There is a lot of information out there about making sure your instrument is kept in the best condition possible so it will play beautifully. However, in order to play beautifully, musicians must also consider a second part of the instrument that is JUST AS IMPORTANT. The bow.
Beginning musicians should practice the following bow-care. Eventually, these bow-care tips will become second nature!
Bow Care Tips
- Always loosen the bow before putting it away. Loosening the bow prevents the bow from becoming warped. A warped bow does not play well! On the other side…as soon as you are ready to play your instrument be sure to tighten the bow. This should be your first and last steps when you are practicing or performing!
- Do not drop the bow or tap or bang the head of the bow. We’ve seen bows used as a pointing stick, a “get their attention” stick, and a “Hey look, I’m magic” stick. When used improperly the chances of you breaking or cracking the head of the bow increase. Breaking or cracking the head will ruin the bow.
- Just like any fine-wood product you should keep your bow in a temperature-controlled environment. Extreme temperatures, damp conditions or excessively dry conditions can all hurt your bow.
- The wooden part of the bow is also called the STICK. Keep the bow stick clean by wiping off excess rosin and perspiration with a clean cloth after each use. You should always have a cleaning cloth in your instrument case. When you rent with Day Violins we include one with every rental, or you can purchase one from our shop.
- Avoid touching the hairs of the bow with your hands or fingers or other bare skin. Did you know the oils from your skin will ruin the bow hairs? Instead, make sure your bow has been properly treated with rosin first. Tip #6 will tell you how to do that properly!
- Before playing, you should treat your bow with rosin. Here are the steps to do that properly! First, tighten the bow. Then rub the rosin against the length of the bow hairs until you feel some friction between the rosin and the bow hairs. It’s that easy! You’ll want to repeat this process whenever you play. Here’s a helpful hint—when a new block of rosin is used for the first time you should rough up the surface of the rosin with sandpaper or another abrasive like a fingernail file before rubbing it on the bow hairs. Day Violins rentals always include rosin with each rental instrument. If you need more you can purchase it in our shop!
- It might seem unnecessary to say this, but never write on the bow or on the bow hairs or apply any substance to the bow hairs but rosin. This includes washing the bow hairs with water or any other cleaning product. Do not put tape or stickers on the bow hairs. The ONLY product that should touch the bow hairs is rosin!
- Last, but not least. Sometimes a bow hair will break. Do not panic! When a bow hair breaks, carefully snip it off near its connected end(s) with a pair of scissors. Do not pull it out, as this may damage other hair strands on the bow. When you purchase the maintenance package with Day Violins, we ensure that your bow will be kept in it’s best playing condition including rehairing you bow as necessary!