A Contemporary Viola Bow After Vuillaume By Jesse Berndt
American Achetier Jesse Berndt resides and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jesse earned a music degree and began working as a craftsman in 2000 with a retired violin maker, going on to attend the New Hampshire Violin Craftsmanship Institute in 2004, with a focus in bow making and bow repairs. He worked independently in Cleveland from 2008-2011, and has participated in the summer workshops at Oberlin College in Ohio from 2010 to 2019. He is an elected member of the (AFVBM) American Federation of Violin and Bow makers, and has travelled as far as Jamaica and Taiwan for specialized repair work. His work features a broad range of styles, featuring historically informed copies and personalized original designs which take inspiration from the former.
I personally picked out two viola bows at the 2022 (AVS) American Viola Society Festival and 47th Congress in Columbus, Georgia and can attest to their quality. This viola bow after Vuillaume features what we call a Vuillaume System, a rounded track on the underside of the handle upon which the frog is set. The large silver mounted frog originally caught my eye for the carefully detailed chevalling of the edges; well matched by a distinctive three piece button and silver lapping. The stick is strong, but springy, allowing for clear and easy articulation and off the string strokes, without losing connection to the string, and boasts a supple, focused sound, with a broader but well defined quality that is sometimes difficult to come by at this price point. Well balanced at 71.3 grams and resting comfortably in the hand.