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Hair tension

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Is there a difference in the tension that people have their hair set at when using a wooden bow versus carbon fibre / fibreglass? Just wondering if where a significant bow weight difference exists, people adjust the tension accordingly or it is set independent of the type/weight of bow.

    Regards to all
  2. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    Regardless of the material its made from, each bow will have a particular tension that works for a particular player. Matter of taste and style to a large degree
  3. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    There is, I think. I just had an Arcus c/f bow rehaired and it felt like the bow lost some of its camber to get to playing tension. I took it back to the shop showed them where I thought the camber and balance should be and they rehaired it. Arcus is a bundle of issues unto themselves, but I think some shops are less careful with c/f bows than would and just "assume" an average.

    No facts on any of the above. Just IMO
  4. the_Ryan


    Jul 10, 2015
    Bronx, NY
    For me here's how it goes:

    Too loose and the bow can't bounce/the stick touches the hair. Too tight and the bow can only bounce. However, there is some wiggle room; generally I find tighter bow hair to be more articulate and looser hair to keep the bow in the string since the stick doesn't flex as much. Depending on the situation I may tighten or loosen my bow a bit to help get the desired feel I want.
  5. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    Sounds like they did a bad job... Funny because some of those Arcus bows cost more than a fine Pernambuco bow.

    You should hope for a rehair where all the hairs are the same length from tip to the spreader wedge. Every hair carries the same amount of tension and the overall length is not too short of too long. The hair shouldn't be under any tension when the frog is loosened.. but it probably shouldn't be waving all over either. Sort of depends on where you want your frog and what works best for your bow balance-wise.
    Asking for extra hair, or more hair on one side is not really nessesary, but if you do, the person should keep it balanced so the bow doesn't turn to one side.

    As far as tightening the bow yourself, in addition to playability effects, the tension the hair and stick are under really effect the sound a lot. Long story short, don't over tighten - it can choke of the sound of the stick. Carbon bows can be stiff, but they are designed to be strong and flexible like any good pernambuco stick. If you have to treat it differently, it is probably not a good bow.
    the_Ryan likes this.
  6. Michael Eisenman

    Michael Eisenman Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Eugene, Oregon
    Louis, I'm curious about how a rehair can cause a loss of camber, as long as it's not too short. As long as the hair isn't too tight to begin with, you tighten it until it's to your liking, no? When I rehair a bow, I try to have the hair just loose enough as to not be under tension with the frog fully forward.

    Also, how is a c/f bow different from a wooden bow in this respect?
    Phil Rowan and the_Ryan like this.
  7. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    +1. IME, re-hairing short greatly improves the balance of a bow. I have an old, old Rob Reichel French bow that weighs close to 150g. I last had it re-haired many years back. I recently got it re-haired short, and it feels so much lighter (or less tip heavy) now.

    As far as bow hair tightness when playing, I generally keep things on the tighter side, as it makes the notes pop out much quicker (added response), though after reading some posts in this thread, I may experiment with loosening things up depending on what's being played (by tiny increments, of course).

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