Early Bows



I can offer players of historical bowed instruments a variety of bows through the centuries: the earliest models I made so far are reconstructions from c. 1100 and the most recent ones copies from c. 1830.


Generally speaking two systems were in use:

1. clip-in-frog bows: The hair is tightened in a way that the frog is sqeezed in between the stick and the hairs. It is secured by the tension of the hair. This fairly simple system provides an optimal tone production - the result surpasses every compareable bow with screw mechanism. Needs to be adapted by little pieces of cardboard or leather when the climate gets humid...

2. bows with a screw mechanism: this help to readjust the tension of the bow was developed in France close to 1750, but during Mozart's lifetime many players still used the old system. These very practical bows nevertheless lose a bit of quality due to the fact that the circle of vibration is interrupted in the system. They are more expensive.


Next to some native woods as beech, maple, plum, lark or ash I mostly use at the time about ten different species of tropical woods. Some kinds of wood work perfectly for some kinds of models; specific sound-characteristics of stringed instruments can be influenced by using other timber for the same model of bow. It is allways worth experimenting!

I do not use Pernambuco wood because my body reacts extremely allergic to it.




 Medieval bows:



e.g. beech, l: 686 mm, w: 53 g 


a medieval bow c. 1450 made after the original bow to the violetta of St. Catarina in Bologna (reconstruction of tip)



Renaissance bows:


after L. Costa, c. 1490

pear, varnished, l: 480 mm, w: 34 g



after depictions shortly after 1500

plum and pear, l: 578 mm, w: 31g



after SAM 78 / KHM Vienna, pre 1596

massaranduba / beefwood, stained

l: 638 mm, w: 48 g



after SAM 74 / KHM Vienna, pre 1596

montouchi / bois du lettre

l: 519 mm, w: 39 g



Baroque bows:



after the bow preserved with the Hummel violin, 1681, GNM

stick: snakewood, frog: plum, l: 644 mm, w: 40 g



after the find on the "Kronan", pre 1676

stick and frog: plum, l: 577 mm, w: 34g



after Ash.27 / Oxford, briefly after 1700

reconstruction of the original frog

snakewood, l: 682 mm, w: 48 g



inspired by Ash.26 / Oxford

violone bow in Italian style with

tip and frog reconstructed

montouchi / bois du lettre, l: 736 mm, w: 84 g



violin bow, c. 1720, german?

end of stick and frog reconstructed

snakewood, l: 673 mm, w: 45 g



cello bow after depictions of P. J. Horemanns (1700-1776)

massaranduba / beefwood, l: 714 mm, w: 62 g



bows between c. 1750 and 1770:



early classical bow, Germany, c. 1760

reconstructed after contemporary depictions

stick: Montouchi, frog: ironwood, l: 696 mm, w: 48 g





french models, c. 1750 and c. 1770

snakewood, l: 690 mm, w: 54 g

and: l: 724 mm, w: 55 g



Classical bows:



after N. Duchaine I., c. 1780

ebony, l: 724 mm, w: 51 g



classical viola bow, c. 1790

after english and french originals

stick: Satiné, l: 744 mm, w: 62 g



french model, c. 1830

ipe, l: 746 mm, w: 50 g





Depending on model and details between Euro 980.- and

Euro 1.700.-.




AUDIO: live-recording, April 4, 2011; R. U. in Vienna, Musikverein; from: Franz Clement, Theme and (six) variations for solo violin, 1792.