all around him. So my question at this point is whether there's any point in trying to find a bow that might've been made to go with the violins that were built by the students of, say, Vuillaume, or is this relatively pointless and I'm not any more likely to find a good fit among these bows than I am among any random batch of decent bows from any time period and place? Or, finally, would it maybe even be more advisable to order a contemporary bow to fit the violin? As I've said, there's absolutely no rush to this, I just like to keep my eyes open. Since I'm still a student, I don't have the means to experiment buying all kinds of bows, nor to buy a nice bow for ten grand or something like that, so I'd be looking at mid-tier prices, anyway. And if you have any specific recommendations on where to go when looking for a large selection of nice bows in and around Germany, those would be much appreciated, too!
Thanks to all of you in advance and stay safe!
If you're a serious musician (as opposed to a wealthy amateur), try to forget about such superficialities as pairing this with that just because of nationality or some other meaningless criteria. Many people take pride in pairing this French bow with that Italian violin--none of it matters in real life. These are tools. Make sure your tools work.
I think it is more important to find a bow and violin combination that works really well together. But perhaps you will get lucky and find a combination in a bow that was "made" to go with your violin. There is no harm in trying.
No telling where lightning will strike. Find one that works for you and the instrument. Look in every price range, so you know what is possible.
A second for Bishop Strings.
Interesting idea. I wonder if Vuillaume's violins were ever initially sold together with his workshop's bows?
The period when Buthod worked was also a "golden age" of bow making, but the "golden" bows sell for much, much more than Buthod'a violins. Even the bows he made typically sell (on average) for half as much as his violins (on average), some even more.
Agree with Scott, 100%.
It’s sometimes an interesting challenge to find a bow that has a similar age and origin to that of a violin, but that’s more of a challenge for collectors.
When I was bow-shopping, Fred Oster suggested to me that since Vuillaume's violins were often sold with a shop bow thrown into the deal (much like a modern outfit), that I might consider looking at bows by the Vuillaume shop makers from roughly the same era, on the theory they might prove to be better tonal matches.
Thanks for all the feedback, I didn't expect there to be so many answers so quickly!
I think that playing any great bow will make you a smarter shopper. If you can’t afford the miracle stick, then at least you know what is possible. Some things will be incrementally better, others will be completely outside the box.
There were some nice tonal matches. But most of the Vuillaume shop makers from that era were very good bowmakers anyway, and I generally like the feel of those makers' work.
Lydia, indeed the Vuillaume shop bow makers were "very good."
Most of bows made in or for the JB Vuillaume shop are identified by experts, and are some of the most coveted bows commanding historical antique prices. Its good to try bows from these makers if you can (Peccatte, Henry, Simon, Martin, Voirin, etc) ranging from high 4 figures if condition/unoriginal parts are there to mostly mid to high 5 figure and some 6 figure prices (like with some nice Dominique Peccatte examples). Oh, to live in those days when your instrument would have a bow included by one of these makers!
One thing that I don't see mentioned is that when you go bow shopping you should bring someone with you who knows good violin tone and understands what you're trying to accomplish. We all know that the way an instrument (and thus bow, too) sound under our ears is not necessarily what the audience hears, so have an audience member with you to help you make the best choice.
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