Online Bow Rehair or Central NJ?

May 29, 2019, 9:22 AM · My son is moving up to a full-size violin. He is not very serious on it, but enjoys being part of the orchestra and plans to play in junior high.

I'd bought a Samuel Shen 305 which I quite like. It came with an octagonal wood bow badly in need of a rehair. I would assume this is an "okay" bow, and I like the balance.

I'm interested in either an online service or something local (Princeton/Hopewell/Trenton). The shop in Princeton only services instruments they've sold. Does anyone have advice? The main onnline company I keep seeing charges $15 for the box and $75 to rehair.

Replies (15)

May 29, 2019, 10:16 AM · How absurd, I have never heard of a violin shop refusing to do a rehair just because they weren't the original seller of a bow. Have you looked for other shops?

There's nothing wrong with a rehair through the mail as long as it's done by a reputable shop.

However, if this is just a bow that was a throw-in for an inexpensive Chinese fiddle, it is probably a junk bow. Rather than spend $80 or 90 for an rehair, I'd spend $100 for a student bow -- the Presto carbon bows from Shar are just fine for beginning/intermediate students.

May 29, 2019, 10:21 AM · I think it is always best to have a working relationship with a local bow maker. If one can't be found locally, then it may be worth a little drive. If the nearest bow maker isn't in driving distance, then shipping to any reputable shop would be the last resort.
May 29, 2019, 10:32 AM · Anthony, that's a very helpful idea--I was only finding generic shops a little ways away. There is a maker about 15 minutes away, so I will email.

Thomas, I think honestly it is probably a $100 bow, or something in that range, so it feels stupid to treat it as a disposable object, but possibly that's what it is? We already have another cf bow, but I maybe should take him to the high end store in town and let him try expensive bows sometime, just to see what it's like.

May 29, 2019, 10:40 AM · As long as the bow rehairing is done in your climate zone it should be OK. Rehairs done in a drastically different climate can cause problems for your bow during periods of extreme weather conditions.

Check SHAR for a sale - they just had a 20% to 25%-off sale. Might still be on!

Edited: May 29, 2019, 2:52 PM · Triangle Strings in North Carolina has a well designed rehairing program via UPS.... They also do very good and consistent work.

Go to their website.... pick ..... register an appointment and request a mailer package. They send you a safe package to ship your bow... you pick an "appointment" from their calendar, ship your bow. Turnaround is usually next day from your "appointment" and comes back in the same mailing package. { So you only pay once for the "packaging" and can reuse it for subsequent rehairs.

This is exactly what you have "seen on the internet" and a very reputable shop.... seem your only other choice is to fine an bow maker/rehair locally and do the transaction in person..... Don't think you're going to find a quality rehair under 75/100 $$ regardless of where you go.

May 29, 2019, 3:05 PM · Why not go to Philly for your rehair? Or use Salchow's same day service here in NY and make a day of it (assuming of course you can make a day of it during the workweek!)
May 29, 2019, 3:36 PM · Karin Menzel Violin Shop in Boonton. Google her business and give her a phone call or send an e-mail. She was trained by a great luthier (her father) and does excellent work.
May 29, 2019, 3:39 PM · It is always a good idea to have a second bow. So you may want to consider getting another then have the one you have rehaired.
May 29, 2019, 3:56 PM · I’d recommend either Robert Ames in Fort Lee, NJ or Salchow and Sons in NYC.
May 29, 2019, 4:46 PM · "The shop in Princeton only services instruments they've sold."
"How absurd, I have never heard of a violin shop refusing to do a rehair just because they weren't the original seller of a bow."

If it's the shop I'm thinking of, "instruments they've sold" means the violin/viola/cello, not the bow. If they "refused", I wonder if it was because they thought the bow isn't worth rehairing and didn't communicate that clearly.

May 29, 2019, 5:54 PM · @Mengwei, I may very well have misunderstood over the phone. "Refused" may be too strong a word. They were very friendly and it would not surprise me if they don't just don't deal in mystery bows, etc. They may not have the personnel to deal with their core business (repeat customers, major repairs, and sales) and also handle mystery instruments, walk-ins, etc. They asked where I got the violin and I fessed up that I'd gotten it on craigslist.

I gratefully found someone about ten minutes away who said he could rehair it. I'll report back on how it went. Interestingly, when I dropped it off he said it seems like a nice bow, and that he only doesn't rehair carbon fiber. Again, this may have been a misunderstanding. It may be that he can rehair better cf bows, but not the inexpensive ones.

A challenge for parents in music is often we're pretty ignorant of the basics. We can't distinguish a good rehair from a bad one, or distinguish levels of service (are there basic and pro rehairs or is a rehair a rehair?). There are musical conglomerates here, and I didn't try those, and the boutique shop in town catering to pros was probably not the right match, but it seems like there are lots of other ways to do this. I don't think any of the places I looked at has a price list, although I know I've seen that in other locations. I'm grateful for the endorsement for Triangle and also for the shops in Philadelphia, northern NJ, and NYC.

I hope this makes sense :) I really am grateful for the endorsements and advice.

May 29, 2019, 6:13 PM · Rehair is not brain surgery. Your local guy will be fine.
May 29, 2019, 11:01 PM · Robert Ames, Salchow and Sons, and Triangle Strings are all very good.
May 30, 2019, 8:19 AM · Call the violin doctor. They are located in New Jersey only about an hour away from you. Nice shop worth knowing about.

The violin doctor
3203 Atlantic Ave
Allenwood, NJ 08720
+1 (732) 223-3669

May 31, 2019, 9:13 AM · Just a quick note that somewhere here I found a registry of luthiers and there's an excellent bass player down the street who was able to rehair the bow for <$70 before he headed out on travels.

Thank you all again for the advice. I was also grateful to learn about other shops and services.

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