This is a great playing bow by one of the foremost makers of the Peccatte School, Pierre Simon. Some signs of use but in very good condition overall.

Pierre Simon is one of the truly great names in French bow-making. He worked in Paris alongside his old schoolfriend and contemporary Dominique Peccatte, did a stint in the Vuillaume shop after that, then set up in business with his fellow Vuillaume colleague Joseph Henry before finally becoming independent in 1851.

The style of Simon’s bows is quite distinctive, with a more rounded head than that of Peccatte or Henry, and a very characteristic hook or inward curve to the back of the head. The stick of this bow is of round section dark red-brown pernambuco of exceptional quality with beautiful random figure: mounts are silver and ebony.

The stick is in excellent condition apart from some minimal wear to the handle and some very light scratches to the audience side of the head. The back plate of the frog has been replaced – Pecatte School bows tended to use very thin silver and it’s quite common for some parts to be replaced. The adjuster has 3 splits to the central ebony ring. None of these issues are significant for the playability of the bow, but they incur a small devaluation, and this is a bow for a player rather than a collector.

Pierre Simon is one of the most reliable of 19th century French makers, and this bow is absolutely what you would expect, with great handling and a dense, warm sound. The stick is beautifully balanced and of a perfect density – it’s supple yet lively, with a power to weight ratio that seems baffling unless you’re used to these earlier bows.

The greatest asset of any good Simon like this one is the intensity of sound, full and sweet but with a high frequency edge that allows the sound to carry. For anyone used to a stiff old Sartory or a toothpick Voirin, this bow will be a revelation – there’s a whole range of musical destinations that can only be visited with a bow like this… it’s no surprise that soloists consistently pick these bows in blind testing scenarios.

In short, a dream of a bow at a very reasonable price.

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