Violin bows consist of horsehair and with time, the hair can get worn down, messy, break off, or just not deliver a pleasing sound on the violin. Take care of your bow regularly and you won’t have to rehair the bow frequently or worse, substitute a broken bow.
Bow hair is very fine and responsive to the crude oils on our hands so it is necessary to never touch it. Utilizing rosin every day on the hair can also collect and create gunk that can influence the sound.
What’s more, where you keep your instrument also counts. Here, you’ll learn how to take excellent care of your bow, when to think about taking it to the store to get rehaired, and why rehairs are essential after all.
If the bow rehairer has instruments at the store (guessing there’s no one else in line), a bow rehair normally takes from half an hour to an hour, relying on how careful one is with cleansing the bow and how much work is required to disperse.
Table of Contents
When Do You Need to Rehair the Bow?
If you are a hobby player, it is advisable that you rehair your bow about every five years. A skilled player should rehair the bow every six months to 1 year.
When to rehair the bow relies on what type of music and how often you play, the rate of horsehair used, storage needs, and how you care for the bow on a day-to-day basis.
The commonness of repairing your bow depends on whether you play every day for hours. Also, it depends on playing bumpier parts with accents, or if you do not take precautions with the bow.
You are likely okay with not getting a rehair as long as the bow hair is in the shade it came (generally a cream white color), the bow is drawing and reacting to rosin evenly, and you can rehearse without noticing a distinction. Some hobbyists might keep the same bow hair for even 10 years if taking care of it.
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Proper Bow Maintenance
Let’s take a look at some of the best tips and tricks for proper bow maintenance. Stay tuned for more below!
#1 Never Touch the Horsehair
The crucial and most important advice for bow supervision is to evade touching the hair. The natural oils in the fingers get absorbed by the hair, and the rosin will stop clinging to the bow hair.
You will not be capable of making a sound on the violin when you draw the bow across the strings!
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#2 Never Tighten the Bow Too Much
#3 A Proper Storage of the Violin
Another important thing is the place where you store the instrument. You keep your violin in place of optimal temperature and humidity. This way, you will prevent hair oxidation and the appearance of mites.
Temperature and humidity affect hair tension. If the room is dry and cold, the hair will shrink more. You must seek professional help when you notice that your bow hair is too loose or tight. If you can’t do anything about it, take it to the repairman at the professional workshop.
#4 Loosen the Bow After Playing
It is highly advisable to always ease the bow after rehearsing. That way, the hair is loose overnight. Bow hair is especially weak to long-term pressure, and holding the hair tight puts stress on it.
Think about somebody pulling your hair directly back for hours at a time. You want to hold it flexible enough that it is floppy. If you know you will be in dry or hot conditions, you may want to ease the hair even more.
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#5 Rosin the Bow Equally
As a rule of thumb, when rosining the bow, utilize long equal strokes from frog to tip. Try not to rosin one area of the bow at a time, as this forms unevenness. Nevertheless, you may need a bit of extra rosin at the frog because your right-hand fingers occasionally touch the hair.
You can inspect by noticing if the hair near the frog is getting slippery or darker. You should rosin just sufficiently to get a precise tone and do this about every couple of days.
#6 Pick a Good Rosin
Select good rosin that will help you make a soft tone. Student-grade rosin, usually found in the violin kit, is often more affordable but can make a rougher sound.
Generally, the lighter the rosin color is, the less thick and sticky it is, which can be better fitted for violin and viola bows, mainly in a humid climate. Bass and cello bows care to choose darker rosin, even though there are versions of dark rosins, even for violins. As rosin is not that pricey, it can be worth testing with various types.
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#7 Wipe Off Rosin Dust
#8 Cut Broken Bow Hairs Evenly
If you break a hair, there is no need to stress about it. With so many hairs, one or two broken ones won’t impact your playing style. Nevertheless, when it occurs, do not drag the hair out of the end of the frog.
Bring a pair of scissors or nail clippers and cut the hair near the frog and the tip. The prevailing hairs can become open if they are constantly getting yanked out.
#9 Inspect for Wear
It can be useful to inspect your bow from time to time. It can be more manageable to fix issues before they become big issues, so review the following:
- Does the hair appear slippery and turning black?
- Does it nonetheless react to rosin?
- Is the screw operating smoothly to adjust the tension?
- Are hairs reaching loose at the end of the frog?
- Is one side of the bow losing hair more frequently than the other?
If you respond yes to one or more queries, then perhaps you need to schedule a visit at the luthiers or the music store.
The Price of a Violin Bow Rehair?
You are probably wondering how much it costs to get a violin bow rehair. A violin bow rehair is approximately $50-100 on average. This can rely on what material your bow consists of.
Also, it can depend on whether you go to a skilled luthier, and what is the rate of the bow in the first place.
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Is It Okay to Clean Your Violin Bow Hair?
It is sounder to rehair a violin bow than to cleanse it. Cleansing may induce harm to the bow stick. This might lead to purchasing a new bow. Rather, occasionally wipe down your bow, and bind the violin bow hair after your day-to-day practice.
Some individuals wash the bow hair with an alcohol-soaked brush to clear rosin build-up. Yet, doing this is not advisable at all. It is dangerous and time-consuming, by all means. Once you require a rehair, it is most manageable to go to a luthier.
We hope you comprehended a bit more about maintaining your bow, how to check when you may need a rehair, and why rehairs are a piece of routine care. Take these suggestions and use them in your daily routine.
Finally, if you are taking adequate care of your bow, but the bow is not reacting well with grip to the string, try to rosin the bow and if that does not work, take it to your regional store. Lastly, in various climates and seasons (such as winter), you will want to check for bow tension.