silver winding on bow tarnished

August 28, 2005 at 07:39 PM · I'm just curious, but the silver winding on my bow is very tarnished, its a red orange color, and makes my index finger discolored. Can I clean this myself? If not, how much does it cost to replace it?

Replies (9)

August 29, 2005 at 12:05 AM · Sounds to me like silver plated copper wire

Don't know how much it would cost to replace in pure silver, but you wouldn't getthe same discolouration problems


August 29, 2005 at 10:36 AM · I use a blue cloth with some stuff in it, available for polishing band instruments.

August 29, 2005 at 11:00 AM · I used to have the silver wiring on my bow as well, and it actually started unraveling. At my local music store, they didn't sell the winding but told me to get a leather one. It was about... $50 I believe. Well, $30-$50 at any rate depending on the store.

August 29, 2005 at 02:20 PM · $50 For a little scrap of leather sounds like highway robbery to me.

Why not get a small scrap of leather--it could be from a leather-goods store or cobbler--and glue it on with contact cement?

Or, keep the "silver" winding but first poish it, then clean it, then put a coat of lacquer over it to stop it corroding?

Or buy some silver wire from a jewelry supply store and re-wrap it yourself?

They could all be fairly simple projects which would get the job done and make the bow really "yours" at the same time.

August 29, 2005 at 02:49 PM · this happened to my bow too, I just took it to a bow maker and he put new wire on it, it happens because its not pure silver they use, rather its copper with silver plating

August 30, 2005 at 11:26 AM · Hi Danielle,

the discoloration is due to a reaction of your sweat and the copper wire. Since some people buy copper wristbands for health reasons, take it as a fringe benefit of playing the violin.

Seriously, you could apply some clear nail polish to the wire - taking off the nut first, to get the bow hair out of danger.

I wouldn't recommend to replace the wire with leather, since taking off the weight of the wire will interfere with the balance of your bow.

There are different materials used for the winding, like silk (lightest), fishbone (or imitation), copper wire w/ silver coating, silver wire and gold wire (heaviest).

A bow is a very fragile thing and plays a very big - though mostly underrated - role in tone production. Therefore I would refrain from "do-it-yourself" measures and see a competent luthier/bow maker.

Bye, Juergen

September 22, 2005 at 09:17 PM · Silver tinsel (real silver, not copper) is available at most reputable shops. They can replace your tinsel with new farly easily. Contact your local shop to check price, and make sure to let them know that you need silver not copper tinsel. regular tinsel (not sure about the coppe variety) can be cleaned with an oxy type cleaner (while silver cleaners will work, if they touch the bow they will destroy the varnish) but in any case try not to have any cleaning agent touch the wood area of the bow.


September 23, 2005 at 05:08 AM · They're right. The scumbags put copper wire on it.

September 27, 2005 at 03:47 PM · To Brian: Make sure if you replace the winding with tape that the weight/balance remains roughly the same. Putting something lighter/heavier even by a gram or 2 can change the balance and possibly the playing characteristics of a bow.


This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal
Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Classic Violin Olympus

Coltman Chamber Music Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Jargar Strings


Violin Lab



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine