Each bow has its own character and their individuality. Each is of importance. The bows are by the attention to detail. The quality of processed timber plays a crucial role. Only selected Pernambuco wood is used in the making of my bows.
How do you find that certain bow which will make your instrument purr and
sing like it was always meant to?
A question with no simple answer! As an extension of the player's arm, considerations include comfort, balance, strength, agility, clarity and 'colour'; as well as that 'first Impression'.
Luthier Laubach describes his working relationship with Pernambuco, a wood only found on the Atlantic coast of Brazil: "This wood offers boundless possibilities in terms of strength, resiliance, vibration, feel and beauty... a most capricious material in terms of its ability to both frustrate and delight a bowmaker!"
“Laubach bows for stringed instruments are made by the attention to detail.
The quality of processed timber plays a crucial role. Only selected Pernambuco wood is used in the making of our bows. Weight, balance, shape of the head or frog, octagonal or round bow shape are all criteria that players consider.”
Each bow has its own character and their individuality.
Every Laubach bow gains in beauty and value over the years…
Most of his bows, Laubach makes in an individual style, which combines elements of the german and french tradition . Laubach doesn't use any prefactured parts, so everything is made by hand from the raw materials. Next to his own models, another important field of work is the making of exact copies, having the original sitting next to him.
Laubach Bows - in a colorful selection
Although trained in the French tradition of bow making Laubach has developed a style of his own. At least two in every three bows he makes will reflect this style.
Laubach collection of bows be based from the prime specimen made by the early French makers of the 19th Century like Tourte and Peccatte to the modern remarkable production of contemporary makers worldwide.
Laubach’s work has found remarkable acceptance among musicians. A fine example of German bow making with French style. Laubach bows have represented the best investment for professional musicians, collectors and students.
Laubach bows consistently present a very good choice of finest pernambuco attributed to French bow making in the later part of the nineteenth century with distinctive characteristics of the bow maker.
Igor Laubach has established himself as one of the foremost contemporary bow artisans. A fine example of modern bow making. Professional musicians, experts, and connoisseurs throughout the world acknowledge their craftsmanship and consequent tonal qualities.
After two years studying with master bowmakers in France, I established my own workshop in my native city Bamberg. I returned with a broad knowledge of traditional French bowmaking techniques, an ample supply of older bow wood, and an enthusiasm to work with musicians to craft what you need in a bow.
Each piece of wood is unique. When working with a musician, I listen to their individual needs and choose wood that can be formed into the perfect tool for their playing. But I also listen to the wood, because choosing the wood is (at least) as important as any other step in the process.
There are two aspects to a bow. There is the purely functional aspect, a tool on which you can rely. But there is also the aspect, on which I place a great emphasis, of a bow as an object of beauty. In order to make beautiful music, we must relate to our instruments, surroundings, fellow musicians, etc. And it's simply easier for us to relate to an object when it is beautiful.
This is why I work very hard to make bows which capture the aesthetic of beautiful older French bows. From the choice of silver and gold which are bought in Paris (their formulations, and thus color, are different from metals available in the Germany), to difficult-to-find Awabi shell, to top quality ebony and, of course, the best pernambuco available.
I work hard so that every aspect of my bows will be as beautiful as I can possibly make a bow. The result is a bow that will help you be a better player, not only from a functional point of view, but from an æsthetic viewpoint as well.
Almost all my modern bows are made with Pernambuco (Echinata Caesalpinia).
I use Pernambuco of a specific weight between 1.16 gram to 1.28 grams per cubic cm.
The choice of wood depends on many variables, desired tonal qualities, models, handling etcetera.
Two different qualities of Ebony are being used for the frogs I make. All ivory is Fossilized Mammoth Ivory. Most silver is Sterling Silver. For modern bows goldfittings are possible too, in different Gold colors, in 14 and 18 carat.
Most shell material used is green or red Abalone.
Best bows have Silverfish shell and Stainless steel high precision screws wit bronze eyelet.
I love to create with my hands. I feel that being an artisan is my calling, and I am fortunate to be able to earn my living as a violin and bow maker.
The bow is a very mysterious object, which provides an endless challenge for the maker. I approach the challenge of bow making through the medium of rare and beautiful materials, using ancient tools and methods. I consider it an honor and a privilege to work with these materials and methods and as such it is my responsibility to always do my finest work.
When the work is done my bow will begin a new life within a community of dedicated musicians. These players will then use my bow to express their own creativity.
Previously, master - bowmakers used various other fabulous tropical woods. All of them having a remarkable density and hardness, they were mostly referred to as “Ironwood”.
Within a short time, Pernambuco wood replaced all these other woods because the sound qualities it produced were much favoured by musicians and also because its physical qualities make it an ideal material for crafting cambered bowsticks.
Two hundred and fifty years after it was first introduced, no comparable substitute for high-grade Pernambuco is known to bowmakers or professional musicians the world over. Its combination of rigidity, flexibility, density, beauty and ability to hold a fixed curve are properties which make Pernambuco wood a unique material for high quality bowmaking.
Pernambuco wood or Caesalpina Echinatais seen as a dwindling resource due to development of the coastal forest regions, and as a result there are long-standing preservation efforts for that tree that have been implemented by both the Brazilian government and various associations of bow makers.
Pernambuco harvesting is now controlled, and the Brazilian government for many years has banned the illegal trade of raw Pernambuco wood to countries such as China where mass production is so common. Lately this has been more successful due to some new international regulations. All of the regulations on exporting Pernambuco from Brazil apply to limiting the sale of raw wood only, and not to finished bows.
Certificate authenticity for bows - a document stating who the instrument was made by, where it was made, and when it was made. The certificate should give a description, weight and measurements of the bow for violin, viola and cello. The best certificate is one from the maker with photographs of the instrument.
Laubach violin bow
Mounted in 18k French gold, this violin bow is made from the highest quality materials: Dark brown/reddish pernambuco, superb ebony and beautiful green, yellow and pink awabi shell. Garniture of braided gold and maroon silk.
61,8- 62,8 grams.
Laubach violin bow
This is a special edtion professional bow from Laubach. This is a silver mounted pernambuco bow of superb quality with excellent weight and balance due to carefully picked materials, and special attention to detail. Round stick of very high quality reddish brown pernambuco, made with a silver tip at client’s request. Ebony frog decorated with a nice awabi whose pink and yellow color seems to shimmer in changing light.
The frog has an elegant large pearl eye. This master bows model definitely a professional bow at an reasonable price.
61 - 63 grams.
Laubach Violin bow
Round stick of dark red pernambuco of very high quality, frog of dense black ebony decorated with yellow and pink awabi shell.
60.5 - 62 grams.
Laubach Cello bow
The cello bow, round stick is made of a beautiful, lightly flamed red-brown pernambuco, and is complemented by a top quality ebony frog, mounted in 18k French gold, with green, yellow and pink awabi shell. Garniture of braided gold and maroon silk.
82 -83 grams.
Laubach Cello bow
Select pernambuco round stick gives this cello bow a nice deep sound with very good playability. Ebony and silver mounts, pink, blue and yellow awabi shell.
82 - 83,8 grams.
Laubach creates bows which are as functionally finely balanced as they are aesthetically pleasing – each one being an individual, one-off work of art in itself.
Whilst models and styles of bows certainly reflect and represent national styles and the changing aesthetics and fashions in music, they are difficult to catagorise deffinatively due partly to the international nature of music and musicians. Example bows are examples only, and represent an overview of a selection of models and styles which are here grouped together in a convenient manner. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your personal specialist requirements, which may include earlier Renaissance or Baroque models.
The first time someone discovers how much of a difference a bow makes, they are often amazed. People are sometimes surprised to learn that the bow that gives them the most pleasure can cost as much as half the value of the instrument! A good bow can effectively increase the playing value of the instrument on which it is being used, and players can expect to spend roughly a third the cost of the instrument on a bow (this rule of thumb does not hold up with valuable antiques, and for instruments over €10,000 the rule is probably closer to a quarter.) These guidelines are intended as a starting point in your search for a bow.
Sound and tonal quality diverse bows do create unique sound, or tonal top quality on the same instrument. This surprises quite a few new, inexperienced players but it is accurate. The distinction might be subtle, but any player (even novice ones) will likely be able to detect the distinction, not to mention the audience. Ordinarily, a supple bow will produce a smoother and fuller sound. If it can be too soft, the sound produced may not be clear and defined. A stiffer bow will then create a brighter, and hence a lot more focused tone.
Weight of the master bow and its balance on typical, a good violin bow weighs about 59 - 63 grams or excellent saund quality violin master bow 61 - 63 grams, even though a good quality viola bow weights 69-73 grams plus a good master cello bow, 81- 83 grams. This is just indicative. Some may perhaps weight as little as 54 grams, but play beautifully. A bow which is correctly balanced, is far more essential than ensuring that the weight matches the typical. 1 way of selecting your bow would be to hold it at a 45 degree angle to have a feel on whether it can be nicely balanced and natural in the hand.
Octagonal shaped or round master bows if comparing two inexpensive bows which are created from exactly the same wood, the octagonal shaped one might be stiffer. The stiffer one will make a tough tone which is one dimensional. Even so, you can find some players who only collect and play on octagonal bows. It is actually hard to say that one is superior than other as selecting one that is round or octagonal shaped is your individual preference.
The art of music is timeless. For centuries, people have orchestrated musical masterpieces that come to life through ensembles of string instruments. String instruments are some of the oldest instruments that still create an elegant and classic sound. String instruments, including the violin, are typically played with a bow. The most popular and widely used bow for string instruments is the pernambuco bow.A pernambuco bow for violin, viola and cello is known specifically for the type of wood that it is made from. Continue reading ...
The pernambuco wood for bows used in its construction is found primarily in coastal Brazil. Due to its South American geographical location, the wood is also commonly called brazilwood. Brazilwood is a red-orange colored wood renowned for its durability. While brazilwood has many uses, including cabinetry and furniture making, it is used primarily by the instrument industry to construct bows for the violin, viola, cello and other string instruments.
The pernambuco bow is a relatively new introduction to the production of string instrument bows, and only became popular in the mid-19th to mid - 20 th centuries. It is constructed by cutting brazilwood logs into smaller planks. The smaller planks are then cut down into the bow shape. Manufacturing the master bow is a six-step process that involves a lot of shaping as well as proper attachment of the hairs.
A master pernambuco bow is typically haired with horse hair that needs to be replaced on a regular basis due to wear.
Pernambuco master bows are only made of the highest quality brazilwood and facilitate proper playing form. As a result, they are greatly preferred by professional musicians, and are generally a bit more costly than standard brazilwood bows.
An instrument retailers, sells brazilwood bows including the high-end pernambuco master bow. A standard brazilwood bow costs from only 78€, while a pernambuco factory bow costs from 288€ and high - end handcrafted pernambuco master bow from 1800€.
Although high quality often translates into more expensive, the Laubach workshop has managed to market the master pernambuco bow for much less than many designer handcrafted bow retailers.
Musicians seek the same thing regardless of their performance level – a quality instrument that allows them to create the best possible music that they can. For violin players, the pernambuco bow provides this musical opportunity. Its eloquent yet durable design makes the pernambuco master bow the most sought after bow in the string instrument industry.
Rosin is the reason that we are able to produce sound on the violin, creating friction that allows the master bow to grip the strings. Without rosin, the bow will glide over the stings as if sliding on ice.This article provides a guide for how to apply rosin depending on whether the bow isn't gripping the strings at all, has just been re-haired, has areas that do not play evenly, or, is currently playing to your liking. Continue reading ...
If the bow has just been re-haired, it may have been rosined by the shop before it was returned to you (using either a cake or rosin powder), or it may not have any rosin on it at all. If the bow is not playing at all when it is returned to you, you will want to use short targeted strokes against the cake of rosin, to slowly work the rosin into the hair, for the entire length of the bow. This may take a bit of time (which is why the shop will often use a powdered version, which can be applied much more quickly).
The same technique can be used if your master bow does not seem to be playing at all and is sliding on the strings, even when it has not just been re-haired.
On the other hand, if the bow is already rosined and plays to your liking, then you can just use a couple of swipes, the entire length of the master bow.
It is important to be very careful not to use to much rosin. This is a common problem that can result in a scratchy sound. You should not see any white powder coming off the strings and bow when you play. Rosin also tends to build up on strings (especially when one has used too much) and therefore it is important to wipe them down after you play.
Is acceptable to rosin in both directions for bowed strings (except for bass)
The bow is one of the most important tools ever invented in musical history because it made possible some of the most important instruments such as the master violin, viola and cello.
Historians agree that stringed instruments existed long before the bow except that these instruments were plucked not bowed. Bowing can be traced back to central Asia where it is thought to have originated and then spread throughout the world. Wall paintings of bowed instruments have been found in places such as Tajikistan in central Asia.
Other evidence is that central Asia is a society of horse peoples such as the Huns and the Mongols. These people would use horse hair for their military bows. It is agreed that the bow was probably discovered when some Mongol warrior decided to try out his horse hair bow on a harp or lyre. This is the most likely origin of the bow.
Once the bow was invented it spread very quickly, the central Asian horse peoples lived along the Silk Road on which goods and innovations would travel for thousands of miles. Because of this the bow would soon appear in many locations throughout the world.
The modern master bow for violin or viola and cello
The bow caused a sensation after it was introduced into France in the early 19th century. Francois Tourte is given credit for honing the bow to perfection in the same way that Antonia Stradivari mastered the art of violin making. He was trained as a watchmaker and started out making bows along with his father and brother. After much painstaking research he came to the conclusion that Brazil Wood was the ultimate material for violin bows because of its strength, weight and elasticity.
Modern bow making reached its pinnacle in Paris between the mid 19th and 20th centuries, when bow makers would travel from all over the world to learn from the French masters.
Today violin bows are generally made by specialist bow makers although some violin makers have made their own bows as well.