Strange hair problem (bow, that is) :)
September 16, 2019 at 9:06 PM #76783
So, I have not played my violin for like one year now. So, I like opens the case and takes out the violin. It is still in tact despite the BIG fluctuations of temperature (hot and cold) traveling from like one continent to another. And let me just say quickly here that the Antarctic Winters are like pretty severe. So, after inspecting the violin, I like get the bow out, and tighten at the frog, and like go to play , and I’m like , WTH???? What’s wrong with my hair? I mean, like, I’ve had bad hair days, but nothing like this. The bow hair is like as wide as it always was at the tip and the frog, and there are like no hairs broken or missing, but most of the hair (for like about 18 inches) is like just one quarter inch wide. Don’t know how this happened.
Does anyone like know how to explain this? Do I need like a transplant a.k.a a re-hair? Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?September 16, 2019 at 9:19 PM #76785FrederickParticipant
It’s got something to do with the rosin. Try carefully running a toothbrush ever so carefully (did I already say carefully?) through it from tip to frog. Go real easy and let the toothbrush down into the hairs slowly so as not to break them. Probably would be good to have the bow at room temperature. The rosin has more than likely caked up and needs to be broken up by the toothbrush. Then, re-rosin the bow and everything should be fine.
If I have advised you incorrectly on a possible “fix”, I am apologizing in advance, but that is what I would try.September 16, 2019 at 9:21 PM #76786
Sounds like you’ve got a bow bug, to me. You get them mainly from leaving the bow closed up in the case for too long. I think it’s a little beetle-type critter that eats the horse hair…I think the only real cure is to set the case out in the sun long enough to kill them critters and get your bow re-haired as soon as you can…or if it’s a cheapie, throw it out, get a new one…make sure the case is sanitized by sunshine before putting the new bow in there…and finally, play more often! Like wow! Of course, i could be entirely wrong, but it’s what my first impression would be.September 16, 2019 at 9:23 PM #76787
Well Fred was posting the same time as I was…he might be right…not me…lol. I’m just guessin…I’ve had a few very cheap fiddle and bows a time or two in the past…and…got them cheap used (and in terrible playing condition) and they had always sat in a case for ages and they ALWAYS had the bow bug invasion.September 16, 2019 at 9:36 PM #76791
Thanks for the tip, Fred. I will get my shiny new toothbrush and give your suggestion a go. Will post the result when I can.
Thanks too, Cricket. Don’t think it’s a bow bug because no hairs have been chewed. BUT, if the toothbrush fails to do the trick, and I find them thar bow bugs, then I’ll get me a flame – thrower and torch the little blighters! They don’t call me ‘The Exterminator” for nothing, ya know! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!September 16, 2019 at 9:51 PM #76793John (BGD)Keymaster
GS! I’m glad to hear you got your fiddle out! Hope you are doing well. I would try Fred’s idea, the sticky rosin has probably caused your hair to clump instead of resting flat. Let us know how it goes!September 17, 2019 at 3:18 PM #76843Erika PernaParticipant
for what its worth, I have an Incredibow. totally man made in USA. best bow I ever had. never lost a hair, no need to tighten it as its permanently taunt. not subject to humidity or heat. Last bow I’ll ever need. Also comes in cool colors. About $175.September 17, 2019 at 4:07 PM #76846
I have an incredibow too…It’s great for longevity…to me it feels too tightly strung, but I always play with a very loose bow. But I got it because I worried I could’t afford to keep myself in bows…once in a while I use it for recording my youtubes. I bought another incredibow when I got a viola and a cello…an omnibow incredibow, just to have for those instruments…they are both very cheap Chinese-made instruments and the bows that came with them are dubious, although they’ve held up better than I thought so far…anyway, in case my bows go kaplooie and I don’t have the funds, I’ve got my incredibows. They’re not bad bows, really.September 23, 2019 at 9:00 PM #77064
Thanks fellas, and fella-ets for all your suggestions. Well, I got a new toothbrush and did what Fred suggested. I am sad to say that it made no difference. ( I have never used a lot of rosin, and I have never had it powder and cake over the strings and fingerboard.) I also noticed that (when compared to the wood octagon bow kept in the same case) that the carbon fiber bow’s hair is also narrow near the tip, but not as narrow as the middle of the bow — the part that hits the strings. The wood octagon bow came with my first violin, and when I compared the sound and playability to that of the carbon fiber bow, I immediately heard and felt the difference. The wood bow is a little heavier, and it drew out the sound so much better than the CF bow. The wood bow is a cheap generic Chinese bow, and I really only kept it as a back up. But, if I had LOTS and LOTS of free time to play my violin, then I would definitely prefer to play it using the wood bow. I think they call the wood “Snake Wood”. I think wood to wood — as in wooden bow on wooden violin — resonates much nicer and brings out a kind of “soul” in the playing; whereas — although CF bows are practical and relatively cheap to make, and they do the job — to me, they seem to lack that “soul” that I just mentioned, and the music sounds a little “cold”. This, of course, is my own opinion and what I experience . Everyone will experience something different. I am not discounting the CF bows. I am just writing what I personally feel and what I like. One day I may very well buy a really nice wooden bow; something like what Fred has. But that purchase will have to wait maybe fifty years, and by then ,I might be able to refer to myself as an advanced beginner. 🙂
But back to my original problem: my CF bow hair. As I said, the toothbrush didn’t do the trick. The hair might just need a good clean, like in John’s “Hair and Beauty Tips” videos. I made an inquiry about re-hairing the CF bow, and I was told it would cost around $200. I have since discovered a place that will re-hair it for $80 but I will have to ship it to them as they are well over 700 miles away. I think that price includes return shipping.
For now, if I remember, I try to leave both bows out in the open during the day. Just wish I had more time and better facilities to play my violin. I do miss playing. Not sure tho if other people like hearing it. LOL!
Have a great day, everyone; and again, many thanks for all your suggestions. 🙂December 31, 2019 at 12:21 PM #80536jim pottsParticipant
I have had bow hair issue , I was advised to wrap a small piece of moth ball in tissue & put it in the case. that was several years ago “3” & seems to have worked ????December 31, 2019 at 11:56 PM #80554Steve SraderParticipant
You can also wash the bow hair with alcohol , take all the old rosin off the bow hair DR: John has a good video on cleaning the bow hair , From time to time the hair gets dirty from oils and dust mixed with rosin , So giving it a good bath will make it new again !January 14, 2020 at 10:21 PM #81086
Jim and Steve, thank you both for your suggestions. Sorry for the late reply. I will give my bow a good wash this coming weekend when I am in the shower. I usually have a shower once per year (around Jan 15) just before the GL awards, so apart from giving myself a good scrub, I will do the same with the bow hair. I am also going to get me a natural insect repellent made from a rare tropical alpine plant and place that in my fiddle case with the fiddle. I don’t like the smell of mothballs (very effective though) because the smell always reminds me of dead people, and that in turn reminds me of my days as an embalmer. So many happy memories. And so many blind dates. 🙂 Maybe time for me to get a much needed re-hair.January 15, 2020 at 12:06 AM #81090Steve SraderParticipant
Maybe you could let your mustache do some of the bow work ?January 15, 2020 at 11:26 PM #81180
Steve, what a great idea. I never thought of that. I may give it a try. I will it you know if it works. 🙂
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