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My originally silver winding on a bow turned to blue color

July 20, 2022, 6:11 AM · Hello!

I would like to ask you about my violin which I have not been using for a long time. As I took a bow out recently, I noticed a light blue toned color on the winding part, it is also around the frog. It seems like the metal parts are hit mainly.

Can you tell what it is?

Thank you and have a nice day.

Replies (6)

July 20, 2022, 6:15 AM · Its silver tarnish, always happens if you let silver wrap strings sit long enough, doesn't effect tone, if you're very careful you can run some extra fine steel wool over it but be careful to get rid of any particles that fall off.
July 20, 2022, 6:43 AM · Thank you for the reply. I want to sold them and I am not sure if somebody will buy it with such a bow.
Edited: July 20, 2022, 7:56 AM · Sorry don't use steel wool on the frog, use silver polish, I thought you were talking about strings
July 20, 2022, 7:57 AM · Actually its easier to sell a silver mount bow with tarnish visible as that proves it is real silver, if you polish it the customer might doubt its silver and that will lower the price they are willing to pay, leave the polishing to the customer that buys it.
Edited: July 20, 2022, 8:02 AM · Silver is tarnished by sulfur containing gas. Blue tarnish indicates a fairly thick layer of tarnish.

A tarnished bow is, to me, a good sign, because it means the bow is wound with real silver wire and not nickel (or "German silver") that is an indication that the bow maker had a pretty high regard for the bow.

The bow accompanying a violin in a case really says nothing about the violin. I can recall an episode of the American television show "Antiques Roadshow" in which a violin case containing an old violin and bow was evaluated for the owner. The expert who examined it said the violin itself was nothing special (I think an early 20th century German "factory fiddle"), but the bow - that was something else - of the order of a F.N. Voirin, estimated to be worth upwards of $15,000 at the time.

So who would care about tarnish on the winding? It is no big job to replace the winding and thumb leather on a bow (I have had it done).

Edited: August 2, 2022, 2:24 AM · At least on the bow I had at the time (a G.A. Pfretzchner), my luthier advised me not to use silver polish on the silver wrapings. The silver on that bow covered a silk lining that benefits the tone of the violin. Silver polish can cause that silk underlay to rot.

I'm not sure if your bow is similar and has a silk underlay. But it's worth checking before applying polish.

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