The Cymbow (or how to surprise your fellow bandmates)

  • Désolé, ceci est un texte écrit au moment où le blogue n’était qu’en anglais. Voyez les billets plus récents pour lire des traductions françaises.

Want to have fun making creepy sounds? Try the Cymbow. BZING! SWEEEE! SHAZAMMMM!

I have the chance to own one. Pat gave me an early prototype at the last Stick Men show in Montreal when he asked me to design a logo for it. Man, that thing is so much fun!

Pat tells us about the origins:

“The Cymbow was born from my frustration with the fragile, slack and clumsy bows available to me until I discovered a Turkish Spike Fiddle bow while working in Istanbul. It was smaller, allowing me easier use inside the confines of a western drum kit, and I could adjust the tension with my thumb or fingers while playing. This instant RE-tension gives me a way to find the grit/grip to match the grain of my different cymbals.

After a few years touring, my Turkish bow deteriorated so Ed Reynolds rebuilt my bow with stronger wood. That bow stood the test of time with Y2K King Crimson, until it frayed . . . years go by . . . Enter Kevin Andrews. To say Kevin moved the design to the next level is an understatement!”

Originally designed as a cymbal bow, Cymbows are equally at home used on guitar, upright bass, or any other instrument that you may want to bow. Made from poplar, the Cymbow is largely hand crafted except for some laser cutting and engraving for the logo and basic shape.



16″ Cymbow



18″ Cymbow


Expanding Hands Music owner Kevin Andrews picks up the story:

When I first started playing upright bass and just started messing with a bow, I noticed my pair of Funk Fingers on the table one day. The thought popped into my head, “I wonder if I could make a small bow to attach to my finger?” I did nothing about it for a while.
After the 1st year of 3 of a Perfect Pair camp I was inspired to come up with new stuff. I started working on Finger Bow designs and making prototypes.
I decided to take Tony Levin a couple of those prototypes to see what he thought. Tony showed the Finger Bows to Pat, Adrian, and others. In September after camp was over I got an email from Pat asking about my Finger Bow.
He wanted to know if I would be interested in possibly adapting the concept for cymbals. Pat sent me his main bow and a few others to check out & measure. I started coming up with designs and making prototypes while also working on a new Finger Bow design. I designed the current version of the Finger Bow and enlarged it without straps for the 16C Cymbow design. I continued with more designs and changes while Pat toured with them and tested. We decided on the two designs we now have.


Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, UK) is also a fan of the Cymbow.

I have been looking for a solution to bowing for years and this is it! Great length & strength! I previously used a big bass bow, but it is so long & awkward to fit in a drum set environment! Recently I tried a children’s short violin bow too, & it broke immediately!!! It’s really a special gift for me.

All in all, a nifty tool to add to the percussionist’s arsenal and a neat way to make your bandmates make a double take.

Other endorsers include:
Danny Carey – Drums (Tool, Pigmy Love Circus, Volto)
Adrian Belew – Guitar (King Crimson, Talking Heads, Zappa, Solo)
Adrian Utley – Guitar (Portis Head)
David Torn – (Composer, Guitarist, Producer)
Phil Manzanera – Guitarist, producer (Roxy Music)

Cymbow™ P. Mastelotto & K. Andrews