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Yet another rehair question

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by korotkov, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. korotkov

    korotkov Supporting Member

    May 19, 2010
    St. Petersburg, Russia
    The question is: do I have to necessarily install the hair in a way that the frog is in its closest to the tip?

    There's so little hair on my orchestra bow that I just have to have it rehaired. I actually feel the difference with every hair I loose! What has happened wa the hair just stretched so hard that the frog is some 2cm farther away from the tip, wich gave me some 2cm playing length. Considering that this bow is shorter than average, this might be a good idea to keep that hair length. I can't check it by playing now but the ruler said the balance changes very little. So do I have to put the hair tight or I may keep a bit of the length?

    pics included

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  2. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Hair is usually cut within a fairly tight margin by the bow maker when rehairing the bow. Typically, it is a little on the short side (sometimes with a bit of tension on the hair with the frog all the way forward) in the summer, and a little long (no/very little tension on the hair with the frog fully forward) in the winter. This is because humidity makes the hair expand in humid months and shrink in dryer months.

    As for it being all the way forward, this is because hair tends to stretch over its life in your bow. With the frog all the way forward, you can allow the hair to stretch considerably and still tighten the bow to a desired playing tension. This is extremely important because the mortise in the stick that the eyelet travels back and forth in is usually only 20-24mm long. If the mortise is any longer than that, you run into problems. Specifically, you are removing strength and weight at a vulnerable part of the stick, and you would be able to see the mortise if the frog was all the way forward, because of the length of the frog.

    With your frog so far back, I am assuming you do not have a lot of space left in the mortise when you tighten the bow to your desired playing tension. If you tighten the bow to the point that the eyelet is against the back wall of the mortise, one more turn can be very dangerous. Best case scenario: the button will pop off the screw. Worst case scenario: cracks from the back wall to the end of the stick, resulting in a loss of value in the bow and a costly repair. While a lot of players will stop tightening when they feel the eyelet against the back wall, if your bow isn't tight enough, it is all to easy to think one more turn can't hurt.

    With all of that said, the frog doesn't have to be completely forward. Some people like it slightly long, which could safely give you another 5-10mm of playing length. Depending on the bow, I have seen successful operations where a bow maker will lengthen the mortise and put a small plug in front of what was previously there. While it decreases the value of the bow and shouldn't be done to something of great pedigree, "work horse" bows are sometimes good candidates.

    I would recommend a "normal" rehair for the safety of the bow. While a few extra mm can seem like km on a bow, it could also mean the bow lets you down when you need it the most, or you end up with some preventable repairs down the road.