This is a rare and exquisite gold and tortoiseshell HR Pfretzschner from around 1920. It’s in excellent condition and it plays beautifully with a muscular warm sound.

The Pfretzschner workshop made bows to suit all pockets, but this is quite the most opulent that I’ve seen, with a severe undecorated tortoiseshell frog set off by gold mounts and a stunning pearl slide.

The stick is of octagonal section mid-brown Pernambuco with a subtle figure.

The nose of the bow may have been marginally shortened, but otherwise the bow is in near-mint condition.

From a player’s point of view this bow offers all that’s best in the German tradition. The stick is beautifully cambered, allowing the bow to sit in the strings and really pulls out the sound. That sound is warm and enveloping without sacrificing edge, and the bow exudes an unpretentious competence which sits well with its austere beauty of looks. The stick has a lively and firm spring, and off the string work is a doddle.

So a great bow for a section player or inner part chamber musician who needs a big full tone without sacrificing attack. Ideal for warming up a thin sounding instrument too …

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