On trial, £15,000
Emile Auguste Ouchard is just one of those names …! Everyone who has been around bows will look lively if you show them an EA Ouchard. His work is supremely neat, and the playability of his bows is second to none – while Sartory has the sexier name, EA Ouchard consistently produced better bows.
This is a great example of the kind of bow which EA Ouchard delivered unstamped to numerous French dealers and violin-makers – this one bears a J. Aubry stamp. The stick is of lightly flamed mid-brown pernambuco of the kind that simply can’t be obtained by modern bow-makers – very dense yet supple, and easily polished to a mirror finish. Mounts are silver and ebony. The condition of the bow is excellent apart from some minor wear to the thumb projection on the playing side of the frog.
It’s hard to say exactly what makes a great bow. These days I have given up trying to analyse it – if I start using it and immediately forget about it, that’s a great bow! Obviously there are some technical aspects which are indispensable – strength throughout the stick, subtlety, traction on the string, the possibility of sharp attack, great staccato, the ability to change state rapidly. It must put out a lot of volume but also be controllable at a whisper. It must generate a full and rounded tone. Most bows fail here on one or more points. Then comes comfort, feel, balance, and of course looks. This bow wins on all counts, and after extensive road-testing I can’t find anything wrong with it. A great example from a great maker.
Length 74.3cm, weight 59.2 grams
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