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Michael Yeats was born in Portland, Oregon in 1950. He began music lessons at an early age but switched from player to instrument maker in 1975. He started his building career as a Baroque and Renaissance lute maker and has made and repaired instruments as diverse as concertinas, guitars and pipe organs.
In 1987, he focused his attention on bows and was hired by William Salchow, which took him to New York City. After leaving that formative shop in 1989, he remained in New York City to work independently and extensively with the local and international violin community. He has had the opportunity to work on thousands of fine bows by great French makers and has become a recognized expert on camber and playability issues. In his bow making, Michael strives to reproduce the qualities of the work of the great French makers, and has continued the evolution of bow making into the 21st century by incorporating new techniques and innovations. His bows are known for consistent playability throughout the entire length of the stick and for their clear, defined sound.

He has been a bow consultant for Christie’s in New York and has lectured on bows at The Julliard School. Michael is the author of “Camber” in The Conservation, Restoration, and Repair of Stringed Instruments and Their Bows, the world’s most extensive book on the restoration of instruments and bows. He has developed a successful alternative process of finishing new bows, and is the author of Violins, Bows, and UV Light, published in IUVA News.

Michael returned to Portland in 2002 to concentrate his efforts on creating bows of the highest quality. His work is in the hands of gifted musicians throughout the world. In addition to bow making, Michael enjoys a good mystery, a great vintage fountain pen, and all things that reflect a creative mind.


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