Carbon Fiber Bows

January 10, 2007 at 02:44 AM · Hello, all:

My violin teacher suggested that I obtain a spare violin bow since I only have one. Because I am a college student with no money or time to go bow shopping, he suggested that I buy a carbon fiber bow, as many of them are cheap(er than a really high caliber wood bow) and will serve me well. Looking at the Sharmusic website, I am inundated by the huge number of carbon fiber bows that are out there. How in the world do I decide which one to buy? I just need a spare bow, so it's not like it will be my primary bow. But I do want it to be somewhat similar to my wood bow (60g, round stick, etc.). Any suggestions?


Replies (70)

January 10, 2007 at 03:10 AM · I realize money and time are lacking, but there is no substitute for trying out a bunch of bows at your local luthier and picking the one that seems to work best. You can get one that in the abstract seems perfect but may not sound well with your violin, may not be as responsive as you wish, may not be balanced the way you want, etc. You have to take a morning and try some. Otherwise, you are likely to be frustrated. Sorry I cannot be more helpful, but any other advice you receive, while well-meaning, will ultimately probably frustrate you more than help you (the only real alternative is to keep ordering bows from a place like Shar for a trial period and hope you quickly find a suitable one). Good luck!

January 10, 2007 at 03:12 AM · Greetings,

I second Tom`s comments. People often don@t realize that carbon fibre bows are extremely variable within a single brand and unles s you are willing to try a batch you might pick up the one you don@t like and regret the money spent when a litlt emor etime would have got you soemthing much better suited to you,



January 10, 2007 at 04:34 AM · Julie,

CF bows vary quite a lot.

The price range is also wide:

from around a $100 - $2000

My favorite has been the Benoit Rolland Spiccatto, but it is no longer made.

I hear good things about Tabary bows.

January 10, 2007 at 04:18 PM · I'm currently looking for a CF for my primary bow. Of course, this is difficult because I'm just outside of Cleveland, but I have no car since I'm a freshman in college and I'm from NC so my parents can't just drive up and take me to shops.

My teacher told me to look at Jonpauls first, and also the Coda line. He did say that Jonpauls are extremely good quality and very very inexpensive. The concertmaster of our orchestra got one for about $500, and he said it's a very good bow.

January 10, 2007 at 04:35 PM · JonPaul is made by Pieter Prier's company who used to sell and manufacture Rolland"s Spiccatto bow.

What made Spiccatto bow special is the "Patended" cambering mechanism. Like having 5 bows in one.

January 10, 2007 at 06:15 PM ·

January 10, 2007 at 06:34 PM · Thanks for all your responses, everybody. They're very helpful. I will look into those bow companies that you suggested. Tom and Stephen, I know where you're coming from, and I know it's important, so thanks. I just don't think I'll be able to do it (transportation issues, not knowing where to go in Oberlin/Cleveland). I'll try working something out, perhaps.

January 10, 2007 at 07:41 PM · Wait, wait. You're in Cleveland? My professor suggested going to Terry Caroin and Reese Williams. They're both in Cleveland. I'm in the same boat as you with transportation. Maybe we could figure something out together? My parents don't want me taking the bus by myself.

January 10, 2007 at 10:12 PM · Julia, I'm actually in Oberlin.

January 10, 2007 at 10:54 PM · I tried the JonPaul carbon fibre bows when I was looking for a new bow. They were a very nice range, and I most likely would have bought it were it not for the price. The one I was looking at was the Avanti. Having looked up on the internet, I found that I would have been able to order the bow from a dealer in America and get it here for about $1000, plus shipping (and assuming that it stayed under $1000 I wouldn't have to pay custom fees). However, the dealer in Perth that had them was wanting $1600 for the bow, and that's difference put me off it.

However, I might save up and buy one either this year or next... though I seem to have a lot of things on the "save up and buy" list.

January 10, 2007 at 11:35 PM · I've never been a particular fan of carbon bows. They're great for spiccato and staccato, but their core sound tends to be rather unmusical, IMHO.

Most violin shops will loan you a bow when yours is being rehaired. Is there a reason you or your teacher feel that having a second bow is important? (Especially since you're not looking to spend a lot of money.)

January 10, 2007 at 11:51 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 12:05 AM · Martin: It's been years since I've tried carbon bows so I acknowledge that I may be wrong. I will consider looking at carbon bows - as a first bow!! At present I'm happy with my first (and only) bow, but will check carbon fiber out at your recommendation.

So, at this point, what I'm really wondering is - if one is strapped for cash, should one buy a second bow?

January 11, 2007 at 12:19 AM · Martin,

Sorry to hear that, but that must be your experience in the UK.

I disagree......from my experience (in the USA), it depends entirely on ones budget. For the most part, when people are looking for serious bows they are looking for pernambuco.

When ones budget is limited, it tends to be a CF bow.

January 11, 2007 at 12:22 AM ·

January 11, 2007 at 12:25 AM ·

January 11, 2007 at 01:28 AM · Terry, my professor has a $26,000 pernambuco bow and a $2,600 carbon fiber bow. He finds his carbon fiber bow 50 time better than his pernambuco.

January 11, 2007 at 01:49 AM · Julia...

That must be quite dissapointing for your teacher..

January 11, 2007 at 04:15 AM · Julia & Martin,

With all due respect, I have tried all of the CF bows available on the market, and none can top the sound of great pernambuco bows.

They are good for what they are.

For outdoor concerts or concerts in the pit, I use my Benoit Rolland Spiccatto bow. I like it alot, but it does not have the same overtones as my pernambuco bows old and new.

CF will never replace the pernambuco bows. It may make them (pernambuco) more valuable.

January 11, 2007 at 04:15 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 04:30 PM · Martin,

I'll be happy to try your bow if you send it over.

But still a violin, no matter which violin, is silent until a bow is put to it and sound is drawn from it.

You take 10 bows, and the same instrument will sound very different with each one.

All of the CF bows that I have tried (accept yours), do not have the resonance nor the wide range capacity of overtones that pernambuco bows do.

Some are quite good, but they will never replace pernambuco bows.

In his own time, Vuillaume also came up with an innovation (the steel bow). Which was very popular as well for he had sold over 5K of them. Paganini had also used one for fun along with his pernambuco bows.

Unfortunately that invention came and went.

January 11, 2007 at 04:29 PM · I agree that carbon fiber bows will not get the same kind of sound that an older French bow will produce. However, I don't dislike carbon fiber bows. They are sturdy, reliable, and sitll produce nice, even sounds. However, I have heard students who play with only a carbon fiber play for a while with a wooden bow and they sound much more unique.

I think for the price range though, you can't even try to compete with a carbon fiber. Unless you're looking to spend 5K and up, it's going to be VERY hit or miss with a wooden bow. Even though every carbon fiber bow is different, they overall are fairly even in terms of weight and build in any one model. I don't think a carbon fiber is a bad bow at all, but I think it's going to be a while before you see a famous soloist using one.

January 11, 2007 at 04:38 PM · Christina,

Just so we are on the same page.....I did say that for the price, they are very good. And in my collection I do have a Benoit Rolland Spiccatto bow, which I like too, but it's not the same as my other bows.

The price range for excellent contemporary Professional bows start from $2,500 - $5,000 (and up). Depending on the reputation of the maker. Today, there are many wonderful makers.

......and CF is a fantastic innovation no doubt.

January 11, 2007 at 04:41 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 04:52 PM · Martin, you wrote,

"As regards overtones, they come from the violin, not the bow!"

You're kidding, right?

While no appreciable sound comes out of a bow, the bow has a significant affect on which overtones come out of the violin. It's semantics, I suppose, but in this regard your argument against Gennady's point is baseless.

January 11, 2007 at 04:55 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 05:10 PM · I was unaware of his usage of a carbon fiber bow, I take back my comment. I still stick by my opinion that they are somewhat limited in use for solos. For most musicians I think they are adequate, but I would not want to see Gil Shaham giving up his beautiful pernambuco.

Gennady, I was not trying to argue with you, I meant to agree with you entirely. I believe your assessment of carbon fiber bows is accurate. And you are very much right when you say that the violin makes no sound until the bow is pulled across the strings. I've played on numerous bows with my violin and only the bow I'm using now is one that can produce the depth of sound on my violin that I want. However, I am considering a carbon fiber bow as a backup bow, since they really are reliable and are unlikely to break.

I did have a friend at Interlochen who had a beautiful viola bow. We were playing in the pit for the operetta when his bow slipped and fell on the hard concrete. It snapped at the tip and of course was not reparable. He now uses a carbon fiber.

January 11, 2007 at 05:22 PM · Martin,

BTW, Vuillaumes steel bows were the CF bows of their time.

They were unique and of great innovation, using a hollow steel shaft for the entire length of the bow, and the frogs were made by the best people in the shop including (sometimes) Peccatte.

There are some pictures (drawings) of Paganini with the steel bow and his Il Cannone.

January 11, 2007 at 05:26 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 05:52 PM · Lakatos just does a bunch of rapid trickery... his tone isn't particularly special sounding to me.

I disagree about overtones. Maybe the bow has nothing to do with it, but I've tried every level of CF bow, and even my newest French bow, made only a year ago, destroys them all tonally. Wood just offers a more complex sound.

The handling of them however, is probably as good as anyone can get in a pernambuco.

January 11, 2007 at 06:21 PM · In response to a comment from earlier stating (paraphrase) "why should there be any difference between a carbon fiber bow and a wooden bow".

It's not just the carbon fiber/wooden debate. How many people have tried a brazilwood bow? It's a cheaper wood used to make less expensive bows, but I have never seen it used much above the student level bows. There is a huge difference in the sound between brazilwood and pernambuco. It has to do with science- the density, flexibility, and strength of the wood and other things such as that. It's a shame that pernambuco is the only wood proven that can really be used to make a fine bow- it would be a lot easier if we could use just any old wood.

So, if there's a difference between two kinds of wood, then why wouldn't there be a difference between pernambuco and carbon fiber? Carbon fiber, while it is a very dependable bow and I know scores of people who use them in their professional careers, is in some ways too perfect. When you manufacture something, you have a control over every part of the bow. Pernambuco, even in the best of bows, is going to have irregularities in it, if only on the smallest of scales. Anyone who's ever bought a "lab created" ruby knows that it looks almost too perfect. It's also a different weight and density than wood, so that's going to cause it to sound different.

I'm not saying that carbon fiber is "inferior" to pernambuco neccessarily, for I know a lot of pernambuco bows that couldn't stand the test, but that they are rather different. When you get up into the upper stratospheres of violin bows though I believe the sound that a wooden bow creates is going to be more unique, rich, and vibrant than a carbon fiber.

January 11, 2007 at 06:35 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 06:42 PM · I use a mid-grade Codabow to fiddle on. We're playing in bars, tents or out in fields, and not dealing with the stress of watching out for a nice wood bow, plus having both stick and hair responding to temp and humidity is really nice. I like very much how it feels, but a little something in undertone seems lacking to me. I'm betting the higher-end carbon bows and newer innovations in tech will improve on that a lot. I also have an anonymous carbon bow as a spare. It was a surprisingly acceptable bow at just $120. My adult fiddle students ended up getting them, too. Sue

January 11, 2007 at 07:20 PM · I think Sue makes a good point. A carbon fiber bow for 120 USD is a good alternative when playing in a high risk invironment.

What I really do not understand is that someone is willing to pay the same amount of money eg around 3000 Euro in Europe for a carbonfiber bow when the same money can but them a top modern French bow.

I have tried most of the carbon fiber bows on the market including the hyped up Arcus (ca 3000 Eu) and the one I liked most was a no name one for 150 Euro's. I have never come acros a carbon fiber bow that can compete against a good Pernambuco bow!

Also I refuse to believe that the big names who promote some carbon bows paid anything for them.

Also consider that in cycling people use carbon fiber frames and it is common knowledge that after 2-3 years of use you bin them because they go soft from use. I wonder if the same thing will happen to bows?

January 11, 2007 at 08:01 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 07:59 PM · quote: " in cycling people use carbon fiber frames and it is common knowledge that after 2-3 years of use you bin them because they go soft from use. I wonder if the same thing will happen to bows?


Wow. Kristian, is that really so? the gets softer?

That makes me wonder also about CF violins (L&C) and guitars (Rainsong.) A bit frightening, actually.

January 11, 2007 at 08:04 PM · "The cycling comparison is bizarre- unless some cyclists are using pernambuco for their bicycle frames to allow a fair comparison????"

I don't understand what you are trying to say. What I pointed out is that the material appears to have problems handling tension and stress in the long run. You might argue that a bow sees tension and stress in it's use altough less so than in a cycle frame. Now we know that a 200 year old french bow can still be used without problems. I was just pointing out that there might be a potential problem not concluding that there is one.

"If you refuse to believe that some top players paid for their bows then there's not much I can do, but it's not the most rigorously scientific of criteria to use as a basis for choosing a bow."

All I can say is that I think you appear to be poorly informed about how most endorsement deals are cut.

"Why would someone pay e3000 for a carbon bow when they could pay e3000 for a pernambuco stick?

Value for money maybe or perhaps they thought the cf bow was better."

Hmm. Value for money that was my point. The 120 USD bow I find to be good value for money. The 3000 Eu bow I find to be poor value for money because:

The ones that I tried were not as good as the 150 Eu one. And my modern french bow was beond comparison. Hence low value for the money.

A good french bow will increase in value.

I think you will struggle to resell a carbon fiber bow for what you paid for it initially.

In other words I have nothing against carbon fiber bows as long as they are priced so that they provide good value for money.

January 11, 2007 at 09:00 PM · In my experience, most of the people who buy new bicycle frames (well, aside from people who damage their bike in a crash) after a few years just want to get a new bike. :^)

I know strong players who paid their own money for carbon fiber bows.

I agree that most CF bows do not produce as pleasing a tone as good wood bows (for my taste, anyway), but for the sake of our bank accounts, I hope that this changes someday. As Martin Mcclean argued, there isn't a good reason why this should be impossible.

To the original poster, just try a bunch and see what you like. I've been pleased with an el cheapo Coda Aspire for the price. I don't own one, but have played on an Arcus bow which I actually liked (it was around $1500) but it was definitely an acquired taste, with rather unusual handling.

January 11, 2007 at 09:11 PM · Martin,

in regards to your post;

"what's your point- do you think we should disregard all innovations because of the failure of steel bows in the nineteenth century?"

I did state: ......and CF is a fantastic innovation no doubt.

BTW, the first to produce CF bows was Benoit Rolland, who was laughed at by his peers, despite the recognition from the French Government for the innovation etc.

He never intended for CF to replace pernambuco, and he has admitted that his wooden bows are more superior.

But for those on a budget, it is a fantastic alternative.

martin, I do love innovation, but your argument is a non argument.

January 11, 2007 at 09:22 PM · "As Martin Mcclean argued, there isn't a good reason why this should be impossible."

This is absurd.

Sounding good is not the same as sounding the best (the same as wood). However, as long as one likes the sound of wood best, then nothing you can do to the carbon fiber construction will get it exactly the same in the sound. The materials are too different for that!

January 11, 2007 at 09:20 PM · As far as binning CF bike frames, yeah they do, and the riders on titanium or other metal/composite bikes do the same, in the same time frame. its an expensive business, and as with bow construction, there is innovation all the time, so riders are keen to try the next development anyway. the deterioration caused by stresses occurs across the spectrum of materials, and is not unique to CF. Plus its performance in the running time is outstanding compared to metal.

A player retaining a sponsor's CF bow has nothing at all to say about their quality. If a top player is loaned a Strad by the strad society, doesn't that equal a sponsorship for strad violins? I would doubt that they only play the thing because it's free.

If someone has the money to buy what they want, and they prefer CF or pernambuco, then that is their choice.

Its interesting that so far its the players who are commenting on how they hear difference (which I don't doubt). I wonder if that difference is apparent in an orchestra pit or a concert hall or a classroom, to the listener. Just wondering.

January 11, 2007 at 09:34 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 09:14 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 09:37 PM · Bilbo, I totally agree.

Believe me Martin, no one here is putting down innovations, in fact most here like innovation.

As for "Arcus" bows for 3K........ is absurd.

There are absolutely better CF bows that are less money and look better. Arcus has got to be one of the most unfinished looking bows that I have ever seen.

For 3K, one can do alot better buying a bow from top makers in France, knowing that their investment will appreciate rather than not.

BTW Martin,

Generally speaking paying retail prices for anything is not a good investment unless it is a positive investment (rather than negative investment like a car) and you're taking a very long term view.

January 11, 2007 at 09:45 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 09:59 PM · "Many of the players I sold them to bought them because they worked better than anything else they'd tried. Money had nothing to do with it."

I wonder to what extent this comes out of a combination of lack of time, exasperation with the arduous nature of a trials process, and relative ignorance of what is truly possible.

I live 100 miles from NY and that is enough of a distance to make shopping a pretty significant committment--5 hours round trip every time you go. Unless you live in the city and you have gotten over the initial shock of what it takes to select the right equipment, one is likely to end up with a rather poor "selection" of wooden bows. Against a poorly chosen wooden one I am sure that carbon fiber frequently does great.

When I first started paying attention to the purchasing and selection process (3 years ago, with the onset of children playing) I really had no idea what to expect. Frankly it is rather like jumping off a 30 foot cliff into 40 degree water, in the dark of course. But I'me getting used to it. I think.

Tangentially my son tried two CF bows in 1/2 size recently and one was noticably better than the glasser (Bronx but with real hair as they are now) fiberglass he has now. The other $100 CF was no better. About 4 "pernambuco" bows were not as nice as even the glasser, but I think that was mostly because they were very light. As a parent I am keen on durability but anything beyond a mere drop to the floor will wreck a CF as easily as wood. Besides, I amm sure that any cracked bow can be repaired given the patience and the correct glue (epoxy probably).

January 11, 2007 at 09:59 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 10:03 PM · Well then the other idea goes back to my 1st reply. That is a matter of sonic taste. After all, ther eis nothing necessarily superior in some absolute sense about a wooden instrument or bow. Take flutes for example. Some love wood, others love silver, and all love a good player. So with time comes an appreciation of the new. Teh same thing happened to guitars and to mandolins in the beginning of the 20th century. The carved but relatively flat mandolins of the Gibson company are quite different from bolwbacks, and yet it isn't really a superiority--it is a difference.

And so I can see carbon finding acceptance on its owm merits, rather than being a perfect copy of the wood.

January 11, 2007 at 10:15 PM · Bilbo, this I agree with. Regarding your earlier post, no one ever said wood bows and carbon would sound *the same* (though perhaps I did not express myself clearly.)

January 11, 2007 at 10:00 PM · It's a pity that we don't have an organization like Consumer Reports to take an assortment of CF and wood bows, rehair them with the same grade of hair, use the same rosin on the same violins behind a curtain with blindfolded performers, to give an unbiased assessment of sound and performance. (Hmmm, maybe there's a business opportunity there. If every string player sent me $5.....)

How much longer do we have before harvesting brasilwood (pernambuco) trees is restricted? So, for those with wood bows, at least you know the value of your bow is just going to keep rising, yes?

January 11, 2007 at 10:24 PM · Jeffrey, have you seen this (although it is a few years old and doesn't really include wood bows in the comparison)?

January 11, 2007 at 10:23 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 10:31 PM · "give an unbiased assessment "

Hahaha :-)

Of course there is a pernambuco sound, just as there is a cedar sound vs a spruce sound for guitar tops etc.

I saw a really fun dixieland band a jear or 2 back that had an aluminum bass viol (1940s vintage). So you can make all sorts of cool stuff.

How about a kevlar bow?

January 11, 2007 at 10:40 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 11:12 PM · "Yes but the sound of the violin comes, strangely enough, from the violin."

I'm sorry did anyone argue that the sound comes out of the bow?

I have to agree with Gennady. You use non arguments. I mention that carbon fiber bows are a not as good an investment as a modern french bow and you mention one Montagana violin that sounds poor to conclude that all old instruments are a bad investment.

You are not addressing my points at all.

-All materials are subject so some stress.- Yes and a circle is round!! That does not address the concern that carbon fiber as a material might have drawbacks.

My point is not that carbon fiber bows are bad. I think like Gennady that they are a good alternative if one does not have the money to buy a fine pernambuco bow. What I am against are the people who charge a high price for a carbon fiber bows saying that they are better than a good pernambuco bow. Looking at the price you are charging for your bows I am obviously not addressing you.

One point not being addressed is that wood is not a static material. The chemical composition of wood changes over time and often the sound gets better as the bow is played. I don't see how carbon fiber could do that.

January 11, 2007 at 11:15 PM · Regarding the sound of the violin coming only from the violin: just a week and a half ago, I was at a New Years party with a bunch of musical friends (mostly pianists, but there was one other violinist there.) This violinist was looking to buy a new bow, and he had brought with him several that he was trying out. We went through every possible permutation to try and get a sense of their various sounds and capabilities--him playing each bow on his violin, him playing each bow on my violin, me playing each bow on his violin, then each bow on my violin--and each bow made a distinctly different sound each time. They were consistently different though (ugh, if THAT makes any sense), and even all those pianists could hear the distinctive sounds that each bow brought out of the instruments. :)

So basically, I don't think there's even any serious debate about whether the bow has an effect on the sound of the instrument. Clearly, demonstrably, it does.

January 11, 2007 at 11:10 PM ·

January 11, 2007 at 11:45 PM · Martin,

"My argument is simply that the sound comes from the violin and that the material a bow is made from is not crucial to sound."

Sorry but you are wrong. It is why bowmakers spend a great deal of time (& money) to buy the best stock of pernambuco to make their finest bows.

Material is of paramount importance.

It is why old bows of Ironwood and other exotic woods made by Peccatte and other great makers of the 19th century, cost substantially less than their pernambuco counterparts.

Again, CF bows are good for what they are, but they cannot compete with the best of contemporary pernambuco bows nor the great old ones for that matter.

You are trying too hard to do a hard sell of your product.

There will be some who like your bows and vica versa. That is all very subjective and depends on the individual, what they like, how much they've got to spend etc.

There are too many good makers today, and to stipulate that you've discovered the best solution to the bow is counterproductive (for your business). You are advertising your product, that's great. Let the people try for themselves and judge for themselves.

I don't think putting down pernambuco or todays finest is going to bring in more business.

January 11, 2007 at 11:49 PM ·

January 12, 2007 at 12:07 AM · Martin I don't see Gennady's comments as insulting. I do find the following quotes taken from above interesting:

"At no point have I mentioned my products. I have said that some fine players use them."

does not go along so well with:


would it be innappropriate for me to suggest an 'Artium' violin bow?"

Well if you stand by the first quote I guess it would :-)

January 12, 2007 at 12:15 AM · Apologies, I guess the question posed much earlier in the forum were not made in reply to Gennady but I stand corrected.

January 12, 2007 at 02:05 AM · Peter - Thanks for the reference back to that CF review. I had seen that (a few years ago) and it didn't come to mind as I read this discussion.

The comment recopied below is part of what drove me toward CF bows for my daughter. I'm not trying to enter the debate here, but simply put: her playing ability exceeds my budget, so I'm always looking for the biggest bang for the buck.

This is the quote from the review that clinched it for me: CODA CLASSIC: I have found Coda Classic bows (violin, viola, and cello) to be very good bows, with little to discriminate them from more expensive bows, for example, in my opinion their playing qualities are not out of place in a group of very nicely made pernambuco bows costing up to $3,000. ("Little to discriminate," not "nothing," and I cannot say with certainty that I always prefer the features in the more expensive bows.)

REMINDER: That's a quote from the article on the link Peter mentioned above. Not my words. However, my daughter, now 17, has both an Codabow Aspire and Classic - she likes both of them very much (although the Aspire hasn't seen much action for a while now). ;-)

January 12, 2007 at 04:30 AM · To give appropriate credit, the linked review is due to Andrew Victor.

January 12, 2007 at 05:04 AM · Being a techie I really wanted to buy a CF bow, but after trying a bunch, they usually handle well, since the maker can be pretty exact about balance point. But in general they are lacking in sound. I can't describe except there is a dead woodeness (sorry about the pun), even cheap pernambuco bows can beat. I tried Spicatto (when they still had it), Aspire, Classic, Glasser, but ended up buying an Arcos Brasil bow, that was around the same price range as the Classic. So I agree that as long as the bow is very low priced, or you're buying for a kid, or using in dangerous situations like pits and bars, I personally prefer a pernambuco bow, which was once a live tree swaying in the wind. Somehow it translates to a livelier sound, lots of colors, and a brightness and focus that the CF bows lacked. Admitedly I could not possibly try every CF bow against every pernambuco bow, but I know what I prefer and have had friends hand me a CF with my eyes closed and able to put it down instantly because of that muteness of sound you get (just doesn't sparkle).

However if someone likes CF bows, all power to them. Leaves more pernambuco for the rest of us.

That said, I still might buy a CF bow someday, maybe a Lasalle for traveling.

January 12, 2007 at 07:41 AM · Thanks Kristian.

I was not trying to insult you Martin. I was being objective.

And I also agree with Clare about the muted sound of CF bows compared to pernambuco. Although I do use my Spiccatto bow when necessary, for the rest of the time I prefer the rest of my collection of bows which includes a D. Peccatte, Maline, Vorin, Sartory and a great number of the finest contemporary makers like Millant, Raffin, Peck, Bigot, LeCanu, Nehr etc.

June 13, 2007 at 11:57 PM · All right, so now that I'm at home, I've had some time to finally try some carbon fiber bows. I am so perplexed, but before I get into details, let's just say I was originally looking for a spare bow, but now I think I might be investing in a primary bow (my French bow no longer satisfies me. I just can't get the sound I want from it and it's so hard to control). So, that being said, I recently tried the Coda Aspire (haha), Coda Diamond (not sure which one, but it's the black one), and a Rolland Spiccato (Gennady, I know you really like those! I had to try one).

Weirdly enough, I think I like the Coda Aspire the most. It's very "handleable" and produces such a good sound from my violin! Spiccato/staccato is another issue, though.

Coda Diamond is pretty good, but I find that it doesn't produce the same bright sound from my violin.

Sadly, the Rolland Spiccato bow was a little bit disappointing for me. I found that the sound it drew from my violin was similar to my French wooden bow. It was also very light at the tip and I think that's what's causing all my control issues with my wood bow. Spiccato and staccato were great with this bow however.

Is it possible for the lowest-end Coda bow (supposedly for amateurs, at least according to the Coda website) could be the right bow for me? I've read a lot of the other carbon fiber threads on this site, and it just makes it seem like something like this isn't possible. Man, why is choosing a bow so hard?

June 14, 2007 at 12:57 AM · Julie,

if it is right for you and the violin, why not?

BTW the Rolland Spiccatto bow came in 3 different elastic possibilities (from firm to mushy)along with its camber changing mechanism and different weight (59g-62g).

here are some latest comparisons;

June 16, 2007 at 04:33 AM · Julie,

The thing I found with the Spiccato's is that you *must* try adjusting the camber.

A quarter turn off the optimal camber for you and your violin can make a huge difference.

I tried a Spiccato along with a Coda Conservatory and a Coda Classic.

The Spiccato was decent but not worth the jump in price. Until I tried playing with the camber. Once I got that adjusted right -- wow.

The tone that bow drew with the camber properly adjusted was definitely a huge step up from either of the others.

- Ray

August 29, 2007 at 07:01 PM · Hello,

I suggest going to a luthier and try some different bows. When I went to mine to upgrade my bow. I told him my budget was between 100-200$. I tried 6 different bow and ended witha CF unmarked bow. It had the best sound of these bow. The luthier also told me the sound was better fromk this bow than the brand name one he was selling for twice the price. My teacher tried it and think it's a great bow. When I compared to my older bow, there is no comparison possible.

August 30, 2007 at 04:14 PM · One of the best bows I have dealt with is a Jon Paul. They are extremely durable and are guaranteed for life. They go for about $250 or so, and they sound and play great.

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