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Robinfirman

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  1. From my experience, with a fine classic French bow working at the optimum tension (for me not straight), an extra half turn or so on the button will produce an "overdrive" effect of extra power, if and when needed.
  2. Not all 19th century French bows are created equal, so the first item on a check list when considering a bow is the quality of the wood used (for me always pernambucco), and the skill of the maker, this will determine all other factors. Correcting a poor/crooked camber on a lesser quality stick will not make it a great "player" for modern use irrespective of the maker. The ideal is a combination of strength and flexibility. Personally, I have never taken the "balance point" into consideration. Apart from the weight of lapping used, older 'cello bows can vary considerably in length, gauge of metal mounts and frog size, but a fine bow will always tell you "what to do" to obtain the best results. The optimum weight is up to the individual player, my preference pivots around the 80 gram mark ('cello bow), but I know fellow professionals who prefer both much heavier or somewhat lighter bows. In my opinion fine early 19th century bows need not be "cranked up" pretty tight, that way they are liable lose the very qualities of suppleness and tonal variety for which they are renowned.
  3. Now retired from career as a session 'cellist in the London studios, I have seen, played and studied many bows over the past 50+ years and am now lucky enough to own representative examples of some of the finest 19th century French makers. I have no doubt about the importance of the bow for the performer - for ease of tone production, beauty of sound and clarity of articulation, and yes the bow can often enhance the playing/tonal qualities of an instrument. I would add the following comments 1 Each fine bow has its own characteristics, (personality, if you like) which the player needs to be "in tune" with to get the best results. 2 When testing bows the player must try to eliminate the feel of the their current favourite bow, so as to approach the selection process outside of their normal comfort zone i.e. not from where they are coming , but rather where they are trying to get to. 3 It is true that a particular bow will suit a particular instrument, and some will give enhanced results the better the instrument, hence something like an FXT can release the very best from a fine 'cello which is not within a lesser instrument.
  4. This my first post after lurking for some years. I am now retired after over forty years as a studio ' cellist in London and have been moved to join this board because of the approbrium being heaped on Jacob Saunders (who I do not know and have never met). Speaking personally I would never buy a broken bow however well it may seem to be repaired, nor would I sell one. A broken bow has no utility value and therefore no commercial value to me as a player, however the frog and button do have a value as possible replacements on another bow if they are of sufficient quality and in good condition. A player needs to have full confidence in their equipment. This maybe an old-fashioned view, but it has stood me in good stead over the years, and if you think acquiring a good quality fine instrument is fraught with difficulty then steer clear of classic French bows (especially if you think you can buy one "on the cheap"!)
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