Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Frog Prince

Sometimes you can find a handsome prince in an unlikely place. The other day, while our son Ben was trying out banjos at Elderly Instruments up in East Lansing, Michigan, I had some time on my hands. They do not specialize in bowed stringed instruments, but they do have a small room filled with inexpensively-priced violins and violas. Some are pretty good, and some are not. I suppose as far as violins and violas go, they sell whatever people bring to them to sell on consignment.

They had a few bows, so I grabbed this one, and tried the fiddles. I fell in love with the bow. It is probably a hybrid. The person who made this frog in the 1920s probably didn't make the stick--particularly since the stick is stamped with a generic "Germany." The frog is stamped with the name of someone obscure: the only reference I could find for it on line was the listing for this bow.

Inspired by Bernie Zaslav's chapter on bows, I bought it. The price was about 1/6 what I would expect to pay for a bow that plays as well as this one. And I just couldn't bear the idea of anyone else using it but me.

The moral of the story? When looking for usable violins or bows, don't overlook highly-reputable guitar shops. This one even had a couple of violas and a violetta.

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