Carbon fibre bows

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Jun 22, 2022.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Compared to wood, with variables such as type, age, stick straightness etc. what does the CF come down to, in terms of their manufacture and relative quality?
    Regards to all
  2. Mikich


    Oct 12, 2020
    Carbon fiber bows usually have a brighter sound than pernambuco. They can feel light and responsive. Build quality is much better than when they first came out. They are typically black. The maker, Jon Paul has a red “ruby” and a “fusion” model which is carbon fiber with a pernambuco veneer. These bows look good and the pernambuco darkens the sound a bit. I have two CF bows. One is the black Jon Paul noire model ( the shop was out of the fusions and I wanted something cheap in a hurry). It feels fine. At some point I will get a fusion model.
    BassFalcon likes this.
  3. BassFalcon

    BassFalcon Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2020
    I believe it comes down to precision in manufacturing. The cheaper ones like my $100 fiddlerman bow appears solid black until you look really close. I believe a bundle of carbon fibers are tossed in a mold and the epoxy or whatever it is injected under high pressure. I believe the mid-grade bows are generally a carbon weave that’s put in the mold with the epoxy injected, and the very highest quality like a Arcus or Codabow I believe that much more care is taken in arranging the carbon fiber fabric in the mold for optimum results. I believe that answers your question, and that’s my understanding of the process. I’m open to correction and being wrong, but I believe that generally speaking it’s the care with which the carbon fabric is laid into the mold, and the quality of that carbon weave to begin with that determine the final product. Arcus bows, for instance, are all the exact same bow. Their $8k bow is the same as their $1,200 except when they come out of the mold they assemble the rest, then test and grade them and apply the level of fittings they feel matches it’s performance. The average ones are $1,200, the exceptional ones become the S8’s or S9’s or whatever their top level is with the rest filling in their intermediate range based on their performance and fittings.
    Andy Mopley likes this.
  4. LaFaro01


    Aug 27, 2018
    There you are opening a really "wide field" with from my point of view "slightly different opinions" about advantages/disadvantages of this "kind" of bows...:p As Bass Falcon mentioned carbon bows are not carbon bows... Here you find a comparison between different bows.. but it's not neutral (and quite bad English...;)), because made from the head of Arcus...;) :) but perhaps it might help to get some impressions...
  5. djmay


    Apr 8, 2022
    I have experience with cello carbon fiber and pernambuco bows. With double bass I only have played pernambuco bows. My comments are based on cello bows.

    Bow-making is an art. There are variations of quality in the materials used in both types of bows. A $300 bow of either type will not have the same materials quality nor the workmanship of a $3,000 bow. I have inexpensive pernambuco and carbon bows, only one expensive pernambuco bow. The differences are substantial. The balance, the attack, the feel are all much better with the high quality bow. However, one needs good technique to maximize the difference. For example, it is possible to have a good sound with little pressure and slow bow speed. It is possible to play fast passages with light pressure and very short bow strokes. This is because the string starts vibrating immediately, i.e, no scratchy sound getting the string started. There are a few people using high quality carbon bows but most are pernambuco.

    At the lower end of the price scale it seems that one can get a better carbon bow for the same money. So for $300 a carbon bow might be better. My inexpensive carbon bow is pretty good for the money, but it is a world apart from my good pernambuco.
  6. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    This guy does not know how to play a bass.
    I don’t trust his demonstration and opinion because of this. Sorry.
  7. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    There is an older, long thread on cf bows: NBD! - Glasser Braided Carbon Fiber

    This thread has some info on the Arcus bow. I play an S6 and an older model Concerto bow, and have had various discussions with Mr. Musing, who does indeed know his stuff. The bows may not be to everyone's taste; they are very light and require adjustment in bow arm technique, but do what they say they: perform as well as bows twice the price (I know, Ive had several bows in the $4 & $5K range), and cut down on injury and hand/wrist/arm wear and tear:

    Arcus bows (S series)
  8. LaFaro01


    Aug 27, 2018
    I don't think he can really play bass either... but for this situation it might be even better to get some impressions of the bows and not from his skills with the bow... I wouldn't buy a bow based on this video either, but it could be help for some orientation...
  9. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
  10. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    @LaFaro01 for sure.
    I have tried to watch this video in the past and could never get past halfway because of out of tune notes, improper bow holds etc. all while handing out big opinions.

    He may be wise to take a page from Thomas Martin and get visiting principals and stars to demo and comment on his bows. That is a very effective sales method.
    elberon and Selim like this.
  11. Brilee


    Nov 19, 2021
    Potomac, Maryland
    I have the top Codabow ("Infinity") and it feels and behaves very nicely. I had a Morizot back in the day that was more pricey, but not better. Someday I'd like to try Arcus, but I don't want to be tempted to wipe out my bank account just yet.
    Sam Reese and Opus_Pocus like this.
  12. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    To complicate matters, Musing now has a line of "lower cost" bows: Bass Bows :: Müsing Bows.

    I haven't found anyone selling the bass bows in the US but the violin, viola and cello bows seem to have good distribution:
    Andy Mopley and Brilee like this.
  13. Opus_Pocus


    Dec 10, 2005
    San Jose, CA
    I also have a Coda Infinity and I believe, for me and my bass, it is worth it's MSRP cost. I tried other $1K pernambuco bows which did not stack up.

    At some point, there will be a convergence where good Pernambuco becomes so scarce and expensive and carbon bow manufacturing improves enough that carbon bows will be a consistently better value. I have not laid my hands on enough new bows to make that determination but I suspect we are close.
    Sam Reese likes this.
  14. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    Sartory may never of played bass but bass players today sure love a Sartory style French bow.
    My instructor was like a kid Christmas morning when he showed me his new Lipkin’s Sartory style bow.

    In Sartory’s day bass strings were gut and often 3 strings. Can you imagine hammering out Beethoven’s 5th on 3 gut strings? Well, maybe it was fun.
  15. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I just did the Beethoven 9 on my bass with 3 plain Gotz gut strings (Spiro Mittel E/C) and my Arcus bow --- that was a pretty good time.
    Doing Dvorak New World this weekend - no problem blending in the 2nd movement with exposed section soli.
    jmlee, Selim, John Chambliss and 3 others like this.
  16. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    The New World is one of my favorites Louis!
  17. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's a blast and we have a very good section in this orchestra
    oldNewbie and Sam Reese like this.
  18. mjt0229

    mjt0229 Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    I've played a couple of nice CF bows. I'm not sure the best ones have been as good as my best pernambuco bow, but I was impressed in particular by 2 Arcus bows I tried (an S4 and an S5), as well as a Gage Metropolitan.
  19. Brilee


    Nov 19, 2021
    Potomac, Maryland
    It seems that the Codabow Infinity has replaced the Metropolitan. Do I have that right? Codabow no longer lists the Metropolitan and it looks like a few strings suppliers are selling off older stock.
  20. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    i've owned and played several CF bass bows. I've owned a nice viola bow, and currently use a glasser braided for violin.

    The metropolitan used to be the star of the show. I used one in college, and it wowed everyone who used it. I have a student who owns one currently and i play it from time to time. they are stellar in their performance and feel. the sound of that particular bow is very dark, perhaps even "bland." I still think it's an excellent stick because the performance is beyond reproach.

    since the time i bought my metro (probably nearly 15 years ago?) a lot has changed. affordable CF bows are on average really, really nice. I bought the glasser braided violin model on Lynn Hannnings recommendation - and it's a killer stick, for around $140 or something like that.

    not too long ago I grabbed a jonpaul matrix german bass bow, just to have a reliable german stick in my studio. man, i paid very little for this bow and it's an excellent stick. it plays beautifully - perhaps almost as nice as the metropolitan - but it sounds like a nice pernambuco stick. I don't know what they do different now - but the sound is much, much improved. I no longer consider CF an interesting alternative with pros/cons. particularly at these lower price points i consider them to have an advantage, on average, over wooden sticks.

    I think it's only a matter of time before you can get a seriously elite CF bow for about $1000 and (after a time period of acceptance/adjustment) i think it may even become 'the norm' if things keep going how they've been.

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