Carbon fibre instruments have been introduced on the market for a couple of years. A research team from Ghent University and School of Arts Gent has been investigating the use of composite materials for string instruments. Now, one of their prototypes, a cello made from glass fibre by luthier Tim Duerinck, has been used by professional musicians to record a duet called Orion, by the Japanese composer Takemitsu - as shown in this video featuring the cellist Eline Duerinck.

Tim Duerinck, who is conducting research on new materials in instrument making, says: The musicians were looking for a specific sound for the cello, which would have a resemblance to the sound of a traditional Japanese “kokyu” instrument. They came to the workshop to test some of the prototypes we developed, and the glass fibre cello was clearly a very good fit for the music. It allowed the cellist to create a very ‘fragile’ sound, which feels like it can cut right through you.’

For this instrument, glass fibre was combined with an aramid honeycomb for the top plate.

Duerinck says: ’As an instrument maker, composite materials offer a new toolbox to create durable unique sounding instruments. More and more (classical) musicians are looking for this, as such we try to tailor to their needs.’

The making of a carbon cello using the same process was previously featured in the How It’s Made series: