Wooden bow on carbon composite violin
This is probably a stupid question, but I couldn't find an answer on the web.
We all know that a good wooden bow is better, but I wonder if for a carbon composite violin, a carbon composite bow will be a better match, or the wooden bow is still more likely to be better?
Impossible to answer a question put that way.
Of course different bows are best on different violins. The question is basically if a good wooden bow can work great on a carbon composite violin... or are they somehow "incompatible".
I have never run into a guideline that encourages matching bows of a specific material to CF instruments, FWIW.
Interesting question David. I’m not an expert but I am of the belief that wood instruments and bows are generally superior in quality and sound. If I played outside gigs I may not want to subject my expensive and fragile wood instrument to potentially hostile environments. That is the only reason I would consider using a synthetic material instrument. Therefore the same consideration would be made for the bow. I’m curious as to your motivation to purchase a carbon composite instrument?
John, my motivation is the same. I'm living in a humid place, with no luthiers. I have dehumidifier at home, but where I teach there isn't a proper function one. The humidity level is usually between 80% and 100%, when I grab my violin I can even feel like there's water on the its neck. People here have the constant problem of the fingerboard going down, as it happens with my two violins, and I'm tired of that.
That sounds like an inhospitable environment for a wood violin indeed. I would be interested to get your opinion on the carbon composite instrument once you've played it for a while. Perhaps you can demo a few CF bows from the dealer selling the violin? Compare the difference for yourself. Best of luck with it!
Technology is evolving... The same way people moved from gut to synthetic strings, hopefully soon, carbon fiber or other synthetic instruments will sound and play almost the same as a 4000$ wooded violin, one can dream. All the wood related problems are just so inconvenient.
I'd regard the issue from a different angle. You're getting a CF violin for use in unfavorable environment - not only for violins, but also for bows. The CF bow will be more robust. So why not spotting the best sounding CF bow for your CF violin?
Nuusuka, Idk... if the fingerboard angle decreases too much, the violin becomes "unplayable". The bows never give me any problem, they never bent. CF bows still use natural horse hair and need to be rehaired, so we're not getting rid of that so easily.
No experience with carbon fiber violins, but I would be careful about making assumptions on matches/complements. It is tempting to think of opposites attracting, or certain vintages being more compatible. And sometimes those things happen.
Stephen, that's one of the reasons why I don't really want to buy a CF bow, it least not an expensive one. I'll be ordering the violin online, I can't try the bow, at lest now without the hassle of ordering a few and sending them back, if even allowed by the shop.
It sounds like someone shopping around for a nice Lexus or Mercedes to complement the cool bumper sticker they bought.
No, the bow would be cheaper than the violin. And the violin isn't "bumper sticker" bad.
How have you determined that the violin isn't "bumper sticker" bad?
I'm considering this one:
Mr. Duarte, what do you consider a "luthier" to be? Someone who a shop hired two weeks ago with no prior training, or someone who REALLY knows what they are doing?
They appear to be a very respected shop with good reviews, I've been following their videos for a long time, including one showcasing how they check and perfect the setup of every instrument.
Can you provide a link to that video, please?
I enjoyed the Fiddlershop video. Seems like a comprehensive check list. But I am not a luthier. I would assume they perform competent work given the volume of instruments they must sell. They seem to specialize in factory-made instruments from China and eastern Europe similar to SHAR? If you're working with a smaller budget, why is this not a good option for purchase? Just curious.
They also make their own violins, master violins included.
I guess this question is the ultimate test of whether one's bow should be "matched" to one's violin.
David - I have both wood and carbon fiber bows and violins. My CF violin is the Glasser model that you are considering, which I purchased for playing outdoors in questionable weather/humidity. I find that the Glasser has a cooler, cleaner, narrower tone than my wood instruments. I like to pair it with a wood bow which adds some “color” to the tone. When I pair it with my CF JonPaul Avanti, I find the tone too thin. When not playing outdoors, I enjoy the Glasser as an occasional change from my wood instruments, but would in no way consider it as a replacement for them. The Glasser is also noticeably heavier than my wood instruments (built like a tank though).
"We all know that a good wooden bow is better"
Ben - My Glasser is two years old and has a wood bridge. Not sure about the sound post. It isn’t with me so I can’t look.
Dennis, thanks, glad to know you like it. I've already ordered, the Glasser violin and the JonPaul Fusion bow (carbon fiber and wood hybrid) to use with it outside. From the video, I really like the dark tone of the violin, it sounds a lot better than the Mezzo Forte Carbon Fiber Design violin that costs 2500$.
David, have fun with your new violin. If it's not much to ask, I'd very much like to know what your thoughts are about your Glasser CF Violin.
ben, sure, I'll post. It will be some days though... It's a long trip from the USA to here and they will take up to 7 business days to send instruments because of high demand.
I've got the 5-string Glasser carbon fiber violin, the acoustic electric version, and I also bought a CodaBow Joule bow. When I got the Glasser, it had been drop-shipped straight from Glasser, instead of being processed at Fiddlershop.com. I wasn't happy with the sound but at first I thought "okay, that's the sound of a carbon fiber violin. too bad." But then I compared the string length of my wooden violin, which was set up properly by a luthier and noticed that the vibrating string lengh on the Glasser was about 3mm too short. So I moved the bridge (carefully!) to match the vibrating string length of my wooden violin and the tone opened up a lot! But then I noticed the soundpost was in the wrong place for the relocated violin. I wasn't about to try to move that myself and went to my luthier and had him reposition the soundpost and when I got home and played it for my wife (a great violinist) she was amazed at how much better it sounded. So be sure to check those things when you get your Glasser. I've been very happy with mine and I hope you will be with yours also!
It's likely, that seems to be a thing. One of my students bought a Stentor Verona, Stentor violins come with the bridge not assembled, probably for chipping safety. But the violin came with a soft mark on the top plate supposedly to tell the buyer where to place the bridge. The mark was too in front (fingerboard side), totally not aligned with the f-hole notches. I decided to ignore it and insert the bridge between the notches and got 328mm string length. The mark was probably there for 325mm, maybe because it's the measure present on Pirastro's website claiming to be the vibrating string length of a 4/4 violin.
Ben, the violin arrived today, I've already ben playing on it. The sound is pretty much like in the video, dark sound, but very responsive. They're not misleading you in any way, it respond good and it's very easy to play, I'm very happy.
Thanks David, for taking the time to write your feedback. I'm glad you like it. Enjoy your CF violin!
Thanks. Yeah, it's nice to have a "bullet proof" violin :D
Finally there is a sub $1000 decent CF violin. I've argued for years that violinists need a durable spare. I was one of the first to enquire about CF bows in the days when they were new and snooty London violin shops were saying "what's the point" when they were super expensive. Fast forward, they are decent priced durable decent bows. A lot of professionals use them as a spare if not as their main bow. Guess what? They didn't replace wooden bows but live side by side. One of the reasons you may have a CF bow is to preserve your valuable bow in certain conditions. CF violins have now become like the bows - an option to preserve your nice antique violin if you are playing in cold or sun or dangerous situations! A CF bow might be good to have with your CF just because you can play it in any situation without worry.
Here's a comparison between the Glasser violin (525$) and the much more expensive (2500$) Mezzo Forte model with wooden bridge and soundpost:
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