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Are gold mounted bows worthy?


LouisXVI
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Hi guys!

These days I'm gonna be traveling to France and I intend to buy a bow. I received  the catalogue of a Parisian bow maker and he makes gold mounted bows. What do you think of gold mounted bows? Are they worthy? Does gold improve bow's performance or it is something merely stethic? I had a phone call with the french luthier and he said his premium bows are gold mounted. What do you think about it guys?

Thanks in advance for your valuable comments!

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1 minute ago, LouisXVI said:

…Does gold improve bow's performance…?

No.

But bow makers often use what they consider to be their best wood on gold-mounted bows, and they often take extra care making gold-mounted bows.  These things could improve performance. You really have to try bows and judge their performance for yourself using your own instrument, regardless of the color of the metal.

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Caveat emptor.

Just because it looks good doesn't mean it has some guaranteed playability...for every single player.

Bows are so individual.

Don't know that a gold mounted bow would even have a better resale value - if you are thinking of buying one as an investment.

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Leaving questions of whether it simply "gilds the lily" [:lol:] out of it, gold (assuming 18K alloy) weighs roughly 1.8 times as much as either the silver or nickel alloys also used on bows.  Does this ever cause any problems, either with the bow's properties, or with the player changing from one to the other?   :) 

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Enjoy the process. 

With a reputable maker, one must assume they know what they are doing. But I have done research and settled on some known makers. The most recent Parisian purchase was in silver. I was sent three to try.

Of my favorite modern bows of all time, that were ultimately unattainable, more than half were gold mounted. Currently, I own only one gold mounted bow. I believe that the sticks were/ are better or better chosen for appearance? The better makers truly consider the player.

I have 4 bows by a bowmaker considered to be a player's maker. I never question their work and learn an incredible amount from the bows. It takes about 2 years to fully understand what is heard and felt in the fingers and arms and body. About the time it takes to get a bow on the waiting list. I rotate bows constantly so a new bow gets played about 3 days a week. During the pandemic, the would be 5th bow became available and I passed because I was unable to pay for it. There was very little income, so it was prudent to pass.

It would have been the best time to practice and learn from the bow. but it was impractical. How long would the situation last?

Things to consider. Cites. Taking your own instrument. Do not leave instrument unattended. Back ups when appointments might get cancelled. Being objective. Balance point and behaviour of bow. If you meet the maker. do not be shy. Be critical of style and ask about the uniqueness of his work. Most feel exceptional enough that there are unique qualities. Unlike some restorers that can be unbelievably transparent and selfless. Some are original, adapted designs and some are personalized copies.

Otherwise, enjoy the process. How lucky to be in the city of lights. Our mascot is a rodent with round ears.

My idiot friends, whom I love and respect and look up to, fly to Tokyo for sushi. I have burritos here. They have stories, I buy bows I like. Our priorities are different.

Do they keep a room for you ready at Versailles? 

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1 hour ago, LouisXVI said:

Hi guys!

These days I'm gonna be traveling to France and I intend to buy a bow. I received  the catalogue of a Parisian bow maker and he makes gold mounted bows. What do you think of gold mounted bows? Are they worthy? Does gold improve bow's performance or it is something merely stethic?

This has me wondering if I should install gold-plated E strings, and platinum E string fine tuners on all my violins. ;)

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On 5/13/2022 at 11:47 AM, Violadamore said:

Gold (assuming 18K alloy) weighs roughly 1.8 times as much as either the silver or nickel alloys also used on bows.  Does this ever cause any problems, either with the bow's properties, or the player changing from one to the other?   :) 

Did not mention that half my other bows were fitted with lead and uranium.

Without getting into the round, oval, pear, octagonal arguments, density plays into the balance and how the bow sounds and feels. Gold is softer and somewhat forgiving. That can definitely work into some bows. 

For most players, experimenting on students... i can not guarantee that not one was hurt... slighlty tip heavy is considerably more difficult than tip light. Balance points are reference for shops, but because there are so many variations in bow holds, that unless individuals are willing to adapt, the player's "balance point" can vary a little bit. As a reference, it is something we can agree on.

Here's my valuable player's tip of the day: If the bow is tip heavy, adapt up to the thumb grip. It will change balance enough to get you through the gig.   

Edited by GoPractice
incorrect word choice
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50 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Leaving questions of whether it simply "gilds the lily" [:lol:] out of it, gold (assuming 18K alloy) weighs roughly 1.8 times as much as either the silver or nickel alloys also used on bows.  Does this ever cause any problems, either with the bow's properties, or with the player changing from one to the other?   :) 

Gold is astonishingly dense. I have often wondered how how that affects the weight and balance of a bow. I bought a sovreign as a present for a family member, a small coin, and when my rucksack went through the airport scanner this deep black spot "jumped out" in the image. They asked me whether I had gold in there. Well, yes.

I showed a friend a silver-mounted bow bought from Brompton's last week. He said, "very nice, is it a Pfretzschner?", then showed me a gold-mounted Pfretzschner cello bow which felt amazing in the hand. He had bought it for £300 before inflation started to bite. The gold did add lustre. But perhaps makes it more attractive to thieves.

 

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37 minutes ago, FiddleDoug said:

"he said his premium bows are gold mounted."

Would those be his premium (priced) bows? Mount diamonds in the frog eyes, and you could really get the price up there!

I suppose some makers might put gold mounts on work they feel is not their best, just to make them sellable. I'm not quite that cynical though.

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22 hours ago, John_London said:

Gold is astonishingly dense. I have often wondered how how that affects the weight and balance of a bow. I bought a sovreign as a present for a family member, a small coin, and when my rucksack went through the airport scanner this deep black spot "jumped out" in the image. They asked me whether I had gold in there. Well, yes.

 ( ... )

Depending on how one grasps the bow, heavy buttons, I believe makes a good thin strong stick behave better. I had an assortment of Paulus parts and did a few experiments. They did feel different, sometimes smoother. Strangely on gut strings, the heavier parts felt better, but it might only be because of the feel being so different, not necessarily better. Baroque style bows that I owned were stiff short and light. Teacher would remark that I had to make the arm lighter ( ? ) which meant that I had to have a stronger core, develop a spine.

I changed out the wooden button with a gold one and the bows sounded and behaved like silk. And that was what I felt and heard. Teacher hardly heard anything different at 10 feet/ 3 meters.  

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1 hour ago, GoPractice said:

Strangely on gut strings, the heavier parts felt better, but it might only be because of the feel being so different, not necessarily better.

Hadelich is said to like heavy bows (67g according to a post on v.com).

I have a DG copy with thick-ish plates, and a bare gut D and A which show no signs of needing replacement. I find it challenging to get it to sound well, especially the D. So I sort through my small bow collection looking for one which helps me make it sound (Stagg, 62g), and two more forgiving instruments I have with Eva Pirazzi and Passione strings (which do not feel or sound like "real" gut) get the left-over bows. Even covered gut strings like Eudoxa may not be as quick to sound under a light bow as synthetics.

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8 hours ago, Jwillis said:

All things considered id rather have a gold mounted bow to resell than a silver mted one ;) 

All things considered, I'd rather have a bow I don't want to sell.

I have a Nurnburger which I want to resell, but it is nickel mounted, with a mastodon face plate (replaced too recently to be ivory) so maybe I'm out of luck. It wasn't cheap, either.

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1 hour ago, John_London said:

I have a Nurnburger which I want to resell, but it is nickel mounted, with a mastodon face plate (replaced too recently to be ivory) so maybe I'm out of luck. It wasn't cheap, either.

If it were gold mounted it would be more desirable :)  i know there are all sorts of arguments to be made however “the best” of anything is always in demand 

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29 minutes ago, Jwillis said:

If it were gold mounted it would be more desirable :)  i know there are all sorts of arguments to be made however “the best” of anything is always in demand 

IMHO, that's the question posed by this whole thread, as to whether gold bow mountings are automatically "the best", or just more expensive (and ostentatious) than silver. 

One might consider how loudly too much bling screams "arriviste". :)

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I suppose it depends on what your definition of what the best is.  If you are talking about playing characteristics then that is extremely subjective. One bow may sound fab on one violin and mediocre on another. But like violins value is not always dependent on how a something plays. It depends on what it is.  So sure, you can find a gold and a silver mounted bow from a good maker with similar playing characteristics but the gold generally will have more value than the silver. All im saying. 

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