Help! My bowhair has contracted??!!
I can't loosen my bow hair because the frog has already reached the leather part of the bow and it won't go any further. If I try the screw becomes loose. What should I do? Is it because of summer? The weather forecast did say there was going to be one week long heat wave in my country. Should I put my bow in a cooler environment for a while and wait. Will my bow loose its curve? My hands are trembling as I type this. I can't go to a luthier because there aren't any in my city and I don't have time to find one anyway. Please help!
Is this serious?!!
It's not temperature that causes bow hair (and your own hair on your head) to contract. It's low relative humidity (RH). You say that it's hot where you are, which suggests that you might be running the air conditioner, and that will lower the indoor humidity. Try taking the bow outside. It should respond very quickly to the higher outside humidity, like in a few minutes. If the humidity is low, your instrument is at risk too, because wood contracts with low RH. The solution is to get a humidifier for inside your case, which will protect the instrument while it's in there.
Drier air will cause hair to shrink. See how it behaves in the bathroom with the shower running.
Don't be afraid to loosen the screw, pull it out and take the frog off and have a look. Standard procedure for players.
Thank you so much everyone. I realize that I seem hysterically panicky. Not that I wasn't. XD
Violetta. It is something to be aware of.
If there is no luthier in Violetta's city, perhaps a Fedex to a shop in the desert would be helpful. A place that deals with dry air all the time will be able to set the length for low humidity. (You wouldn't want a shop in Manila or Miami to try to get that right.)
My cheap violin came with 2 wooden bows. I'm currently living in one of the driest places on Earth. When they arrived they seemed fine but now after being here for a couple months and with summer turning to winter, meaning even less humidity, they are both so tight even with the screw fully loose that there is no bend in the bow and a huge gap between the hair and the stick.
It's not so much the stick, as the hair being the correct length. Although I'd guess that carbon fiber is a little less responsive to weather than pernambuco would be.
I would imagine also the amount of adjustment available has something to do with it? Like how far the frog can actually move?
Good bow re-hairers take into account the season and the climate and leave enough slack so that this problem will not occur. You have cheap bows that have not been made or set up by experts so there will always be problems.
Try a carbon fiber bow.
Ella - the hair will change length with humidity regardless of the stick material.
Peter, while it is true that a"good bow re-hairer" will take account of seasonal changes, the United states has such varied climate conditions, that bows that have been haired in the tropics may be used in the desert - and vice versa.
Andrew, yes here in the UK I suppose mostly we have less variation unless you are in northern Scotland. I once worked in southern Scotland and had no problems. I imagine the US is entirely different.
Apply moisture from a damp, clean sponge to the hair. It will allow it to loosen.
Bo, thanks for telling me. Didn't realize that.
An interesting fact concerning humidity and hair:
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