Changing Bow Hair

February 27, 2013 at 03:12 PM · So I was thinking, is it easy to change bow hair by yourself, and how? I am trying to find a way to reduce expences, and I think changing bow hair is not an important one, I mean how wrong can you do it, right? Anyway, anyone has an opinion on this? Any advice will be helpfull, as well as what kind of hair is best and stuff.

Replies (24)

February 27, 2013 at 03:37 PM · It is very easy to rehair a bow and muck it up.

Much harder to learn to do it properly. ;)

You also need the proper equipment, which will cost you in addition to a source of good horsehair.

If you are only doing an occaisional rehair, it's not worthwhile to do it yourself. It will be cheaper, and you'll be better off, having someone experienced do it.

February 27, 2013 at 04:15 PM · I would be very reluctant to risk a valuable bow to save a few bucks. i think there is a risk that you damage the tip when inserting the little wooden piece that holds the hair, and I would imagine that it is difficult to get even tension on the hairs. If there is too much difference side to side you may bend the stick while playing.

I do clean my bow hair from rosin with alcohol from time to time.

February 27, 2013 at 05:20 PM · How hard it is depends on whether you think a rehair is a rehair is a rehair.

It's kind of like whether you think Bach is Bach is Bach, regardless of who plays it.

If you want a really good rehair, it's not easy at all. People train for years, with regular coaching, to learn how to do it well, and to do it with minimal risk of damage to the bow.

I've done hundreds of rehairs, but haven't done any for a while, so even if I just wanted one of my workshop beater bows rehaired, I would take it to a high-level pro and pay the money.

February 27, 2013 at 06:50 PM · This is a timely re-introduction of this subject, and I take serious note of what experts like David say.

The cost of bow rehairs in the UK seems to be increasing by about 12-15% every year, when inflation is less than 4%. Something is wrong I think. Now it can cost £55 for a rehair.

But I would not even think of attempting it mysef, unless the price rose to over £100 and then maybe ...

February 28, 2013 at 02:55 PM · A rehair costs about the same as a violin lesson. There have got to be better ways to save a few dollars.

February 28, 2013 at 08:38 PM · right after I get a better (still average) bow, i'll start practicing rehairing on the old bow. the bow came with the violin outfit and it costs around 36E: no loss. by the time i'll get a proper bow I assume I'll know how to rehair a bow.

i am also thinking about buying some blank bridges to start learning how to carve them. maybe later i'll try sound post adjustments.

the violinist has the opportunity of transcending through the sounds the violin makes. doing all the maintenance stuff by yourself only brings you closer to the instrument. i often compare the violin with a woman: the more you know about her, the better the marriage.

February 28, 2013 at 09:15 PM · Sure, do it yourself - if you want to ruin your bow! Quit horse-hairing around and go to a pro!

February 28, 2013 at 10:00 PM · The only way you will know how hard it is is to try it. But do it on a cheap bow. Don't worry about hair quality. It won't matter. You will find out how many ways you can do it wrong. I make violins, but I gave up learning to rehair bows many years ago.

March 1, 2013 at 04:59 PM · "I've done hundreds of rehairs, but haven't done any for a while, so even if I just wanted one of my workshop beater bows rehaired, I would take it to a high-level pro and pay the money." [Flag?]

That about sums it up.

March 4, 2013 at 06:32 PM · In case anyone is interested, I got a catalog in the mail the other day from the University of New Hampsire, announcing the 40th year summer Violin Craftsmanship Institute, with week-long workshops. It includes a 4 day course on bow reharing, 6/24-6/28, given by Lynn Hannings. They tell you to bring several student bows in good repair. Their website is or call 603.862.7380

Clearly, no 4 day course can make anyone a master, plus the tuition is $850. At the average going rate (and with my very elementary math skills!) I'd say you could get about a dozen professional rehairs for the same money. So I'd still let the pro do it.

March 4, 2013 at 07:03 PM · I just make my bow rehairs last for 15 years ... I only use one hair at time. (Hair today, gone tomorrow ...)

March 4, 2013 at 09:03 PM · I recently got my main solo bow rehaired because it was getting...hairing-impaired! ;-D

March 5, 2013 at 12:42 PM · I got my bow rehaired for $110 AUD this time last year, and it's due to go back again soon. Whilst I have to send it 300km away and pay around 15 bucks postage, I usually get it back within about a day and a half. They are a good shop and do a nice job, too nice for me to consider 'doing my own' even though it's a pricey exercise. My $125 dollars is equivalent to approx $127 USD and £84 GBP in todays conversions.

Unlike Paul, my rehairs aren't comparable to the cost of a lesson, which is $45 (for 45 mins). I think we Aussies are getting a bit 'shafted' price wise.

March 5, 2013 at 03:00 PM · Millie

Yes, I think you are too! Bow rehairs in London are £45-55 and that's far too much in my opinion.

March 18, 2013 at 08:07 PM · Thanks for the responces everyone, and sorry for my late responce... The plan is to try it on a cheap bow and see what happens. It seems it is not as an easy job as I have thought, however it does not seem a very difficult job for someone whose hands are good with stuff. To be honest I was more interesting in making some of my student's life easier than mine, cause on of the concervatories I work is in the country, and there is no one there for repairs or rehairing, so I have to take the bows or violins to Athens.

March 20, 2013 at 03:50 PM · Peter:

Why not just use Hare restorer? It worked for Bugs.

March 20, 2013 at 08:47 PM · Before you rehair, why not try cleaning with alcohol.

If you're going to rehair anyway you've nothing to loose provided you take reasonable care and keep the alcohol off the bow itself. This is easily done if you use surgical wipes. A fine comb helps too, to tease apart hairs stuck together with rosin.

I've had pretty good luck with this.

March 20, 2013 at 10:44 PM · Has anyone tried the P & H Bows. They are made to be rehaired by anybody??????

March 21, 2013 at 01:30 AM · If you know how to rehair a bow, have the tools sure. If you have no idea what you are doing then leave it to a pro. I rehair my good stick once a year. It is worth it to me to spend the 60 bucks to keep my $2000.00 stick playing well. My bow guy also checks everything out to fix anything that needs adjusting. If you have cheap stick it may not be worth rehairing. If you fixate on rehairing then you can learn how to do it.

March 21, 2013 at 12:24 PM · How about trying Rogain with Monoxidil? Maybe the hair will grow back! ;-)

March 21, 2013 at 10:21 PM · "Has anyone tried the P & H Bows. They are made to be rehaired by anybody?"

I know several people who use the CF version and I rehair one of them fairly regularly (he is a strong player). It's a little optimistic to say that "anybody" can do it, but I've been fairly successful and I don't rehair normal bows. Their most recent ones don't even need a spreader wedge. They do not make high grade bows, but some people like the way they play.

They are easy to rehair ONLY if you use P&H's prepared hair.

August 20, 2014 at 11:17 PM · Mr Dakoutros (and the rest of you that also want to try this procedure)

I found this video really helpful. This technician is not rehairing a violin bow (I'm not sure wether it is a cello or a viola bow) but of cource the main concept remains the same.

Just make sure that you have all the tools needed, or something else that would do the trick for you. But this man makes it look really simple and neat.

I'm not at the same level as you are, I am just trying to get a diploma. I play many hours a day, and since I am also an arhitecture student, I'm on a tight budget. I could not afford a rehair every two monts, (which would cost me even more, just to get to Athens, and meet someone who does this for a living, and also does this the right way). Trying to learn bow rehairing, seemed as my main option.

Right now, it's the second time i've done this (with success) to a relatively cheap -but definately NOT junk-bow. Having a spare frog, made me feel more comfortable, yet I never used it.

P.S It seems (in all such threads) that fear about damaging a bow is being ispired all the time. If someone really wants to learn to do it, and loves his bow, he hould know when to stop, before damaging his equipment)

Good luck (if you haven't done it already)

August 21, 2014 at 07:50 PM · Maestronet has an active thread on the challenges of rehairing.

There are numerous pitfalls, starting with getting the #$%^ plug out of the bow head in one piece or slipping the *&^%$ ferrule off the frog without damaging anything.

Practice on a cr@ppy bow first. You will thank me.

August 23, 2014 at 02:28 AM · Rehairing a bow well is a difficult skill, and it's very easy to damage a bow if you don't know what you're doing. I would not recommend that you try to save money by DIY bow rehairs; unless you're a professional, you're unlikely to be playing enough to need to rehair your bow more than once or at most twice a year anyway. You'd have to spend several years' worth of rehairs on hair and bows to practice on before you were even competent.

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