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What Is a Carbon Fiber Cello?

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  • Written By: Jay Leone
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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While most cello manufacturers construct their cellos out of different types of wood, certain others offer cellos with carbon fiber construction. Carbon fiber cellos are made of carbon fiber, a material that outperforms wood in many ways. These cellos are cheaper but stronger and more durable than wooden models. The general shape of these cellos varies only slightly from traditional wooden cellos. Many orchestras and cellists across the globe regularly use this particular type of cello.

Cellists are sometimes expected to play under cold and damp conditions. These conditions contribute to the carbon fiber cello’s continued success. Many cello players are reluctant to play their expensive wooden cellos under such conditions and choose to employ cellos featuring carbon fiber construction, as they can produce a similar sound to a wooden cello. Carbon fiber cellos are less expensive, more durable, sturdier, and lighter than most wooden models.

The typical shape of a carbon fiber cello may be slightly different from a traditional wooden cello. Sharp necks on traditional cellos can cause soreness in the shoulder. Carbon fiber models are smooth and reduce the likelihood of experiencing soreness in the shoulders while playing the instrument. These cellos feature smooth edges, unlike wooden models. The lack of wood also makes these cellos good for the environment, since some wooden cello manufacturers use ebony, an endangered tree species, in their cellos, which is not a concern with a carbon fiber cello.

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Lack of cornices on these cellos improves the overall sound produced by the cello. Cornices on stringed instruments support the structure of the instrument. Carbon fiber instruments do not necessarily need the same level of structural support from cornices as wooden instruments, and taking the cornices away from a carbon fiber instrument makes the instrument more reverberant.

Many orchestras employ electric carbon fiber cellos. Cellos typically produce low-pitched sounds that are easily overpowered by groups of small stringed instruments. Orchestras often include carbon fiber cellos with mounted pickups and preamps designed to increase sound presence.

Most carbon fiber cello manufacturers also produce carbon fiber bows to accompany their cellos. While many beginner cellists use carbon fiber bows, many experienced professionals use them as well to preserve their expensive pernambuco wood bows. Bows made of this wood are easily damaged in the presence of extreme hot and cold weather.

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