Johnson String Instrument 2014 Spring Sale


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In the Workshop

In The Workshop with Daniel Medina

Lotte Bow Restoration

by

Daniel Medina

The instrument and bow we use to create our music become truly beloved companions in our musical journeys. The singing voice of our instrument is provided by a complementary bow, and finding a suitable one is an enlightening, inspiring, and bonding experience for the player. Hopefully, we also become the best custodians of these objects that we possibly can, whether they be old or new, in order to pass them on to future players.

For the bow restorer, coming across a valuable old bow in need of restoration can create a great deal of excitement and inspiration, too, as it provides an opportunity to put a tool of value and beauty back into circulation for a player to discover and create a bond with. Such a bow has recently come to us here in the JSI Bow Workshop: a cello bow by the important archetier Francois Lotte.

A client recently discovered three cello bows that had been in storage for many years. Unfortunately, each of the bows have endured damage from the insufficient storage conditions. For two of the bows, the cost to repair them would exceed their value. The third bow, however, is the Lotte cello bow - an unexpected treasure of significant value that is worthy of restoration.

Francois Lotte (1889 1970) was born into a family of craftsmen. His father was a luthier who worked for the famed workshop of Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. Francois apprenticed in the Bazin and Cuniot-Hury workshops in Mirecourt before opening his own shop in Paris. He sold his bows through dealers who often put their own brand on his bows. Together with his son Roger Lotte and a small number of other bow makers, he was among the last of the great generation considered today as the old French masters.

The Restoration

Lotte Frog 1
How the frog first came to us.

Lotte Frog 2
Restoration has begun with two of the five grafts required.

The stick of this Lotte cello bow has survived in excellent condition, only showing wear from where it was held by players. Examination of the frog, however, revealed several problems: it has cracks in the thumb projection (the part closest to the thumb leather); its original button has been replaced by a cheap factory one; a significant part of its face is missing; and its top has become so distorted that it no longer fits the stick.

I am currently in the process of restoring the frog by

repairing the cracks, creating a replica button, designing grafts to fit into the missing parts of its face, and correcting the distorted top so that the frog can be properly mounted. Once the frog restoration is complete, it will be reunited with the beautiful and well-preserved dark pernambuco stick. Then it will be ready for trial from our Sales Department to find a match with a cellist!

Watch for our announcement of the availability of this fine cello bow.


Instrument and Bow Repair

Instrument Repair & Restoration

JSI offers expert repair and restoration for violins, violas, and cellos. Please call us to book a consultation with one of our knowledgeable luthiers.

Setup & Tonal Adjustment

Custom setups and tonal adjustments can be made to your violin, viola, cello, or bass to optimize its tone and playbility potential. Please call the workshop to schedule an appointment.



Bow Repair & Rehair

Bow repair and rehair services are available for violin, viola, cello, and bass bows. Cleaning and polishing of the bow and lubrication of the frog eyelet are included with every rehair. We use the best available Mongolian stallion hair. Most rehairs are completed in two to three days. Same-day service may be requested by scheduling an appointment.

Violin, Viola, and Cello Bow Rehairs $70       Bass Bow Rehair $80

Get all the info about our Expert Workshop Services.

For more information please chat live, call, or email us. We offer fast, friendly service and are here to help you with all of your string instrument needs!