This is a good Hill bow made by Frank Napier, who worked for Hills between 1900 and 1930. It’s in good condition and plays beautifully.

Here we have a good example of why the Hill system of brands shouldn’t be taken too literally. Although it’s only a “Hill”, it’s finely made and it plays unusually well. Ultimately the brands tell you more about the visual quality of the pernambuco and the fittings than about the musical properties of the bow, and many great sticks can be found bearing a “Hill” or “H&S” brand… particularly pre-1930.

The stick is of dark red pernambuco with a slight speckled figure – mounts are silver and ebony.

The condition is generally very good – minimal wear, no cracks to either the frog or the stick, just a couple of dunts to the stick and a bit of loss to the varnish on the player’s side.

The earlier Hill bows are very reliable and usable bows, and most profesional players in the UK have one in their case. This is a fairly typical example, unremarkable except for the fact that it does everything so well. The balance is just right, the weight spot on, the right amount of flex, not too stiff, not too soft, nice attack, easy legato, lively staccato, and a big tone with plenty of air.

When you think how difficult it is to achieve all of that, and just how many makers fail in the attempt, this bow is all the more remarkable for it.

All in all, an outstanding bow for the price.

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