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Jul 3, 2019 - 9:44:18 AM
2154 posts since 10/1/2008

I recently spent another week at a music camp in fiddle oriented workshops. One of my instructors insisted that bow hair needs to be replaced annually as a matter of course. His point being even without being broken to the point of being thin the hair is worn out. I have beaten the hair off bows and I have had it become more brittle over time. I have even bought bad hair and had to replace it in a few months. To replace it annually was a new thought to me. What have ya’ll had as experience and heard. R/

Jul 3, 2019 - 10:09:31 AM
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DougD

USA

9259 posts since 12/2/2007

I hope you didn't pay too much for that "advice!"

Jul 3, 2019 - 10:31:30 AM
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88 posts since 3/19/2012

Wo! Every year?? Maybe I'm not rough enough on my bows. Or maybe your man is using low-grade bow hair. I've got my 40-year old Schaller bow, still with the original hair on it (to be fair, it doesn't get much use as I find it too heavy). I haven't rehaired very many of my bows in the last 30 years. Now, it may be because I have several ( 10? 12?) bows and I don't always use the same one.
Only one I ever saw that went through lots of bow hair was a large, muscular woman who played country music on a Barcus-Berry electric. I rehaired her bow, and she went off with it, never saw her again so I don't know if my rehair job was poor or whether she just kept on breaking hairs.

Jul 3, 2019 - 2:12:38 PM

1430 posts since 5/13/2008

Wait! You can change the hair!

Jul 3, 2019 - 3:04:34 PM
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911 posts since 6/26/2007

If hair wears out, it breaks. If it quits taking rosin, clean it. Replace when there is not enough hair left to play right. I'm close to 30 years on a Glasser premium fiberglass (that I seldom use now) and 18 years on a Glasser carbon graphite that I do use. That one hasn't lost enough hairs to be noticeable. At this rate it will outlast me.

Jul 3, 2019 - 3:20:03 PM
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442 posts since 6/26/2007

quote:
Originally posted by captainhook

If hair wears out, it breaks. If it quits taking rosin, clean it. Replace when there is not enough hair left to play right.


This is worth repeating.

quote:
Originally posted by captainhook

If hair wears out, it breaks. If it quits taking rosin, clean it. Replace when there is not enough hair left to play right.

quote:
Originally posted by captainhook

 

If hair wears out, it breaks.

If it quits taking rosin, clean it.

Replace when there is not enough hair left to play right



Jul 3, 2019 - 4:33:57 PM

203 posts since 11/5/2014

This may depend on style. I have found that after a while (year sounds about right), the rosin only makes the bow hair “sticky” rather than “grippy” (hard to better explain). This does not matter much when you’re playing faster notes at higher volume, but it is a real problem for playing gently/softly with good tone and fluent bow changes. For me, it matter less for bluegrass playing (usually in a jam setting), but matters a lot when playing more subtle stuff for a folk duo I accompany (typically miced).

Jul 4, 2019 - 10:47:06 AM

ndlxs

USA

11 posts since 2/19/2008

How does one clean the rosin off of the bow hairs?

Jul 4, 2019 - 12:47:44 PM
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34 posts since 3/11/2015

Bow hair wears out without breaking. I rarely break a hair, but get mine done after about 800 hours of playing. The Leatherwood rosin I've been using the last two years seems to help the hair last longer. No idea why.

@ndlxs, you can clean bow hair with isopropyl alcohol to get the rosin off. Just don't let it touch the bow finish. Easier said than done. I use a shallow bow to immerse all the hair after unscrewing the frog. I've also had good luck with plain liquid dishsoap when I got butter on my bow. (don't ask, lol).

Jul 5, 2019 - 6:04:14 AM

2154 posts since 10/1/2008

Thanks for the responses people. My bows rehairing generally last about two years. I live a couple of hours north of Nashville so I make an appointment and do a day trip. Spending a day in Nashville is not an onerous task.
I have cleaned my bow hair with rubbing alcohol when it became stickey and that works just fine. So far I have managed to not get it greasy. For a life expentancy 800 hours seems about right , thanks QTL. At the two year point the hair on my bows starts to get brittle and I am breaking more. Play on ! R/

Jul 8, 2019 - 1:10:44 AM
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2356 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by captainhook

If hair wears out, it breaks. If it quits taking rosin, clean it. 


Lot of myths about bow hair. 

Hair is incredibly smooth (not barbed/teeth); without rosin, hair doesn't grab the string. Rosin bonds to the hair; it's electrostatic/ion/chemical bond with collagen. It's the rosin on the hair is what contacts, grabs, creates friction to make string sound. Individual hairs don't get worn thinner.

The idea of wearing out is probably due to not grabbing, or holding rosin. Rosin also makes dirt/dust/smoke/dander/oils any particles floating in air, stick to it. The dirt can make the bow hair not grab the string as well, (seem to need more rosin?)... and over time not want to take/hold rosin as well. (applying rosin over dirt).

If it quits taking rosin, clean it. 

Cleaning does wonders. One caveat, like new hair, it requires loading or priming the hair; usually with powdered rosin. 

There is also an interesting concepts about that most of us are probably over rosining... which actually makes it more susceptible the dirt, requiring more rosin...

Jul 8, 2019 - 8:52:24 AM

7674 posts since 3/19/2009

Can UV rays damage the hair???

Jul 9, 2019 - 1:56:26 PM

7674 posts since 3/19/2009

When I was trying to track down on the internet what effect UV rays had on violin bow hair I learned a LOT about care of violin bows...Not that EVERYTHING that can be know isn't here on the Hangout, but maybe I did learn ONE (or more) things about bow care that I hadn't come across HERE.. Obviously, the Hangout is hiding valuable information..I I'm still sure that ALL of the bow experts are just waiting to post more authoritative info.   smiley  The amount of information available on the internet stuns me.. How did we get by in the dark ages? I remember calling the local library BY PHONE  to find out what temperature was needed in an incubator in order to hatch a chicken egg.. Now, there are scores of videos giving detailed info about that and a zillion other subjects..

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