Anyone try JonPaul Matrix?

October 24, 2019, 12:34 PM · Hi everyone!

I'm still on the hunt for a CF violin and viola bow. Codas are too expensive for me at the moment for what I'm looking for.

I've looked at the Fiddlerman CF violin bow, and I've heard some good things, but I know they also sell the JonPaul Matrix for violin and viola.

Has anyone had any experiences with them in terms of tone and response? My budget is ~$200USD.

I'm not doing any crazy solo playing, just teaching 7th and 8th grade and playing violin II in my town's semi-pro orchestra ( the majority is good enough to do Firebird in our concert tomorrow, yikes! That's another story...)

Thanks in advance!

P.S. if anyone has any other recommendations that I may not have thought about, do let me know! :)

Replies (12)

October 24, 2019, 12:45 PM · I've sold plenty of the Matrix bows and the Vibrants, which are essentially the same bow, one with metallic threads in the weave, and the Matrix not. They are clear, responsive, articulate, and fiddle players love them, classical players seem less interested. For $200 bucks or less you would have to be lucky to find a wood bow that is better.

The only problem that I have found with them is that when you have it rehaired for the first time, the person who does the rehair will probably charge you a fee to re-cut the mortice in the frog. It's just a tapered hole, not a mortice, and my bow maker who does rehairs for the shop curses them with each cut of the chisel.

October 24, 2019, 1:50 PM · I have a JonPaul Fusion which is around the same price as the Matrix. As I am adult beginner on the violin and have only had lessons for a year, I am hardly able to judge bows. I got the Fusion bow as an affordable option hoping to improve the sound I was producing. It was an amazing improvement over the bow that came with my violin. It seems weighted differently and is easier for me to control. It seems livelier to handle. I immediately noticed a difference in sound. Sorry I could not describe this any better.
October 24, 2019, 4:51 PM · I recently bought a carbon fiber violin and ordered a JonPaul matrix bow at the same time. I immediately sent the Matrix bow back because it didn't respond as well on the carbon fiber violin OR my 100-year-old wooden violin. It was just not a good bow for my playing. I did a serious upgrade to a CodaBow Joule, which I love on both my violins.

My wife has a JonPaul Matrix bow which we've had for about 15 years and it's quite different from the Matrix bow I received. The balance was different, the appearance was different -- hers plays beautifully on my violins (which is why I had ordered one for myself) and mine didn't play well for either me or my wife (she's very much better than I am).

So I'd suggest trying the JonPaul Fusion if you have a limited budget, or go with the Fiddlerman carbon fiber bow for under $80. Their return policy is great so if you don't like it you can return it.

October 24, 2019, 6:39 PM · I have a jon paul matrix as a back up and like it. Fiddlerman is great. I found a corona on sale at another store. I called fiddlerman and asked if they would meet that price and they gave me a price that was $20 less than the sale price. Don't pay the listed price, call and talk to them. Really nice people.
October 25, 2019, 10:56 AM · Sometimes I wonder if all of the sticks of a given bow brand are just all the same, and all they change are the mounts and fittings (and the name and the price).
October 25, 2019, 1:08 PM · Paul,

Between Ni and Ag, I would say yes.

October 25, 2019, 9:41 PM · Hmm thanks everyone! I talked to my luthier when I picked up my newest violin* from him and he said he'll have the Noir, Matrix, and Fusion in by December so he'll call me when he gets them and I can try them. He did say the Fiddlerman one is great.

*(a magical eBay find that he was super impressed with; he said for what I've paid, I basically stole it. It's really gorgeous! Warm and resonant, just as I like! But I'm probably done ebaying now that I've got my viola and teaching violin, and I definitely know the risks of eBay, not to worry...)

Edited: October 26, 2019, 7:42 AM · Duane, how much silver is there in a typical bow? I ask because the spot price of silver is about $0.60 per gram. So if the whole bow were made of silver the raw material cost would be under $40.

Is silver that much more difficult to work than nickel? To me, that's the only factor that should raise the cost of the bow by more than a few dollars. Gold is another matter of course -- that's running about $50 per gram now.

October 26, 2019, 2:36 PM · Silver is easier to work than Nickel, but traditionally, a silver mounted bow is about 2x that of a Ni mounted bow, and gold is about 2x what a silver mounted bow costs.
Edited: October 26, 2019, 4:31 PM · Supposedly bow makers select their better sticks for more expensive mountings. Note that carbon fiber is not as consistent as most people think.

I have used a C.F. Iesta hybrid bow (now sold as JonPaul Fusion) with silver mountings as my primary viola bow for the last 8 years. The principal violist of my semi-pro orchestra, who also plays in regional pro orchestras, has been using a JonPaul Fusion with silver mountings as her primary bow for the last year and a half. Both of us selected it over much more expensive bows.

October 26, 2019, 4:57 PM · True. One friend has wood set aside for gold mounted bows that he thinks is his best. CF is not as consistent, as you mention, and that used to worry me as I watched out the window as the wing of the 787 flexed upward.

I know that the better bow from JP have multiple layers/wraps of CF as opposed to the Matrix that has only one, but I think that the cost in in the labor, not the metals. In theory, the silver mounted bow would have better quality wood than the Ni mounted bow, in a workshop setting.

Edited: October 27, 2019, 4:41 PM · I play JonPaul Bravo, which I picked from some 20 or 30 bows in it’s price range. I understand it’s more than double the budget you have, but still - It’s not crazy expensive.
For the price - it’s colossal. I can onlyrecomend it to anyone. Either as a first bow on the budget or as a worthy second bow. You’ll forget it’s CF. It’s simply best price/performance I have ever played.

Interestingly enough - it sounds somewhat softer and subdued compared my pernambuco bow. But on the other hand It’s alive, vivd, jumpy and not very tame. I use it to play when amplified through a DPA mike. It excites less higher harmonics than the wooden bow and sounds less harsh when close miked. OTH it’s a bit less prominent and loud when played acoustically. I’d use it in an orchestra, to blend better.

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