Basics of Violin Bow Maintenance

violin bowingRenting or buying a violin can be an expensive investment, but mastering the strings is an amazing feeling. So when it comes to violin and violin bow maintenance, you’ll need to know how to care for your instrument to ensure years of playing to come.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind…

- Keep it protected.
Even if you’re practicing every day, always place your bow back in your violin case in between, instead of leaving it laying around. Keeping it out increases the chances of catastrophe (especially if you have pets!), and also makes it susceptible to damage from sun and temperature changes (humidity in particular can be an issue for your whole instrument!).

- Loosen the hair.
Before you put your violin bow away, reduce the tension by loosening the hair a bit. The next time you play, however, be careful to not over-tighten. Your violin teacher can help you learn this process so that you’re comfortable doing it on your own.

- Perform routine cleaning.
Rosin dust, oil from your fingers and other residue will naturally end up on your bow, so it’s up to you to keep it clean. Use a soft, cotton cloth to wipe the wood part of your bow under the hair to clean off any rosin dust that might harden and turn black. This can harm the finish of your bow. Only rosin the bow when it is really needed; once or twice a week is recommended. Too much rosin will cake on the strings and gum up the bow hair, which will make your tone sound harsh.

Beyond the day-to-day maintenance, you should also be checking your bow routinely for any signs of warping, cracks or other damage. Catching these early on will help you avoid costly repairs if the damage is left untreated! Also, consider getting your bow rehaired by a professional every year or two; doing so will keep your bow in the excellent shape you need to continue creating beautiful music!

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You might also like…
- What is Rosin, and How Do I Use It?
- The Science Behind the Strings
- Perfecting Violin Vibrato: 5 Common Mistakes

Photo by Simplistic Wonders

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