Andrew Victor


...the stiffness of the Arcus bows, combined with their light weight, makes them very easy to control; for example, recovery from off-string bowing to legato is instantaneous and smooth. The Arcus Concerto bow plays more cleanly for me than any other, especially when I am being sloppy on off-string bowings (for example, brush strokes). Thus, you can treat it roughly against the strings and still get a good, clean sounding bounced stroke, yet it recovers well. It is the light weight that helps with this, I think, and the slight displacement of the CG toward the frog - and the stiffness plays there in an interesting way too. As a result of these things it is extremely controllable, and when you get to the right spot, with small enough motions, the spicattos tick off like Morse Code.

Brush strokes (as in Mozart) are delightful to do without fear of messing up because the bow gives you a lot of leeway. Ricochet bowings (saltando) are distinctly different than with other bows; the stiffness of the stick combined with its light weight toward the tip combine to make them a little faster for a given distance from the hand and very sensitive to initial bow height above the string or any impetus given by the hand.

One most favorable thing I noticed most about this bow was the way it allowed me to easily introduce dynamic contrasts for example rapid fading away of volume, while still maintaining a clean tone. I especially like the way the bow handles and feels at the tip for playing classical music (Mozart, etc.) and properly tapering phrases and notes. Because of its light weight toward the tip, however, strong articulation in that region of the bow is not done naturally with just the weight of the bow. One strong impression I got when using this bow to play something I had not played much for a long time (for example, the Mendelssohn E-minor concerto) was that I felt like I was cheating. Some things just felt so much easier than they ever had with bows having more conventional physical properties.

I have recently played a large number of cello bows up to a Hill (tortoise/gold) priced at $8,500 and including Lamy, Tomassin, Lotte, Monique Poulot, Eugene Sartory, and Morgan Anderson bows. I also played Spiccato cello bows of two different stiffness. Of all those wooden ones, I liked the Andersons very much, but they are still not a 10 on my scale. I would not see a reason to pick any of those over my Coda, given the price difference - but even without that, and definitely not over the Arcus, whatever the price.