And once again: Carbon Bows

January 12, 2016 at 03:35 PM · And once again...

I know that there have been a couple of threads already regarding carbon bows, but I still need some information!

Background: I'm a professional violinist, currently in South America, and my orchestra is to play a lot of contemporary music this year, so I decided to get myself a carbon bow for that. I might use it also for the "normal" productions in the pit (that would actually be the best).

Now, here I can't get my hands on good bows (or only for ridiculous prices), so unfortunately there's no way of trying them - which means, I'll have to buy online (some friends of mine will be traveling here in February and they can bring the bow with them).

My budget unfortunately is somewhat limited, meaning I can't spend much more than 1000$.

So far, I've been looking at these options:

Arcus M3


JonPaul Avanti

Has anyone by chance tried them all and can give me some comparison? Or has another suggestion? That would be REALLY appreciated!

Thank you very much!

Kind regards


Replies (24)

January 12, 2016 at 04:00 PM · Hi Anna,

I have a Coda Diamond GX which I like a lot. I took a chance and purchased it via mail order without trying it out. I think it is a good bow for the money.

January 12, 2016 at 04:18 PM · The JonPaul Avanti is a wonderful bow! I use it for all my pit and outdoor playing. I prefer the response and tone quality to the other models of similar cost I have tried, including the CodaBow.

Also should mention there's a nifty product from Iesta, a carbon fiber bow with a pernambuco veneer. It has a bit more warmth and punch than the others (which are more clear sounding).

January 12, 2016 at 04:51 PM · When I was shopping for a carbon fiber bow, I tried about twenty, including all the different coda bows.

When I got down to the final three, I was surprised to find they were all JonPaul bows. All the Codabows sounded the same to me. The JonPaul Avanti was much more lively. I'm really happy with it.

January 12, 2016 at 04:51 PM · I have a pernambuco-clad bow, it's the Cadenza "three star" and I'm quite fond of it. You can get two for the price of the Avanti (around $425). But I've heard great things about the JonPaul Avanti bow. I'm kind of surprised something at that price wouldn't be clad.

January 12, 2016 at 07:48 PM · Thank you sooo much to all of you!

@Gene Wie: sorry, what do you mean by more "punch" regarding the Iesta bow? My violin has a rather warm and dark sound, but doesn't respond very quickly, so I'm definitely looking for a bow on the "clear" end - but maybe a punch would do it as well ;-)



January 12, 2016 at 08:20 PM · Hi Anna, i have Arcus M3. This bow is thick but very light and clear! You might choose Arcus M4 for more comfortable grip. Arcus M series are round only, and i believe Arcus team now has developped a new serie which is Arcus C series (M series is discontinued in december 2014, if i'm not mistaken). The warranty is 30 years and the serie number of each bow can be found when you screw off the frog. When my bow gets deffect, i get it repaired at no cost. There are also other series of Arcus (P, S, A), these series are lighter than M/C series.

January 12, 2016 at 08:26 PM · Hi Vanessa, thanks a lot! The warranty won't help me, since I don't live anywhere near an Arcus shop :-(

If I'm not mistaken, the other series (M4 and C) cost far more than 1000$, so that unfortunately makes them unfit for the moment...

How is the M3 in handling? I read somewhere else on that several people had problems switching from a normal wooden bow to the Arcus, or at least didn't feel comfortable for some time. Did you experience that as well? Thanks!

January 12, 2016 at 08:40 PM · Arcus M4 is €.1000,- (Euro) at the shop i bought my M3. M3 itself costs €. 650,-

M3 is well balanced, and yes you need a while (i needed a week) to get used to this bow (whatever series). it's also lighter than any Coda bows. When i use other bows, i get a mark on my right thumb, hehe! But not when i use Arcus. The thickness is comfortable for me. I've played in violin II section and i was thinking that my hand would hurt doing tremolo with other carbon bows i have.

January 12, 2016 at 08:48 PM · Hi Vanessa,

well, I just escaped the second violins to the first ones, so tremolo on lower strings won't be an issue any more ;-)

Also, my current bow is very heavy (and it sounded much better on my violin than lighter, supposedly better ones); and if getting used to the Arcus really is such an issue, I guess I won't consider it, since probably I'll be switching between both of them most of the time.

Thanks again!

January 12, 2016 at 08:59 PM · Glad i can help you to decide! :-)

January 13, 2016 at 02:07 AM · I've owned an Arcus, but not an M3. I've owned a CodaBow as well, though not the GX (though I've tried one). I currently have a JonPaul Avanti as my CF bow.

My impression of the JonPaul bows is that they are more consistent in feel within a model, which is not necessarily true for CF bows in general. They are also relatively neutral-feeling sticks to me -- handle well, no special quirks. For a CF bow, it's a good place to start if you want a high likelihood of getting an acceptable bow at first shot.

January 13, 2016 at 03:50 AM · @Lydia: thank you very much, your answer was really helpful! For telling the truth, I'm getting more and more inclined towards the Avanti...



January 13, 2016 at 06:14 AM · "I just escaped the second violins to the first ones"

Not the best choice of words, but I'll answer your question anyway...I love my JonPaul Avanti and use it for 90% of my professional playing.

January 13, 2016 at 12:01 PM · @Mary Ellen: thank you very much!

And sorry for the wording, it was meant as a joke - actually, I love playing second violin, but, for telling the truth, more so in symphonic orchestras. In the opera, I prefer the first section, especially when it comes to Mozart and Rossini - which leads back to the origin of my answer: tremolo and piano on lower strings... I didn't mean to offend anybody!

January 13, 2016 at 12:33 PM · I would think living in S. America you have access to much cheaper high quality Pernambuco bows from Brazil than we have here in N. America. That makes buying a high priced imported Carbon Fiber bow less of a viable option.

January 13, 2016 at 04:51 PM · I have an Arcus M4 and love it. No problems adjusting at all.

But, out of interest why are you looking at the Ms? I would have thought that for contemporary music the "brighter" tone of the S model may be better, though of course it depends on your taste, instrument and the like.

January 13, 2016 at 05:32 PM · Hi Lyndon,

might be, but as I mentioned earlier, I'm looking specifically for CF because of contemporary music (and also for outdoor playing) - I don't want to have to worry about using it for making strange noises and rapidly changing humidity / temperature. If I'm not mistaken, in this case CF is much more reliable than wood - and for all other moments, I'll still be using my fine wooden one as main bow!

January 13, 2016 at 07:18 PM · Fair enough, I see your point, Anna.

January 13, 2016 at 09:15 PM · @Chris: because of budget... at Arcus' homepage, the S-Line starts at 1560€.

Thanks for your feedback on the M4 though!

Coming back to an earlier question of mine: Gene Wie mentioned the Iesta bows and I remember having read a fairly nice recension in an older thread; somebody else here has had experience with these bows? Thanks!

April 6, 2016 at 05:24 PM · UPDATE :-)

Just thought I should let you know how the story turned out.

I finally decided to get the Avanti, and laid hands on it the first days of March; my first impression wasn't really positive, probably, because I expected too much after some of the glorious reviews here...

Anyway, I took advantage of my orchestra playing a ballet these days, and started using it everyday. So far, my conclusions are:


- very well balanced

- absolutely no technical problems, the bow does all normal strikes without having to adjust


- at least on my violin, the sound is rather dull and has quite a lot of noise

I haven't changed the hair yet, as I supposed that it should be good quality in this price range, so that maybe could help with the noise.

For me, the purchase was definitely worth it, since I needed something indestructible but still decent - and I'll be using the bow on all ballets, contemporary and outdoor concerts to come. Also, I guess it can be a very good idea for students, so they can learn different strikes with a pretty "neutral" bow.

Thanks again for all the suggestions and help!

April 7, 2016 at 07:33 AM · Carbon-fiber is never going to sound like wood, and some CF formulations are worse with some violins than with others. For the noise, you might have some luck just trying another Avanti, but you would probably have to switch bow brands to make a real difference.

Another possibility is whatever rosin was put on the hair initially. I often find that the default rosins that shops use can sound rather gritty.

April 14, 2016 at 07:59 PM · Arcus M3, CodaBow DIAMOND GX, JonPaul Avanti :

I've tried all of these bows, and they are all of a fairly good quality. I found the Avanti a bit more responsive than the other two.

I opted for an Arcus M4 in the end, which I felt gave a superior tone and better balance.

Just for the record, I'm not convinced that wood is necessarily better than CF. To those who say that it is, I'd like to see a blind test performed :)

April 16, 2016 at 01:54 PM · I know that you are discussing the higher end bows, but I would really like to understand how a Fiddlerman carbon fiber bow compares to those being talked about here.

April 16, 2016 at 03:46 PM · Have you considered Revelle bows?

I have a Revelle Raven bow and I'm satified with it as a student, but you could give it a try to the Phoenix or Falcon bows. They cost around 400 and 600 u.s dollars respectively.

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