Jules Fétique has a bit of a cult following amongst bow aficionados. This is a lovely example made during his time at Caressa & Français, currently in very good condition.
This is a classic bow by one of the most respected makers of the early 20th century. Jules Fétique benefited enormously from his relationship with Eugène Sartory, but by the 1920s, while Sartorys became increasingly muscular, Fétique was making bows that were slightly more refined and artistic, yet always with the same exceptional standards of craftsmanship.
This is a typical example – lots of power in the first half of the stick, but tapering to a very graceful head. In a way you could see this bow as a marriage of Sartory and Voirin, taking on the best aspects of both makers.
The stick is of round section orange brown pernambuco with a lovely figure, mounts are silver and ebony.
The condition of the bow is very good, though it shows some signs of use – there’s a bit of wear to the top of the handle, and the upper fifth of the stick has a few small nibbles and a couple of visible dents behind the head on the player’s side. Nothing out of the ordinary for a well loved bow. There’s also a small pin knot just ahead of the lapping on the underside of the stick.
Jules Fétiques tend to be very good, and this one is no exception – it has an ideal combination of strength and finesse. Its crisp attack and great off the string qualities make it ideal for showy repertoire, but it’s also a very comfortable all-rounder. If you’re the sort of musician who finds themselves in many different situations covering a wide range of repertoire, this would be an ideal workhorse, always with that ability to gear up and handle serious technical challenges.
The sound is very complete, big and round but with just the right amount of edge. What I like most about the bow is the sense of positive contact throughout the length of the stick – there’s an unusual degree of feedback and you are always in control.
Overall an excellent early 20th century French bow with some real flair!