Your Best Violin Bow: How Often Should You Change it?

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Just like the violin itself, the violin bow, as good as it can be, eventually will need to be changed or be repaired. But how do you know if it’s time? Is there a best violin bow for you?
In some situations, just by looking, you can tell if you need a new bow, but other times it is about the feeling. There are players who go years with the same bow without repairing or even changing it, while some upgrade pretty quickly. It will depend on your playing and development as a musician.

Let’s go through the violin bow

A bow adds a particular quality to the sounds you make with your violin. The secret is: when considering a violin bow, try it out to make sure it feels comfortable, lightweight, and well-balanced. It should feel flexible yet well-balanced in your hand.

Violin bow shopping, though a fun process in and of itself, presents several challenges. Therefore, there is no reason to be worried. Everyone, from beginners to virtuosos, faces similar issues. Choosing the right materials and type can be tricky, but it’s like opening the door to a whole new world when you find the right one.

It is surprising the difference a violin bow can make in your playing, and it can have an immediate effect. The vast majority of players agree that a new violin bow is beneficial to their technical and musical development.

Analyze your violin bow, think about your playability

Not always you will need a new violin bow. Getting your bow rehaired once and a while is necessary, and on average a violin students gets them about once every two years or so. And if you are doing well, with the one you already have, just be aware of the essential care.

Now, a brief overview about rehairing the bow

If you put too much tension on your violin strings, the hairs on your bow may chew up hairs in the middle.

Having too many broken hairs on one side of the bowhead makes it uneven, which puts stress on your hand and may cause you to pull the stick out of position. Straightening its head is a process that takes patience, skill, and care because it requires the use of heat. Inexperienced violinists can easily damage their bows. The best option is to take it to your luthier.

Another topic is the climate. Places with changes in humidity during the year and contrasting seasons need extra care. Bow hair that is the correct length for a dry season may not be long enough to produce good sound due to humidity if the rainy season begins before resheathing the bow.

The climate of the place you live can shorten your bows life, especially if you’re not taking the proper care. After all, should you buy a new one or just rehair? It depends. You need to analyze your current situation, and as we mentioned, the bow is an essential piece for achieving an excellent sound. A good violin bow will make your violin sound richer and take your music to another level.

Like with the violin, sometimes the bow is holding you back from improving your skills, or maybe it doesn’t match your current instrument if you have upgraded very recently. Many people do not realize how much they are limited by their outdated bows until they see an improvement after switching to a newer one.

Take these into consideration:

  • You feel a bit limited, having difficulty coordinating and getting more than just a few music tone colors.
  • When playing with a teacher, quartet, or piano, you feel drowned.
  • It seems that only with significant effort and concentration you are able to not make little accidental squeaks and noises. 

 If that has been happening, maybe it is best to look for a new violin bow, after all.