I know it's time to re-hair the bow when...
I'm thinking it is about time to re-hair my bow and that got me to wondering how others make the decision. Is it simply a calendar note, so obvious because there's nothing left,...
How do you make your decision?
I decide when:
I just get it done once a year.
When I get bored and feel like using up some hair.
The time to rehair a bow will vary a bit from player to player, depending on the frequency of use, type of rosin, style of playing, and maintenance of the bow.
I get it done about twice a year, usually just before winter and then again right before summer hits. This doesn't always work because of the weather or if I lost more hairs than usual, but this is typically how I decide when to get my bow rehaired.
When it doesn't catch the string, and no amount of rosin helps. Usually by then it is well past time for a re-hair. I usually have it done every 6 months on my main practice violin & viola bows.
Once I start breaking hairs.
This has generated some discussion in the past. But I have experienced myself that after a long time it really happens that the bow is no longer catching the strings very well. That signals time to rehair, but very often you have to rehair before that simply because the bow is getting too thin (too many hairs broken off). So, basically, it is very clear-cut. If you don't obviously feel or see the need to rehair, do not rehair.
It's slippery and rosin doesn't solve it.
I decided to re-hair because I wondered what new hair would play like, and it's been a few years since. I play for two hours every day and I do dig in, hardly ever break a hair from playing. I didn't notice any difference in how the bow played on the string. Maybe I should have cut the hairs before handing the bow to the luthier...?