Tip of the day ~How to Re-hair your Viola~

When Should You Rehair Your Viola Bow?

Even the viola bows experience a bad hair day. No matter how robust the material of the hair bow, over time, especially when used heavily, it can experience breakage and over stretching. In order for violas to produce high-quality sound, every part of it must be taken care of, and that includes the viola bow hair.

Signs That You Should Re-hair Your Viola Bow

Here are some of the common signs that it’s fitting for your bow to be rehaired:
  1. If you notice that your bow is already losing some of its hairs, especially on its left edge, it means that it should be rehaired already.
  2. If the bow hair turns dark and can no longer hold an average amount of rosin, you’ll notice that there’s a decrease in the quality of sound the viola produces. This only means that the hairs have been stretched to its capacity and became smoother that its teeth cannot catch any more rosin that creates friction between the bow and viola.
  3. Thus, if you notice it yourself that you’ve been using rosin a lot more than usual, it’s about time that you should get your bow rehaired. For those who practice almost everyday for four (4) to five (5) hours, viola bows are recommended to be rehaired every two (2) months. For those who occasionally use the instrument, you can rehair your viola bow every six (6) months or annually.
  4. Do not try to wash your bow hair thinking that it’ll help for it to function as it used to be, you’ll only make the hair smoother that the rosin won’t stick to it anymore.
  5. If the hairs become too long or too short, it may mean that it has been stretched or can no longer withstand changes in humidity and temperature.
  6. If the hairs smell odd and feel sticky, this means that a lot of residues (e.g. sweat from hands or rosin dust that hadn’t been cleaned) had built up and it’s too late to rely on usual cleaning for it to be completely removed.
How to Re-hair Your Viola Bow
Here is a quick rundown on how you can rehair your viola bow yourself:
a.    Examine the stick then cut the hair leaving an allowance of four (4) inches on both ends.
b.    Using a cloth, clean the metal of the frog, button, and the winding.
c.    After which you may remove the tip block and clean the stick.
d.    Remove the ferrule ring followed by the slide.0
e.    To easily remove the slide slot every time you rehair, always grease it with a pencil.
f.    You may now remove the flog and cut it for the mortise of the frog.
g.    Gauge the amount of hair you’ll be needing for your bow and tie with a cotton blend thread.
h.    After this, you may now cut the hair and use some rosin at both ends before burning it.
i.     After burning it, you may now put the hair on the block mortise hole and pour crushed rosin on it
j      Comb and wet the hair to help it run smoothly and do the same process on the other end.
k.    You may now put grease on the bow screw and flip the hair back over. When the hair is already           dry, apply some rosin on it.

Of course, seeking a professional’s service in rehairing your viola bow is always a good choice. These professionals have already rehaired thousands of violas and have grown accustomed to techniques on how to efficiently rehair your viola bow.

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