Richard Grünke Violin Bow


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Insignia with RG initials inside the crest on frog -players side

Richard Grünke, born in Poland in 1930, ended up in the upper Vogtland in 1944 during the turmoil at the end of WW II. He began his apprenticeship as a bow maker in 1945 with Edwin Herrmann in Schönlind, then completed it in the H.R. Pfretzschner workshop in Markneukirchen between 1946 and 1948. He remained in this workshop until 1950, when he went to Berlin to work for Alfred Leicht. The years in Berlin were to augment the training he had received in the H.R. Pfretzschner workshop and had an important effect on his later working career. In 1952 he moved to Bubenreuth to work for Roderich Paesold. With his master’s examination in 1957, the Paesold company began to stamp his bows in general “Richard Grünke”.

The style of his early bows was clearly influenced by the Pfretzschner workshop. Later, with the inspiration of old master bows and suggestions from important musicians, he developed a very personal model which he followed for his entire career. In 1975 Richard Grünke set up a business of his own near Bubenreuth. The workshop developed with great success and became a highly frequented address for professional German and international string players. In 1996 he founded a new company with his two sons, Klaus and Thomas, named “Richard Grünke & Söhne GmbH”, in which he still plays an active role.

As a young guy learning the bow trade, I spent much time studying Grünke’s stick graduations, camber increments, layout of his bows, and the Pfretzschner style frogs. I rehaired and restored hundreds of bows and got to handle and study many fine French and German Bows. In addition, I handled many Grünke sticks for customers in the New York/New Jersey area from 1976 through1988. We have a great collection of Richard Grünke’s bows. I purchased 14 Grünke violin bows and 2 Grünke viola bows 16 years ago to restore and work up. Two of the bows in our collection, one viola and one violin, were gold mounted and have already been sold here at the shop. There are four more violin bows to complete. These bows and the completed bows are excellent examples of Grünke’s work and have various gram weights. What is interesting to me is the quality of the pernambuco chosen and his style of making while he was at the famous Paesold shop. He used different brandings on the frogs, and he made subtle changes to his sticks when he began his own shop. The wood is exceptional pernambuco, octagonal in section, sterling silver mounts in a Parisian eye ebony frog. The frog carries the Grünke insignia crest: RG initials inside the crest. The Grünke bows in our collection are in excellent condition.

Weight fully haired 63.0 grams.