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Teller violin & Pfretzschner bow


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I was in the "city" yesterday, so I had my Artur Teller violin appraised. He gave me a written appraisal in the amount of $3,000 (I paid $700 in about 1978)!! They were also having a huge sale and had all their violins out for trial, so I was trying theirs, and having them try theirs vs. mine. There was one $5,000 one (don't know brand) that sounded better than mine from afar, but when I played it, it was much too loud for my ears that close. The store people (who were REALLY good) loved my Teller. So, needless to say, I walked out a very happy woman!

So, I got looking at an old bow I have (which I bought with a violin [now strung as viola] at a thrift store.) I've been going to toss it, but as I examined it closer today (and after reading so much lately), I noticed it's a G.A. Pfretzschner (at least the frog is). Aren't they supposed to be pretty good?

I rosined it up a bit (the hair is filthy) and it seems to respond fairly well, in spite of being slightly (okay, maybe more than slightly) warped.

Could it be valuable, and is there a way to sort of "wash" the hair to get a better feel for sound and response before I spend money to have it rehaired? (I did try some new bows there -- one was TO DIE for, but the price - $1750 - is a little out of my range at the moment!) Also, is there a way that a luthier could "unwarp" it a bit?

Thanks for all your helpful suggestions. I'm learning lots. Even halfway considering buying a couple of cheap "fixer-uppers" for fun, just to see what becomes of them after they're worked on a little.


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Yes,you can wash the hair -- it's hair, after all, and if all you want to do is see if the bow is worth salvaging, what will you hurt?

Just don't get the water into the tip or frog. Plain water may be enough, if you're just trying to remove dust. Some folks use a tad of baby shampoo! (no conditioner, please). Alcohol will totally remove the dirty rosin but it will also make everything stick together in a sticy mass until _all_ the rosin is out. That may take a lot of work. It'll also dry the hair out.

Fixing a warped bow is called recambering. Recambering can be tricky, and most bowmakers charge by their time for the job rather than a specific price. So it's hard to give an estimate. But that bow, while it's not strike-it-rich valuable, might well be worth fixing up. (Certainly not automatic toss-it quality!) Best thing is to find a local luthier who will look at it and give an opinion.

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