- Max Kuehn
If you’ve ever wondered how to rehair a violin bow, wonder no more! This guide will show you how to do it step by step. It would help if you had a new bow hair, some rosin, and a little patience.
What’s the Point of Rehairing a Violin Bow?
When the hair on a violin bow stops producing a good sound, it needs to be rehaired. Hair that is too unclean, not enough hairs remaining on your bow, needing more rosin than normal but still not producing a pleasant sound, or not tightening appropriately are all possible causes.
Regular maintenance is an essential part of getting your bow rehaired. A violin repair is usually required due to excessively stroking the horsehair, which causes the hair to become too unclean or greasy to play. Take note of how dark the hair appears to be.
Another issue could be that too many hairs from the bow have been broken (this naturally occurs as they get worn out). Another sign that it’s time to rehair your bow is if you can’t get the hair to stay in place.
Finally, if you do not store your violin in an environment with the proper temperature and humidity, the hair may become oxidized or infected with mites.
Bow hair tension is heavily influenced by temperature and humidity. The hair shrinks more when in a dry environment, such as in winter.
Loosening the hair will be more difficult because of the increased strain on the bow. Take the violin to a luthier at a professional shop if you notice your bow hair is too loose or too tight even while using the screw.
When Should You Replace the Bow’s Hair?
I recommend rehairing your bow roughly every 5 years if you’re a recreational player. Every 6 months to a year, a professional player should rehair his bow.
Repairing the bow is determined by the type of music you play and how frequently you play it, the quality of horsehair used, storage circumstances, and how you care for the bow daily.
The frequency with which you rehair your bow is determined by how much you play every day for hours and if you play harder pieces with accents or if you don’t take any measures with the bow.
You’re usually fine not getting a rehair as long as the bow hair remains the same color as when it arrived (often a cream white color); the bow tightens and responds to rosin uniformly. You may practice without feeling a difference. If properly cared for, some hobbyists may be able to preserve their bow hair for up to ten years.
You Will Require
- Horse hair – Music stores and Amazon have a lot of good bow hair.
- Pliers with a needle nose.
- Make sure your scissors are razor-sharp.
- Superglue – You’ll need a strong glue for this.
- Wire thin
- Hair slides can also be used instead of hair clips.
- Cutter wires
Bow Care and Maintenance: Eight Points to Keep in Mind
Stay away from the horsehair!
Avoid touching the hair as much as possible when caring for your bow. The hair absorbs the natural oils from our fingers, and the rosin no longer adheres to the bow hair. When you pull the bow across the strings, you won’t be able to make a sound on the violin!
Be careful not to overtighten the bow.
The first step to permanently ruining your bow is to overtighten it! The stick will warp if you overtighten the bow. As a result, there’s a good chance the bow may break and need to be replaced.
To get the hair off the stick while pressing the bow down on the strings, spin the screw clockwise just enough. I recommend wearing the bow until you can slip a pencil between the stick and your hair.
Always loosen the bow after playing, so the hair is loose the next day.
Bow hair is particularly susceptible to long-term tension, and tightening the hair adds to that stress. Consider having your hair pulled straight back for hours. It should be floppy and loose. If you are in a dry or hot climate, loosen your hair even more.
Distribute the rosin throughout the bow.
Use long, even strokes from the frog to the tip while rosining the bow as a rule. Avoid rosining only one portion of the bow at a time to avoid unevenness. However, because your right-hand fingers occasionally touch the hair, you may need a bit more rosin at the frog.
Check for greasy or darker hair surrounding the frog. Every few days, rosin just enough to get a clean tone.
Click here to hear a violin bow with no rosin, too little rosin, too much rosin, and just the right amount of rosin!
Select a rosin that is suitable for your needs.
Select rosin that will aid in the creation of a smooth tone. Student-grade rosin, typically included in violin kits, is less expensive but produces a harsher tone. The lighter the rosin color, the less dense and sticky it is, ideal for violin and viola bows, especially in humid climates.
Darker rosin is preferred by bass and cello bows, while dark rosin is also available for violins. Given the low cost of rosin, it may be worthwhile to try a variety of varieties.
After practicing, clean up any rosin dust.
Because rosin dust can accumulate on your bow and violin, you should use a microfiber towel to wipe it away. Tighten the bow hair and polish the stick’s surface with the microfiber when you’re done practicing.
Wipe the strings and the space between the fingerboard and the bridge down with the same towel. This will ensure that your bow, instrument, and strings are kept clean.
Correctly trim any broken bow hairs
There’s no need to be concerned if a hair breaks. With hundreds of hairs, a few damaged ones will have no bearing on your game. However, do not take the hair(s) out of the tip or frog if this happens. Cut the hair as near to the frog and the tip as possible with a pair of scissors or even nail clippers. If hairs are tugged out frequently, they can become loose.
Examine for signs of wear
Regularly inspecting your bow may be beneficial. Check the following items to see if they can be fixed before they turn into big issues:
- Is your hair oily and blackening?
- Is the rosin still effective?
- Is the tension-changing screw operating smoothly?
- Is the frog or the tip of the hair coming loose?
- Are you losing hair on one side of your bow more than the other?
If you answered yes to any of the questions, you would most likely need to make an appointment with a luthier or a music store.
Bows can be rehaired at a reasonable price
Violins are expensive instruments, and the cost of maintaining such a lovely instrument might be prohibitive. You will save money on having your bows professionally rehaired if you rehair them yourself. If you go with the DIY route, the only cost is time and the new hair and any tools you don’t already have on hand.
There are a lot of affordable bow hair alternatives out there. Even the best horsehair for professional bows costs less than $20, so learning how to rehair bows yourself will save you a lot of money.
If doing it yourself doesn’t appeal to you, or you’re afraid you’ll muck it up, you’ll want to contact a professional luthier. You should budget between $50 and $80 for their services. This will cover both the cost of the horse hair and the cost of labor. Naturally, it’s money well spent because they’ll know how to care for your priceless instrument properly.
On A Violin Bow, How Do You Tighten The Hair?
Your violin bow has a screw attached to it. Tighten (or loosen) the hairs on your bow by turning this screw.
How Do I Clean A Violin Bow With Broken Hair?
There’s no need to replace all of your hair if you only have a few stray or damaged strands. Simply comb out the stray hairs and continue experimenting with the bow.
If you have a stray strand of hair, trim it at a loose end to make it look like a broken strand. Pull the hair(s) away from the rest of the bow and carefully cut it at both ends if it is broken. Cut the frog and the tip of the frog as close as possible.
Pulling your hair out is not a good idea. If you do this, the remaining hairs’ grip loosens a little, making it easy for more to become free or break. Always trim the hairs at the frog and tip, leaving the ends attached.
Is It True That Horses Are Slaughtered to make Violin Bows?
No! Horses are not slaughtered just to obtain horsehair. They either receive haircuts as we do, or they’re already gone when the hair is collected.
How To Rehair A Violin Bow?
A hank of horsehair is used to make the bow hair. Between 160 and 180 unique hairs are used in a single violin bow. These hairs are arranged in a ribbon by being linked to each other. Hairs that are very thick or kinked are eliminated, leaving only straight hairs.
Fidlar hope that your attempt to rehair your bow will be fruitful. Suppose, at any point during the process; you find yourself unable to proceed. In that case, you can try searching the internet for video tutorials that will walk you through the process of rehairing your violin bow. Happy playing!