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I recently picked up a bow stamped "Grimm" and "Germany" that looked pretty good and I thought it might be a good playable bow for the price ($45 plush shipping), although it needed a little bit of work. It needs to be rehaired, needs new windings and a new grip. Now, I grew up in Spokane, Washington and there was a guy there who did excellent work on both violins and bows - he studied at several places, including some in France, and just did a marvelous job. His prices were great, too. I guess I got spoiled. Now that I'm down here in Naples, Florida I thought I'd check about getting the bow finished up at the local shop that does in-house work (with a luthier on-site). I figured it would be around the same prices.... and was literally speechless when the guy who looked at the bow was clearly completely uneducated about violin bows (and I'm no expert, so if I'm saying that it's pretty bad) and he wanted to charge $450 for a rehair, windings, and a grip! He then proceeded to insult my bow and tell me I was better off to buy one of the "beginner bows" they sold there, which (no surprise) were crap. Including fiberglass (which I am trying to upgrade away from). He told me that he personally had "no idea what [a stamp] means" when I mentioned offhand the stamps on it, and completely missed seeing them in his all-of-5-second inspection that he did right in front of us in terrible lighting. After speaking with him for awhile it became clear that he didn't play or know how to either, which concerned me. All of this together was a little alarming to say the least. I will clearly be shipping my bow to Spokane to the person I'm used to seeing about bows and violins, as you probably guessed. Just to put things into perspective, I got a quote from him while I was on the phone with him, and he said he could do everything for $125, which is a very reasonable price. To be honest, I am glad I'm sending it to him instead.... I trust the work that the guy in Spokane does and I know he'll do an excellent job with this. The joke of a "bow expert" I spoke with today would have probably botched the work if I had mindlessly given him that ridiculous sum of money after seeing how little he knew about bows. I'll tell you what, though. I bet he's sold a lot of crappy fiberglass bows this way.
Well, after a few years of growing rusty, I've picked up the violin once more and lately I've really started to think about the effect that my bow, rosin, and strings have. The violin I play is good quality -- German and probably late 1800s, stamped "GLASS" (Franz Johann likely). It has such a unique dark, booming voice with a very unusual color (the stain is nearly black it is so dark) and is such a delight to play. Unfortunately, I never really invested in quality rosin or strings, mostly for financial reasons, and the bow is just a cheap fiberglass bow. The strings are mismatched, with the only good one being the "G" string (Dominant) and the rosin I have is just the $2 cheapo stuff. Wanting to turn that around, I am going to be using a little bit of my tax return hopefully to buy some Andrea Solo rosin (hopefully it won't melt in the South Florida heat) and some quality, darker strings. Which just leaves the bow. I'm definitely not rolling in money by any stretch of the imagination, which means that a lot of the bows that I want are laughably beyond my means. But I really wanted to hold out for a real wood bow, and I was really hoping for a decent German bow from a similar time period as the violin. Most of those are out of my price range... but I did find one on ebay and broke down and bought it. It needs rehairing obviously, but otherwise I felt that it was a decent buy. I was wondering if you guys think I did okay buying this? This isn't to resell or anything like that -- I'm not looking for the next million-dollar bow, but I am looking for something that will play well and that appeals to me. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Beautiful-Old-Antique-4-4-violin-bow-Stamped-034-Grimm-034-/251853605018?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2047675.l2557&nma=true&si=VTIn2AuWpAc6%252FQfffmHruYJl2iQ%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc Here's the breakdown on the bow: It weighs 55 grams without hair (after looking it up, it sounds like it would end up around 60-61ish grams with hair), it is stamped "GRIMM" near the frog. Underneath the frog is another stamp, "GERMANY" and what looks to be a hand carved "V" symbol. The metal is all real German silver as far as I can tell, and the slider and eyes of the frog are just gorgeous - very iridescent (the pictures don't do it justice). From what I gather, the frog is ebony, the tip is ivory, and the bow is most likely made from pernambuco wood. The wrappings were a cheap, shoddy job (not original, "glued" on with jewelers wax and not even real metal), so I removed those and will be replacing them. The bow was very slightly warped to one side to my alarm (despite the listing description), but after some creative clamping and Floridian humidity, I have straightened it back out. (The listing didn't have any good pictures of the stamps, but if I can later today I'll take a few) Anyway, here are the pictures! Please let me know if you think I did all right. I haven't been able to play it yet since I'm waiting on my tax return to take it to be rehaired and rewrapped, but I get a good feeling from it. Listing Description: "Here is a beautiful old full size violin bow stamped "Grimm" that is in excellent condition only needing a rehairing and cleaning. I don't see any damage what so ever. It will probably need a cleaning but that is it. The bow weighs 55 g, has silver fittings (I think), and is straight."