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How to Properly Tighten A Violin Bow


“Righty tighty, lefty loosey”, this has been the famous rhyming tips that most music coaches use to remind their students who play violins, violas, and cellos. One of the most important things to do to maintain a violin is to loosen the bow when it is not in use or after every practice or playing session. Before you play the violin, it is a must to tighten your violin bow. It is also crucial to loosen it after use to remove the tension on the violin bow and avoid the possibility of warping or breaking your violin bow.

While it is easier to loosen a violin bow, we tend to ask how tight your bow should be when you’re playing the instrument? There’s a tendency for you to put too much tension on your violin bow, especially if you’re a beginner. And that is something you should avoid.

When you have over-tightened your violin bow, you may find it hard to control and produce a tone especially when applying advanced bowing techniques. It could also over-stretch your bow hair and cause you to re-hair it more often than necessary.


Tips in Tightening A Violin Bow

Basically, you adjust the screw clockwise to tighten the bow hair and turn it counterclockwise to loosen. You can also use the pencil method to learn the right touch in tightening your bow.

  • Get a pencil with standard size and put it in between the stick and bow hair.
  • Tighten the bow until you see the pencil filled in the spaces. Make sure that the middle part of the bow is slightly curved.
  • You will determine that the violin bow is over-tightened when the wood has lost its curve in the middle part of the bow and went completely straight.
  • You may also use your pinky finger to check if the violin is tightened properly.

You will know that you have adjusted the violin bow correctly when the bow hair and stick is closer to the middle part of the bow and slightly farther from the tip and frog end of the violin bow.

Additional Tips

Knowing how to properly tighten the bow will avoid the stick from warping up and losing its convex shape due to tensions over time. Taking care of the violin is not limited to its body. The violin bow and bow hair also need some TLC. Schedule a re-hair for your bow every 6 months or when necessary. During practice sessions, loosening your violin bow is not required when taking short breaks but when you are leaving for 15 minutes or more, practice the habit of loosening the bow. Lastly, do not store it in a place where it might get sit on or lose its proper shape. Always keep your violin and violin bow in a safe place where the temperature and humidity is not a problem and clean your instrument by wiping out excess rosin every after use.

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Sam Hughes
Sound designer, voice actor, musician and beyond who just has a big passion for conversations, knowledge sharing, connecting people and bringing some positivity into the world.

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