Noob Question: How tight is too tight?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Bin Son of Bin, Nov 24, 2012.


  1. Bin Son of Bin

    Bin Son of Bin

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Location:
    Ottawa/Gatineau
    I understand that I need to loosen the bow string when putting it away, but how do I know how far to tighen it back up? I don't want to snap the bow or break anything (it's a rental).

    Jason
  2. Thumpie

    Thumpie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Triangle Area, NC
    Starting out, I'd err on the side of too loose, and then gradually tighten as you play and get used to the response. You'll never want the bow so taut that it doesn't flex a little on the strings with a little pressure.

    Bow tightness is a personal thing, and can even vary minute-to-minute depending upon many factors...

    One thing to be aware of is that if you have a new bow, you have to break it in, so the response is going to be changing a lot at first...
  3. Bin Son of Bin

    Bin Son of Bin

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Location:
    Ottawa/Gatineau
    Thanks for the reply Thumpie.

    Is there an indicator somewhere showing that the bow is getting too tight? Something I should look out for?
  4. Thumpie

    Thumpie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Location:
    Triangle Area, NC
    Besides the feeling, I'm not sure there's something to look for besides the shape of the bow's arch. Like everything else on the bass, it takes a while to get a hang of it.

    Maybe a teacher will be able to offer something more concrete to look for...
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  6. ripper911

    ripper911

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Location:
    Powder Springs, GA
    I would say to tighten the hair so that during normal playing it doesn't touch the stick then tighten from there if you want more tension, if it feels tight back it up a bit.

    Basically a preference issue based on how you're playing. For more definition during faster playing looser hair will wrap around the strings a little better for more of a contact patch. IMO
  7. Tommy el Gato

    Tommy el Gato

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    I was giving similar advice to what Ripper just suggested. Basically, when playing forte you want the hair to barely not touch the stick. At least that's how it is with good bows. This advice came from Andy Stetson from the Bass Cellar in cinci and he also suggested some of the crummier bows might need a little bit more tension.
  8. Andrew Albright

    Andrew Albright

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Location:
    Vermont USA
    I tighten my bow just to the point where the hair appears to "focus", then one half-turn tighter. When I loosen it, I go the same distance the other way: just to the point where the hair starts to lossen, then a half-turn further. If the hair still touches the stick when you play, tighten it another half-turn. Never more than a half-turn at a time. Don't worry about breaking the stick: if you tighten it too much, the wedges holding the hair in place should let go first.

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