When do you rehair your bows?

June 14, 2005 at 01:43 PM · Hello,

How do you know when it's time to rehair your bow? I've been using the same bow/hairs for a year. I go easy on the rosin. I play an hour/hour and a half a day. My bow still looks full, and from what I can tell, still allows me to make a decent sound. Is there a time table for replacing bow hairs? Do you notice a different sound when you play with a bow that has hair that's too old/used? Do you just wait until bow hairs start falling out before replacing them?

Julie E.

(I tried to find info on this topic by looking through the v.com "instruments" threads, but didn't see any postings that addressed this topic specifically. If I missed a posting, please point me in the right direction. Thanks.)

Replies (16)

June 14, 2005 at 01:46 PM · A general rule of thumb is once every year, but it can vary depending what kind of stuff you do, and how much you play.

June 14, 2005 at 02:03 PM · It depends for me. Sometimes the hair wears out and yes, it definitely makes a differenc in the sound. You wont get the same rich tone you might get otherwise, and your bow will seem to glide over the strings, no matter how much rosin you add. This usually happens to me every 3 months or so, often less than that if I start breaking hairs. However I practice quite a bit each day. For example when I was playing the last mvt of sibelius a lot, I was rehairing quite frequently.

June 14, 2005 at 03:12 PM · My luthier's rule is every six months. It works for me.

June 14, 2005 at 04:24 PM · I would say that it depends entirely on how much you use your bow. For instance, playing full-time at the Met during a Wagner festival is going to wear the hair out faster than usual.

When you can tell that the hair is no longer gripping or responding the way you'd like it to, then it's time. For most players, that's somewhere between 6 months and a year. Of course, I'm writing this knowing full well I haven't rehaired my primary bow in close to a year, and the hair is in horrible shape...

June 14, 2005 at 07:00 PM · It depends on how much you practice and play with the bow. For me, my rehairing patterns differ throughout the year... Usually I rehair it every 2 months from January to June because that's when the bulk of my performances and competitions occur, but then I don't rehair my bow until September... so I think it depends

If you find that quite a lot of bow hair is missing before your 'scheduled' rehair, I would get it rehaired sooner.

June 14, 2005 at 08:37 PM · ......And how much should it cost.....

June 14, 2005 at 09:04 PM · Usually 50 bucks does it.

June 15, 2005 at 02:33 AM · Just out of curiosity, do you all find yourselves sitting there for 30-45 minutes after a rehair rosining your bow? I've always had to do that, and wish it could all be done a little faster. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong. Surely it's no more than just swiping away as we normally do! Please advise.

June 15, 2005 at 02:16 PM · You might ask your rehairer to rosin it for you. Our bow man, for instance, puts very little rosin on the bow when it's done, because everyone seems to like a different amount. But if you ask, I'm sure he'd be happy to oblige.

June 15, 2005 at 02:28 PM · I rehair my bow every 4 to 6 months and get the very best hair I can find. You spend a bit more but get more out of it!


June 15, 2005 at 02:51 PM · How do I know when to do it? When my teacher remarks on my 'small' tone, and I look down at my bow, and see only half the hair that should be on the bow...

June 15, 2005 at 03:32 PM · Unfortunately there is apparently a bow hair crisis, as the quality of a lot of the hair out there right now is bad. You should get a good bow maker with good connections who can get the good stuff.

June 15, 2005 at 04:28 PM · yeah, I think if you go with a well-known bowmaker, you can be pretty confident of getting good quality hair. Of course, you should ask what kind they use if you have any doubts

June 15, 2005 at 06:16 PM · I never break bow hairs--am I doing something wrong?

June 15, 2005 at 11:52 PM · nope-you just have more finess than the rest of us!

June 16, 2005 at 11:38 PM · My bow hair doesn't break but I change every 6 weeks. I mean I rehair them when I feel there is not enough contact. The main problem for me is that there are very little bow makers(violin Makers?) who can rehair good. All can put new hairs on the bow but that's not enough. They usually put way too much hairs and even I ask them to put little hair as possible, they put still way too much for me. Thank God that I have very good private bow maker who makes exactly with my taste but I worked with him few times before he could make what I wanted.

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