Like so many of the better late 19th century makers, Joseph-Arthur Vigneron worked for Gand & Bernardel before setting up on his own. His bows are distinctive stylistically and in playing character, sometimes works of genius, sometimes a bit lumpy. This particular bow is one of the best playing bows I have come across!
The stick is of round section mid brown pernambuco with a strong flame, mounts are silver and ebony. In this case we have a plain pearl eye and a square heel, suggesting quite an early date.
There’s no denying this bow is a bit of a Dolly Parton – by which I mean the old dear’s had a bit of work but she’s still singing sweetly. The nose of the bow is short, and the heel has been bushed to reinforce a couple of cracks in the handle. Coupled with the slight mashing to the underslide, I would imagine that the adjuster had seized at some point in the past and was tackled with more speed than haste – however, this repair is very neat, and none of these issues affect the bow’s phenomenal playing qualities.
This really is a remarkable bow to use, and if you can live with its slightly battered and bruised appearance I can’t recommend it highly enough. There’s little to be said about it – when it comes to assessing really good bows, it’s more a case of trying to find weaknesses than looking for the positives. In this case we find a total absence of things to remark upon. The weight, the action, the tonal colour, the ability to move between states, the quality of feedback, the viability of each part of the stick … it’s all there.
Dimensions: Length 74cm, weight 63 grams
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