Every time before you play, when you take out your bow, you will first have to tighten the violin bow's hair.
Take the frog (the "heel" of the bow which holds and adjusts the near end of the horsehair) in your left hand. With your right hand turn the screw clockwise, away from yourself.
The wood of the bow is made with a natural curve along the length and when the hair is tightened the bow stick becomes straighter.
Important: Do not tighten the violin bow too much! Tighten it just so much that a pencil can barely fit in between the bow stick and the hair at the point where the hair is closest to the stick. If there is more space the hair is too tight.
When you pack away your instrument you MUST loosen the hair first by turning the screw anti-clockwise. If the bow hair is not loosened the bow stick can warp.
Violin Bow Rehairing
If a bow is older and has been played a lot, it can happen that when you try to tighten the bow you may feel that it cannot tighten enough. This probably means that the bow hair has stretched and is too long.
One cannot play like that as the wood will be touching the string. You will need to have your bow looked at. Some violin repairers will decide to shorten the hair, others may recommend complete violin bow rehairing.
Violin Bow Cleaning
Do not touch the bow hair with your fingers. Even if you have washed your hands, there is always a bit of oil from the skin which removes the rosin and leaves a smooth spot on the bow which cannot grip the string.
For young beginners it is important to stress the importance of washing hands before playing. Bows can become extremely grubby over time, especially at the frog where the thumb touches the hair.
Bows can be washed - but please be careful:
Related video: How to hold the violin bow Click here...
- First unscrew the frog-screw and remove it.
- Carefully take away the hair from the stick.
- Moisten a little bit of cotton wool or a very clean cloth with methylated spirits.
- Use this to gently rub the hair with it.
- Now the hairs will be sticky and clogged together.
- Carefully wash hair in lukewarm water with a little bit of mild soap (eg dishwashing soap)
- Take care that only the hair and no other part gets wet.
- Spread the hair on a towel to dry.
- When completely dry assemble the bow (do not get the hair all tangled up!).
- The bow will now need LOTS of rosin!
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