This is a great early James Tubbs violin bow made for WE Hill whose brand it bears. It’s in excellent condition, the stick is strong and the sound is 100% Tubbs!
You only have to put “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. James Tubbs in particular produced some quite wonderful bows, as well as more than his fair share of dogs…
This bow dates from Tubbs’ early period as a self-employed maker, and was produced for 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.
The model of this bow is an early one showing a strong Voirin influence in the head. The wood hasn’t been darkened in the manner of his later bows, and we can see the powerful flame in the pernambuco. However, other features are very typical – the broad rounded back plate, the nickel underslide, and the original goldfish mother of pearl still showing on the eyes and the adjuster. Like many Tubbs bows produced for WE Hill, it is branded on both sides of the handle and once on the frog.
The condition of the bow is excellent – some thumbnail wear, a few minor nibbles to the stick, but no cracks or damages.
Good Tubbs bows are a joy, and this one is really good, with a big creamy sound and very clean articulation. Its principal quality is that it just feels right – everything in the right place, the tone beautifully balanced, the stick an ideal combination of supple and sprightly.
Like all great bows it disappears in the hand and doesn’t raise awkward questions! So often with an unfamiliar bow you’re thinking “is this top-heavy”, “is it strong enough at the tip”, “does it bounce”, “am I feeling tired”? The better Tubbs sticks. like a good Henry or Simon, just allow you to relax and make music…