This is a gold mounted Franz Albert Nürnberger in very good condition – it’s a strong and powerful bow with a huge sound.

Franz Albert Nürnberger Jun. (1854-1931) was the fifth generation of this hugely important German dynasty. He learnt the craft from his father, but his work is much more refined, with a deliberate incorporation of French influences.

This particular bow is a very typical example of his work in the early 20th century – Hans-Karl Schmidt gives a date of around 1914. The stick is octagonal section red pernambuco with a lovely translucence, mounts are gold and ebony. The pearl eyes and slide are of a matching iridescent blue.

The stick is in excellent condition – the frog has a 3mm piece along the lower edge on the audience side and a couple of other very small checks in the ebony.

Most advanced players get a bit of a shock when they try a really great German bow – the experience undermines all the received wisdom about the clear superiority of French bows. There are great bows and great makers outside of France, and Franz Albert Nürnberger is one of them.

This is a classic Nürnberger – very strong for its weight, with a big and bold sound. Quite bright overall but with a touch of coffee grounds – the ideal bow for coaxing an extra 10% out of a slightly recalcitrant violin. Quite a stiff stick but not a tank aerial – there’s plenty of life in the wood, good grip at the front of the note, and a lively staccato.

All in all a very fine bow for a demanding professional, best suited to Romantic and modern repertoire.

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