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Carbon Graphite/Fiber Roundup

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Dave Irwin, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. I've researched all the related threads I could find and didnt see anything that covered comparitives on all or most of the CF bows out there.

    I'm in the process of rounding up as many of these as possible for trial and would like any feedback available.
    (I've seen comments on Carbow, ALG, Arcus, and Glasser but very little on the others.)

    My goal is to assemble some qualitative context to the price differences in each. my personal goal is to find an affordable stick that gives me a significant improvement in control and sound over my brazilwood stick)

    Here's what I've found so far.

    Glasser $312.00
    Glasser 5000x $250.00
    Jean Tabary $765.00
    Lemur $799.00/$999.00
    Premiere $150.00
    ALG $??? ($600-750??)
    Hima sent email, awaiting reply
    Tobias $???
    Arcola $175.00 877-253-4837 pioneer valley
    Grunberger $900
    Clef $260
  2. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Dave, call Lemur. I think Lemur came out within the past month with a privately labeled carbon fiber bow. I think it would beat the $799 that you see in the catalog.

  3. Thanks, I think it's the same bow I have listed. It came off their website and didnt have a label so I assume it's their own.

    I may get one to try but 799.00 seems a little pricey without a better description of why it's in the same league w/ Carbow and ALG price wise......

  4. hi, just heard that david gage will be selling a carbon fiber bow of their own design in the next few months
  5. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Kurt, how is that Fetique treating you ? Can you show us some shots of it ?
  6. Well, managed to demo 3 cf bows so far.

    1. Holz $200.00
    2. Unbranded but suppose to be a Coda copy (I know they dont have their bass bow out yet but this is from a company that copies their other bows.....) $350.00
    3. Glasser CF

    All but the Glasser are harder to play than my wood.
    The Glasser plays very easily but sounds stuffy on the higher strings.
    The Unbranded "Coda copy" is the best sounding so far but still lacks a certain woody clarity.

    Guess I'll try some more expensive bows and give up on CF if they don't do the trick....... or maybe I'll try the Incredibow :)
  7. Here's #4
    Glasser x5000

    Probably the nicest of the cf bows I've tried so far, but.....
    I still get alot more presence and ring from my "crappy" wood bow.
    I think I'm gonna try to get one example of a more expensive bow like maybe Carbow and if I dont get better results, give up on CF (except for the incredibow which is on order....--miracles might happen, right?)

    Hard to believe a more expensive bow will sound much different given every bow I've tried has the same basic fault, a lack of ringiness and presence. I would guess this would be attributable to carbon fiber vs. wood. We'll see......

  8. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
  9. Never heard of em' Sent their US dealer an email for details: price, availability, trial policy etc....

    BTW, My Incredibow is due any day now. Long shot though it may be, I'm still anxious.

  10. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    Thanks for taking a hit for the home team. I'm also interested in the Grunberger despite the price.
  11. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    hey there dave,

    i have been watching this thread very carefully. i am prepared to do the patent leather swan dive (reach for the bucks) upon sucessfully figuring out what works for me. my glasser student bow needs an upgrade.

    i had heard that coda had a bass bow at NAMM recently. i just sent them an email requesting info. also have you had the opportunity to try the curbow and lemurs new bow?

    coda has a try before you buy policy with a few dealers as well. hmmm... i like the sound of that (NPI)!


    i found an article on composite violin bows, that contains a wealth of information. so much that i am not sure what it says, but hey....


    anyway... i am tracking everything i can before the parting of the green.

    i can wait for the right stick. i waited for the right bass. i am currently waiting for the right amp. unfortunately like the right bow, it too is "way spenny" .


    ahhh well....

    just your man in the rhythm section,

  12. Well, I'm starting to think the Coda "bass" bow is more legend than new product. I've heard the same things you have but their site still doesn't list a bass bow. Mayby their web budget's a little tight...who knows.

    Anyway, I did try a bow made from the same material /formula Coda uses (according to the reputable dealer) but manufactured by a knock off third party. For what it's worth, it didn't do it for me.

    Lemur, didnt have the Carbow I was interested in so I havent gotten a hold of that one yet. Price is definitely a consideration at that point. I've seen so many good posts about Tom Owens in the same range that I definitely will be evaluating wood bows before shelling out for that one.

    I mentioned this before, but I was really surprised at how my craptastic wood stick whooped some good CF bows by producing more ringy overtones. It makes me doubt the concept of CF for bass. (At least my bass)

    But still, out there somewhere is my Incredibow. Due any day... $100 of promised utopia. Gotta understand, my main electric is DeArmond Ashbory so I'm obviously attracted to oddball instruments.

    More updates to come

  13. Dave,

    Interesting stuff - I am really anxious to hear what you experience
    with the Incredibow. I have seen their web page and it does look like a cheap but fun alternative. Have fun!

  14. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    It has been my experience that inconsistency is greater with bows than even with basses. There is simply no way to know you're getting the right stick without playing it.

    My teacher helped me with my first decent stick. I showed up at his place one day and he has about 10 Brazilwood bows stacked in a pile. He had gone to a friend who buys for a chain and snagged every single one he had. The each looked EXACTLY the same as they were all the from the same maker and of the same model.

    We played all of them over a couple of hours and even to my notice ear and hand, they were all different. Some very much so. Others had more subtle differences.

    I have only played a carbon bow once, and it was very nice. But, it was a $1,000 bow. If you want to spend that kind of money and have a little time to look, you will easily run across a very good quality pernambuco stick. I have two. Each was less than that and either would be preferred over a CF stick by most players.
  15. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    hey guys,

    so i got an email back from coda on the new bass bow. the lady said to place an order with your local dealer, but stock is currently limited while they get dealer stock out the door. it sounds like it is just on the horizon.

    i did see that david gage has them on his website at $695

    yes, i definately need to put more time into trying sticks out. ahhh dunno... maybe i should just do the bob (all hail!) thing, while awaiting the full shoot out and my own trials. see how this pans out over the next year or so before dropping $500-700 easy.


    so many damn nice choices!

  16. Well, I wish it were better news but I don't think the design is meant for bass.

    Here's the feedback I just emailed to the builder:

    The 2 big problems are
    1. The bow doesn't grab and hold the strings very
    well. After working in some rosin, it did improve but
    it is still difficult to hold a solid tone.
    This problem is most noticable when when working on
    the lower strings and in higher positions (where
    the string length is shorter...)
    I'm not an expert on the physics but I suspect this
    could be improved by a wider track of hair.

    2. The other problem is upper harmonics. The tone
    the bow draws lacks the "ringiness" of my cheapo wood
    stick. This might be a tougher problem to fix since
    I'm guessing it's the synth material in the bow that
    doesn't resonate the same as wood.

    I wonder if smaller string instruments like Violin
    respond better the design because there is so much bow
    to a little instrument so they resonate by shear
    force. With a bass, the instrument is sensitive to
    the resonance of the stick.

    If problem #2 sounds familiar it's the same problem I've had so far with every CF bow I've tried so far
  17. "Hard to believe a more expensive bow will sound much different given every bow I've tried has the same basic fault, a lack of ringiness and presence. I would guess this would be attributable to carbon fiber vs. wood. We'll see......"-Dave Irwin

    I have not entered this thread previously because I've never had a CF bow. I did however have a FG bow. I am now using a "Bob" bow. Let me offer this, speaking as one who has studied organic chemistry and who plays the DB with a bow:

    1. CF is a relatively recent discovery. It is still, as a material, a material in search of a use. Since it is a synthetic material, supposedly, it will never be in short supply, it will never be inconsistent in quality, it will not lose its' camber, etc. Bunk!!

    2. Whatever a synthetic material is made of, it starts with an organic natural substance and uses mostly nonrenewable energy rescources to make. If the first doesn't run out the latter will, and we are back where we started, waiting for trees to grow. Nothing is immune to the degradations of time and use. Synthetic materials fracture and suffer failure under stress also, and depend on consistent manufacturing process for consistent results. Flaws in the making of CF are as likely as in any manufacturing process. Just read the threads on CF endpins. There isn't anything about CF that is more abundant than wood, or superior to it. Ultimately, we are dependant on nature's bounty for either wood or synthetic materials, given the demands of energy for the creation of the latter, and the steady trickle of sunlight that produces the former as well as the stored potential energy in nonrenewable energy resources.

    3. There are abundant trees in the forest as yet untested for bow use. Humans usually don't look for alternatives until we run out of what we are currently using. It might be a good idea, given that even the craptastic wooden bow played better than expensive CF, to try a few of those alternative trees, if and when we run out of brazilwood, pernambuco, Ipe, Osage Orange, and the like.

    Thank you for doing the testing, Dave. It was quite informative.
  18. darksail


    Aug 13, 2004
    Firenze, Italy
  19. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Although I'd wager that's a much bigger supply of CF in the pipeline than there is of Pernambuco.
  20. If you check out this link below, you will see that it takes quite a bit of energy to produce carbon fiber. You are correct that this energy is contained in a "pipeline". The substance in the pipeline is nonrenewable petroleum. The complete supply of petroleum was produced over hundreds of millions of years. It is essentially sunlight that was stored up by plants first, then animals eating plants. It is compressed animal fat from microscopic animals called diatoms, which have been extinct for millions of years also. In other words, there is no more petroleum being produced. In 300 years of the industrial revolution, we have used up more than half of the petroleum supply and more than 3/4 of the supply of coal (which is fossil plant material). At the current rate of consumption, all that is left will be used in about 60 years. Of course that assumes no economic growth, no increased consumption in developing countries, and massive implementation of renewable alternative resources, which are essentially non-existent and expensive compared to petroleum. In light of that, if there is only one Pernambuco tree in all of the world sixy years from now, there will be more of that than there is of carbon fiber "in the pipeline".

    Currently, you may be correct, but there is a huge supply of Ipe, a tree which shows some promise for replacing pernambuco, not to mention Osage Orange, which could be grown as a crop and ready for harvest in 20-25 years.

    My point is that if you can't sustain the process, why bother to use it in the first place?