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The concept of Spiccato® was deceptively simple: create a high-quality bow of composite materials incorporating an inner tension mechanism.

15-Year genesis of a new concept: the adjustable camber

In 1982, in his Bréhat Island retreat, Benoît Rolland was inspired to do something which was deemed impossible: creating a bow whose camber, and thus whose playability, may be modified at will by the musician, as he tightens or loosens the bow hair.

The camber of all traditional wood bows is set once by the maker, and becomes a defining characteristic of the bow. By contrast, the Benoît Rolland’s breakthrough design incorporates a patented camber adjustment mechanism which allows the bow to be transformed into four or five different profiles, therefore personalities.

The Spiccato trade mark

In 1991, after extensive research in engineering and physics and many prototypes, the Spiccato® technology was born. It was registered as a trade mark in 1992 in France. Embraced by musicians as the first high-tech bow worthy of their art, played on stage, Spiccato® has been a resounding success. Benoît Rolland made himself about 1,500 Spiccato® bows in his French manufacture.

In the Musicians’ hand

During 1993–1999, Spiccato® gained increasing popularity; many musicians corresponded with Benoît and encouraged the quest. It was enthusiastically endorsed by leading string players such as Sir Menhuin, Joseph Suk, Jaime Laredo, Heinrich Schiff, Glenn Dikterow, and Christian Tetzlaff. Benoît also made a special model for his friend Jean-Luc Ponty. In 1994, Spiccato® won the International Musicora Prize in Paris; it was again a feature of Musicora’s Anniversary in 2004.

Opening a market

As any invention that reveals a lucrative potential, Spiccato® had its challenges. At different points of Spiccato®’s development, Benoît Rolland had to defend his intellectual property and his life endeavor. Both lawsuits that Benoît won with the help of lawyers devoted to the arts, have set a very precise goal, and we hope, a precedent: they imposed respect of the work and invention that an artist intended for the progress of the art at large.

The talent of artists for creating ideas that open new markets is rarely rewarded by the gains from these markets. Moreover, businessmen who choose to ignore or even steal from the artists and inventors often quickly ruin the quality of the original concept. Benoît Rolland reacted against this shockingly common situation where ultimately our general level of culture and quality of life is at stake.

Now part of a culture

In 2006, the trade mark Spiccato® was definitely recognized in its integrity and registered in the Principal Register of the United States. It confirmed that law and art can collaborate to the refinement of a culture.

No new idea in classical music stands the trial of light and time without the approbation and lucid support of performers and teachers. Benoît Rolland wishes to express his deep gratitude by dedicating the Spiccato® adventure to the musicians, for their inspiring gift of talent.

Continue Reading

Spiccato brochure, 1992

Lord Yehudi Menuhin discovering
Spiccato with Concertmaster
Stephane Stalanovski,
in 1992

Frog designed after a
drawing by Jean-Luc Ponty
(model reserved to J-L Ponty)

View This Bow

Benoit receiving the
First International Prize Musicora


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