How to Take Care of Your Violin Bow Or Cello Bow

If you own a violin or a cello, you actually own two instruments: a violin and a violin bow, or a cello and a cello bow. Many people do not realae this, but a well selected and well taken care bow is as important as a violin or a cello. A good, hand made quality bow will appreciate in value over time, very much like a quality hand crafted violin or cello. Here, I will outline the important points you need to be aware of in taking care of your bow.

1. Hold your bow correctly

There is a correct way to hold this when you are not playing it, to ensure that you do not accidently damage it if you do drop it. The safe way of holding your bow is at its pointed end. This way, if you accidently drop it, it will land on the grip end which is stronger.

If you drop your bow with the pointed end down, the end will likely crack or split. This may alter the tone of the instrument. In extreme cases, the value of the bow will depreciate by 90%.

2. Loosen the bow when not in play

After playing, always loosen the horse hair so the tension does not damage the bow. Remember to turn the bow screw left to loosen the horse hair. A bow that is always on tight tension will cause it to arch and damage the structure of the bow.

3. Never touch the bow hair with your hands

Our hands and fingers are naturally oily. Never touch the horse hair with your hands as this will stain it and affect the playability of the instrument.

4. Do not expose your bow to the elements

Like violins or cellos, bows are also made of wood and hence organic. Do not expose it to harsh elements like extreme heat or cold. A good temperature gauge is what our body is used to.

5. Do not over rosin your bow

While rosins are required for the bow, do not over rosin it as this will cause an excessive build up of white powder on the horse hair. Too much rosin will also produce a harsh tone. Always wipe your bow clean with a soft cloth after playing.

From time to time, you will also need to engage the services of a professional luthier to rehair your bow. A good bow if well taken care of will last you a lifetime.