Carbon Fiber again

Carbon Fiber again

There have been a couple of discussions on carbon fiber or composite bows, but no-one has mentioned Holtz carbon fiber bows. I think they are made in China. Has anyone tried one?

Re: Carbon Fiber again

I have tried Holtz carbon fiber bows. They’re really inexpensive (about $75) and the shop I get my bows rehaired at gives them out as loaners. Now although I really like the fact that they come in sparkly pink and blue, I don’t like them at all. I find that they’re very heavy and unbalanced. But then again, the bow I play with normally is unusually light. I have a friend who plays mostly jazz and improvisational music and he loves the Holtz bows. However, he also plays viola and the heavier bow is easier for him to play.

Anyhoo, the short answer is - I don’t like them.

Cara

Re: Carbon Fiber again

Are you joking? there mingin’! You can’t get he most from your instrument if you don’;t have a decent bow.

Re: Carbon Fiber again

Well, those are pretty clear answers. I was offered one as a substitute for a Glasser Carbon Graphite, but I guess I will steer clear of those bows. Thanks for the feedback.

Re: Carbon Fiber again

Hello. I actually use a carbon fibre bow, though not a Holtz one. I don’t find them "mingin’", in fact I get a hell of a lot more from that bow than I do from my wooden bows.

Having said that, I did play for the first 3 or 4 years with a fibre glass bow that would have been better used as the mast for a yacht. =)

~

Re: Carbon Fiber again

It’s the usual case of you get what you pay for. There are carbon fibre bows around of very high quality and used by professionals, and you can expect to pay many hundreds of dollars for such; but the much cheaper non-wood bows priced in double figures are probably intended for use in schools where the life of a bow, or any musical instrument for that matter, is short!
Trevor

Re: Carbon Fiber again

OK - just intrigued as I’m not a fiddle player. But has anyone tried making carbon fibre bridges? I’m guessing they might be more predictable than wooden ones? Better tone? Has it been done?

Re: Carbon Fiber again

Mark, the fiddle (and cello) bridge is an incredibly complex acoustic-mechanical structure, and scientific research into it is on-going. The bridge, when the instrument is being played, has various complex modes of vibration the frequencies of which lie within the playing range of the instrument. The strange cut-outs and little nicks, and other very fine details of its shape, which you’ll see in a good bridge, aren’t just to make it look pretty, they have very practical purposes in handling and controlling these vibration modes. The bridge, in addition to transmitting the vibrations of the strings to the belly of the instrument, also has to support the quite considerable asymmetric loading of the tensioned strings without distortion and without altering the geometric relationship of the strings to the rest of the instrument - remember that the tensions of the strings alter as you go from the lower string to the top, and the very act of playing alters the tensions asymmetrically across the bridge. These two requirements have inherent incompatibilities and the bridge is designed to cope with both of them. If the bridge were to be made of carbon-fibre its physical characteristics and vibration frequencies, and the way it would handle the string loading, would be quite different.

I’ve played on a very good quality electric violin, and also an electric cello, which had strangely shaped (and beautiful) bodies of carbon fibre and various polymer compositions, but the bridges, strings and fingerboard were entirely standard. There was an opportunity for the very experienced makers of these instruments to use non-wooden bridges, but they didn’t.

The standard violin bridge, which has been around for several hundred years, has changed remarkably little in that time, and is still made of wood. I have no doubt experiments have been made with other materials, but the results have still to convince the players themselves. People have experimented with materials other than wood for making the violin. Heifetz himself played on an aluminum violin in his younger years - but he didn’t make a career out of it!

There may be an economic case for non-wood materials right at the lowest end of the market, but my gut feeling is that such instruments wouldn’t be doing their young users any favors in the long run.
Trevor

Re: Carbon Fiber again

I’ve tried many bows over the years including Berg, Arcus, Glasser, P&H, Coda, Spiccato, and find that for fiddle music I like the Glasser Carbon Graphite bows the best. Try one on for size! I think Arcus also makes a really great bow for fiddling. I especially like the bow hair - it’s grabby enough for tip bowing and luxurious enough for legato bowing.

Re: Carbon Fiber again

May I have your comments to my Webpage?
www.leopold-bow.com
Please let me know what you miss and expect to find.
You are welcome to ask any intelligent question about antique/new wooden and CF bows.
The best idea will become a Leopold bow for free.

All the best
Leopold