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finger

when is a bow due for rehair ?

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It's due for a rehair when it has lost 10-30% of its hair, no longer plays 'right', gets too icky, or bothers you too much.

A rehair, here, is about $70.  I rehaired a $100 bow that I like and am super happy I did.  The price of the bow, IMO, is somewhat irrelevant.  If the bow handles well, it is worth rehairing.  If you hate the bow, don't bother.

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1-hair is too long

2-You have broken out enough hairs on one side that the bow is no longer tightening up straight.

3-You are having to put large amounts of rosin on the bow to get it to grab.

We charge $70US for a rehair. I sell bows that are not meant to be rehaired-less than 70 bucks. A $300 bow is worth rehairing, but be aware that the mortices may need to be re-cut and that may add to the cost. Ruth, my Federation friend who reahirs for me hates round holes drilled in frogs in the place of a true mortice and charges me for the re-cutting of them.

 

I agree with Rue. If you like the way the bow plays, have it re-haired. 

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IMO, 

The trouble with waiting until the hair doesn't seem to grip enough is that even before we finally sense this the hair may have been less than ideal for weeks or months; and much like the famous frog who doesn't realize how hot the water is getting, because it was so gradual, we might do a little damage to ourselves in the process.  We don't want to be exerting more effort than we should.  I'm serious.

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1 hour ago, finger said:

As per title.... and is a $300 pernambuco bow worth rehairing ?

Really hard to say. If it is a bow that you love, that will alter the picture a bit. If I loved a bow, in any price range, I wouldn't think twice about spending 35 to 500 bucks to keep it going, or contribute to future value.Not that a $500 rehair (the reahair alone)  couldn't be a huge ripoff,

 

 

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I think the only sure way to say that a bow needs rehairing is if a lot of hairs are broken.  (If the hair is so long that it cannot be tightened, it can often be shortened without replacing it.)  I am not a very discerning player, but once I played with the same hair for 20 years, and the bow that I use now has the same hair that I put in it when I made it 13 years ago.  I say a $300 bow is definitely worth rehairing, but I charge a lot less than other people here.

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My very limited background:  I've successfully (to varying degrees) rehaired about 30 bows and have no special expertise.  My "jig" includes using my feet.  Sometimes my wife ties a knot for me.  I don't know if any of my bows are worth $300 or not.  

The last time I paid for a rehair it was $50, so I'd say it's worth it for your bow.

All FWIW.

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44 minutes ago, Conor Russell said:

Is someone  actually  getting  $500 for a  rehair?

Not that I know of. My point was that I would pay it, if it got a bow which I once loved, back into a state that the love affair could continue.

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4 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Not that I know of. My point was that I would pay it, if it got a bow which I once loved, back into a state that the love affair could continue.

Must be Valentine's Day.

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I have my bow rehaired twice a year and the price varies from  $50-100 depending on who I bring them to. Warchal strings had a blind rosin test a while ago and it would be interesting to find out if people could really tell the difference between a newly rehaired bow and one say with a couple of years playing on the same hair, in a blind bow comparison. New hair is as joyful to me as new strings and I change strings every three months.

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12 minutes ago, Jeff Jetson said:

...it would be interesting to find out if people could really tell the difference between a newly rehaired bow and one say with a couple of years playing on the same hair, in a blind bow comparison...

It would be interesting.  There's no way to make a comparison between new hair today and the same hair five years from now.  One way to do a test like this would be to switch between old hair and new hair on the same bow.  Then you would be using the same bow, but the hair would be different.  Perhaps the only way to make a comparison would be to cut two hanks of hair of exactly the same weight from the same batch of hair.  Rehair a bow with one hank and play it while storing the other hank vacuum-packed and refrigerated.  After five years, rehair the bow with the stored hank.  Swap back and forth between the two hanks if necessary to compare new hair with hair that's been used for five years.

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Horse hair stretches as it is used, the more it is used the more it stretches.  

Almost all players tilt the bow when playing.  Some more than others, but I have come across less than a handful that play with flat hair.

As the hair wears unevenly do to tilting, the tension on the playing side becomes lighter than the tension on the non playing side.  As this happens the bow will steadily lose good performance characteristics as the stick starts to absorb the bounce rather than springing back from the bounce.

The bow needs to be rehaired when this is evident, shortening or cleaning the hair will not repair the uneven wear.  It is this uneven tension favoring the non playing side that causes the breaking of hairs.  Will L is correct, if the hairs are breaking it is past time for a rehair.

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Bows become more responsive as the number of hairs get smaller (fewer hairs = greater tension on each individual hair). So a newly rehaired bow might feel lees responsive if the player was used to playing with the bow after it had broken some hairs. 

So if you were to do a true old versus new comparison, the number of hairs on the bow would also need to be the identical each time.

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6 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Bows become more responsive as the number of hairs get smaller (fewer hairs = greater tension on each individual hair). So a newly rehaired bow might feel lees responsive if the player was used to playing with the bow after it had broken some hairs. 

So if you were to do a true old versus new comparison, the number of hairs on the bow would also need to be the identical each time.

Certainly too much hair can cause the bow to have response problems, but to say that fewer hairs is more responsive or that greater tension on each individual hair = better response,  are gross oversimplifications.

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7 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Certainly too much hair can cause the bow to have response problems, but to say that fewer hairs is more responsive or that greater tension on each individual hair = better response,  are gross oversimplifications.

I have discussed this with several bow makers. The responsiveness of a good bow can be "tuned" by removing hairs. It isn't that uncommon for string players to complain that there is something "wrong" or "changed" with their bow after a rehair, usually it is a loss in responsiveness. The responsiveness can be often be restored simply by removing some hairs.

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23 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

I have discussed this with several bow makers. The responsiveness of a good bow can be "tuned" by removing hairs. It isn't that uncommon for string players to complain that there is something "wrong" or "changed" with their bow after a rehair, usually it is a loss in responsiveness. The responsiveness can be often be restored simply by removing some hairs.

Certainly a player can complain about a rehair, but the problem is more often with the way it was done, not the number of hairs. The responsiveness can certainly be improved by removing hairs that are a different length, not removing hairs arbitrarily.

One very stark difference between a rehair and a great rehair is the stability and response the player can get when all the hairs are very close in relative tension.  When a bow is rehaired with hairs of differing tensions, even if they are flamed to look good,  the stability is lacking.  

I have been known to discuss things with "several bowmakers" as well.

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13 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Certainly a player can complain about a rehair, but the problem is more often with the way it was done, not the number of hairs. The responsiveness can certainly be improved by removing hairs that are a different length, not removing hairs arbitrarily.

One very stark difference between a rehair and a great rehair is the stability and response the player can get when all the hairs are very close in relative tension.  When a bow is rehaired with hairs of differing tensions, even if they are flamed to look good,  the stability is lacking.  

I totally agree with your point here. The point I was making about "tuning" responsiveness assumes that you are starting with a great rehair on a good bow, not trying to make a bad rehair job good. And tuning by removing hairs isn't about removing them arbitrarily - I don't know how the archetier decides which hairs to remove, but it isn't arbitrary!

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55 minutes ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

And my point here is a good archetier does not put too much hair in to begin with, and a great rehair does not need to have hairs removed for responsiveness.

It depends on how well the archetier knows the bow and the player, and the player's preferences. And also how well the player knows the bow, and the bow's relationship to his or her violin and technique.

I just watched this happen recently with a player who was getting a new-to-him fine bow rehaired for the first time, and it did not respond as well as before the rehair. So the archetier tuned the response by removing hairs until the player was happy again with the response.

So the "right" number of hairs on a particular bow can depend on several factors.

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If the bow did not respond as well as before the rehair, it is the rehair that is the problem.  If the archetier put in too much hair, or had the tension wrong, or had uneven relative tension, then removing hair helped the poorly done rehair.  If it was done carefully the first time, there would not have been a problem.  

This still a far cry from "Bows become more responsive as the number of hairs get smaller (fewer hairs = greater tension on each individual hair)".

This is is not a mystery.

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