QUESTION: Hellow Mr. Lashof,

Please help. I bought a bow that my violin teacher says feels plays very good, he says is may be a little heavy is old and is very good preserved (he owns a Lamy and a Labert bows). Can you give me a guess haw good can be this bow. This have a stamp with Dom or Don as first word and the secon word is illegible. may be you know who made this bow. Below the screw barely you can read "Germany".

Thanks and regards

ANSWER: Hi Andres

Unfortunately it does not ring a bell.  I did a search in a bow maker data base for first names starting with "Do", and made in Germany. I didn't get any hits.  Maybe if it could be seen in person at a violin shop, they might be able to see the stamp better under special light. The other thing that you have to realize, is that even if the stamp could be read, the name may not be the real maker as many names that are stamped on bows are made up or are reproductions of known makers work - just like there are millions of violin with the label of Stradivari in them and he only made around 1500 instruments.

I can't tell from the photo, but the type of metal that the frog has can be a clue.  If it is Nickel Silver (greenish), it is almost always just a commercially made bow, but if it is Sterling Silver (grayish), it could be of finer quality.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


QUESTION: Thaks Mr. Lashof, you are very kind.
I think after your words this is a comercial bow. The metal parts looks to me as nickel but I'm not expert in metals. Any way please see another couple of pictures if you see this metal looks as silver or nickel. I did some photoshop and close-up to try a better image of the last name.

Tanks and regards,


The first name definitely looks like DON, but I still can't make out the last name, maybe "Mun...o".  I searched for only names with Don, and nothing looks right in my database.

As far as the metal goes, in the first photos it looked more like Nickel, in this one it looks more like Sterling.  Did you use flash or only lamp light?  Try with natural sunlight only, see if that helps.


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David Lashof


I can answer questions on violin, viola, cello and bass making, repair and maintenance as well as supply general violin value ranges and information on instrument makers’ assuming the instrument's as labeled. I don't give values for modern makers as many of these modern makers are yet unknown to me. I can only give you feedback based on what information you give me, and no authority on the instrument can know every maker's work that ever lived. I have access to many books on makers and auction prices on over 25,000 makers, as well as having 36 years of experience with selling and appraising violins. Without having the instrument in hand, any estimate over the internet is just a guess as the label inside an instrument is more often wrong than right, so just having that information is not very useful. Pictures can sometimes be helpful but only so much, as the "feel" of the instrument along with small clues in workmanship and varnish cannot be seen in pictures. Any pictures should be high quality close-ups of the top and back. Additional photos of the front and treble side of the neck are also useful. It is always best to have an instrument seen in person at a violin shop that does appraisals. I can also provide advice on bows, rosin, strings and other string instrument accessories. As I am now retired, I have no bias towards selling anything; I only wish to share my knowledge and experience by providing information for those that may be getting confused by misinformation, misdirection or conflicting statements. (While I have seen many thousands of instruments and have performed numerous appraisals; if I have not evaluated an instrument in person, any information I set forth in an opinion is just that, an opinion based solely on what you have provided. Thusly, no financial decision should be based on that opinion, but rather, further investigation should be performed by having the instrument examined in person.)


I am a retired violin maker and repairman with 35 years experience having worked in Chicago and Maryland at 5 different violin shops and music stores including the first violin repairman at William Harris Lee in Chicago, the head repairman at Weavers Violins in Maryland, and in my own shop of 25 years. I have made 160 instruments and have restored countless professional level and student grade instruments. I am an accomplished violinist having performed with semi-professional as well as amateur groups although I haven't played for years and mostly stay away from questions about playing. I have taught violin making and restoration to about 20 students; three of which have gone on professionally and now have their own shops. I know violins from playing, selling, repairing, making and teaching.

Violin Society of America (VSA). American String Teachers Association (ASTA)

I graduated from the prestigious 4 year Chicago School of Violin Making in 1981 under Master Violin Maker Tschu Ho Lee. I also studied with violin maker Willis M. Gault in Washington DC from 1973-75, who was the former owner of the oldest known example of an instrument from the modern violin family, an Andreas Amati Viola.

Awards and Honors
2008 Chester Petranek Award for service to the music community. ASTA award for service. Top All Expert in Violin for 2014 and 2015.

Past/Present Clients
I have worked with many professional musicians from DC area Symphonies as well as players from all over the US. Here are just a few, Leonard Slatkin - Former conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. Doris Gazda - Nationally renowned string specialist and composer. Bernard Greenhouse, Tanya Anisimova - Internationally renowned Solo Cellists. Jody Gatwood, Mark Pfannschmidt, Lori Barnet, Doug Dubé, Judy Silverman - National Philharmonic Orchestra. Robert Blatt, David Hardy, Glen Garlick - National Symphony Orchestra. Eddie Stubbs, Brendan Mulvahill, Nate Leath - Professional Fiddle Players. David Basche, Pat Braunlich, John Knudson, Romano Solano, Ed Ferris, Fred Lieder - freelance musicians.

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