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Arcus Bows


Orendacats
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quote:

Originally posted by Orendacats:

I happened to notice we have a new advertiser here, Arcus Bow's. Has anyone tried one? They are quite beautiful, and I was pretty surprised at how reasonalble the price was.

Lisa

The website shows prices in marks and in euros. It says tath the euro is abot 1:1 with teh dollar, whcih was true a while back. The euro is now about 82 cents. Would this mean the prices have dropped nearly 20 percent??

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Yes, Andy Victor's article is very good.

I assume you're interested in a violin bow? I have an Arcus Concerto violin bow, which I use to the extent that I am now selling another very good and rather more expensive carbon bow because I just don't use that at all now.

If you do try an Arcus bow, play it exclusively an hour a day for about a week if you can - these bows feel radically different to conventional bows and may take some getting used to (or not, depending on you). Mine also took about 4-5 hours to settle in, maybe the new hair stretching. Another point to be aware of is that for some people (including myself and I believe Andy Victor) these bows don't need anything like the same relative tension as a wooden bow. By that I mean that if you 'eyeball' the hair/stick gap to what you're used to or set it to where the hair resistance when pressed to the stick feels normal, you will probably have far too much tension on. It seems to work best for me with the minimum tension I need not to ground the stick (as I hold the hair flat that's not much).

What's surprising is that such a light bow produces such a big sound on the violin. Compared to my Other Very Good Carbon Bow, it has a wider range of frequencies. If your current setup is for use with a bow that doesn't, you may feel that it's a bit 'toppy' sounding - however after a few days you may realise that your existing bow is missing something. Also, it doesn't feel 'rubbery' at all - more like some space age kind of wood (which I suppose is kind of what it is).

This is probably unworthy, but you can get away with some kinds of sloppy playing in the heel area with these bows which most wooden bows would not tolerate.

Finish is good within the limitations of this material - it does looks very nice, and the frog is great, but IMHO carbon bows will never quite have the appearance of a very good wooden bow. But who cares when it works better for me than any wooden bow I've tried at twice the price?

Max

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My concern with the Arcus is that it feels so extremely different that it requires radical changes to "normal" bowing technique for off-the-string strokes. This presents a challenge in getting used to the bow, for advanced players, and for players just learning fine control, it might be detrimental to long-term development, if the player ever plans to do anything other than use an Arcus.

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It's all true, the raves and the doubts. It is a highly personal thing. While it was difficult (not really difficult, but not exactly a "walk in the park") for me to go from the typical weight and balance of other bows to Arcus bows when I first learned to use them, I find it easy to go from Arcus to more conventional bows and actually use them better than I ever did before. I don't know why that is, but it is!

I still stand by my web-published review (as most recently ammended) - but I acknowledge that I use different violin bows for different things, pretty much along the lines I indicated there.

I own violin/viola/cello Arcus Concerto and Coda Classic bows, as well as others (although not all those in my reviews). I have also reviewed composite (and other) cello bows extensively but not written them up as formally (they have been summarized at the ICS).

Laura Blake J (via "Atonal", who has not been heard here recently) introduced me to the Arcus cello bow (my first experience with Arcus) and I was not overwhelmed. Then I got her bow in hand for a week and my impression completely reversed. It sounds great and is easier to use than any other cello bow I've ever tried. She also taught me (by e-mail) the importance of being careful to tighten an Arcus bow just so. Subsequently I tested (and bought) Arcus violin and cello bows as well. As with other bows, the state of rosin on the hair and the strings is also important - especially on cello (and viola) - for optimum sound quality.

Other players have used my Arcus bows, some loving them, others not getting comfortable with the light weight and slightly different balance in the hour's experience. But from where I sat, they all sounded particularly great.

I think one particular advantage of Arcus bows is that beginners will do well with them - but sound and play far better than they would with the cheaper bows that are geared for "beginners and intermediate players." The sound one gets from an Arcus bow is right up there with what one expects from bows "for advancing and advanced players." (Borrowing loosely from SHAR's "categories of bow descriptions.")

Andy

[This message has been edited by Andrew Victor (edited 10-28-2000).]

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I've even found that I quickly start to play much better than I ever thought possible, on my cheap, not so good pernanbuco bow, having got used to using, and doing much better with my Durro bow (62g). I almost fell in love with this terrible wooden bow, because I now know what to look for, and what to try to do. Even though it is nowhere near as good as my Durro bow, I can appreciate better what there IS to it.

The wood is better at sinking in to the string.

I wonder if any of the other carbon composite bows can do this. (as I've still only used the Durro).

Can anyone tell me?

S.Taylor

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I have also experienced this strange phenomenom. After getting used to playing with my Arcus, I would expect to find normal bows heavy and clumsy, but the opposite occured! Now I don't feel much of a weight-difference between the Arcus and a typical 60g bow, and feel very comfortable playing very close to the frog with a stardard-weight bow (my hand feels relaxed).

quote:

Originally posted by Andrew Victor:

It's all true, the raves and the doubts. It is a highly personal thing. While it was difficult (not really difficult, but not exactly a "walk in the park") for me to go from the typical weight and balance of other bows to Arcus bows when I first learned to use them, I find it easy to go from Arcus to more conventional bows and actually use them better than I ever did before. I don't know why that is, but it is!

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  • 5 weeks later...

Wow, it's been awhile. I did receive my arcus bow, and have had a great time in the last month discovering the ins and outs of it. After using it, I would highly recommend it to anyone.

The weight was not an issue for me, since I accustomed to the light weight of it almost instantly. Actually, I did not feel awkward with it at all, and it didn't take any getting used to. It felt right.

The first thing I noticed was the smooth feeling it had over the strings. It simply glided on the strings. The second thing, of course, was the sound. Now, I have a really terribly sounding fiddle, but still, the bow brought out a reasonable sound on it. That is a big feat for a bow. I didn't think anything could improve the sound of my fiddle, but this bow did. And the volume was also much improved as well as the colour that the sound produced.

My playing got noticeably better after using the bow for a week. I was able to experiment more with sound and technique, not being held back by the inferiority of other bows. I can now do a lot of bowing techniques that were difficult to do before (off the string bowing) and the light weight makes those techniques easier to learn.

This bow won't let you get away with anything. With bows of less quality, you can probably blame a bad sound or a weak technique on the bow, but not with the arcus. And at the same time, it lets you know what you have to work on and what you do well. This would be a great bow for a student or any beginner, since it will allow the student to grow where they need to, and since there's nothing the bow can't allow you to do, the student would never be held back.

Honestly, it's a great investment for whatever style of music you play, and for whatever level you are at. I do recommend it, and judging from the other reviews, you really can't go wrong. It's a bow for life that will never stop you from growing.

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Glad you like your bow! I suspect that you may possibly have to do a bit of 'growing your own technique' when some strokes designed for conventional bows may need a little modification.

By the way, I find the Arcus quite forgiving compared to most stiff pernambuco bows, especially anywhere near the heel.

It's certainly a 'bow for life' from the construction point of view - I dropped mine from a playing position point first on a tile floor a while back and it is undamaged.

Max

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I've been toying with getting one for several months now. I'm just nervous about spending all that money without trying it first and there seems to be nowhere in the UK where i could try one. I tried my local dealer and they were unwilling to get one for me to try unless i was committed to buying it.

Maybe I'll just take the plunge this Christmas anyway....everyone seems to think this is a good investment.

Ohhhh, what to do???

Jane

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Andres:

I have played a couple of baroque bows, and although the light weight may be comparable, the conventional length Arcus is so much longer than those I tried that it feels quite different - the tip has much more leverage than the baroque bows(less than most modern design wooden bows, however). I find it also has a very full sound, which was not a characteristic of the baroque bows I tried.

Max

quote:

Originally posted by Andres Sender:

Are there any of you Arcus bow owners that also have experience with baroque bows?

I'm wondering if you would characterize the feel of the Arcus as being at all in the 'direction' of a baroque bow? Or is it just a whole other thing, or too hard to say because of the different hold...

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