This is a very good JA Vigneron viola bow, the property of a retired professional player. It’s an unusually attractive late model with exceptional playing qualities.
Joseph Arthur Vigneron is a rather under-rated maker. Perhaps he doesn’t have the jeweller’s craftsmanship of Voirin or Lamy, but his bows work better for musicians. Paradoxically his bows seem to me to be quintessentially 19th century and 20th century at one and the same time – the only other maker I would think to describe this way is James Tubbs.
This particular bow has a very Peccatte school feel, and yet the head is modernistic and there’s a crispness about the spring which belongs in the 20th century.
The stick is of round section dark brown pernambuco, dense and refractive. Mounts are silver and ebony.
The condition is generally excellent with no damage other than some tiny repairs to the frog. There’s a bit of wear to the handle and the thumb projection, and the stick has some tiny nibbles in the upper quarter.
This is a dream of a bow with a dense and creamy tone that also projects. The stick is very resistant yet supple enough to sit in the strings and pull out some darkness.
Many viola bows feel like big violin bows, but this is something else, made with an understanding of a viola’s voice, and very easy to use.
Slightly shorter than 20th century standard, this would be a great choice for a player of smaller build who nonetheless wants a big and extrovert sound.