We now offer some terrific bows by the German maker, Steffen
Kuhnla. Mr. Kuhnla is a world class bass bow maker and we
offer two levels of his bows: 'Shop' class and his Master level.
While the German bow is the standard H.R. Pfretzschner model, we
offer two models of French bows that are special and exclusive to us
here only at the String Emporium.
What's the difference between 'Shop' grade and 'Master' grade?
While the workmanship is exactly the same between bows, the primary
can be in the density of the pernambuco and the finishing, which
includes the type of metals (like the ferrule and the adjuster) used
on the bow. This is often the case with other makers as well.
While it can be difficult to grade or quantify wood, only the most
dense woods are saved for 'Master' level bows. At the
same time, there is no obvious cut off from where a 'shop' bow ends,
and where a 'master' level begins. Even
while there are specific ways to measure bow blanks before they are
carved into a bow using weight and bending meters, in the end,
it is up the maker to decide. Steve, (the owner of S.E.) and
self-admitted 'bass bow snob', now personally owns and plays
on one of Steffen's French bows!
Above photo: These are our special 'exclusive'
models in mid production. Note how orange they look at this
stage (this is natural) and if you click the photo for the larger
image, you can see some of the initial burn marks. (Bows are
held and heated over a alchohol burning flame and bent to the
desired curve.) Truly an art!
Interestingly enough, players often have differing ideas and
preferences to what they (as players) want in their hands. On
a 'shop' bow, Mr. Kuhnla chooses to use 'German' or nickel silver.
On a Master bow, he uses only pure Sterling silver. Nickel
silver is not even actual 'silver', but an alloy made up of zinc,
nickel and copper. This is the traditional and extremely common,
even today. Back in the old days though, in late 19th century
or early to mid 20th century, there was a much bigger difference in
the value of these two metals as well as the societal perception of
a 'first class' premium being associated with Sterling (pure)
silver. (In old movies, what's the one thing they would always
say to hide from theft? Hide the silver!!) Fokr the
record, when you compare the metal, shop to master, it is a very
slight (if at all) difference in appearance.
Today, bow makers might still save a few bucks and use German
silver on their second tier level bows. Not so much because it
is such a big price difference in keeping them affordable, but it is
somewhat of a tradition to keep Sterling with the masterbow level
and nickel silver will the other levels. As a player do you care?
Again, 'Master' bows are called such because the wood was first
chosen as the best most desirable quality and the metals chosen
represent this level. (i.e, these bows get the best of
everything.) Ultimately though, it is the player that decides
which bow works best for his/her needs, playing style and bass.
For every unique bass (they are all different!) there is a good
match for it in a nice bow. Both models and both levels offer
sensational value for your money. There is no difference in
the appearance or quality of bows between 'shop' or 'master'.
The workmanship is impeccable on anything he makes! Kuhnla is
a 'simple', old school luthier and master bow maker: When
he makes and bends a bow, it is with his own hands, his expertise
and years of experience.
A player's perspective on how they sound and play on the
bass. Obviously, one can read all he wants about the
quality and workmanship of a bow, but the only real way to know how
it plays....is to play it yourself! For many years, (owner
Steve) has owned and played on two prized PW Bryant French bass bows
(a short and a long one) and never needed, nor was looking for a new
bow, but now... his number one bow of choice? A Kuhnla, 'shop'
bow, short model. "It grabs and punches out the sound on
my Italian bass like no other bow I have ever tried!" It makes
it sound fatter and the 'shop' model is strong from frog to tip.
I can put the bow anywhere on the string: At the frog, in the
middle or even towards the tip and it just grabs the string like no
other. The funnest part of this Kuhnla that I really enjoy and
don't even get on my snobby Bryant bows, is this super easy spiccato
(detache'), fast, pecky and yet as soft as I want it. It's
easiest on my Kuhnla and I am a better player with this bow. All
around, it is just a better sounding, better playing stick!"
Steffen Kuhnla French Bass Bows:
We offer two lengths in French bows bySteffenKuhnla. The shorter model
length from tip to end of shaft (not including adjuster) is 25
15/16" and they average 134-138 grams. The longer version is
of similar weight and 26 3/4" long.
About these paricular models and 'specs'.The French models are uniquely
special and are only offered here, at String Emporium. The short model is a copy of
Steve's own Peccatte model bow. The hair has more of a
contemporary width that is better suited to steel stringed basses,
which need a little more force and strength. (Keeping in mind
that the old 'great' French masters most often made their sticks for
players only using gut strings, before say...1950's era steel
strings started to be the norm.) Bows now need to be a tad
heavier than before (133-138 grams).&nbnbsp; Today, you cannot
really get away with playing a big, steel stringed orchestra bass,
with a 120 gram bow!
Steffen Kuhnla Bass Bows Checklist:
great bow maker, beautifully made with exacting workmanship
a nice Pfretzschner (German) and two French models, only
available here at S.E.
only highly rated and very dense, pernambuco wood used
nicely balanced bows with nice a spiccatto, yet lays into
the string throughout the whole length of bow
still greatly underpriced when comparing other like
quality/playability bows selling in excess of $5,000, a
fantastic bargain for the money
We accidentally took the photo
of this master bow on the non-brand side. The brand Kuhnla
uses on his deluxe master bow is similar to the deluxe German bow
found below. For his master level bows, we chose the pretty
pearl eye with traditional silver ring. Click on any image here for
a larger, more detailed image.
Steffen Kuhnla Master French bass bow, $1,785
With Abalone pearl on underslide and eye, with silver ring:
Kuhnla 'Shop' level pernambuco French
Bass Bow, $1,185
Kuhnla German upright bass bows:
Here is Mr. Kuhnla's German model bass bow. All of his
German model bows measure from tip to end of shaft (not including
adjuster) is 28 5/16". They are again, a simple, elegant
German bow, without un-needed wrapping or ornaments. The
Master level bow also shows his special stamp as well.
Steffen Kuhnla Master German Bass
Kuhnla 'Shop' German Bass Bow,
Steffen Kuhnla Bass Bows
Prices include free Priority Mail shipping in USA
International customers outside of
USA, we ship everywhere. You can simply select your
item and the shopping cart will say how much shipping is
for your destination.
Steffen Kuhnla 'Shop' pernambuco French bow
Steffen Kuhnla Master level French Bow (only in long model)
Steffen Kuhnla 'Shop' German bow
Steffen Kuhnla Master level German bow
packages only available with bow purchases:
We offer THREE special packaged deals when buying a new bow from
us! You can select a combination of bow case and rosin, a
Kolstein bow quiver and rosin or a combination of all three: quiver,
bow case and rosin.