Contemporary, European violin bow, $8500 budget
Hi everyone :-)
I'm looking for a new violin bow from a contemporary maker. I'm based in Northern Germany, so bow makers based in Europe would make more sense, I think, than makers working in the US or Canada.
I can go up to about 7000€/$8500. If I can find something cheaper that is of great quality, obviously that would be even better. But quality comes first.
I'm not really concerned about re-sale or investment value, I'm looking for a working bow.
I've looked through the lists of past competition winners of the VSA etc.
Any particular, personal recommendations, or maybe bow makers who aren't quite as well known yet, but are producing great work?
Thank you in advance for your input! Any help is appreciated. :-)
Have you seen Gennady Filimonov's list of contemporary makers at
Even though the list Stan Yates recommends above is great, you cannot be certain that the bow you receive from any of those makers will be best for you on your instrument(s). You must audition your new bow before you part with your money.
A great source to consider, once travel and shipping work themselves back to normal, is Sean Bishop. I went in one day, and he had something like 20 gold-mounted contemporary bows. Quite a lot of silver ones, as well, if you wanted to slum amongst ordinary medal-winners. :D
Stephen, is it fair to ask why so many of these gold-mounted bows have remained in the shop, unsold?
This was over a year and a half ago. Most everything there was really very good, and the few I didn't care for were well-made by famous people. Probably right for someone else.
Would you also take German bows into consideration, then I'm sure you already came across the members of the Grünke family. They are a good point to start with, and their top models are still within your mentioned price range. I own a breathtaking 1990ies violin bow in gold by Richard (the father), and love my silver viola bow by Klaus who is also the maker of the "Kittel" high end model.
Oh, yes. I saw Martin a few weeks ago. Not so many new bows, of course, but he selects his inventory very carefully.
Many great bow makers here in Europe, most of them with waiting lists from 1 to 5 years. My favorite, Clément, Bigot, Thomachot, Burke, Lecanu, Nehr family, Camurat, Fuchs, Devilliers, Sleeman, Carlier, Mortier, Sadka, Tepho, Kovaks,...and more. All in the 8500k budget!
Not waiting so long is one advantage of buying from a dealer who regularly commissions bows from these makers. (Came very close to buying a wonderful Emmanuel Carlier bow like this but ended up commissioning for both my kids from Thomachot, since he had trained the guy who looks after our bows and instruments.)
Carlier is a name that has just crossed my radar a few times. Anything useful to know about him and his work?
Responds to emails readily. Our local luthier ran one of the VSA bow competitions Carlier took gold at and was visibly enthusiastic when talking about his work. You can take the list I posted a link to with a grain of salt, at least to some degree, because a couple of makers we liked the best (Carlier and Cody Kowalski) are not even on it.
Isn't Thomachot >10k?
2 and 4 years ago he was asking about the same as everyone else we spoke with for silver with about a 1 year wait, but certainly could have increased since. Just about everyone I talked with back then was within 1k or so, David Samuels was a little more.
I am looking at a Thomachot that is being offered at about 10K euros. No idea if that is what you'd pay at his shop. But he is probably one of the outliers, along with Rolland, Burke, Espey, and maybe one or two others with 'man-on-the-street' notoriety.
I believe I heard something like €10.5k. But, as always, grain of salt...
Yes, and VAT, value of vintage/condition, etc. Still, he is one of a handful of names that everyone in the business takes seriously, and will volunteer immediately.
Nuuska, my last Thomachot ordered last summer from him was 8000€, silver and ebony.
My last four Thomachots were $4000, $7000, $9500, and $12500.
Jose, thanks for the info!
Of course, it's only recently that he's been able to afford an entire stick.
I said "my last" because I have two, the other one from 4 years ago which was priced at 6000€. Anyway I think Thomachot is one of the most expensive makers in Europe if not the most. Gilles Nehr bows are between 7 and 8k I think, for ebony and silver. From there all the other ones I mentioned go down in price. Maybe Burke is around 7k too..
Not sure why European matters, but I tried a Guillome, Gagne, Fuchs, and Lecanu. Bought a Rodney Mohr instead.
Hi A W, thanks for your input. To answer your question why "European matters": as I said in my original posting, I'm based in Europe, so getting to the makers' studios in person is a lot easier over here and you don't have any issues with customs/importing. I'm sure there are great American bow makers as well, and of course, you can have bows send via post but with very high fees for postal returns, insurance, import duties and all the other hassle with customs, it's simply not worth it when there are good enough bow makers based near me here in Europe. I'd rather invest this additonal money in the bow itself. :-)
Well explained, Jasper. And even traveling overseas would be an opportunity for degustation, but probably not for an immediate purchase. It's one thing to "fall in love at first sight", but it's a different thing whether this sympathy can be transformed into a stable and functional relationship after a certain period of time. A bow is such an important and personal working tool, and in this price league (given you're looking for a tool and not an investment), you will desire a trial period of at least one week, including professional feedback from people you trust.
Jasper - makes sense. I really loved the Yves Fuchs bow, I'd really recommend looking for one of his there in Europe.