Nicolas Maline, also known confusingly as Guillaume Maline, is quite a maverick figure from the Golden period of French bow-making. Even his dates are disputed, as is the question of whether or not he worked for Vuillaume. However, his work is unique and distinctive, and of the highest quality.

This bow is very typical of Mailne’s work, with a Peccatte style head, unusually broad at the forehead, a heavy swing to the rear of the head, and unusually deep chamfers. The frog is also typcial, with its pronounced thumb projection and oversized ferrule. This is an outstanding and collectable example in superb condition – even the tinsel lap is original. The stick is of abeille wood, round section, and the mounts are nickel and ebony.

While orchestral players are obsessed with finding stiff sticks of the sort popularised by Sartory, soloists seem to still gravitate towards the great bows of the previous generations. The primary reason is tonal colour … yes, a bow really can affect the quality of sound, and this bow is a prime example. It has a kind of luminous warmth about the tone which just isn’t to be found in later bows. You can either embrace this quality of bow, or you can get a more modern stick and press very hard, and still fail to produce the breadth of tone you can get with a bow like this! The spring is very different too, and rather more pronouced – it takes a bit of adjustment, but with such a bow you begin to understand how Heifetz could rattle off a down bow flying staccato with so little apparent effort.
This bow is relatively inexpensive for a Maline, but this is only because it’s not permambuco or silver mounted. It remains a stunning example in relatively unblemished condition, with great playing qualities.

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