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How-To Guide for Changing Cello Bow Hairs

Admit it or not, the bow is one of the most neglected accessories in the family of string instruments. We mostly put our attention and effort to the instrument itself as we have the perception that it’s the only factor that affects your performance.

While that is true, little did we know, the bow plays a vital role in producing quality and inviting sound. Taking cello as an example, if it weren’t for its bow, today’s tone and sound of this instrument won’t be versatile.

Going deeper into taking care of a bow, the hair in the cello bow also affects the effectiveness of your performance. Bow hair breaks, wear out and gets dirty with frequent use that’s why it should be rehaired at least once a year.

In rehairing, you should guarantee that the following signs are already visible:
– There are a lot of broken hairs.
– There’s a lot of hair loss in the middle part.
– It has discoloration and unpleasant smell.

Guide in Changing the Bow Hair

Changing of bow hair can be done either by a professional or by yourself through following these steps:

  • Cut the purchased cello bow hair for about four (4) inches from both ends
  • Wipe clean the metal of the frog and its button
  • Remove the tip block and clean the stick
  • Remove the ferrule ring before removing the slide
  • Using a pencil, loosen the slide slot then remove the block
  • For the frog’s mortise, you should cut the block and it should match the length of the mortise
  • You can now tie the hair and cut it properly
  • Add some crushed rosin into it before burning the end of the hair
  • Place the hair in the block mortise hole to keep it flat and fitting
  • Add crushed rosin at the end of the block before putting it back to the mortise hole
  • Give the hair a little pull to ensure that the block would not move
  • Trade the slide in the slots on the frog before changing the ferrule ring
  • Produce a new wedge and spread the hair across the ring to test the wedge. You should guarantee that it’s evenly spaced before measuring how far the frog should be to reach the grip
  • Create the tip block then comb the hair until it’s smooth
  • You can wet the hair but refrain it from reaching the wedge
  • You can now tie the hair to the tip block mortise
  • After tying, cut the hair and put in crushed rosin before burning the end of it
  • You should comb the hair again then flip it to tie the end into the block mortise
  • Put in some rosin at the end of the block
  • You can now lubricate the bow screw then flip the hair again to replace the frog

  • At this point, you should tighten the hair a little and adjust it if needed
  • and

  • Apply rosin when the hair is already dry.

After replacing the bow hair, the sound may feel different, but it is perfectly normal. It’ll go back to its original sound through minor bowing or pressure adjustments. However, if you’re still a beginner, it’s best to get your bow re-haired by a professional to prevent it from incurring any damage.