The Bow Maker, Elizabeth Vander Veer Shaak
With almost 20
years of experience and original training in Paris, Brussels and New
York, Elizabeth uses precious materials while
giving consideration to design, tone and playablility to create a “one-of-a-kind” bow
to be enjoyed for generations. She draws on her research of master
bow graduations to create
bows that have a specific feel from a particular period of time.
She enjoys partnering with players when they commission
a bow by listening, understanding
approach to the instrument and allowing the player to sculpt his
or her sound. Elizabeth studied the art of bowmaking in Paris
with Jean Gruneberger and Stephane Thomachot, in Brussels with Pierre
and in New York with William Salchow in the mid 1980s. The
methods she learned while studying bowmaking in France follow traditions
dating back to the 1700s. Elizabeth participates
regularly in the prestigious Oberlin College Bowmaking Seminars,
which feature the most prominent international makers
of our time.
Elizabeth uses tools
that are original antiques or replicas of the old masters. Using hand
tools instead of larger, faster
machinery allows her to know the bow by keeping in touch
with the wood.
Every part of the bow is designed and created by hand --
the soldered silver or gold ferrule, the carved and inlaid
frog, the turned button, and the carefully planed and
graduated stick. All the materials used in the bow, down
to the abalone in the frog and button are chosen with great care. Each
bow is made from materials that come from all over the world. The rare woods
come from Madagascar
and Brazil. The
abalone and oyster pearl come from New Zealand, Japan,
The silver is mined
in New Mexico. The tip is made from prehistoric mastodon tusk unearthed
by glacier movement in Alaksa.
Commissioning A Bow
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I try a bow before I buy?
Yes. Usually, I will
have a bow that can be sent out for a 7 day approval
period. A valid credit card is required. Arrangements
can be made by phone or in person (215-438-9031 store).
Customer is responsible
for the cost of overnight return shipping.
Do you make viola and cello bows, too?
Yes. I will display more
on this web site as I finish them.
Can I custom order a bow?
Yes. Arrangements may be made
over the phone - 215-438-9031 - OR may be initiated
A 10% deposit is required before I begin work
on your bow.
How do I begin the process of ordering a
Meeting with you and listening to you play is the best way
for me to understand what you are hoping to find in a new bow.
not practical, the answers to these questions can help me in
choosing the best design and wood for you:
How would you describe the tonal qualities of your
Which of these attributes do you wish to enhance?
Do you feel that your present bow is limiting you technically?
In what ways?
Are you hoping to improve certain aspects of your playing
by purchasing a new bow?
Please contact me by e-mail at
A Bow in Progress
This section is under construction
Sound Clips & Testimonials
This section is under construction
Airy Violins & Bows
Elizabeth Vander Veer Shaak, Bowmaker and Proprietor
6665 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19119
the link below and get
directions to our shop on mapquest. We look forward
vicinity; street level (You can input your origination address in
the fields under the map.
Desitination address is already entered).
Clicking on the zoom levels on the right of the map will give you
different maps of the shop’s location in relation to the Mt. Airy
neighborhood, Mt. Airy/Chestnut Hill,
outlining communities and the
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