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Arcus bows

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Wyzird05, Dec 4, 2003.


  1. Wyzird05

    Wyzird05

    Dec 1, 2003
    South Bend, IN
    What does everyone think about Arcus bows? I played on the sinfonia and liked it, but has anyone played on the concerto?
     
  2. Personally, I have no experience with Arcus bows (I own a Carbow), but I will quote a review the Italian bassist Vito Liuzzi posten on the 2xBasslist some days ago. Hope this will be of any help.

    Vincent

     
  3. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Has anyone tried their new "S" series of bows (which replace the concerto, veloce etc models)?

    Louis
     
  4. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Just asking again... Thanks

    Louis
     
  5. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Just checking -again - if any one has any experience with their Concerto or (new) S6-7-8 models. Thanks
    Louis
     
  6. mjt0229

    mjt0229

    Aug 8, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    I met Larry Wolfe of the BSO recently, and he let me try out his bass and bow. The bass is a Prescott. The bow, to my surprise, was an Arcus. He was getting ready to play with a small ensemble that wasn't doing traditional BSO rep, so I'm not sure he uses the Arcus with the full orchestra.

    I only had a moment with the bow, and I was on an unfamiliar bass. It seemed to sound and play well, but I can't really separate the effect of the Prescott from the effect of the Arcus.
     
  7. neilG

    neilG

    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    That's the point, you can't. You have to try a bow on the bass it's intended for. I have a fine quality bow bought for a bass I no longer own that sounds awful on my current instrument. I've also played 60 dollar Glassers that sounded really good, but were mechanically odd. It's a mystery.
     
  8. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks, MJT. Larry and I were in the Greater Boston Youth Symphony at the same time (needless to say he was a phenomenal musician then). I think he might have even had the Prescott then. He's an excellent composer and is always experimenting. There's a Youtube clip of him playing a Luis & Clark carbon fiber bass - and he even makes that sound good.

    Neal, you're absolutely right. I;ve had the same experience of bows bought for one bass not sounding right with others.

    The thing with the Arcus bows is that are much lighter (115-120) and supposedly take much less pressure to produce tone, which interests me for health (hand and shoulder) reasons.

    Still, paying $3K for a carbon fiber bow gives one pause.

    Thanks

    Louis
     
  9. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Louis, what's your opinion of the Metropolitan?
     
  10. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Fine, but a little clunky for me physically and (as with most cf bows) a bit monochromatic when it comes to tone. The Finale "feels" the best - but still, IMO, has that one tone sound. The Karbow is great but I think makes everything sound "bright". The Glasser braided carbon fiber bow is surprisingly good for its price.

    I went through an intense cf bow phase when I was teaching and later President of Deep Springs College - in the High Sierras: huge swings in temp and humidity.

    I hope that helps

    Louis
     
  11. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    I've been playing a Metro for a few years, like it, but agree about the mono-c sound. Seems like that is part of the cf experience.
     
  12. mjt0229

    mjt0229

    Aug 8, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    I've been thinking for a while about selling my two lesser bows and getting a CF as a backup for my nice bow (for stability, reliability). I really liked the Grunberger carbow I tried years ago, and I liked the Arcus. I've had pretty good luck with Gage Metropolitans, too. Not many places in the US seem to have the Arcus bows, though, so I'm not sure where I'd try more.
     
  13. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
  14. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
  15. I have one. I do like the bow for its weight (a little under 110 gr.) and the way it plays, feels and sounds. It also a very well made and finished bow, very beautiful. I prefer it my other carbon French bow (no brand). I am only a beginner so I cannot give much more info as I simply do not have the experience yet.

    My bow is for sale (as I do not play French anymore). A week ago someone came to try it out. This turned out to be a very good professional classical player that brought a wonderful French lions head 5 string with him to try it on. This gave me the opportunity to hear the bow from a distance played by a pro and compared to some other bows. I truly enjoyed his private little concert! The bow sounded terrific on his bass and he thought it handled very well. To me it sounded just as good as his own high quality wooden bow he brought for comparison. He did not buy the Arcus as the sound just was not exactly what he was looking for in combination with his bass. I think he said it sounded a bit "too warm" for his taste.

    I do like the bow and I have contacted Arcus about it (they always respond very quickly). They offered me to take it back as part payment on a S4 (or higher) German model. A very nice offer and I would sure like to try one of the German Arcus bows but the difference I would have to pay extra is just a bit too much at the moment.

    So far my experience. I hope for you a more experienced player will also share his/her experience.
     
  16. cacophonic

    cacophonic

    Mar 18, 2008
    San Francisco
    I have an original Arcus german that I bought circa 2000 and have used extensively, but lately I've been looking for a nice pernambuco in the $3-5K price range. A couple of days at ISB this week afforded the rare opportunity to play many bows, and there were a lot of good bows and a handful of very good bows available for under 5K. I tried as many as I could, and in the end, I came home with...

    ...An Arcus S4(!)

    Compared with an S3 and S6, several other composite bows, and the aforementioned pernambuco bows, I found that I liked the feel, weight, balance, and liveliness of the S4 the best. Against other composites, the Arcus line appeared to be superior in the quality of materials and workmanship. As for sound, I preferred the S4 to all of the other composites and many of the pernambucos. It pulled a nice, big, fat sound, with great definition and immediacy; however, the tone does lack a certain depth of character exhibited by the better pernambucos (this seems to be a characteristic common to all of the composite bows that I've played). On the other hand, compared to the wood bows the Arcus possesses a kind of sheen, or touch of brilliance, that many ensemble and section players may particularly appreciate--especially those with darker-sounding basses--and could suit some soloists who seek a bit more brightness and edge for certain works.

    Preferences being so very subjective it's impossible to predict which bow will work best for a given player and instrument, and some people have a drawer full of bows for different styles, ensembles, strings, climates, moods, days of the week, or whatever. Heck, I'm just a bumbling amateur and I now have five, three pernambuco and the two Arcus.

    For anyone considering spending up to 5K on a bow (or maybe even more) and has an open mind regardng composites, I can certainly recommend giving the Arcus models a fair trial. The S3, S4, and S6 that I tried all seem to be nicely made, play well, sound good, and if my 15-year-old Arcus is any indication, should be durable and trouble-free. Given the chance to compare several models, you may even find that you prefer the relatively affordable S3 or S4 over considerably more expensive bows.

    Good luck.

    -bob
     
  17. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for that. Very helpful. I'm assuming if your other Arcus is fifteen years old, it's one of the Symphonia/Concerto models in the debate above (about which is the "real" Arcus, old or new). Everyone says the other guy is the poseur! It's nice to get some real feedback. Thanks
     
  18. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    ok Thanks! how would you describe the difference between the Arcus S3 (french bow) en the more expensive S5 and S7? Why are the others so much more expensive? what makes the price difference? Is it a matter of sound or build quality? or are they equal and is it a matter of taste?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  19. As far as I understood all sticks are made following exactly the same process. After being made the sticks are categorized by sound etc. and stamped. And then they receive a frog and hair etc. I think this process is not that different from wooden bows, both being fully handmade you can never be 100% sure how a stick ends up...
     
  20. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    ok that makes some sense. The material of all bows is the same I guess. Besides the stainless steel/silver and the absence of the dot on the frog I can't see any difference. Don't think these have any influence on the sound.
    Since sound is a highly subjective thing it must be hard to categorize this for the stamping (?).