This is a great early James Tubbs viola bow made for WE Hill whose brand it bears on the stick and the frog. It’s in a very fine state of preservation and it’s an unusually versatile player.

You only have to put “James Tubbs” into the search function on our website to realise that we are big on Tubbs! This is not on account of some idle whim, but because the better Tubbs bows are amongst the finest playing bows you can find.

This bow dates from Tubbs’ early period as an independent maker, and was produced for the violinmaker WE Hill – it appears that Hill had something of a monopoly on Tubbs’ output at this time, although there is no evidence that Tubbs was an employee.

Having seen quite a few bows made by Tubbs for WE Hill, it’s clear that the WE Hill period (1860-70) saw the full evolution of the distinctive Tubbs style . This bow is obviously an early example from the beginning of their collaboration – the head is still close to the William Tubbs model, the face is ivory, the 3-part button is short with a long ebony section, and the stick is unstained. However, the heel plate is already broad – and in this case bearing an engraved dedication to a certain G. Berry.

The stick is of highly flamed red-brown pernambuco – unusually fine wood for a Tubbs. Mounts are silver and ebony.

The condition of the bow is outstanding, with no cracks or damages and very few signs of use.

Tubbs viola bows are always great, and they are deservedly popular with professionals and amateurs alike.

This bow has an excellent core sound, full and fruity – it has that Tubbs magic, the ability to smooth out all the rough edges and just home in on the good stuff.

It’s authoritative but also willing, a strong stick but with enough give to feel comfortable. Excellent attack, very good balance – in fact just a great all-rounder which would work with any size of instrument.

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