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Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Kevin Gordon, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. I've been trying to figure out how often one needs to rehair a bow, and the answer I seem to see is "periodically." What does periodically mean, every few months, once a year? Anyway, I've had my bow for about a year and half so I'm thinking that it's probably time to rehair it, but I was curious in general. I generally play from an hour and half to three hours a day and spend about a third of my time bowing, more recently. At this rate how often is a general rule?
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    If it isn't obvious have your teacher or a luthier (who works on bows) take a look at it. An hour a day for 18 months sounds like enough to do in the hair, but you never know.

    My teacher plays in a the SO, teaches and practices enough that his main bow probably averages 90 minutes a day at least, yet he says a rehair will last him a couple of years. He uses very little rosin and has a delicate hand with the bow.

    Others may go through it much quicker.
  3. Playing every day I'd say a year and a half at the very most, and ideally every six or eight months. You will be surprised how much difference it makes, even if your bow seems fine now. Also, check out the work of whoever is going to do the rehair; some guys do a lot better job than others and it makes a difference. You want a nice flat, fairly thin (not narrow) stripe of hair that's all tensioned the same. A lot of luthiers seem to put too much hair on so it's all thick, and the tension varies from hair to hair. The guy who does mine puts on a nice flat, tight smooth ribbon that plays super clean.
  4. After a little less than two years of 8 bowing hours a week, my first, cheap bow became totally unusable.

    After about a year and a half of 10 bowing hours a week, my second, good quality bow was rapidly going in that direction, though it was still usable.

    As the bow hair wears out, it becomes harder and harder to get a reliably good draw and tone from your bow. You have to use more and more rosin, until the tone you do have gets fuzzy and muffled.

    You should avoid this stage at all costs. My first got so bad, that I had to borrow a bow in to be able to play a concert.
  5. PS - This has nothing to do with how much hair you have left on your bow (though that could be a problem too).

    My first bow still had most of it's hair, when it became unusable.
  6. Thanks to all, I've been away at college and the only teacher there is a real jerk so I fired him; he tried to tell me exactly how to play and as a jazz musican I don't like that, so that's why I've not been able to get a teacher's opinion, plus I'm better than the guy at bowing. I was figuring it was something like; sounds fine now but will sound much better after rehairing. I'm back at home now and I know of a luther who specializes in bass and his family has been for generations.