What's your opinion on carbon fiber instruments?

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What's your opinion on carbon fiber instruments?

I recently had a chance to audition a carbon fiber violin and I must say I went in with low expectations and walked away throughly surprised.

Would you consider something other than a wooden instrument?

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Joined: 5 Feb 2008
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carbon fiber instruments

I've been playing an Ovation 12 string guitar for 21 years. I catch a lot of flack from the traditionalists, but it sounds great, always stays in tune, and doesn't have a problem with humidity. Woods nice, but don't fear change!

No fear here, actually. I

No fear here, actually. I ended up getting it a week later and I love it. I also love my wooden instrument. I use the CF fiddle for jams and the wood for playing in the orchestra. The two instruments play very differently.

So far I don't get much flack for it - more outright curiosity - but I've also not brought it into the other world I play in. I'm not sure how a shiny black fiddle would go over in a sea of wooden instruments. :)

Like you describe with your guitar, it could care less about the humidity. The hair on my bow cares, but the violin just stays in tune.

Anybody out there have any hands on experience with a CF mandolin?

Joined: 11 Feb 2008
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Carbon Fiber Guitars

I have played both Rainsong & CA Acoustic guitars. And they both are fantastic sounding guitars. The CA Acoustic was all one piece construction (body & neck laminated as one piece). No problem with warping neck. But, I still prefer the mellow tones of real wood. Especially Koa wood!!!!!!

Joined: 10 Jan 2007
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Got to play a Carbon Fibre whistle...

It weighed almost nothing, and was quite pretty to look at... the finishing process makes it shimmer with a moire look to the surface. It did not sound quite as good as it looked, but they are still in the process of finding what works and what doesn't. I suspect they will become more popular as the makers get more of them under their belts.


Member of "Ral

Joined: 25 Jun 2008
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carbon V wood

carbon + side; low maitenance, stable in weather and humidity, built in pickup.

carbon - side; sound, lower volume, less sustain and low end, thin sound when played acoustic, not the best factory electric pickups on most stock models.

Try a acoustic jam with an Ovation along with a Martin D 28 and record it. Martin wins
But if your up the creek without a paddle the Ovation wins.
I friend I gig with Stasmusic.com plays Ovation. It works great for his style through a PA.

carbon lower volume?

EJ - I've had the opposite experience with a CF fiddle. I've had to adjust my style at jams to hold back on it when playing since it has such a large sound. The thing really projects. The + sides you list I agree with, it is really good at staying in tune in all sorts of weather.

Joined: 14 Jul 2008
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carbon fiber in hammered dulcimers

They are now making carbon fiber back hammered dulcimers (well, Blanton and Rizzetta are, at least). The one I heard, I didn't like the sound much, it seemed a bit harsh, and probably would not change a whole lot with "breaking in" either. On the other hand, the fact of having more stability and going out of tune less is of course a huge factor to consider in a hammered dulcimer, as we spend half the time tuning and the other half playing out of tune. haha. But I still wouldn't buy one myself. Sound is paramount!

Joined: 24 Jul 2007
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Carbon fiber Vs wood

I have a Rainsong which I dearly love. I also have a Taylor K-22 which I like even better. Now if I had a carbon fiber that looked as good as my Taylor K-22, I would finally have found the perfect guitar.


I'll let ya know in a few days....

I just purchased a CA 5iM-CE. I'm pretty excited about it. I played one at the vendor tent at Merlefest and would have purchased it on the spot if it was available in anything other than RED! My main guitar is a Huss & Dalton TDR, and tone is ridiculously important to me, but I get all neurotic taking it out in the recent heat and humidity of NJ, and on trips. From what I could hear in the vendors tent with all the people and background music, the tone was remarkable. So I will have the MOST traditional guitar you can by, and the LEAST traditional guitar you can buy. I'm psyched.


Joined: 28 Jul 2008
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Carbon Fiber

I own an Adamas W597 carbon fiber mid-bowl acoustic guitar. Once I got used to the round back I loved it. The low-end is much better on it than all my other guitars,except my D-35 Martin. If you don't mind the round back they are great guitars. If you can find one somewhere, play it and tell me what you think.

Carbon Fiber

How do you think the Adamas stands up against an old-style Ovation? I think the O's sound great but I haven't yet gotten really comfortable with the bowl shape on a guitar.

Play Well.

Joined: 28 Jul 2008
Groups: None
Carbon fiber

I've never owned an ovation other than the one I have. It takes a little getting used to, but I really like mine. Especially when played electric. It's 12db louder than most acoustic/electrics right out of the box. I play it through a TA 200 Trace Acoustics amp and I can stand with any live band. For years I couldn't hear myself. But I can now. The necks on Ovations are awesome. Mine is ebony, so it feels more like a Strat. Thanks, Mike. Always sing and play.

Well, after a few days..........

.......I'm totally impressed. I've been living with the Composite Acoustics 5iM-CE for almost a week. I'd say that this guitar will hold it's own with most boutique guitars. My Huss & Dalton was more than twice the price. It plays very loud, has a thunderous bass when called upon, and is the most comfortable guitar I've ever played. Stunning tone and detail. I can't believe it's not wood. The fact that it is virtually indestructible is a huge plus. Not only is it a great guitar, it's a great value as well. If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me.


Just one...

...do they make mandolins. :}


Do they make mandolins?

Composite Acoustics of CA does not make a mandolin. The one that I looked at was a Newmad. They look really awesome but I have not played one. I would stick to your Gibson unless you want to refinance your house to buy one. Here is the link http://www.new-mad.com/


You weren't kidding. They do look cool though and I'd love to hear one.


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
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ovation vs. martin

it really depends what ovation and what martin. I have heard lousy Martins and amazing Martins. most people when they think Ovation think celebrity mid and shallow bowls. put them up against something fair, thin line martin Vs. shallow bowl ovation, and i think you will be surprised how nice the ovation sounds. put an old folklore or balladeer ( the deep bowls) against any martin dread, and you will be surprised again.

Joined: 30 Aug 2008
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Martin wins

I own a USA made Ovation from the 70's, a Martin HD28 and Martin CEO-4. The Ovation is very easy to play, even tone and stays in tune. Having said that the Martins blow it out of the water when it comes to traditional Bluegrass sound and volume.

Joined: 8 Jan 2009
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Don't Hate Me

Hey guys and gals. I have only played a couple of carbon guitars for a short time. I have to say that there is no way I could trade in my HD28V for one. In my humble opinion they just don't have what it takes in the sound department for me. BUT, I would love to have one to play around the campfires on those chilly nights when I wouldn't dare open the case of my Martin. Just my opinion so don't hate me for it. lol

Joined: 16 Sep 2008
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CF instruments

I'm clueless about CF. Is the Ovation with the round back made out of that stuff? I'm always looking for a second beater guitar so what do I look for. I like that idea about no humidity worries--as on a boat. My HD-28 has spoiled me though. Elderly is where I do most of my browsing so I'll keep an eye out.

Sterling Grass

Joined: 28 Jan 2009
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Carbon Fiber Instruments

Love them or hate them...They have their own unique sound...Whether a Rainsong guitar or one of the French double basses...Generally speaking, my experience is that, while they hold up well to climactic changes...Much better than wood, they lack the wide sound spectrum (For lack of a better phrase) that wood possesses...

Joined: 25 Jul 2008
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Had a carbon fiber Epiphone

Had a carbon fiber Epiphone guitar, traded up for a Martin OM because of the much better tone from the Martin.

Had a carbon fiber mandolin, traded up for a locally made spruce and maple mando. Would never go back to a carbon fiber. There just is no comparing the tone quality.

Have an entry-level natural wood fiddle, have played with someone who plays a carbon fiber fiddle, and hers requires sound amplification. I have no trouble with volume on my fiddle :)

I also play recorder, and have found that is DEFINITELY true with recorders. Started out with a plastic one, moved up to a carbon fiber baritone recorder, found that when playing in a group nobody could hear me without a mike. Saying a recorder player needs a mike is like saying a trumpeter needs a mike - this never should be.... A recorder player normally can be heard quite well, in the company of other acoustic players, without a mike. Traded the carbon fiber recorder in for a handmade wooden one and will never go back to carbon fiber.

I occasionally play guitar and mandolin with someone who plays an Ovation carbon fiber guitar, the kind with the rounded back. She also requires amplification.

In my opinion, the benefit to carbon fiber acoustic instruments is they are fairly indestructible and they tolerate heat/cold/humidity well. Thus, having a carbon fiber instrument means you can have fun with it on the beach or a campfire or whatever and not be constantly having to retune it.

In my opinion the drawback to carbon fiber is the limited tone quality and volume. I have also found that they do not hold their value when it comes time for trading in or reselling.
I personally would rather have an instrument with top quality tone and great natural volume that doesn't require amplification to hear those great leads. So for me, I prefer natural wood instruments instead of carbon fiber.

may be time to give it another listen Flatpikluvr

I've never heard of a carbon fiber Epiphone, and the Ovation you mention is also not carbon fiber. As far as limited tone or volume, I couldn't disagree more. The newest carbon Fiber instruments are remarkable. There are certainly some characteristics peculiar to both carbon fiber and wood, but the newest instruments are in many ways superior to their wood counterparts. My Composite Acoustics 5i is the polar opposite of your description. It's LOUD, often too loud in a jam environment, has a gorgeous tone with a thunderous bass and detailed sparkling highs with excellent string separation. The intonation is spot on. It is also the most comfortable guitar I've ever played. I also disagree with the resale issue. I've been offered more than I paid for the guitar on a couple of occasions. The cost of carbon fiber guitars is going to go up, not down.

To put all this in perspective, I've own some wonderful instruments, including a Taylor 314CE, Larrivee J09, Lowden O23 (I'm still kicking myself for letting that one go), and along with the Composite Acoustics, a Huss & Dalton TDR. The H&D rarely gets played these days. I spend more time keeping the humidifiers full than I do playing it.

As far as Mandolins, I have a friend that played a Mix A5 Mandolin that he was VERY impressed with.


Fiddles and recorders I can't tell you about, but the guitars can be REMARKABLE.


Joined: 5 Nov 2007
Groups: Jersey Jam
>>Fiddles and recorders I

>>Fiddles and recorders I can't tell you about, but the guitars can be REMARKABLE<<

Yo Yo Ma seems to think quite highly of his carbon fiber cello. I doubt he'd compromise on tone.

Ovations, older ones, anyway, are fiberglass composite, not CF, and comparing anything not a Martin dread to a Martin dread is likely to be a losing proposition, whatever the other thing is made of. If you like the Martin Dread sound. Which I do.
And I, too, am unaware of any CF Epiphone acoustic.

As for recorders, I've heard it said of wind instruments that the material they are made of is far less important the shape. Is that not so?

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