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Outsized Double Bass Bow Frog by Brian Tunnicliffe

Made by the English bow maker Brian Tunnicliffe in 1983 this fascinating French style bass bow frog has the gargantuan width of 28mm instead of the standard 19-22mm. Explanation as to why this outsized frog was created is recounted by Tunnicliffe. "It was just a misinterpretation of a customers order. Jan Wallin, a Swedish player and member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra had ordered a Sartory style frog to replace an odd Pfretchner frog that had been fitted to his original Sartory stick. Unfortunately a misunderstanding between us regarding width-height terminology resulted in the frog being made 28mm wide instead of 28mm deep".

An embarrassed Tunnicliffe ended the tale by chiding himself, "I should have made a drawing - it's the first rule of engineering - then I would have realised that something wasn't quite right".

Wallin found the frog a little too difficult and cumbersome to hold and the massive ribbon of hair seemed to choke the sound rather than increase it. The frog was sent back to Tunnicliffe to exchange for a more conventional sized one. It was presented to the Houska Collection on 5th October 2000.

In a way its a shame that this outsized frog didn't really work. The simple misunderstanding in the measurements could easily have revolutionised bass playing as we know it (in terms of sound production, articulation etc), and then Tunnicliffe would have been talking patent numbers.

 

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