The violin bow is a crucial component of every violinist’s toolkit, allowing the musician to create beautiful melodies that captivate audiences worldwide. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and the violin bow requires proper care and maintenance to perform its best. 

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, knowing how to care for your bow can make all the difference in the quality of your performance. Learn how to care for your violin bow to help keep it in top playing condition.

Everyday Handling

When it comes to proper violin bow care, nothing is simpler than being mindful of how you handle your bow day to day. Violin bows are delicate, and you want to treat yours with care. 

Avoid dropping your bow, hitting it against objects (like other bows), or using it as a tool for tasks like switching off a light or pulling something closer to you. When your bow is not in use (even if you’re stepping away for just a moment), tuck it safely away in your case and don’t leave it vulnerable to spills, drops, or being stepped on.

Cleaning Your Bow

Over time, your bow hairs pick up oils and dust, which can affect the quality of sound it produces. Not only does cleaning your violin bow help it maintain a clear sound, but it can also help your bow hair last longer.

Every time you play, you should wipe the bow stick down using a soft, lint-free cloth. You should clean the hair when it becomes visibly dirty or you notice bad bow response. Gently clean the hair using an alcohol-moistened cloth, a fine comb or toothbrush, and a dry cloth.

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Applying Rosin

Regularly rosining your bow is another essential step to include in your bow care routine. Rosin helps the bow grab the strings, but your bow needs to have the right amount. Too little rosin can cause your bow to slip over the strings, and too much can create harsh tones and leave rosin behind on the strings.

How often you rosin your bow depends on your playing habits. Newer violinists may only need to apply rosin once a week, while more serious players may need to apply it daily. When applying rosin, don’t touch the strings with your fingers since they can leave behind oil that makes it hard for the rosin to stick.

Tightening and Loosening the Hair

Your bow hair needs the right tension to move smoothly over the strings and produce quality sound. Before playing, you should make sure the hair is tightened so there is about 1/4 inch of distance between the hair and the low point of the curve. 

After playing, you should loosen the hair to remove the tension. Tightened hair leaves your bow more vulnerable to breaking, and your bow may warp if placed in your case unloosened.

Dealing with Broken Hairs

You might discover that a few of the hairs on your bow are broken or loose — but there’s no need to panic! This is part of normal wear. Simply use a sharp pair of scissors to remove these hairs. Do not pull the hairs out as this can cause other hairs to become loose. 

If you have more than just a few broken or loose hairs, you likely need to have your bow rehaired. 

Rehairing Your Bow

Unfortunately, the hair on your bow doesn’t last forever — no matter how strong and durable it is. You need to periodically rehair your bow to keep your violin sounding its best. During rehairing, the old, worn strands are replaced with new ones to bring back the quality sound you love.

Similar to rosining, how often you rehair your bow depends on your playing habits and climate. Professionals will need to rehair their bows more frequently, while amateur players can go longer between services. However, it’s generally recommended you do it about every 6 to 12 months. 

Where to Get Your Bow Rehaired 

Rehairing is a task best left to the pros rather than something to do at home. CodaBow offers rehairing services for all our bow grades. All you need to do is submit a service request for your CodaBow and send it to us for service. 

And you don’t have to worry about missing out on playtime. We also offer an Exploratory Service Program with a one-time charge that allows you to receive up to three CodaBow models to use while your personal bow is in service.

Bow Storage and Traveling

When thinking of how to take care of a violin bow, storage and travel might not be at the top of your list of priorities. But they are just as important as cleaning and rehairing. 

Your bow should always be tucked away in its case when not in use to keep it safe. As mentioned earlier, be sure to loosen the hair before doing so. Stow the case in a cool, dry spot so it isn’t affected by extreme temperatures.

If you take your violin on the road, you want to invest in a durable case that can withstand the weight and harsh conditions of travel. Some other tips for traveling with your violin and bow include:

  • Using a violin humidifier if traveling by air
  • Avoiding checking your violin case if possible
  • Don’t place your violin in the trunk of a car
  • Don’t leave your violin in the car overnight
  • Check that your violin (and bow) are covered by insurance

Find Your Next Bow at CodaBow 

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