My Bow Making Philosophy
In the past, the great bowmakers made excellent bows according to their set formulae. Some turned out good and some not as good; that is why string players need to try out several bows in order to select the one they like. My work is to make bows that are a natural extension of the arm with balance, strength, tone, flexibility, and many other attriutes, making a bow that becomes a living entity with its own 'soul'.
Soul for me means that undefinable quality that works with the player's technique to turn notes into music. Soul means a player's instant realization that something special is happening after playing the first few notes. Soul means an abundance of empathy between the player and the bow.
Materials and Making Philosophy
Every element of my bows is made by me from materials of the highest
quality. I use no bought-in or semi-finished parts except the adjuster
screw (and bone tip
when one is used). Usually adjusters are simply pushed onto the shaft
(literally a case of a square peg in a round hole), but I secure them by
means of a contrary thread cut into the shaft and button, and screwed
home. The player's tensioning of the bow hair tends toward tightening
the button onto the shaft, rather than loosening it, through normal use.
I make all metal parts, including the shield inlays, from sheet silver
or gold, bent and soldered in place where needed, and then
All this individual preparation of parts inevitably makes for a
significantly longer build-time, but results in bows with originality,
personality and individuality. This is especially true when they are
made to specific order, as I much prefer, after thorough consultation
with the player. We discuss specific requirements (which can include the
need to match with a particular instrument and its characteristics), and
aspirations - what it is the player hopes the Howard Green bow will help
them achieve. Sometimes I may have to intuit a need from players who may
be unsure of what precisely will help them; but as a cellist myself, I
have the player's understanding of the complexities which a bow must
handle, and as a maker the satisfaction of these (sometimes
contradictory) requirements gives me my greatest pleasure.
Working to make a bow in harmony with both player and instrument
inspires me; and to all the many string players for whom I have achieved
this goal, I thank you for your trust and look forward to a beautiful
future, continuing to make bows for great musicians, and enabling their
music to resonate in our age.