Bow tightening

April 14, 2020, 7:03 AM · Hello.
My viola bow won't tighten. I can barely fit a pencil through it when tightened. It is slightly warped. I didn't care much when I bought it (only around £10 on Amazon) but I've really liked it as my viola bow in the last few months. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can do?

Replies (12)

April 14, 2020, 7:13 AM · Get a rehair. Your hair has gone too slack because it's a lot more humid. That's my guess. You do kinda get what you pay for, you know?
Edited: April 14, 2020, 7:30 AM · There is ether something wrong with the screw mechanism or the hair is too long.

The hair could be too long because it is moist from humidity, but more likely it is just too long.

Loosen the screw and remove it so you can remove the frog from the stick. Next put the frog back on (without the screw) and pull it tight toward the back of the bow. If the eyelet goes all the way to the back of the slot without the hair tightening enough, the hair is too long. If the hair can get tight enough the hair is not too long and something may be wrong with the screw mechanism.

Next check the condition of the screw threads, then the eyelet. If all looks good insert the screw directly in the eyelet and tighten to see if it threads all the way in. If it doesn't, try cleaning the threads. If that doesn't help it is possible to buy a new screw and eyelet to install on your bow - but that might cost as much as you paid for the bow.

Unfortunately a rehair will cost more than you paid for the bow.

The only other thing you can do if the hair is too long is consider that "the slot in the stick is in the wrong place" and decide whether you want to risk the bow by trying to extend the slot further back. Consider your options and what you have to lose.

I have had similar problems when a bow (rehair) was shipped to me from a location with different climate conditions than my own.

The "pencil rule{ for hair standoff from the stick is just a guide. For different bow stiffness and cambers the best standoff may be different. If the torque you apply to tighten the bow feels normal before it reaches the "stop" this might just be OK for this bow and if it plays OK just enjoy it.

Edited: April 14, 2020, 8:39 AM · Buy a better bow. I've had a few bows of that quality from Amazon. The Col Legno Standard copy was good enough to keep, but the others were hideously warped when tightened. If you are British, you should try to get hold of one of these (mine - an octagonal brazilwood - is fabulous for the money - one came with my electric violin; but I have heard from an unreliable source that quality control can vary, so be prepared to return it if you have a problem with it): -
April 14, 2020, 9:09 AM · Rehair is the best thing I expect. However, at £10, I would seriously consider an upgrade, once the shops are opening up again (or do the Stringzone at home bow trial). As you are seriously aiming for music college, you are going to need a bow that can keep up with demanding repertoire.

Col Legno bows are very nice.

Andrew Victor offers good advice, go through these stages of checking the bow.

Edited: April 14, 2020, 10:23 AM · If a bow costs £10, you don't spend £70 on a rehair (especially if it is warped), you buy another £10 bow. Of course, good £10 bows are just flukes, so your chances of getting another one as good for the same money are slim.
April 14, 2020, 10:05 AM · The bow responds well. M I have been thinking about doing that, its just having the money to do it haha. I have a Jon Paul for my violin, which I really like
April 14, 2020, 10:24 AM · And Gordon, I agree. As stated above I do intend on investing in a new one fairly soon
April 14, 2020, 10:41 AM · Hopefully you have a spare bow to tide you over until you can buy an upgrade.
April 14, 2020, 11:48 AM · M yeah I have one. Should only need around 2 months before I have the money for the stringzone one :)
April 14, 2020, 12:10 PM · As Andrew says, it could be the screw in the frog.
Time ago i had the same problem (could not tighten the bow as before): the screw was lightly onglued inside the body of the thing you manipulate with your fingers (i don't know the term):


April 14, 2020, 12:24 PM · Two months isn't so bad. Which bow are you thinking of on Stringzone? Happy saving!
April 14, 2020, 12:31 PM · A carbon fibre one I think, as my Jon Paul is and works well. Hope to find one as good for similar value

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