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jacklinks

Surely my eyes deceived me ... Carbon Fiber?

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I recently attended a performance by the Russian National Orchestra. Seats were close up, and all of the violinists bows looked to be the same and all had a darkish black color.  Then attended a performance after that by a US orchestra in the same venue and same seats, and you could see a variety of coloring in the bows (Brownish, Reddish, etc like you would expect from pernambuco).

I want to say it was just the lighting and a figment of the imagination. But is it even remotely possible that an international and frequently traveling orchestra like that would issue carbon fiber or synthetic bows for ease of passage through customs, etc? With all of the talk about how poorly CF bows sound, I would be shocked if that were the case. But could an orchestra like that really be using CF bows for travel purposes? Say it ain’t so.....

 

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3 minutes ago, jacklinks said:

But is it even remotely possible that an international and frequently traveling orchestra like that would issue carbon fiber or synthetic bows for ease of passage through customs, etc?

Yes. Carbon fiber bows do not generally play better than pernambuco, but they play better than pernambuco bows which have been confiscated.

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Debatable subject, I’m sure.  I prefer my Arcus violin bow over the pernambuco ones in the same price range.  Lightweight, yes, but a nice distribution of tone on light and and dark violins alike.

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A lot of orchestra players will bring cheaper equipment with them when on tour, to ease passage through customs. Carbon fiber bows are perfectly fine for playing in a section. I've heard that a lot of NY Phil members actually bring Chinese instruments with them (Snow, Jay Haide, etc.) when going on tour to other countries. I'm sure this is done in many other orchestras as well.

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Even I do that....cheap stuff for "outside/otherwise dangerous gigs"...

I'd much rather be relaxed than constantly fretting...

Doesn't mean I don't look after the less expensive stuff - I do, I'm just not overly concerned should there be an oopsie, uh-oh or OH NOOOO!!! 

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This looked like it was the entire string sections and not just certain players choosing CF (if it really was CF). It was very uniform looking as if every player was issued the same bow. 

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4 hours ago, ClefLover said:

Debatable subject, I’m sure.  I prefer my Arcus violin bow over the pernambuco ones in the same price range.  Lightweight, yes, but a nice distribution of tone on light and and dark violins alike.

'in the same price range.'

Yes. You can argue value in a certain limited quality range.

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53 minutes ago, David Beard said:

'in the same price range.'

Yes. You can argue value in a certain limited quality range.

To clarify, Arcus makes CF bows, which are good bows, whether or not one prefers them.  If the orchestra was using Arcus, rather than cheap CF bows, it would make more sense to me.  

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7 hours ago, Barry J. Griffiths said:

Yes. Carbon fiber bows do not generally play better than pernambuco, but they play better than pernambuco bows which have been confiscated.

If a foreign orchestra is playing in the US using carbon fiber bows, this will be all the justification needed.  Confiscations have occurred, and appealing to New York musicians to lend their bows to strangers in the hours before a concert is not the ideal position to put yourself in:

https://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/20146/15870/

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I use Arcus Candenza Gold. No wooden bow comes even close... unless you are ready to spend $30/40K on a wooden stick .

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er...why would an accredited member of a touring orchestra have their bow confiscated? I can see why a dutiful customs official might want to have a good look inside the violin, or at least get the dog to take a sniff

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5 hours ago, germain said:

I use Arcus Candenza Gold. No wooden bow comes even close... unless you are ready to spend $30/40K on a wooden stick .

Yes indeed!  Although my experience is on an S6, and yours is basically an S8.  If the orchestra used these, it would be a pricey option.  Do you think a snakewood frog would ever be a reason to confiscate?

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3 hours ago, matesic said:

er...why would an accredited member of a touring orchestra have their bow confiscated? I can see why a dutiful immigration official might want to have a good look inside the violin

US Immigration authority seems to take their authority VERY seriously. If you have any way of making their job less interesting it is worth changing all accessories to boxwood and all bows to CF - rosewood and ebony are too interesting. Not to mention ivory and tortoiseshell...

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12 hours ago, ClefLover said:

To clarify, Arcus makes CF bows, which are good bows, whether or not one prefers them.  If the orchestra was using Arcus, rather than cheap CF bows, it would make more sense to me.  

Another vote for Arcus from me:)

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6 minutes ago, Muswell said:

Another vote for Arcus from me:)

Not to highjack my own thread, but are the lower cost Arcus bows (say $1,200ish P4’s) good players also? Or are just the higher end Arcus bows really good?

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5 hours ago, matesic said:

er...why would an accredited member of a touring orchestra have their bow confiscated? I can see why a dutiful customs official might want to have a good look inside the violin, or at least get the dog to take a sniff

At some point in the very near future, all bows containing any amount of ivory (or something that looks like ivory) will have to have registration documents certifying that the ivory was taken from the wild pre-CITESor risk confiscation. There are plenty of examples of priceless bows being destroyed by over-zealous customs officials, particularly on entry to the US.

Where have you been? :D

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/237247

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10 hours ago, germain said:

I use Arcus Candenza Gold. No wooden bow comes even close... unless you are ready to spend $30/40K on a wooden stick .

No wooden bow under $30k comes even close ... that's a bold claim. Are you talking about tonal quality, spring, balance ...?

It seems hard to believe that great bows by Heinrich Knopf, Tubbs, and a few dozen French makers like Thomassin, Fétique etc would prove consistently inferior. I concede you'd have to look through a few to find a winner, so maybe the Arcus offers consistency. And under $30k you could get a great Vigneron, even a Voirin, EA Ouchard - some amazing makers.

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

No wooden bow under $30k comes even close ... that's a bold claim. Are you talking about tonal quality, spring, balance ...?

It seems hard to believe that great bows by Heinrich Knopf, Tubbs, and a few dozen French makers like Thomassin, Fétique etc would prove consistently inferior. I concede you'd have to look through a few to find a winner, so maybe the Arcus offers consistency. And under $30k you could get a great Vigneron, even a Voirin, EA Ouchard - some amazing makers.

Although I have no experience with nice wooden bows in the $30k price range, I would say this statement is, like you say, bold.  I would stand firm that wooden bows in the price range consistent with Arcus ($1.4k- $9.5k) are worthy of a debate.  

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2 hours ago, jacklinks said:

Not to highjack my own thread, but are the lower cost Arcus bows (say $1,200ish P4’s) good players also? Or are just the higher end Arcus bows really good?

I have a P5 which I bought to use in situations where I was a bit worried about using my best bow, an old French bow which was chosen with expert guidance some years ago and cost a good deal more.  I think it compares very well.

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2 hours ago, martin swan said:

At some point in the very near future, all bows containing any amount of ivory (or something that looks like ivory) will have to have registration documents certifying that the ivory was taken from the wild pre-CITESor risk confiscation. There are plenty of examples of priceless bows being destroyed by over-zealous customs officials, particularly on entry to the US.

Where have you been? :D

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/237247

Don't get out much any more. I'll ask my mate in the BBCSO what his experience is.

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3 hours ago, martin swan said:

There are plenty of examples of priceless bows being destroyed by over-zealous customs officials, particularly on entry to the US.

Where have you been? :D

I haven't been able to find an example in the news of a bow being destroyed by the U.S.   I found some that were confiscated and returned. 

Found a bamboo flue that was destroyed because it was an "agricultural product".  With the incredible plant diseases and herbivores and plants that are diseases themselves we've allowed to immigrate I wish they'd jumped on that sooner.

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1 hour ago, JohnCockburn said:

But pernambuco (in the form of finished items) isn't a problem is it? So the CF bow thing is a red herring?

 

Well kind of ... except that Arcus make it all a big deal in their marketing.

https://store.fisherviolins.com/Arcus-Cadenza-Gold-Violin-Bow-p/arcgvlno.htm

The main thing that bothers me about these bows is that I have a dreadful time getting any professional player to consider a violin bow under 58 grams. I wonder why 47 grams on a carbon fibre bow is suddenly OK?

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3 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

I haven't been able to find an example in the news of a bow being destroyed by the U.S.   I found some that were confiscated and returned. 

Found a bamboo flue that was destroyed because it was an "agricultural product".  With the incredible plant diseases and herbivores and plants that are diseases themselves we've allowed to immigrate I wish they'd jumped on that sooner.

I think a European chamber orchestra traveling to the USA for a concert in New York City had several bows confiscated at customs.  Indeed the bows were eventually returned but if you are due to perform in a few days and it often takes weeks to get Customs to release confiscated items, that is an unhappy situation.

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