Professional quality bows, part 2

April 24, 2017 at 07:52 PM · This is a continuation of this thread: LINK.

The discussion thread includes questions such as:


April 25, 2017 at 12:12 AM · So people that "have the Lord" prefer CF bows, is that what you are saying???

I'm starting to wonder if one of our banned posters has come back as a woman??

April 25, 2017 at 01:11 AM · Oh for pete's sake.

Lyndon can say what he wants. I don't agree with him on the issue of CF bows, but I also know that I'm not tone deaf, so what he says doesn't affect me at all.

Lyndon's opinions don't bother me nearly as much as some other posters who confidently post misinformation as fact. And at least he isn't a hand slapper.

April 25, 2017 at 01:22 AM · Returning to the topic: Has anyone here actually commissioned a custom bow from Coda? (The previous thread mentioned that they'd done custom builds in the past.)

April 25, 2017 at 02:01 AM · The topic of Codabow Marquise bows came up on Maestronet recently (started by me actually), and a respondent said that her daughter was a "Coda Artist" (I guess that's like a Steinway Artist) who was asked to test a Marquise GS. She found that it was excellent and insisted on being allowed to purchase it. Her original intent was to have a second bow for compromising situations, but she ultimately found it to be better that the contemporary wood bow she had been using. (She named the wood bow maker, but I'm going to leave that out here.) A nice endorsement. I can't help being interested in the Coda Marquise bows. But it's wise to be patient and see what others think as they start hitting the market.

I know what you're all thinking now. You're thinking hey, how come I wasn't invited to be a Coda Artist?

April 25, 2017 at 06:28 AM · I know why I wasn't invited to sell high end Coda bows!!

April 25, 2017 at 06:48 AM · Interesting! I would really like to try one out.

Are there any european sources known?

April 26, 2017 at 02:22 PM · Coda was one of the first bows I looked at. Looks as if it has come full circle.

I'm trying my best to get to the bottom of this. One name keeps floating to the top. JonPaul Avanti. Seems to be a thread favorite here.

Marc- "without having to spend 50k like you have to do on violins."

Ugh. Marc here we go again :) I liked your other comments! Like this one- "

The bow sound is underestimated often. It can make a huge difference, way way more than the strings."

Mary- "I did once find a bow at a flea market; it was in very bad shape but I could tell the stick was good. I bought it together with a violin (firewood) for $100, put another few hundred into getting the bow recambered, rehaired, rewound, and everything else, and got it appraised for $1500."

Note to self. Visit more flea markets.

Ron- "William Retford, the great archetier at Hill's felt that the Weichold Imitation de Tourte were among the best bows that he encountered."

I need to look for Weichold imitations at the flea market.

Bud- "Also, can I say in 30 years of piano teaching I've never heard of a beginner or intermediate piano."

Me neither, although I seen an ad yesterdays paper- HUGE PIANO SALE. These must have been some very large pianos. I hope the keys weren't too big to play on.

Lydia- "You shouldn't, at that price point, really need two bows."

My last teacher told me to always have a backup in case I'm playing out and I break one.

Mark- "And the Arcus website is quite literally years out of date, showing many now discontinued models, not to mention the fact that it's extremely disorganized."

Thanks for that. I mean no ill intent here. Just an observation. The forum gives us all a "flag", yet we have no way to"like" or approve of a comment. Do you see that changing?

Lyndon- "You mean people that point out quite logically that you have to be tone deaf to prefer the tone of CF over pernambuco?? "

Lyndon this is a strongly opinionated statement. I happen to agree to the extent that I've never liked the sound of CF as much as wood so far on my violin. The inference I get is most feel the same or similar. Buying CF seems to be a way to get high end feel with a somewhat less desirable tone. Isn't this the overall jist of it?

Lyndon- "No its more about preferring natural tones to unnatural ones."

I think this statement could potentially lead or mislead. Just saying "natural" and "unnatural" leads most people toward the "natural". At least it does me. In most thinking natural is better.

Mary- "I love my JonPaul Avanti. And no, I am not receiving checks from JonPaul to say so."

I hope this isn't in reference to my skeptical comments in another thread. If so, I was simply making an observation about a potential conflict and I wasn't pointing any fingers.I'm glad you told us though. I might have wondered.

Anne- "It just goes to show that people in this world need the Lord."

Some people that "have the Lord" need to go back a re read the book IMHO. We all need the Lord right?

Lyndon- "So people that "have the Lord" prefer CF bows, is that what you are saying???"

Lyndon, I thought you knew. These people are all atheists.:) :) lol!!!

Mary- "Lyndon can say what he wants."

If Lyndon can , we all can right? ;)

April 26, 2017 at 04:39 PM · Timothy, I am not sure if you are ironical or not at my quote. :)

To clearify: I was refering to an instrument or bow beeing a solid store on value. I did not mean you need to buy a 50k violin to play with, but if you want to buy one you can be pretty sure its value will increase thats the area it starts.

April 27, 2017 at 11:12 AM · Hi Marc, I didn't take the comment as literal, although it seemed to be pointing back to a direction I was attempting to get away from. It's all good man!

FWIW I checked out the Avanti bows. I'm almost willing to be called tone deaf to own one. It sure must be a really good kind of tone deaf.

April 27, 2017 at 12:02 PM · No ones denying that good CF bows have good playability characteristics, I think you may be confusing how much you like the playabilty of the CF bow with how it actually sounds compared to an really good pernambuco bow of similar price.

April 27, 2017 at 12:14 PM · Yes - I would like to know when one needs a new bow. I suppose part of the answer is: ask my teacher, but I would like to know from another player's perspective how one might intuit that it's "time" to look for a new bow.

April 27, 2017 at 12:55 PM · Pamela - If someone is careful and cares for the bow, there is very little reason to change from an objective standpoint (Unless it is a plastic starter bow). Yet, subjectively, life happens, and we want a change. Bows and instruments go together like wands and wizards, and sometimes the relationship with our previous bow wanes. Switching bows helps us to appreciate what we have, or sometimes it opens up new possibilities. Simply the process of trying bows out can help us find what we really want to play. And playing with it is what really matters. :)

April 27, 2017 at 12:55 PM ·

April 27, 2017 at 01:15 PM · Thanks William. I have a 1920's-ish bow, it's lovely and I feel like our little trio still has plenty of things to discover and learn together. I still have my starter/student bow from 30 years ago, might be time to get a better backup bow, ha!

April 27, 2017 at 01:52 PM · Lyndon- "I think you may be confusing how much you like the playabilty of the CF bow with how it actually sounds compared to an really good pernambuco bow of similar"

I'm only going by others comments who say they " really like" their JonPaul Avanti Bows or who thinks a good CF bow covers "90%" needs of a player.

Covering 90% of the needs of a pro player most likely covers 100% of my playing needs.

I haven't heard these bows. I value comments from experienced players.

You seem convinced Pernambuco is overall better in sound. Probably not better in playability unless I misunderstood.

I wish I lived close to your shop. I would probably come in and see what you mean. So far in my short journey I like wood better, even the less expensive wood bows. May be the placebo effect because when I bought the bow before my last one I had a blind listening test with several bows and a CV won that test on my (then) mellow sounding violin.

All of this is so subjective too. I don't want to invest in a really good CV and always feel I've missed a better tone. It doesn't seem that way with some here. They like the bow.

April 27, 2017 at 02:02 PM · I think most players judge a bow by its playability characteristics, and don't really compare them on tone, maybe I'm wrong about that, my experience with CF bows sound is the treble is overly bright and sizzly, the bass is about the same, and the mids are lacking in the natural warmth of a good wood bow, and have an artificial quality about them that I personally find objectionable, not being a player, I can't comment on playability other than what people have told me, but sound wise, there is a big noticeable difference IMHO.

April 27, 2017 at 02:06 PM · I agree with Lyndon 100% but I've only tried £100 CF bows.

April 27, 2017 at 02:14 PM · And my experience was comparing the higher end Coda bows, I haven't compared the Jon Paul Avanti, but I think we're dealing with the fact that carbon fibre has distinctively different tonal characteristics than pernambuco or even brazilwood. I don't think making a carbon fibre bow expensive changes the tonal characteristics, and makes them more like wood. I imagine a CF bow veneered with pernambuco might make a difference though, but I've never heard one.

April 27, 2017 at 02:16 PM · I think Lyndon is right -- usually CF tends to have a quality that is best described as sizzle, but not in a good way. More in a "white noise of an electric fryer" sort of way. And they do tend to have a brightness in the sound, and depending on the stick, the sound can be thin.

But this seems to be a violin-specific interaction to some degree. Violins without a great high end sometimes benefit from that treble boost. And as you move up to more expensive CF, the effect starts to fade -- but you can also find less expensive sticks where it's not as pronounced. Again, it's a personal interaction between bow and violin.

The Arcus S9 was mentioned earlier in the thread. I found one where I really didn't notice the carbon-fiber tone quality at all, and the overall sound was very good. As far as I can tell, Arcus tends to favor sticks that bring out the high end, though -- I believe Bernd thinks that it drives more projection.

The JonPaul Avanti I have is probably recognizable as CF if you're really listening for it, but the overall sound profile is quite neutral on my violin. It's got a bit of that sizzle but otherwise has a balanced tonal profile that's not lacking in warmth.

April 27, 2017 at 03:25 PM · "[...]As far as I can tell, Arcus tends to favor sticks that bring out the high end, though -- I believe Bernd thinks that it drives more projection.[...]"

Yes, that is what I ment by he thinks its an tonal improvement.

I had a rather dark sounding Stainer copy and it really won a lot of projection using my Arcus Cadenza.

On my current violin I prefer my wooden bow, it seems to give more depth to the tone. But in fact it is a less prominent difference at higher distances than under the ear.

April 27, 2017 at 04:22 PM · ..and further, maybe tone is not the raison d'etre for many players? My insides melt when I hear a tone full of beauty whether it's violin, oboe or piano (I play all three - oh, and guitar). For others is it the fireworks instead? Funny, I've never seen the point of firework displays.

April 27, 2017 at 04:33 PM ·

Lyndon, my teacher has basically said the same things.Thanks.

Lydia( wow I'm noticing a bunch of "L" names here)I wonder how important that "sizzle" is from a distance? You seem to have struck a good balance point.

Pros-Bows like Arcus Cadenza are designed to have more high projection than wooden bows, right Marc?. Or could this be a natural byproduct of CF? I say this because CF personality seems to lean that direction overall.

Cons-What is an asset in some ways can be a liability if it's too much.

How far away a listener is would matter correct? The player is right on it and hears all of it.

Could CF then be an advantage for a situation that demands better projection? Then we get into the question of harsh projection or smooth projection.

Ugh. The more I learn the less I know. I think I would be willing to compromise some tone if no one really notices it anyway.

April 27, 2017 at 05:24 PM · The veneered bows (I call them "IKEA bows") with the thin layer of pernambuco on carbon fiber are interesting. They still play mostly like CF bows, but there's a bit of added grit to the sound that some my find attractive. The bows I tried were marked C.F. Iesta.

April 27, 2017 at 05:31 PM · "Pros-Bows like Arcus Cadenza are designed to have more high projection than wooden bows, right Marc?. Or could this be a natural byproduct of CF? I say this because CF personality seems to lean that direction overall."

Some of both, I guess. Yes, the Cadenza is produced for players that want projection. It would be easy to make it lower in voice as they are hollow, just fill it up. There are other Arcus lines that are less projecting. Still they share a sound charaktetistic in my perception.

April 29, 2017 at 10:38 PM · Thank you.

April 30, 2017 at 05:35 PM · CF bows, in my opinion, are an affordable option for those starting out in their careers who cannot yet afford an old French bow. Similarly, modern violins are good starter instruments for young professionals until they can afford an old Italian violin.

Cheers Carlo

April 30, 2017 at 06:43 PM · Cant agree on that one. This is THE violin discussion. I played very expensive italiens and some of the best modern instruments at a fraction of the price. Simply cant agree that the Italiens are better in general. I compared my 25k modern fiddle to a Gagliano, poor Italien in this case.

Hahn playes a non Italien allthough I am pretty sure she could get a hand on one. Tetzlaff is another example.

There are beautifull old Italiens but in my opinion there is a very big amount overpriced Italiens on the market that cant compete at all to some modern instruments and still have a 100k+ price tag. Maybe the very best 50 instruments are Italien, I dont know, but those all have pricetags above a million.

Although I agree that if I can by a bow at a free budget I will not end with a CF one.

April 30, 2017 at 09:29 PM · Not to mention the professional players who are getting by playing concerts on modern copies of their old instruments. Audiences don't seem to notice.

One of my former teachers commissioned a copy of his 1699 Rogeri, and once he played it in enough, has ended up using it for everything from recordings to recitals to teaching instead of risking the condition of his old Italian (which is for all practical purposes, will take care of him in his retirement).

May 1, 2017 at 11:57 AM · Is there a difference in sound between carbon fiber and pernambuco bows? Is the difference really subtle?

May 1, 2017 at 02:08 PM · There is a difference, and it is usually not subtle. There's a distinctive high-frequency thread that goes through the sound of CF, usually.

May 2, 2017 at 07:31 PM · Yes, an edge that can add clarity to many violins and/or specific setups.

I find that I rarely use my own CF bow, despite its fair tonal and playing characteristics. The old Pernambuco, although on the heavy side, provides tons of fullness, richness, and volume. The CF is "edgy" and it isn't a bad tone, but the pernambuco is in another league tone-wise, even if it is more unforgiving.

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