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Looking for New Viola Bow


larkascending
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Hi,

I would like to upgrade to a better quality  viola bow, and

would appreciate any suggestions on recommended makers.

My price range is $2-3K. Any suggestions from players in love with

their bows or from any of you bow makers out there would be greatly

appreciated. I play primarily orchestral music, and am not

interested in a carbon  fiber bow as I already own one.

Thanks! - Lark

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For 2K-3K you are in a sweet spot for contemporary bows by very good current makers and really good German semi-antique bows by Hoyer, Nurnberger, and Pfretschner. How far are you from a major city where you can try out a couple of hundred bows in this price range?

For a new maker, I like Lee Guthrie's bows, but that is for violin bows. Presumably, he does well with viola bows. For the dead German guys, there is a whole lot of variation across samples. I have a Nurnberger that I really love but have played Nurnbergers that I didn't like. Same for the other two.

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Lark - I really like my A. Caballero - The maker lives in Lucern, and although I paid a bit more for it than your upper limit, I have tried some of his that are within your range, and they are very nice. Good luck! Viola bows, like violas, are about twice as expensive as violin stuff (as you know), but our purses thank us for not playing bass!

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Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! My top price is actually

$4K if I find the bow of my dreams!

I am lucky enough to live near some world class violin shops which

include Roland Feller, and Ifshin Violins.

I was hoping you all would give me the names of some contemporary

bow makers which you did thanks. Oh, and I am not opposed to the

dead german dudes.  ♥

Best, Lark

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There are some really great bow makers up here in the Puget Sound region: Charles Espey, Morgan Andersen, & Michael Vann (Canada). There are many others.

I have a Vann viola bow, which I love. I bought it directly from him, about ten years ago. Thanks to the great exchange rate back then, I paid 60% of his list price (though now he has a US price for his bows).

I see that Ifshin has "several examples" of Morgan Andersen viola bows listed in the 2-5K range. Seems like that might be a good place to start. They also list an Albert Nurnberger, which might be good to compare with the modern bows--that dead German dude.

J.

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Since you live near the Bay Area, you might want to contact John Greenwood, in San Francisco. He is a very fine violinist as well as a very fine bowmaker. He made the viola bow I now use, and it is terrific. It draws a fine sound, feels sweet in the hand, and is perfectly balanced. And he's not too expensive.

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Since you live near the Bay Area, you might want to contact John Greenwood, in San Francisco. He is a very fine violinist as well as a very fine bowmaker. He made the viola bow I now use, and it is terrific. It draws a fine sound, feels sweet in the hand, and is perfectly balanced. And he's not too expensive.

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I dont have any contact info for John here in the office, but I

expect that if you call SF information, u'll find his listing. As i

said in my earlier post, he's a very good violinist, and his pitch

is that as a serious player, he knows what he wants out of a

bow.

He's a nice fellow, and I'm sure he would be happy to work with you

to get the kind of bow you want.

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Another fine contemporary maker is Tom Egan. Folks down in Southern California are beating a path to his door. He was former head of bow department at Hans Weishaar, and has had his own shop for a number of years. Excellent copies of many historical bows, too. His shop is first call for most of the big-timers in the area.

http://www.vitadolceviolins.com/

Though I'm not a big-timer, he just finished restoring (ivory tip and silver slide) my fine Thomassin, and I can't stop playing.....

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The town is Port Townsend, Washington with at least 8 master bow makers (multiple gold medal winners no longer allowed to comptete but only to judge) including Paul Martin Siefried (whose bows I have for violin and cello - never tried one of his viola bows). Going prices are probably between $3,200 and $4,000 for ebony/silver frog bows ,more for gold and other materials. I have tried a couple of Morgan Anderson viola bows that I was impressed with (made in the same town, but sold by Ifshin Violins).

Andy

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  • 1 year later...

Check for my private message, Michael Yeats in Portland has just finished some spec bows --one of them may be a viola bow. Morgan Anderson now lives in Rosalia Wa. $4000 is about right these days. There are also some great deals to be had from gifted but lesser known makers, Peg Baumgartel's name comes to mind, she is Morgan's partner an expert restorer also making bows.

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Since you are looking for a viola bow, I would suggest looking into a Jon Vanderhorst. The viola players tend to like him. Like Sue Lipkins and her bass bows, Jon specializes in viola. My son's viola teacher has one. It is a very nice bow and cured her of BAS forever. Johnson String Instrument has one of Jon's bows for $2800.

Also, do you ever get a chance to get to Taipei. There are a bunch of good dealers there, including now the Beckers. Most of the inventory is sold in both the US and Taiwan so prices seem to be similar.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In your price range I would not count out Carbon Fiber. The goal should be to get the best bow possible. You will have a very difficult time finding a wood bow that will be as good as a CF in this range. I strongly urge you to try out both. Try top line Arcus, Coda, etc., some of the hybrid, and some pernumbuco. A student of mine has a $300 CF bow that is vastly superior to my best (and expensive, well branded) pernumbuco violin bow. My wood viola bow however is priceless, a Frank V. Henderson original, custom made for me, but I looked at hundreds of bows and bowmakers across the country before landing this one - but CF wasn't an option in 1981. You might get lucky and find one as I did.

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I really like a lot of Steve Beckley's bows. He's got a website: www.bowworks.com I've played a few at the VSA shows and am very impressed with the balance, heft and of course looks!

You know there's a lot of good bowmaking going on in Brazil these days. Of course Water Violet, Marco Raposo and Horst John bows are worth looking at. You can find them at most good violin shops.

I'm also a huge fan of Benoit Rolland. Ever since I got my first bow hair order from him in 2000, I have been going over there to his little shop to see what he's working on. Lovely, exquisitely formed, almost as if he pulls them out of some liquid wood...and they draw such a tone (I like to think it's the hair, but...) on the web at www.rollandbows.com

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