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Fritz Meinel. Master German bowmaker


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8 hours ago, martin swan said:

Absolutely 

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about certificate wording here. How certificates are phrased depends on the law of the specific country.

German certificates, like UK certificates, always have a disclaimer ie. “in our opinion”.

French certificates foliow French law, and a lot more emphasis is placed on them as a legal guarantee. The issuers must be certified at the Court of Appeal etc.

A HansKarl Schmidt certificate is pretty cast iron when it comes to German bows, and that’s what the OP has.

We could have an abstract and abstruse discussion about the function of certificates, but to tear into the OP for being proud of a well certified bow seems slightly odd.

 

 

Many thanks Martin. Finally a voice with some common sense.

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1 hour ago, fiddlecollector said:

With regards to certificates like this , it is NOT cast iron, but an opinion of said authority. Whether the bow is what it purports to be is his opinion and NOT a 100%  certainty that it is correct.

Well maybe we can all agree and have a consensus here; the certainty that all is uncertain in life.....perhaps except birth death and taxes...lol

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8 hours ago, fiddlecollector said:

With regards to certificates like this , it is NOT cast iron, but an opinion of said authority. Whether the bow is what it purports to be is his opinion and NOT a 100%  certainty that it is correct.

 

7 hours ago, Alexander James Stew said:

Well maybe we can all agree and have a consensus here; the certainty that all is uncertain in life.....perhaps except birth death and taxes...lol

Yes, why not? I certainly have 100% consensus with fiddlecollector already!

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9 hours ago, fiddlecollector said:

With regards to certificates like this , it is NOT cast iron, but an opinion of said authority. Whether the bow is what it purports to be is his opinion and NOT a 100%  certainty that it is correct.

Agree - but this is true of any expert opinion.

And in fact French or Belgian certificates prove to be no more than that either, although they appear at first glance to be more binding.

My point was that if HK Schmidt says you have a Fritz Meinel bow, I can only think of two or three people who might legitimately debate his opinion - and I’m not one of them.

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

Agree - but this is true of any expert opinion.

And in fact French or Belgian certificates prove to be no more than that either, although they appear at first glance to be more binding.

My point was that if HK Schmidt says you have a Fritz Meinel bow, I can only think of two or three people who might legitimately debate his opinion - and I’m not one of them.

You're completely missing the point.  Without referring to the OP's bow, HK Schmidt has taken several "controversial" positions, not supported by most other authorities.  Without exaggeration, he is the lone cowboy out there.

Speaking for myself only, if a bow is accompanied by a Schmidt certificate, it would immediately cause me (a consumer) to question it.  Such certificates are "anti-certificates" because they arouse immediate suspicion, and when there is no public faith, it literally is the kiss of death.

An astute reader of this forum will realize this isn't the first time serious questions have come up here on this certificate issuing "authority."

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I would like sincerely like to thank everyone for their opinions and time taken for this very enriching brainstorming of ideas and different conclusions. It is always beneficial to share our thoughts, and I have a lot of gratitude for those who are undoubtedly more knowledgeable than myself. I am simply a professional violinist who shares an avid interest in all that has been discussed. My personal conclusion is that I  exremely happy with my FRITZ MEINEL, and for me it is on a par with any fine french bow that I have played with. And although not an expert there is a beauty and light from its construction that simply cannot be ignored. 

1 hour ago, Hempel said:

You're completely missing the point.  Without referring to the OP's bow, HK Schmidt has taken several "controversial" positions, not supported by most other authorities.  Without exaggeration, he is the lone cowboy out there.

Speaking for myself only, if a bow is accompanied by a Schmidt certificate, it would immediately cause me (a consumer) to question it.  Such certificates are "anti-certificates" because they arouse immediate suspicion, and when there is no public faith, it literally is the kiss of death.

An astute reader of this forum will realize this isn't the first time serious questions have come up here on this certificate issuing "authority

 

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8 hours ago, Hempel said:

You're completely missing the point.  Without referring to the OP's bow, HK Schmidt has taken several "controversial" positions, not supported by most other authorities.  Without exaggeration, he is the lone cowboy out there.

Speaking for myself only, if a bow is accompanied by a Schmidt certificate, it would immediately cause me (a consumer) to question it.  Such certificates are "anti-certificates" because they arouse immediate suspicion, and when there is no public faith, it literally is the kiss of death.

An astute reader of this forum will realize this isn't the first time serious questions have come up here on this certificate issuing "authority."

Perhaps you’d like to be more specific?

It seems quite incautious to throw out such serious condemnation without any substantiation.

I have had the opposite experience, with many customers insisting that he be on board before they will buy something, so it’s really not as black and white as you claim. 

You say “without referring to the OP bow” but that is what we are discussing here. If you are one the few people who are qualified to take Herr Schmidt to task over a Meinel then I will concede gracefully, but if not (you tell us you are a consumer …) then I would urge you to be a bit more charitable on a public forum.

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

Perhaps you’d like to be more specific?

It seems quite incautious to throw out such serious condemnation without any substantiation.

I have had the opposite experience, with many customers insisting that he be on board before they will buy something, so it’s really not as black and white as you claim. 

You say “without referring to the OP bow” but that is what we are discussing here. If you are one the few people who are qualified to take Herr Schmidt to task over a Meinel then I will concede gracefully, but if not (you tell us you are a consumer …) then I would urge you to be a bit more charitable on a public forum.

Martin you are a very tactful and kind person, have you ever considered standing for parliament?

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30 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Martin you are a very tactful and kind person, have you ever considered standing for parliament?

That’s nice of you, but the UK (or should I say English) parliament is the last place on earth where such qualities would be valued …

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On 6/19/2021 at 10:17 AM, Alexander James Stew said:

This is a" certificate " from him for which I paid €400.Hans Karl Schmidt is to German bows as is Raffin to French bows.

Why did you want a certificate in the first place? To confirm what you believed or to tell you what you had no idea about?

In either case why bother unless you want to sell it, which presumably you don’t? 

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1 hour ago, rudall said:

In either case why bother unless you want to sell it, which presumably you don’t? 

Certificates can be very valuable and useful to heirs and executors managing an estate.

Plus for insurance purposes.

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The certificate is a piece of history, I have a colleague who is a complete duffer when it comes to instruments, and many years ago he was delighted to have the opportunity to buy a Testori violin from a local school teacher who had apparently had it for 50-odd years.

I was very skeptical because that’s the kind of story people relate all the time before displaying a piece of firewood. When he showed it to me I saw a beautiful violin, although it had some worm damage on the back that he had never noticed. I thought it was beautiful, but I don’t know anything about violins.

“Are you sure it’s genuine?”

And he proudly answered, “It has 1937 Wurlitzer papers.”

So whether the OP wishes to sell the widget or not, having wonderful papers is a wonderful thing, because some day, someone will want to sell it, and reputable papers always help.

 

Edited by PhilipKT
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14 hours ago, Hempel said:

You're completely missing the point.  Without referring to the OP's bow, HK Schmidt has taken several "controversial" positions, not supported by most other authorities.  Without exaggeration, he is the lone cowboy out there.

Speaking for myself only, if a bow is accompanied by a Schmidt certificate, it would immediately cause me (a consumer) to question it.  Such certificates are "anti-certificates" because they arouse immediate suspicion, and when there is no public faith, it literally is the kiss of death.

An astute reader of this forum will realize this isn't the first time serious questions have come up here on this certificate issuing "authority."

Hans Karl Schmidt signed his name to his opinion. Would you be so kind as to do the same?

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3 hours ago, qwerty189 said:

I would personally be very interested in who the other few German bow experts are besides Herr Schmidt. Can anyone tell me? Grünke?

He is very respected, as is Mathias Wohlleber in Berlin. Wohlleber recently published a book of original branded German bows through Andy Lim’s publishing house in Cologne. I’m hoping I can wangle a free copy off Andy this very afternoon …!

Isaac Salchow is also very interested in good German bows - in fact I would say that things are changing fast as more and more information is shared. Inevitably this has consequences for the older generation.

”He who would be Caesar, let him first slay Caesar” …

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9 hours ago, qwerty189 said:

I would personally be very interested in who the other few German bow experts are besides Herr Schmidt. Can anyone tell me? Grünke?

Old 19th and 20th C German bows is a subject of interest and research and discussion of a fair number of people. Apart from those already mentioned, I would consider amongst others Josef Gabriel’s opinion certainly worth having. I hope he’s not cross with me mentioning him here.

The problem with “expertize” is that it is a lot more difficult than people think. If I am convinced that an anonymous violin is by Caspar Strnad, for instance, my conviction is based on me knowing at least 20 of his with an original label. With old German bows, the situation is much more complicated, due to the immense number of very good unstamped bows, particularly before the Innungsgrundung (formation of a bow makers guild) in 1888. There were some 70 bow workshops in Markneukirchen and 100 in it’s suburbs. Even after that, an immense amount of bows were produced without stamps, and sold to the trade, and many were stamped up by the violin makers and shopkeepers who sold them, not only in and around Markneukirchen, but also further abroad.

We know from contemporary government statistics that there was a production of the good (i.e. pernambuco) bows in the late 19th. C. of some 18,000 per annum, and that they were made by a couple of dozen makers, many of whom we don’t know by name, never mind from signed (i.e. stamped) works.

Most experts will tell you when asked about a bow, that it could have been made from one of about 30 or 40 different people, and one becomes suspicious of someone who seems to nearly always “give the baby a name”. From an expert who has already celebrated his 80th birthday, one might also wonder how the next generation of bow specialists will rate his opinions (cf. D’Attili). It is certainly irritating when some simpleton slams his written opinion on the table, and expects everyone to immediately lie on their stomach, since it is a matter of discussion, and hardly “cast iron”.

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13 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Hans Karl Schmidt signed his name to his opinion. Would you be so kind as to do the same?

Let's just say if you were to hand over €400/signature, I'd be rather motivated.

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10 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Old 19th and 20th C German bows is a subject of interest and research and discussion of a fair number of people. Apart from those already mentioned, I would consider amongst others Josef Gabriel’s opinion certainly worth having. I hope he’s not cross with me mentioning him here.

The problem with “expertize” is that it is a lot more difficult than people think. If I am convinced that an anonymous violin is by Caspar Strnad, for instance, my conviction is based on me knowing at least 20 of his with an original label. With old German bows, the situation is much more complicated, due to the immense number of very good unstamped bows, particularly before the Innungsgrundung (formation of a bow makers guild) in 1888. There were some 70 bow workshops in Markneukirchen and 100 in it’s suburbs. Even after that, an immense amount of bows were produced without stamps, and sold to the trade, and many were stamped up by the violin makers and shopkeepers who sold them, not only in and around Markneukirchen, but also further abroad.

We know from contemporary government statistics that there was a production of the good (i.e. pernambuco) bows in the late 19th. C. of some 18,000 per annum, and that they were made by a couple of dozen makers, many of whom we don’t know by name, never mind from signed (i.e. stamped) works.

Most experts will tell you when asked about a bow, that it could have been made from one of about 30 or 40 different people, and one becomes suspicious of someone who seems to nearly always “give the baby a name”. From an expert who has already celebrated his 80th birthday, one might also wonder how the next generation of bow specialists will rate his opinions (cf. D’Attili). It is certainly irritating when some simpleton slams his written opinion on the table, and expects everyone to immediately lie on their stomach, since it is a matter of discussion, and hardly “cast iron”.

Thanks for your excellent exposition on this.  It confirms what I'd long suspected about the majority of older bows available.

A gentle warning to any "simpletons".  In my case, that's usually called "dropping to prone", and not a sign that I'm about to fling adoration in your direction.  :ph34r:  :lol:

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