Shar Baroque Bow

April 28, 2020, 9:48 AM · I was wondering if anyone here has one of the Baroque bows from Shar and if they'd be willing to share their feedback here or privately.

Thank you!

(PS - I already know how Lyndon feels about these bows from Laurie's post a while back, so Lyndon can spare his opinions about this matter here.)

Replies (16)

April 28, 2020, 10:35 AM · so I'm not allowed to have an opinion, how democratic!!
April 28, 2020, 10:49 AM · We have one of the ones from Shar and also another very similar one ordered off Amazon several years ago. I would say the Shar one seems to have slightly better hair than the Amazon one, but they are otherwise pretty much the same. You have to tighten them considerably to get the camber correct, which freaks out my one kid but makes a lot of difference in their function.

When I was in college, I played on a very expensive, high quality Baroque bow for a few months. These don't compare to what I recall of that one. In general, what I would say is they are great pedagogical tools. They do give you the feel of playing on a Baroque bow. However, they really aren't good enough to do any kind of substantive (ie non-amateur) performance with them. You can get the feel of how a Baroque bow works, but not always the control and sound that I remember from the high-priced one I used.

April 28, 2020, 11:48 AM · Almost any bow will go straight if you tighten it enough, the point is a baroque bow is supposed to go straight with a similar amount of tightening tension as you would use to normally tension a modern bow to an inward curve.
April 28, 2020, 1:40 PM · When I visited Shar last summer I bought one because it was cheap and I was curious. I'm fascinated by Baroque music and also thought this type of bow might be interesting to try on some of the folk styles I usually play, especially the more uptempo numbers. After some experimentation with grip it felt comparatively nimble and overall decently suited to the role I had in mind for it. One caveat here is that it's far from being my primary bow so among other things I'm still playing around with different grips at different balance points.

I've played with it enough to decide that I want a better Baroque bow. I question the construction and longevity of this one. If I slacken the hair on this one, hold the screw up to my eye, and try to sight down the length of the stick, it looks like the stick wants to bend to my left and then back to the right. This gives me pause.

I'd say go ahead and try one if you like. Right now they seem to be fetching about 20-30% less than what I paid, if that's a factor. Just be prepared to maybe manage your expectations a bit.

April 28, 2020, 1:50 PM · Better than nothing, but you get what you paid for, which is bad.
Edited: April 28, 2020, 4:13 PM · I got the baroque bow 'bug' and wrote to Mohr & Mohr for trial bows. I was charmed by the maneuverability of the bows they sent--it's a trip compared to a modern bow! After reading about many disappointments in baroque bows at SHAR's entry level price, I would say that saving up for a bow by a newby bowmaker will get you a bow at least 4 times better than SHAR's $149 model. Katherine Mohr is a newby in the bowmaking family, and her prices are about 1/3 what her dad charges. Maybe some other players here can suggest real baroque bowmakers who are starting out, with good prices? BTW, the bowmakers' bows will only rise in value...SHAR's $149 bows won't.
April 28, 2020, 4:54 PM · Given what she charges for a modern bow I suspect that there are some experienced baroque bow makers who may even charge less than she does for her baroque bows. I don't know if Antonino Airenti is shipping yet but his prices weren't too onerous last time I checked, and Eitan Hoffer in Israel might be worth checking with.
April 29, 2020, 10:27 AM · Thanks all. I decided to get one, with the intention of saving up for a proper Baroque bow in the future if I feel the Shar bow is providing enough insight to warrant another bow purchase. I had trialed a couple Baroque bows a year or so ago, and almost bought one. I should have!

Would love to see people's recommendations for Baroque bow makers that won't break my amateur bank...

April 29, 2020, 11:36 AM · I second Antonino Airenti, a wonderful man and wonderful bow maker.
April 29, 2020, 12:03 PM · Recently I came across the website (https://www.historicalbows.com) of one Stephen Marvin in Toronto. He makes baroque bows and also seems to have quite a credible background as a performer. I'm thinking seriously about dropping him an email and seeing where things go from there.

His prices range from "this might sting a little" to "hock your Camry", with his baroque bows at the lower end of that spectrum. In other words they look reasonable to me, and I'm an amateur. Still, people have different comfort levels when it comes to that.

April 29, 2020, 1:32 PM · Jack, he has one of his short bows available at Johnson Strings FYI.
April 29, 2020, 1:40 PM · David Hawthorne in the Boston area also has a fairly lively practice in Baroque bows.
April 29, 2020, 2:26 PM · Yes he does. I have one of his on the Powerhouse museum model and it's really nice. Still one of these days I will make myself a Salzburg model or sell the Powerhouse and buy one. Or maybe a Tartini, although I keep telling myself I'm more interested in the shorter bows.
April 30, 2020, 7:58 AM · Thank you for the heads-up, Andres. Looking at that page now.
Edited: April 30, 2020, 8:41 AM · In this article from the Strad, bowmakers discuss how to choose a baroque bow:

https://www.thestrad.com/lutherie/ask-the-experts-purchasing-the-right-baroque-bow/536.article

Edited: April 30, 2020, 10:47 AM · There's a compendium of advice in Elizabeth Freeland's interesting article on this site from last year, which reflects what must have been quite a research project. (Not gospel mind you. For instance short bows are often in the vicinity of 58 cm.)

Past a certain spending point I think it becomes time to consult with several makers about your specific needs. It's worth noting that different regional schools of thought have developed about playing technique and have likely influenced the micro-evolution of even very close copies of original bows.

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