After some weeks devoted to the topic of general acoustic, I decided to deal once again with a fundamental aspect of the bow: "The curve" .

In several posts dedicated to this subject, we tried to determine when the curve of a bow is properly carried out. Now we will try to deepen some secrets of the mechanic of the bow, and to do this we will ask for help to two monuments of the modern bowmaking: Peccatte and Sartory.


The evolution of the curve required years of study and experience, and has kept pace with the evolution of the instruments. The primitive bows had a curve in the opposite way compared to modern ones. They had no mechanic of the frog, therefore to stretch the hair, the fingers of the right hand were used.

Obviously such an instruments did not allow virtuous developments so, in order to meet the musicians' needs, some craftsmen began to seek ways of how to improve this instrument

The curve has been lowered until becoming straight, and later on opposed, then the mechanic of frog appeared, at first as gauge and then with a screw.

Throughout the baroque and neo-classical period, the curves of the bows were very different from each other. The craftsmen had understood that the convex curve was certainly better than a straight stick , but due to the variety of the material in use, they were unable to determine its parameter.

After the birth of the greatest genius of modern bowmaking Francois Xavier Tourte, it was possible to begin studying which mechanism was the most effective one to be applied on the new wood he found.

The first time he found it, apart realizing the enormous sound and mechanical potentials, Tourte understood that the Pernambuco wood was a capricious one and difficult to tame. New sizes (head and frog), new lengths and especially new curves had to be studied.

The contribution of this great master, rightly considered the "Father of the Modern Bow", was absolutely essential and incomparable. I had the opportunity to see many works of this great bowmaker, and speaking strictly of the curve, otherwise I risk to become too long, it is possible to guess that, even at an embryonic stage, he had already done everything!

It was not the only one who tried to improve the curve of the modern bow. Important contributions were given from another excellent masters such as , Vuillaume Pajeot, Persoit ( less known than Tourte but as brilliant as him).

Each one of these craftsmen have interpreted the curve in their own way, but throughout time it seemed that there were two ways to follow, now we call them the "Ancient " and the "Modern". The reference characters , that crystallized and defined the curves of the bow as we know today are , Dominique Peccatte for the ancient way while the modern one belongs to Eugene Sartory.

Obviously the title of the post is merely a joke, there is not a best curve between these two. Each one has its weak and strong features , so craftsmen and musicians choose one or the other depending on the result they wish to achieve.

Nowadays, the most required curve is definitely the "Sartory", it is easier to play and to build giving excellent mechanical and sound results, the" Peccatte "requires both a great craftsman and a great musician. But when these two components meet, the results are unimaginable. So you have also discovered what I prefer.
Next week we will deal in details about the differences

See you soon.