Sign in to follow this  
Peter White

Carbon Fiber Yo-Yo

Recommended Posts

Dear Fellow Violin Makers:  Every time I open My Strad magazine, I find the alarming advertisement for Luis and Clark Carbon Fiber cellos which Mr. Yo-Yo Ma says he loves.  Why does this apparently innocent photo bother me so much? Is it the fact one of the world's great cellists, and probably the most popular, is sitting in the garden of an ivy league college, with penny loafers, no socks and a white shirt, exclaiming--we assume--the virtues of this cello. Of course it's defensible because it may encourage younger musicians to take up the cello at a reasonable price.  I get that.  I get that some may want a travel cello.

I get that they may even sound good. Great for Rock musicians-ok.  But is it not fair to say that Mr. Yo-Yo Ma owns part of his success to a Stradivari, classical, wooden, beautiful, hand made cello?  Wouldn't it be nice to see Mr. Yo-Yo Ma exclaiming the

beauty and power of a contemporary luthier's cello? So for a few dollars he endorses an instrument that probably does very little to benefit the reputation and sales of the very men and women in the contemporary world who have dedicated themselves to attempting to produce works like the Stradivari cello he actually plays.  Are we in the same world Mr. Ma? The larger question may be "are the classical musicians of today really interesting in advancing the legacy of their colleagues in the world of fine instrument making.?   But wait!!!    It's that preppy photo that just kills me.  Peter White

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They're decent instruments. Not the best, but decent. Maybe Yo-Yo's personal L&C (if he has one) has one of Zygmuntowycz's "My other fiddle is a Strad" stickers on it! (thus endorsing Sam Z, contemporary violinmaking in general AND Strads! Oh, and L&C instruments  :) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Luis and Clark?  Not Legula and Clark?  How terminally precious.  Preppie attire is appropriate, it's made in Rhode Island and evolved from a sailboat, after all.  Wonder if they would supply a "duck head" scroll on request?  :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He probably went out over a barrel to buy his Strad, and put his kids through college. A guy like that can play travel for a week play two or three, four concerts and make the money equivalent to a one day photo shoot, or do a shoot and accept a free cello. Hmmm? Hard to decide. 

 

 He was groomed by some good older players when he was young, and they in turn got him into the recording industry and he had good agents booking him to play. He's a good cellist, very popular, but I think he just worked hard at playing and began very young. He studied with Leonard Rose, that helps and he recorded early on with Stern when he was young. He did not get his Strad until sometime in the the 1990's if I remember correctly. He could not afford it when it first came available. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Luis and Clark?  Not Legula and Clark?  How terminally precious.  Preppie attire is appropriate, it evolved from a sailboat, after all.  Wonder if they would supply a "duck head" scroll on request?  :lol:

 Or a Viking ship dragon head

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't seem to find a picture of the back of the cello but it is obviously quite shallow-ribbed?

I also see there is a fluorescent blue one custom built for "Cirque du Soleil"

 

 

RTEmagicC_luis-clark-carbon-fiber-cello.

 

 

Custom-finish-cello-for-Cirque-du-Soleil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He probably went out over a barrel to buy his Strad, and put his kids through college. A guy like that can play travel for a week play two or three, four concerts and make the money equivalent to a one day photo shoot, or do a shoot and accept a free cello. Hmmm? Hard to decide. 

 

 He was groomed by some good older players when he was young, and they in turn got him into the recording industry and he had good agents booking him to play. He's a good cellist, very popular, but I think he just worked hard at playing and began very young. He studied with Leonard Rose, that helps and he recorded early on with Stern when he was young. He did not get his Strad until sometime in the the 1990's if I remember correctly. He could not afford it when it first came available. 

Hi Stephen,

 

I was sitting at a table in a pizzeria with Yo Yo Ma and Charles Beare during the 1987 Stradivari Exhibition in Cremona and Yo Yo was explaining that he had to turn down the purchase of the cello from Daniel Barenboim (husband of the late Jacqueline Du Pré). He had the Davidoff Stradivari of 1712 on loan since 1983 but now it was for sale. He said that he had sat down one day and figured out how many CDs he’d have to produce and sell as well as how many concerts he’d have to play and what sacrifices he would have to put his family through just to purchase the cello. For as much as he loved it, he had to turn it down.

 

Through the intermediary of Étienne Vatelot, who found a buyer for the instrument, the cello was loaned to Ma to play for the rest of his life.

 

This story may not be completely up to date as I don't know if he has another Stradivari cello. I know he owns a Montagnana.

 

Some people have all the luck.

 

Bruce

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm echoing Jeezupe here a little bit, but these instruments from Luis & Clark seem to be among the most contemporary of contemporary luthiery. It's a small operation making innovative instruments, just like some of those guys in 17th century Cremona.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The instruments are hand made, with a very innovative vacuum system.

I will question whether they are "hand-made", and also whether the vacuum system is innovative. In the composite lamination world, "vacuum bagging, or vacuum clamping" was on the scene way before instrument makers started using it. Nothing against these instruments, but let's not get totally seduced by instrument marketing hype, whether carbon fiber or Strads.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of our orchestra members plays a CF instrument.  She likes it...

 

I just can't get around how visually unappealing I find them... :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Fellow Violin Makers:  Every time I open My Strad magazine, I find the alarming advertisement for Luis and Clark Carbon Fiber cellos which Mr. Yo-Yo Ma says he loves.  Why does this apparently innocent photo bother me so much? Is it the fact one of the world's great cellists, and probably the most popular, is sitting in the garden of an ivy league college, with penny loafers, no socks and a white shirt, exclaiming--we assume--the virtues of this cello. Of course it's defensible because it may encourage younger musicians to take up the cello at a reasonable price.  I get that.  I get that some may want a travel cello.

I get that they may even sound good. Great for Rock musicians-ok.  But is it not fair to say that Mr. Yo-Yo Ma owns part of his success to a Stradivari, classical, wooden, beautiful, hand made cello?  Wouldn't it be nice to see Mr. Yo-Yo Ma exclaiming the

beauty and power of a contemporary luthier's cello? So for a few dollars he endorses an instrument that probably does very little to benefit the reputation and sales of the very men and women in the contemporary world who have dedicated themselves to attempting to produce works like the Stradivari cello he actually plays.  Are we in the same world Mr. Ma? The larger question may be "are the classical musicians of today really interesting in advancing the legacy of their colleagues in the world of fine instrument making.?   But wait!!!    It's that preppy photo that just kills me.  Peter White

 

Oh here we go again -_- Why on earth must their always be a major fuss and discussions over approval (that no one asked for btw) around everything not cremonese/remotely nouveau and not touched by the hands of Stradivari?! Why on earth are people automatically shooting down these "modern blasphemies" without any prior experience with said objects!?

I also LOVE (Sarcasm to the Nth power) how these "new demonic devices of pure evil" are automatically categorized as NOT appropriate for orchestra or classical work and are only appropriate for "rockers" and "Traveling", now who in hell's 7 gates decided on that and based on WHAT!?

 

-_- Come on folks, this is starting to sound like a broken record! Let me just state that this sort of arrogant imposition of approval over instruments is beyond unfit thinking or logic to be heard coming out of the mouths of any modern luthier or player. It's beyond disrespectful tbh and seriously unfair.

I will question whether they are "hand-made", and also whether the vacuum system is innovative. In the composite lamination world, "vacuum bagging, or vacuum clamping" was on the scene way before instrument makers started using it. Nothing against these instruments, but let's not get totally seduced by instrument marketing hype, whether carbon fiber or Strads.

 

Thank you! This is a smart and well based response, LEARN from Mr Burgress! 

 

I'm echoing Jeezupe here a little bit, but these instruments from Luis & Clark seem to be among the most contemporary of contemporary luthiery. It's a small operation making innovative instruments, just like some of those guys in 17th century Cremona.

 

Thank you so very much for mentioning the basis behind what I ALWAYS say in said cases. Had the luthier community been this snobbish/rude back in the 17th century, we simply wouldn't have the privilege of being able to play on anything remotely like a modern violin because they themselves were an innovation from viols and their existence would have been nuked by the luthier inquisition simply because the "violin" was effectively breaking with "tradition" and would obviously need to be burned at the stake with whoever made said blasphemy. -_-

 

Was it not because of stradivari's openness to innovative and creative design as well as precise workmanship that made him the legend that he is today!?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi folks: I didn't mean to be snobby or to denigrate Luis and Clark carbon fiber cellos or to discourage innovation or to undermine marketing.

I was trying in a half serious way to question the relationship between contemporary musicians and contemporary, traditional violin, viola, cello and bass makers, in other words, most of the people who use this site.  No offense meant.  The photo in Strad magazine makes me wonder about the nature of the relationship.  That's all. It's not worth a fight.

  Peter   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will question whether they are "hand-made", and also whether the vacuum system is innovative. In the composite lamination world, "vacuum bagging, or vacuum clamping" was on the scene way before instrument makers started using it. Nothing against these instruments, but let's not get totally seduced by instrument marketing hype, whether carbon fiber or Strads.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_gI3chGtww

 

Looks like lots of hands being used. I would however urge people to stop calling them "carbon fiber" as really that's just the medium for saturation. what you are really hearing is epoxy. Which, if the proper one is used, can be used to saturate wood fiber as well as carbon fiber. Which, if one is not concerned about "traditional sound" will dramatically increase the volume of most instruments.

 

I don;t think there is anything wrong with being an antique copyist, a world class antique repair person, or anything to do with traditional instruments. However I do feel that it is "wrong" to let narrow tunnel vision impede innovation, experimentation and new ideas.

 

"traditional thinking" and or the lack of intermingling tradition with new approaches has lead to the virtual extinction of ebony,permbucco and other "traditional" parts that could have easily been something else.

 

In my opinion the string worlds resistance and or intentional isolation from the modern world  has also contributed dramatically to the diminished client base in that strings boxed themselves into a "snobby world" for intellectuals" that only a small handful of people would be intelligent enough to understand and by doing so isolated itself from progress and development from the compositional standpoint, which is what drives the zeitgeist of any instrument at any time.

 

If Chuck Berry, Elvis, the Beatles never happened, and no one like them hit the stage, the electric guitar would most likely never have become as popular as it did. Kids saw this "new" music and the people who were performing it, saw the instruments that they were using and wanted to "be like that". This is what drove the massive and still climbing sales in the guitar world that lead to those who came after the aforementioned artist's

 

This "hip" factor is something that has either been intentionally left out of strings or purposely built in by those who covet the few "positions" and or their position in the very small market that is strings. 

 

Until strings are not considered an "intellectual" pursuit that will give my child "culture" and are instead considered a "kick ass" "cool" instrument that "I" can "jam" on, with others, I think we will continue to see a shrinking market. I commend Luis and Clark for giving "us" something different that may appeal to a younger crowd, if just with the visuals alone.

 

The visual "cool" factor while not a "tone" based requirement, should not be disregarded as an attractor for the younger person who may be drawn into taking up an instrument simply cause it "looks" cool. But my opinion is that child will most likely be more apt to pick up an instrument if he see's someone he thinks is "cool" playing one. That is what is missing from strings today, artists who inspire children to create their own new music. There is no modern day "Elvis" of the violin and there never will be one as long as growth and evolution is boxed in.

 

In my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Stephen,

 

I was sitting at a table in a pizzeria with Yo Yo Ma and Charles Beare during the 1987 Stradivari Exhibition in Cremona and Yo Yo was explaining that he had to turn down the purchase of the cello from Daniel Barenboim (husband of the late Jacqueline Du Pré). He had the Davidoff Stradivari of 1712 on loan since 1983 but now it was for sale. He said that he had sat down one day and figured out how many CDs he’d have to produce and sell as well as how many concerts he’d have to play and what sacrifices he would have to put his family through just to purchase the cello. For as much as he loved it, he had to turn it down.

 

Through the intermediary of Étienne Vatelot, who found a buyer for the instrument, the cello was loaned to Ma to play for the rest of his life.

 

This story may not be completely up to date as I don't know if he has another Stradivari cello. I know he owns a Montagnana.

 

Some people have all the luck.

 

Bruce

 Hi Bruce, 

 

Thank you for the clarification on when Yo Yo came into the Strad. That must have been a fun day for you guys to eat a pizza and chat. I think the cello is in good hands, he is lucky, but he is also a good steward of that instrument. 

 

I appreciate your posts very much whether they answer my direct questions or the questions of others. 

 

best,

 Stephen 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.