I know it's time to re-hair the bow when...

November 3, 2020, 3:35 PM · 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?

Replies (10)

Edited: November 3, 2020, 3:52 PM · I decide when:
1. FOR SURE -> Enough hairs have broken on one side that the stick bends sideways when I tighten it.

2. MAYBE: if I think it does not play as I remember or not as well as a lesser bow;
a. I "comb" out the hair with an old toothbrush I keep for that purpose. If that doesn't work I----->
b. When this happens I do an "alcohol cleaning"** of the hair. If that works to restore the bow I do not get it rehaired (yet).

**Check out one of my previous posts about alcohol cleaning:
z.b. https://www.violinist.com/discussion/archive/18371/

November 3, 2020, 5:31 PM · I just get it done once a year.
November 3, 2020, 6:24 PM · When I get bored and feel like using up some hair.

Seriously, though, you can just feel it in your fingers when it's time for a change. The bow won't mate with the string like it used to.

November 3, 2020, 10:33 PM · 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.

As a general rule, it’s good to have your bow rehaired after about six months if you play about an hour a day.

When a customer brings in a bow and asks whether it should be rehaired, I take into account the quantity of hair, length, tension, and amount of oils and dirt. I often ask how the bow holds rosin. When the hair wears out, it won’t retain rosin well.

November 4, 2020, 12:39 AM · 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.
November 6, 2020, 11:03 AM · 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.
November 6, 2020, 11:24 AM · Once I start breaking hairs.
November 6, 2020, 1:44 PM · 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.
November 8, 2020, 5:13 PM · 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...?

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