Do’s and Don’ts
The Do’s and Don’ts on the care of your Bow.
- Release the total bow tension.
- Reverse the bow in your case once a month. Some lids in shaped cases exert pressure on the bow and will cause it to bend to the left or right. Rectangular cases are better protection for the bow and instrument.
- Have your bow rehaired regularly. Don’t wait until many hairs are lost as it will bend the bow permanently sideways rendering it useless. Have the bow rehaired once or twice within two years.
- Don’t allow the hair to become blunt. Hair becomes smooth or blunt just like a saw does. The “teeth” on the hairs wear blunt with playing and are unable to hold the resin, resulting in a poor string “grip”, poor tone production and a lot of resin dust over your instrument.
- Don’t handle bow hair with your fingers. Your fingers contain acids and grease. Resin does not stick well to dirty and greasy hair.
- Have your bow rehaired or repaired by an expert.
- Don’t blame your bow repairer, but blame the weather instead if bow hair gets too short or too long. Hair shrinks and stretches with changes in temparture and relative humidity.
- Don’t replace the frog or screw of your bow unless absolutely necessary. The fine playing qualities of your bow could be altered by making unnecessary changes.
- Don’t leave your bow for a long period of time in an closed case. You will find broken hairs if you do. The larvae of the carpet beetle, which shelters in the linings of the case, attack the horse hair, tortoise-shell and whalebone. Vacuum clean the case periodically. Place a piece of camphor in one of the pockets if you intend to keep the case closed for a prolonged period of time.
- Keep as little as possible junk in your case. Protect the bow, instrument and scroll from any junk that my roll around in the case. Keep your case clean. Great care should be taken to protect the scroll from damage when storing a shoulder rest. The scroll is not a handle but a piece of art work. Rectangular cases offer much better protection for the bow and instrument and have more storage space.
- Do periodically check if the ivory tip has become loose. If the ivory, bone or metal tip has become loose or cracked, have it fixed immediately. The tip plate acts as reinforcement and prevents the tip-head from splitting.
- Prevent the bow stick from wearing at the finger end. This can be avoided by covering the bow stick with a leather lapping. Most bows have lapping but may wear out over time.
- Do not applaud with your bow stick against a music stand or anything else. Neither use it as a walking stick or a poker as the head may snap off.
- Do not drop the bow.
- Do not swish the tensioned bow through the air to get rid of excess resin, as the head may snap off. Go outside and blow it off, but do not breathe in the resin.