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Carbon Fiber Stringed Instruments

Ever since carbon fiber stringed instruments were introduced to the world, they have been growing steadily in popularity.

Why is carbon fiber becoming more popular for stringed instruments? What makes carbon fiber better than wood? Let’s take a closer look at carbon fiber as a material and what makes it so great for making stringed instruments.

The Early Days

Carbon fiber was introduced to the public back in the 1970s. Soon, it was being used across many industries for different purposes. Today, carbon fiber is a material that is associated with high-quality performance. Whether used in automobiles, sports or fishing equipment, it is always hailed for superior performance.

The reason behind this is that carbon fiber is a unique material that exhibits an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. Consisting of a mesh of carbon strands of 5-10 micrometers in diameter, it is woven into a synthetic sheet of fabric.

Typically, carbon fiber is infused with certain types of resins to improve strength and create an ultra-durable and rigid material. The technical term for such reinforced carbon fibers is CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer). CFRP consists of two elements — the reinforcement comprising of the actual carbon fiber strands and the matrix consisting of epoxy resins to bind the reinforcements together. Getting these reinforcements into shape and infusing the resin correctly creates a sturdy and durable, yet lightweight carbon fiber sheet.

While an expensive material to produce, carbon fiber material properties are far superior to others. That's why it is the explicit material of choice in high-performance applications such as civil engineering, airplane and sports equipment industries.

Carbon fiber stringed instruments are much tougher to dent, crack or scratch compared to wooden stringed instruments. Moreover, they are also resistant to changes in humidity or temperature.

Carbon fiber may undoubtedly be an excellent material for use in specialized applications, but how well does it fare when it comes to stringed instruments? What is it about the material that drew the attention of stringed instrument manufacturers? It's because carbon fiber stringed instruments offer great sound, they are durable, lightweight, and they offer unmatched consistency.

Great Sound

The sound of a pure carbon fiber stringed instrument is unmistakable. The first thing that you’ll notice about it is that it is much louder than the typical wooden stringed instrument. Furthermore, the sound of a carbon fiber stringed instrument is resonant, clear and is projected in every direction.

Just look at any reviews of carbon fiber instruments, and you’ll soon see that everyone agrees that they produce great sound. In addition, check out some videos to find out how good these instruments really are.

Durability

We’ve already established that carbon fiber is an incredibly tough and durable material. CFRP is used in race cars, airplanes, space satellites, and architecture — which provides more than ample proof of the material’s durability.

Carbon fiber stringed instruments are much tougher to dent, crack or scratch as compared to wooden stringed instruments. Moreover, they are also resistant to changes in humidity or temperature. If you choose a carbon fiber stringed instrument, you can safely travel with it without worrying about damaging it. Don’t forget, though, they’re not completely indestructible.

Lightweight

While carbon fiber is incredibly tough and durable, what most people love about it is how lightweight it is. For example, professional cyclists across the globe have been racing carbon fiber bicycles for some time. In addition to durability, carbon fiber bicycles deliver featherweight performance that allows them to go faster for longer. Rest assured the next time you watch the Tour de France, every competitor will be on a carbon fiber bike. While weight may not be a big concern for stringed musical instruments, carbon fiber does make a difference. Upon picking one up, you’ll immediately notice that it weighs less than its wooden counterparts.

Consistency

Anybody who has ever played a wooden stringed instrument will agree that consistency and playability differ from one instrument to another. It is challenging to recreate and replicate the same consistency and playability across wooden stringed instruments.

How many times have you seen your favorite musician play an older stringed instrument that is faded in color, with the wood worn down? That’s because they love the sound of that particular instrument and can’t replicate it from any of the new instruments they try.

This is not a problem with carbon fiber stringed instruments. Because the material is synthetically created, it can be reproduced predictably and consistently. Due to this, there is no unpredictability associated with carbon fiber stringed instruments. If you’ve played on one, you can count on another being almost identical to it. Also, your carbon fiber mandolin will sound almost exactly the same as it did the first time you picked it up and will maintain its appearance. If you’re someone who travels a lot and you’re worried about damaging your instrument, a carbon fiber stringed instrument is an excellent choice for you.

The Bottom Line

Carbon fiber stringed instruments are durable, lightweight and, most importantly, they produce great sound.