Which way do you put your bows in your case?
Do you put your bows in the case with the hair up or the hair down? Do you have no particular preference, or do you follow the case makers recommendations (if there are any)?
The point of this post is that while I have my own personal convictions, which were matured with research including opinions of bowmakers, I'd like to know what the real world thinks. Thank you!
In my violin case I put my bows hair down, mostly because of habit, not because I researched it. In my viola case, one bow is hair up and the other hair down, because that's the only way they will fit. It would be interesting to find out if I've been doing it wrong all this time!
I prefer to put them in hair-down when I can. I like to have the presentation side in clear view so I can choose the bow I want more easily. I don’t love the idea of hanging a bow up by its hair, either, although I am willing to admit that I don’t know if it truly makes a difference in hair longevity
Hair down. I think I might drop otherwise.
Some cases-- including at least one of yours-- require one of the bows to go hair-up. Otherwise, I tend to go hair-down. It means less chance of finger grease on the hair, and allows weight to be absorbed by the stick-- which doesn't usually stretch on humid days.
Hair up. I've no idea if it actually matters... I had to change my response when I actually opened my case rather than relying on memory :-)
I've never seen a case where the bow holder was so close that the hair was touching it. Anyway, hair down because my case for some reason doesn't allow me to insert the bow hair up.
I have an old American case from Shar with four bow slots. My lightest bow, in slot #2, middle weight, slot #3, and my heaviest & favorite, in slot #4. All of the hair pointing down.
Hair up in my 2 Musafia cases because the case sort of forces it.
Is this a trick question? Are we all going to have to cut the last inch and a half off our Peccattes to make them fit in a new and improved case model?
Depends on the case set-up. But hair down would be my instinct.
I prefer hair down. But my American case does require hair up on the top slot. This has always annoyed me greatly. I am currently looking for an independent bow case to hold 6 bows. Any recommendations?
Both. I use a shaped case and it only has space for the wood facing the middle of the case. So top bow is hair up and bottom bow is hair down.
I'm with Andrew. One of my Musafia case (Aeternum) forces me to put my bows in the "upper" bow holders with hair up. Otherwise, my preference will always be hair down. Just a disclaimer, I have an older Musafia Aeternum case, so I don't know if the newer Aeternum cases have the same issue.
I prefer hair down, but my Musafia forces hair up, so there's what I do.
Hair up in my Musafia.
Just saying that I had one case that forced me to put the hair going up and I didn't like that. It's only one centimeter more of room inside that we'd need.
Thank you, everyone, for your responses. The bow makers I discussed the issue with during my initial research phase suggested that hair-up was the best solution, so where possible I designed my cases that way (the lower positions of the my elliptical and dart designs don't allow it).
@John, Maurizio Riboni makes excellent bow cases.
I have two shaped cases. My vintage American “Bull’s Head” will only work with the upper bow (when the lid is open) hair down, and the lower bow hair up. My Gewa Jaeger case requires the exact opposite. I have no choice in the matter.
Many of you have indicated hair-down as a preference, sometimes strongly. May I ask why?
I put them with the hair facing the long axis. Dunno why, just do. In some cases this is the only way some will comfortably fit.
I often wondered why Musafia's cases are made so that bows are stored as "reversed" :)
Marco-- perhaps a special order from Cremona, with a mirror-lined lid?
Hair up, always hair up. Seems more logical to me for the reasons Dimitri stated
It has just never seemed wise to me to hang the weight of the bow on the hair. Hair stretches.
It has never been an issue, but I guess from reading the thread, that it really does not matter what one does!
I've never worried too much about it - I hang my bows symmetrically in my Riboni case, bottom with hair down and top with hair up, and over time my #1 bow has switched often between top and bottom. I can't say I ever noticed the hair stretching, I personally doubt there's a grand conspiracy to get more rehairs out of us.
Which Musafia model requires hair up? A shaped one?
@Carlo, my older daughter has a master's degree in psychology, I'll have her check this thread out, she may find it interesting! :-)
I put the bows hair up. I have a Musafia ultralight or whatever it's called, and I can't fit more than two bows if I put them hair down because the arches on the bow will interfere.
Thank you, Mike and Buri! And I agree, addressing details that most people pass over can be fun, because the closer you look, the more you see and learn.
A normally tightened bow with 150 hairs will apply a force of about 0.85 pound to the bow stick (more for a stiffer stick with more hair). The force is considerably greater while it is producing sound on the violin.
Andrew, I too remember those clips that would hold onto the button. They were metal and with a velvet lining that would quickly wear off. Who knows how many bow buttons were ruined by that nasty design!
Hair-up or hair-down is much less important than orienting the ends of the bow north-south, so the bow aligns with the earth's magnetic lines of flux, and won't be pulled into a warped state during storage. :-)
Respectfully, David, East-West is more important. Mariners since the 1400s could calculate latitude (North-South), but longitude (East-West, from Greenwich, obviously) took until Harrison's "Sea Clock" of the mid 1700s, tested by Cook in the Pacific during his epic voyage and map-making.
This is getting as strange as some of the luthier "discussions" on Maestronet!
Jokes could go ahead forever... :)
I've always had hair down - by habit? I certainly don't recall who taught me / who I caught it from.
@Marco, no maker can make everyone happy in any field. Personal preference is a divider, not a uniter. Ask a BMW owner what he thinks of Mercedes (or vice-versa).
Dimitri: and a user configurable locking system? :)
I think a lot of the preference for the hair-down position comes from a couple main ideas:
@Marco, if you can come up with a good, reliable one, please let me know! :-)
Only slightly of topic...
When your violin is found belly up it’s probably time to buy a new one.
Apparently I'm among the few exceptions in always putting my bow in hair-up whenever possible. I've always been extremely uncomfortable with putting my bow in hair-down for the same reasons that the bow makers listed.
I imagine that setting the violin face down might be challenging for case makers, since they have to accommodate all the different shapes and heights of chin rests.
I’m not saying it is an improvement, but rather IF it were, could people be convinced to use it? Or would they think the the violin would be the “wrong” way up, like bows hanging from the hair?
@David and Carlo: all you have to do is take a violin case and place it on its lid and check it out! :-)
Like most people, I suspect, I put my bows with the hair down (although in one instance this is dictated by the case's curvature), but of course it's silly - once the case is vertical and bouncing about on your back, all the variables change.
Come to think of it, this discussion reminds me of when case makers started positioning the main accessory compartment to the right of the case, instead of to the left, where it had been for well over 150 years.
When did the accessory box get moved to the right side of the case? Every case I have ever owned has the box on the left. I most recently bought a case about five or six years ago.
@Dimitri "The compartment to the right struck me as awkward, as one would hold the violin in your right hand to be able to rummage around in the compartment with your left"
A reason to have the accessory compartment on the right side is not only potential failure of the bow spinner but the failure of the user to fasten the spinner; it has happened to me in my old Jaegar case (luckily with no damage to the violin) and now I will only buy cases with the compartment to the right. I used a Gewa Venezia case for many years and I have given my children similar cases. It is a matter of habit and I normally don't "rummage around" in the compartment with the violin in my hand. The fact that it has been on the left side for 150 years is no argument to continue to do it "wrong". Much like cases were made without suspension systems for hundreds of years, but now no-one would dream of buying such a case.
My first case was dart shaped. It allowed bow placement in only one specific orientation: bow stick inwards, hair outwards. It formed a habit, that's why I still place the "upper" two bows in ma case "upside down", but to be honest I don't believe that it makes a significant difference.
Dimitri, if you want to know what MY real world thoughts are - well, I don't care about the way the bows are oriented in the case, as long as you could make room for more of them. Six would be nice, eight even greater... Would be a serious incentive for an upgrade!
I’ve seen more polycarbonate cases with the pocket on the right side in the last few years. I definitely notice it but it doesn’t bother me in the way the bow placement does.
The placement of the accessory compartment (right or left) can be as polarizing an issue as the bow placement.