How Do I know if My Bow Needs a Re-Hair?

Posted by Brittens Team on

How to check if your bow needs a re-hair or service?

Violin Bow

Identifying when your bow needs a re-hair or service is not always as obvious as when there is a broken tip or frog (or you are trying to play with the last few threads of hair on the bow).

And, sometimes, if it's a lower-budget bow, it can make more economical sense to buy a new one rather than invest in a bow re-hair.

But for many, it will be an inevitable requirement at some point, and we tend to find there are three main factors that can influence the need for a bow re-hair:

  • Excessive bow-hair breakage - this is usually obvious. When too many hairs have broken, players have a tendency toward exerting more down-pressure on the bow to compensate. This creates extra strain on the bow and may eventually damage it.
    Depending on how you play, hair breakages can sometimes occur more on one edge than on the other. This can have an additional problem of exerting unnatural forces on the bow which can cause twisting or warping of the wood.
  • Stretched Bow hair (when the bow hair has been tensioned to its natural limit) - If you find the the bow needs to be tightened more each time you use it, this can be because the hair is too stretched or an internal wedge has moved and it is time for a re-hair. Trying to tighten the bow once this has happened is likely to crack the stick.
  • Bow hair degradation - After the hair has been used for an extensive period of time, the structure deteriorates reducing the hair's ability to hold rosin which impacts tone production.  

Please note that some of the above checks require an expert's advice, so if you are unsure or would like some guidance, just ask one of our specialists who will be pleased to help*.

General Bow maintenance

As a Bowed String player, you already know the importance of the bow with regards to how the instrument will sound and how it can express your playing style, 

Simple ways to look after your bow

  • Avoid touching the hair with you fingers
  • Give the bow a gentle dust on the stick and frog each time, after you use it, to minimise rosin build-up
  • Use a quality rosin
  • Regularly check if the hairs are breaking on one side or other. (As above) This can cause tension on the wood to be uneven and cause twisting or warping
  • If the frog or tip are beginning to feel loose, immediate action needs to be taken to correct it as there are several outcomes which can occur, all of which are better caught early.

For more advice on how to look after your bow, come in a chat to one of our specialists.* 

*A booked appointment may be required - either call or pop in-store to arrange

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