CodaBow GX

January 26, 2018, 10:54 AM · Has anyone ever had experience with the CodaBow GX? In the description of it, it states that it "offers performance once reserved for only the finest pernambuco bows." How does its actual performance compare to that statement, and how does it compare to wood bows in the same price range?

Replies (11)

Edited: January 26, 2018, 11:29 AM · I've tried two and wasn't impressed. They are definitely better than the NX, though.

At that price range, I would suggest a JonPaul Avanti as the first thing you try. They handle well.

I think in this price range -- around $750-$1k, there's a trade-off between wood and carbon-fiber. The CF bows usually handle better; the wood bows usually have a better sound.

January 26, 2018, 11:53 AM · I have one that I use for a backup/outdoor bow. It's a good bow, and I'm glad to have something that I can travel with internationally without having to deal with any hassle at the border, but by no means is it as good or better than my French pernambuco bow.
January 26, 2018, 5:08 PM · If you're looking for a new bow, try a variety of affordable bows and pick your favourite. Keep your expectations in mind.
January 26, 2018, 6:25 PM · If I were looking for a carbon fiber bow in that price range today, I would get a JonPaul Avanti. I have one as a backup to my fine bows and it plays very nicely.
January 26, 2018, 8:45 PM · As a side note, I've tried exactly one CF bow where I'd believe the claim that it plays as well as a fine bow, and that's the Arcus S9, which at $9k, seems reasonably comparable in handling to a fine French pernambucco bow in that general price range, like a Morizot.

Now, for performance comparable to the finest bows? I don't think I've encountered that in either CF or wood.

January 26, 2018, 11:56 PM · I have a GX, it's my teaching/playing outside/pracitising scales bow, but in an emergency I wouldn't worry about performing with it. As others have mentioned, it handles well, but there is a deadness in the sound. I always wonder whether the audience is as aware of that difference in sound as the performer is.
January 27, 2018, 8:31 AM · Lydia -- yes, the Arcus upper-end bows are fantastic. The only other CF that I have played that handles like a fine French bow is my Benoit Rolland "Spiccato" bow, no longer in production. I have some very fine bows and I'm still impressed with the Rolland to this day.
January 27, 2018, 11:44 AM · In any discussion of bows, it needs to be pointed out that there is not one "best" bow but a variety of bow styles and qualities. Certain bows will click with certain players at certain times in their life. What sounds great on one violin will be flat on another. And what works great playing Brahms or Mahler might not be optimal for Haydn or Mozart.

The other key thing is that each bow, even by the same maker, even the same model, will have its own personality, a little like the wands in Harry Potter. Super tiny fluctuations in weight, shape, balance, hardware and flex can mean a bow made by the same maker in the same year can behave totally differently. And this is true (to a lesser extent) of carbon fiber bows as well. They are still handmade and each one will be different.

Some violinists (I among them) keep half a dozen bows and enjoy playing different bows in different situations. Others find a bow that represents the best combination of qualities for them and play only the one.

My three favorite bows right now are a Peccatte-style bow, which is lively, well mannered and versatile, a Sartory-style bow (smaller head than the Peccate) which is very well suited to romantic music but also versatile; and an Arcus S-series, an extremely light (48 gram) carbon fiber bow that is super quick and responsive (great for string crossings) but also very strong. I enjoy playing and learning from them all.

So, really, you should pick a bow based on trying it out. Your teacher or luthier or other violinists can tell you things to pay attention to, but if you're a somewhat experienced player you should be able to get a sense of what bow works best for you. And that could change next year.

Edited: January 28, 2018, 8:50 AM · I was shopping for a carbon fibre bow this autumn because I didn't dare try to bring my ivory-tipped wooden bow into the US. I mail ordered a Jon Paul Carrera and only after recieving it found out that it was available in a firm and a flexible version. I was informed that my bow was the flexible and found a little softer than I would have preferred, so I arranged for the dealer to ship the firm bow also so I could compare. I had them send the Codabow Marquise also and had the possibility to compare to a friends Codabow Diamond GX.
In my opinion the Marquise was the worst of the 4. It was quite soft and vibrated in the middle of long strokes. The GX was better, but the firm Carrera was a clear winner. It handles very well and I used it on our US chamber music tour. Compared to my Dölling pernambuco bow there is something missing in the sound. It is difficult to describe, but the sound is more "dead".

It turned out that the dealer had mixed up the Carerras. The first one I got was in fact the firm so all the extra shipping and returning could have been avoided. But at least I feel confident that I have one of the best carbon fibre bow in that price category.

I agree that the top Arcus bows are great. The swedish distributor let me borrow a range of them a couple of years ago. You have to adapt to them, they are different beasts than other bows. But the top range is very expensive and in that price range I prefer a wooden bow. It was several years ago so I can't make a direct comparison with the other carbon bows above, but from what I remember the similarly priced Arcus bows (S5, P5) were not to my liking.

January 28, 2018, 12:37 PM · For an orchestral player with a frequent need to use a CF bow, my guess is that a high-end Arcus would be a great day to day bow. What impressed me about the S9 was not just how well it handled without obvious adaptation, but also the fact that the tone produced was not obviously CF-like; on my violin it was within the tonal variance range of the other bows I was trying alongside it (mostly French antique bows in the same price range).
January 28, 2018, 1:14 PM · I compared an GX to a couple of Arcus bows around two years back and ended up buying a P4 (which at that time I preferred over the P5 and P6 I had for trial as well).

Out of the CodaBow portfolio I liked the clearness of the SX most. The GX is rather "noisy" (at least the one I had, also CF bows are not all the same out of one line).

To my not overly excessive experience, comparing in a similar price range, CF is good/superior even at 1k.


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