Very often in my previous blogs, I dwelled in dealing with the style of each individual author thoroughly: bevels, throats, wedges, sight defects, etc.., etc.., etc. .. In other ones I explained what are the differences between an ancient and a modern curve, completely forgetting to talk you about the connecting link between stylistic and mechanic: the geometry.


Violin head - Dominique Peccatte


Violin head - Eugéne Sartory

Actually I should have written this article many months ago, but as often happens, we are inclined to forget the most obvious things. I switched from the description of Peccatte' heads to Lamy's ones , without explaining which were the reasons of the evolution.

As you can see from the first and second photo, the size of ancient and modern heads are very different. The first has an almost square profile , on the contrary the second one is more triangular, but why are they so different ?

Simple; the need of a stylistic evolution was born at the moment when the curves changed.


Violin bow Dominique Peccatte

Looking at the following photos the situation becomes clearer. What would happen to the head of the Peccatte bow above, if you turn the curve far forward?

The entire head would be projected backwards, and both bevel and wedge would be very open and awkward. To change the mechanic, F.N. Voirin and his successors, had to turn the bevel inside, let the wedge slide backward and raise it of a millimeter and a half.


Violin bow Eugéne Sartory

The result that comes out is a much slenderer and elegant head. The new curve helps the modern bowmakers a lot, from both a stylistic and mechanic point of view. The modern curves, being very unbalanced in the last third, are quick to carry out and thanks to the new proportions, also to make nice heads is less difficult.


Cello bow Dominique Peccatte


Cello bow Eugéne Sartory

The new mechanic, even if it worsens the functionality of the bow, definitely solves the geometry / style problems of the bowmakers at the expense of creativity.
With the old curves, to make a lighter head and make it harmonic, was not easy at all and each craftsman tried to find his own way.


Violin bow Etienne Pajeot

To simplify the structure, Pajeot enters exaggeratedly in the upper part of the bevel (a classic of the pure Pajeot ), let the wedge to slide slightly backwards and to correct the imbalance of the latter, enters a lot at the center in the lower part of the cheek. In doing so, he also traces an S shaped line that starts from the bevel in the upper part and ends on the house going across the whole head thus increasing the fluidity.

Cello bow Etienne Pajeot

Violin bow Pierre Simon

Simon chooses another path. He enters very much in the low front part of the head, after which the wedge goes up in a very steep way. The bevel, this as well a trademark, is really round and wildly inside. He also lightens the structure, but he does not make it as harmonious as Pajeot, just because of that S shaped line that goes through the head.

And then the pure genius : Jean Pierre Marie Persoit.

This man was able to make lighter heads creating an optical illusion!

It took me a long time to discover the secrets of what I consider as the most beautiful and perfect head of a violin bow I have ever seen. The first few times you look at it and do not believe it. How does it look so light having those sizes?

Simple, you just need to put a Sartory head inside a Peccatte geometry !

We start with the bevel, it is straight down and is very broad, thus reducing a lot the surface of the cheek and it turns it into a sort of shadow.

He keeps the wedge high and important, but the really strange thing is how he enters the cheeks. He digs them exceedingly drawing on both of them a curved line opposite the bevel. But why does he do like this ?

The explanation is in this photo. Entering so much, he shapes on the cheek a smaller head that resembles a lot a real Sartory profile!

An absolute genius. Nor F.X. Tourte, neither D. Peccatte have ever reached this level of sophistication. One of the few bows that I regret to have sold.

So long.