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DR. S

Frank V. Henderson Bow

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I've tried this before and never gotten a response. I have a wonderful viola bow made for me by the late Frank V. Henderson in Seattle - about 1981. I am curious about it as I was once told that he wrote one of the 2 primary books used by bowmakers as reference in their art. I have found out of print copies of the book on the internet and they are quite expensive. What are his bows worth now? I have not found one listed on the internet. Mine was one of his last bows.

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Hi,

I don't know about the value of your bow, but I know some about Frank Henderson. My first master in learning violin making was Vernon Lear who is Frank's Grandson. Vernon is a violin maker living in Auburn Washington. I have played a few of Frank's bow's and one of his violins (he made both). Frank was an amateur maker as he owned a large building company. Vernon inherited all his tools and books. His book he wrote is obscure and no bow makers I know have read it. I hope this info is interesting to you. Ben.

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Do you still have the FV hendrson bow.  If so, would you sell it.  I am his nephew.  I still live near the ranch he was raised on.  I have 2 of his fiddles, his book and no bow.  Thank you for your consideration.  406-386-2264

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On ‎10‎/‎9‎/‎2002 at 2:38 PM, DR. S said:

...What are his bows worth now?...

His bows have sold at auction for about $250 to $1000, with most going for $700 to $900.

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On 1/11/2018 at 6:29 AM, Brad Dorsey said:

His bows have sold at auction for about $250 to $1000, with most going for $700 to $900.

Do you know of any of his stuff coming up for sale.  Also, Vernon Lear is my cousin and would like a fiddle and bow made by him.

 

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I don't know of any.  Since he was an American maker, his stuff would be most likely to appear in musical instrument auctions in this country.  If you contact Skinner and Tarisio, I expect that they would send you e-mail notifications of upcoming instrument auctions.

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Jay - I do indeed still have his bow and it is my primary viola bow, so there is no way I would part with it.   While the workmanship is a bit rough, showing his age, the result is still a marvelous playing/sounding bow.   I have tried out some very expensive, old, master maker French and English bows, but have not found anything better.  He made it to my specifications and with those specifications I had pretty much nailed what I needed for my instrument.

 

Benji, all I know is that I have been told by at least two bow makers who have seen my bow that they were familiar which his book and that it was must read for any serious bowmaker - of course this was 40 years ago, so it may have fallen out of favor by now. 

 

Brad - not surprised, just like my viola - among the best I have ever come across but not worth much more than I paid many years ago. I tried for years to find a 'professional grade' viola, but came to realized that the instrument I had, which I knew was good, was among the top tier of playing violas in existence.  And this is not just my opinion.  Valuation is a very complex subject having more to do with the makers reputation of the general quality of his instruments and little to do with the quality of that specific instrument.  

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6 hours ago, DR. S said:

Jay - I do indeed still have his bow and it is my primary viola bow, so there is no way I would part with it.   While the workmanship is a bit rough, showing his age, the result is still a marvelous playing/sounding bow.   I have tried out some very expensive, old, master maker French and English bows, but have not found anything better.  He made it to my specifications and with those specifications I had pretty much nailed what I needed for my instrument.

 

Benji, all I know is that I have been told by at least two bow makers who have seen my bow that they were familiar which his book and that it was must read for any serious bowmaker - of course this was 40 years ago, so it may have fallen out of favor by now. 

 

Brad - not surprised, just like my viola - among the best I have ever come across but not worth much more than I paid many years ago. I tried for years to find a 'professional grade' viola, but came to realized that the instrument I had, which I knew was good, was among the top tier of playing violas in existence.  And this is not just my opinion.  Valuation is a very complex subject having more to do with the makers reputation of the general quality of his instruments and little to do with the quality of that specific instrument.  

Thank you for your reply.  as stated, I am looking for bows and fiddles made by Frank Henderson or Vernon Lear, as both were family members.

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A kind bow maker lent me two American bow making books, one was the Henderson.
It attempts to cover everything but ends up neglecting much of the established French and English traditions. 
I didn't use any of the methods in the book. 

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I have one of Vern's early fiddles. I had a viola on consignment, but his daughter picked it up last year. He was trying to sell some of his instruments through Claire Givens the last I heard. I was also told, by his daughter, that he was unable to work any more but was having difficulty accepting that fact.

 

The Henderson bow book states in the foreword that he does not utilize the French methods. I have the book as part of my library, but I agree that it isn't really useful for making a bow.

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