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Hi all, 

Since joining this forum, I've learned a lot about violin ID.  However, bows still leave me bewildered.  This is my personal bow, and I would like to know more about it if possible.  I took it to a bow maker and he said it is a very nice stick, but he wasn't comfortable attributing it to any particular school.  We went over all the structural concerns, so no need to warn me about the nicks in the tip or the cracks in the frog.  Everything is stable and I am very careful with it.  The frog and button are not original, neither is the tip plate.  It is clearly a player's bow of no significant monetary value.  All the "numbers" are spot on (it plays great).  

So what can you guys tell me about it?  Is anyone familiar with a style like this?  Where might it be from?  Don't hesitate to ask for more/better photos if you want them.  

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Mass made bow (German?) .. Look tip and frog.

Someone remade tip - revarnished (seem that does not know the job since looks unsealed/or bad varnished). Also messed up with tip corners at the back side.

Frog is out of commenting - button too (out of center). Grip.. Off comment too. Put at least that leather straight... 

What does your bow maker mean - it is a good stick? 

 

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1 hour ago, Mik Kyklo said:

Frog is out of commenting - button too (out of center). Grip.. Off comment too. Put at least that leather straight... 

What does your bow maker mean - it is a good stick?

I wouldn't jump at such strict conclusions by just watching few poor phone pics... The phone lens include HUGE distortion and what is in reality straight can be wavy or curved on phone(y) picture...

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This is interesting, because this is almost the opposite of what the bow maker said.  He had it in his hands.  We are not going to discuss his expertise because that is never productive and I won't tell you who he is.  He knows I am a violin maker (albeit still green), and he has my confidence.  

He said it is a good stick because, like I said, all the "numbers" are spot on.  Weight, balance, graduations, etc.  It plays very well.  

I am curious what makes you say the tip was revarnished.  Like I said, I am not a bow expert, but to me it looks uniform throughout.  Perhaps there is a problem with the photo quality?  

Bottom line, I didn't pay an arm and a leg for this bow, and it plays better than bows I would've.  I wasn't expecting to be told it's something valuable.  I'm just a bit surprised that it turned out to be something so common, given that it's nothing like anything I've seen/played before.  

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2 minutes ago, HoGo said:

I wouldn't jump at such strict conclusions by just watching few poor phone pics... The phone lens include HUGE distortion and what is in reality straight can be wavy or curved on phone(y) picture...

Yes, I was a bit disappointed that the eye and slide look so ugly in the photo.  I know it's not the biggest deal for ID, but the mother of pearl (?) is quite beautiful in real life.  Perhaps other qualities are being lost here as well.  

I spent about 30 minutes trying to get these photos... I have never photographed a bow before... is there a how-to thread like the one for violins?  I can't imagine this is the pinnacle of bow photography.  

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10 minutes ago, HoGo said:

strict conclusions by just watching few poor phone pics

I agree. You are right. But, if you make some frogs, screws etc.--- you can realize some things immediately... And I had very strict instructor... 

14 minutes ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

"numbers" are spot on.  Weight, balance, graduations, etc.

So, you mean it has good playing properties (Stiffness, Balance, weight etc). Ok , if you like how it plays, it is another thing / personal. Did I comment on that? No. If it plays great, that it is.

 

41 minutes ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

This is interesting, because this is almost the opposite of what the bow maker said.  He had it in his hands.  We are not going to discuss his expertise because that is never productive and I won't tell you who he is.  He knows I am a violin maker (albeit still green), and he has my confidence.  

I never asked details about the bow maker. I asked you just about a phrase (nice stick).

Of course it would be unproductive to discuss about a bowmaker, because if you trust what someone told you, you do not ask at forum for extra opinions.

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8 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

When I was a child, my father taught me, whenever an amateur violin maker came around to present his latest creation, to always say “oh, that is nice wood”

I think we need to be fair about things though...

And yes, the work of a beginner/amateur will never compare to the work of an expert, but...the early efforts of anyone starting anything new are a huge accomplishment and shouldn't summarily be dismissed either.

It is also very brave for a beginner to ask an expert for feedback. It's not hard to offer up constructive criticism that is still encouraging.

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

I think we need to be fair about things though...

And yes, the work of a beginner/amateur will never compare to the work of an expert, but...the early efforts of anyone starting anything new are a huge accomplishment and shouldn't summarily be dismissed either.

It is also very brave for a beginner to ask an expert for feedback. It's not hard to offer up constructive criticism that is still encouraging.

All very true, but Jacob's comment is also spot on. It is essential to have something positive to say when faced with someone's pride and joy that is objectively, let us say, not great.

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Ok, let's address a couple things.  

6 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

When I was a child, my father taught me, whenever an amateur violin maker came around to present his latest creation, to always say “oh, that is nice wood”

This is great advice.  In the past, I have been guilty of trying to impress violin makers with my crap work that I didn't yet know was crap.  "That's nice wood" went a long way.  

At this point, I would be a little insulted if that's all someone had to say about my fiddles.  I still very much classify myself as an amateur/student luthier, but I like to think I'm at the point now where there are areas to genuinely compliment, and in the areas to improve, I like to think I'm committed enough to benefit from criticism.  

That said, I don't pester violin makers anymore because I've grown up and realized how obnoxious it is.  

(Except here.  You guys are stuck with me)

4 hours ago, Televet said:

All very true, but Jacob's comment is also spot on. It is essential to have something positive to say when faced with someone's pride and joy that is objectively, let us say, not great.

This bow isn't my "pride and joy."  I have no horse in this race.  I just like it and don't know what it is, so I wanted to learn more by posting it here.  I know nothing about bows except how to use them.  I want to expand my knowledge, using a bow I own as the subject.  I like the bow just as much even though I now know it isn't anything special.  

I also don't think it's entirely fair to say the bow is "objectively not great."  As I said, I am NOT knowledgeable about bows, at least from an ID/appraisal standpoint.  However, I do fancy myself pretty knowledgeable about bows from the perspective of a violinist.  This bow just plays great.  There's no two ways about it.  I'm sure something from a big-name maker would play better.  But this bow plays as well as the best I've tried, and it actually costs less than my car.  :)

7 hours ago, Mik Kyklo said:

I agree. You are right. But, if you make some frogs, screws etc.--- you can realize some things immediately... And I had very strict instructor... 

The frog and screw are not original to the stick.  I don't disagree with your attribution of the bow.  But these elements are not useful to determine where the stick came from.  

7 hours ago, Mik Kyklo said:

I never asked details about the bow maker. I asked you just about a phrase (nice stick).

Of course it would be unproductive to discuss about a bowmaker, because if you trust what someone told you, you do not ask at forum for extra opinions.

He took measurements of it, balanced it, weighed it, played it.  He said it was a nice stick.  Because people on this forum obviously don't agree (despite having never played it??), I was attempting to quell ad-hominem attacks from various users (not you specifically).  These things always happen and are just a waste of time.  Also, I don't distrust the bowmaker.  He is primarily a maker, not an appraiser, so I was never expecting him to tell me everything about this bow.  I brought it here to learn more about it, not because I thought he was wrong.  

Ultimately, I don't think the bow maker was just being nice about it.  He pointed out several things he didn't like and several things he was concerned about.  What would be the purpose of deliberately misleading an up-and-coming luthier?  Surely that would come back to bite you in the ass?  Overall, he just thought it was a nice bow.  He did NOT say it was valuable, and he thought the price I paid for it was fair.  

7 hours ago, Mik Kyklo said:

So, you mean it has good playing properties (Stiffness, Balance, weight etc). Ok , if you like how it plays, it is another thing / personal. Did I comment on that? No. If it plays great, that it is.

You asked why he called it a good stick.  

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46 minutes ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

Ok, let's address a couple things.  

This is great advice.  In the past, I have been guilty of trying to impress violin makers with my crap work that I didn't yet know was crap.  "That's nice wood" went a long way.  

At this point, I would be a little insulted if that's all someone had to say about my fiddles.  I still very much classify myself as an amateur/student luthier, but I like to think I'm at the point now where there are areas to genuinely compliment, and in the areas to improve, I like to think I'm committed enough to benefit from criticism.  

That said, I don't pester violin makers anymore because I've grown up and realized how obnoxious it is.  

(Except here.  You guys are stuck with me)

This bow isn't my "pride and joy."  I have no horse in this race.  I just like it and don't know what it is, so I wanted to learn more by posting it here.  I know nothing about bows except how to use them.  I want to expand my knowledge, using a bow I own as the subject.  I like the bow just as much even though I now know it isn't anything special.  

I also don't think it's entirely fair to say the bow is "objectively not great."  As I said, I am NOT knowledgeable about bows, at least from an ID/appraisal standpoint.  However, I do fancy myself pretty knowledgeable about bows from the perspective of a violinist.  This bow just plays great.  There's no two ways about it.  I'm sure something from a big-name maker would play better.  But this bow plays as well as the best I've tried, and it actually costs less than my car.  :)

The frog and screw are not original to the stick.  I don't disagree with your attribution of the bow.  But these elements are not useful to determine where the stick came from.  

He took measurements of it, balanced it, weighed it, played it.  He said it was a nice stick.  Because people on this forum obviously don't agree (despite having never played it??), I was attempting to quell ad-hominem attacks from various users (not you specifically).  These things always happen and are just a waste of time.  Also, I don't distrust the bowmaker.  He is primarily a maker, not an appraiser, so I was never expecting him to tell me everything about this bow.  I brought it here to learn more about it, not because I thought he was wrong.  

Ultimately, I don't think the bow maker was just being nice about it.  He pointed out several things he didn't like and several things he was concerned about.  What would be the purpose of deliberately misleading an up-and-coming luthier?  Surely that would come back to bite you in the ass?  Overall, he just thought it was a nice bow.  He did NOT say it was valuable, and he thought the price I paid for it was fair.  

You asked why he called it a good stick.  

My comment was addressed directly to Rue's, and not to your original post. I am not qualified to offer an opinion on your bow and did not do so. It was not my intent to offend either you or your bow.:wacko:

Edited by Televet
Sense from nonsense
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