This is a great stick by one of our favourite makers, Jean Persoit or “PRS”. Fitted with later mounts and with some minor condition issues, it’s nonetheless a remarkable stick suitable for a top level player.
Persoit is one of the great names in French bow-making – a follower of FX Tourte whose bows have a unique appeal to soloists on account of their strength and their luminous tone.
Persoit undoubtedly had a way with wood, and while the sticks vary a lot in density and cross-section, they always work beautifully.
In the case of this bow, the stick is of exceptional round section orange-brown pernambuco with a wild figure. The wood is very dense and the bow is finely worked. Mounts are silver and ebony, made later for the stick.
There are various condition issues to report. The handle has a piece covering much of the lower 3 facets, leading under the lapping. There’s also a small circular insert in the top of the handle, presumably to cover finger wear. There’s a knot or filled beetle hole on the underside of the stick about 2/3 of the way to the head. Finally there’s a small cheek repair at the bottom of the head on the audience side from an incautious rehair.
There’s no pretending this bow is in mint condition, but it represents an affordable option for a musician who’s looking for a stick of Tourte quality on a limited budget. The sound and playability are uncompromised, and both are exceptional.
Sound-wise the most obvious thing about this bow is the sheer volume – like Nigel Tufnel’s Marshall amp in Spinal Tap ‘this one goes up to 11’. There’s no sacrifice in the quality of tone – it’s broad, very slightly coloured, and full of life.
The stick is on the stiffer side – not Sartory stiff by any means, but powerful and resistant – the balance is currently slightly towards the tip but the lapping is light tinsel so there’s room for manoueuvre if you want a bit more weight at the heel.
Overall, this is a bow which has seen better days but it’s still infused with the unique genius of its maker.