This is a very fine FN Voirin stick with replacement frog and button. Voirin bows are renowned for their luminous sound, and this is a great example at an affordable price.

FN Voirin is the most innovative maker to have emerged from the Vuillaume workshop, and his exact and artistic approach set the standard for all the makers who followed him.

This is a relatively typical example of Voirin’s later style, with a very slender upright head.

The stick is of octagonal section orange flecked pernambuco, mounts are silver and ebony. The condition of the stick is generally very good – there’s a tiny scrach on the audience side of the head, a few small dunts here and there. Some wear to the top of the handle, and the lower facets of the handle have been adjusted slightly to fit the later frog. Frog and button bear curious hallmarks, but I don’t think they belong together – the adjuster is of the Knopf school, late 19th century, the frog is a later commercial frog.

We can’t pretend this is a collector’s bow, but it’s a great bow for a musician. It has everything that you would want from a Voirin – fantastic articulacy, refinement, and just a sublime sound.

When it comes to the business of making sound, there are two distinct schools of “bow thought”. One favours brute force and bow pressure, aiming for a compromise between weight, stiffness and playability – the other favours bow speed and clarity of tone, using high frequency transients and harmonics to cut through. If you’re in this second camp then it would hard to beat this bow.

Exceptional control and bite off the string, a convincing and opulent tone at any dynamic level, and oodles of that strange Voirin voodoo…

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