It’s great to see the violin world finally waking up to the qualities of good German bows. There is absolutely no difference in quality of work or playability between fine French and German bows, and this Pfretzschner proves the point perfectly. Very elegant, made with superb materials, and a joy to use.
Knopf, Nürnberger, Pfretzschner – these are names which should quicken the pulse of a violinist or collector just as much as Sartory, Voirin or Vigneron. Yet the reputation of fine German bows has been held back by the swathe of undeniably bad bows that were exported from Markneukirchen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It seems to me that this prejudice is slowly being dissipated – one of the chief reasons being the publication of “Deutsche Bogenmacher”, a superb work which has helped to contextualise the work of these great German makers.
HR Pfretzschners come in many forms, and the brand has been much abused, but the authentic bows in silver or gold are always splendid, probably rather more reliable than a Hill. This particular bow is a very crisp Voirin model – the stick is of octagonal section red pernambuco with a nice figure, the mounts are silver and ebony, the Parisian eye typically fine. The condition is exceptional with no cracks, repairs or damage.
What would you expect from a Pfretzschner? A good strong stick with a lively spring that’s consistent throughout the length, a clean brightish tone with plenty of body, good articulation, and a balance point quite high up the stick giving a sense of “heft”. And this one is completely typical! A great player that spreads itself easily on the strings but which can also be spurred into instant action – ideal for an orchestral player looking for versatility and reliability.
Dimensions: length 74cm, weight 62.2 grams
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