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How often do you:

1. Rehair your bow;

2. Change strings;

3. Have bridge and sound post adjusted;

4. Have instrument professionally cleaned (and possibly polished);

5. Clean out your case?

This is just a fun post to see what professionals and non-professionals do to maintain equipment.  No need for dissertations. ;)

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1. Being "The Bownut", I move on down the line of bows! Played a rehearsal on a bow with very sparse hair just the other day. Felt good, sounded fine! ( IMHO) Although,  I do have a couple of tried-and-trusteds that get new hair once every so often.

 

2. Mostly when it is too late, i.e. when they break but old e-strings affect the sound and response of the whole, so after a few days, " what's wrong with me?",  I progress to, " Ah, e-string is on the way out!"

3. Rarely, if ever, but I do look to see if the bridge has good contact, daily. 

4. The above comes with No. 3. Bi-annually, in theory but in practice not so regular! A good clean also brings back the shine on the sound and I utterly trust my luthier, who knows me and my fiddle well, to bring our the best!

5. When the kids notice that the pictures of them 5-10 years ago ( behind the bows)  are getting seriously dog-eared.

 

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1. Rehair your bow -  I use my "good" bows much less often than my "daily practice bow" so the good ones don't get re-haired very often, maybe once every few years. The daily practice bow maybe 2-3x per year. 

2. Change strings - maybe 3x per year

3. Have bridge and sound post adjusted - almost never, unless something happens/changes

4. Have instrument professionally cleaned (and possibly polished) - maybe once every 5 years

5. Clean out your case - once a year or so

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A serious response to number 3:  Routine tuning the instrument causes the bridge to lean toward the fingerboard.  The bridge should be perpendicular to the top of the instrument, so the force of the strings is straight down onto the top.  If nothing is done about the leaning eventually the bridge will fall down or maybe even break.  It is easy to check the bridge for leaning by eye.  If the feet of the bridge have moved away from the proper place there would be an effect on the sound.  Adjusting the bridge to fix these issues can be done "at home" doing so risks breaking the bridge or wrongly replacing it.  I suggest getting a tutorial from a luthier just for safety.

Regarding changing strings, I do it annually, but the frequency depends on what brand of strings you use and how much playing you do.  Active pros often change strings every six months or more frequently.  You will get a good idea of when to change strings after you have done it a few times and notice whether and how the sound changes.

Cleaning and/or polishing:  In 30 years of playing I have never "cleaned" or polished my instruments.  I bought my violin and my viola brand new from the maker and I am careful to wipe them with a dry soft cloth after playing.  Cleaning fluids can be dangerous to you and/or to your instrument.  Serious cleaning and polishing should be done by a professional to avoid possible damage to the finish. 

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Thank you for the replies!

The Instrument cleaning/polishing one has interesting reply results.  I try and maintain the overall cleanliness of my instrument on a weekly basis by simple wiping.  However, my fingerboard gets alot of sweat stains and the edges and corners of my violin begin accumulating gunk.  What is this "gunk"?  I do not know, I guess its like belly button lint?

The case cleaning is also interesting.  I think that I too clean my case when I realize the photos inside are outdated.  In doing so, I find alot of things like extra pencils and pens that have never been used and thin out my case clutter.  For some reason or another, after awhile, the case becomes cluttered with those same things I threw away prior. 

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On 4/2/2024 at 5:09 PM, violinnewb said:

How often do you:

1. Rehair your bow;

2. Change strings;

3. Have bridge and sound post adjusted;

4. Have instrument professionally cleaned (and possibly polished);

5. Clean out your case?

This is just a fun post to see what professionals and non-professionals do to maintain equipment.  No need for dissertations. ;)

1. About once a year

2. About every three months

3. When I feel the need to, really depends more on the violin than me.

4. Never basically. 

5. Once in a while. I generally keep it rather clean, maybe twice a year?

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1. Rehair your bow -  every 4-6 months.  Do it myself.

2. Change strings - 6-12 months

3. Have bridge and sound post adjusted - on a new instrument after 6-12 months, otherwise almost never.

4. Have instrument professionally cleaned (and possibly polished) - do it myself as needed… French polishing goes to a professional unless it is an instrument I made myself.

5. Clean out your case - Hah!

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On 4/2/2024 at 9:09 AM, violinnewb said:

How often do you:

1. Rehair your bow;  When it needs rehairing.  Takes years.

2. Change strings; Yearly.

3. Have bridge and sound post adjusted; Haven't needed someone else so far. Bridge is part of regular adjusting/maintenance.

4. Have instrument professionally cleaned (and possibly polished); Never.

5. Clean out your case? Never. I keep it clean.

 

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5 hours ago, iNeedAnswers said:

You rehair more often than you change strings? Do you do something out of the ordinary with your bow, or do you just like rehairing?

New hair makes a big difference in expressiveness.  You get better grip and have more control without pressing.

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/8/2024 at 2:38 PM, iNeedAnswers said:

You rehair more often than you change strings? Do you do something out of the ordinary with your bow, or do you just like rehairing?

I listened to a podcast by Nathan Cole and Akiko Tarumoto and one of them said that they rehaired their bow every few months (I think every 3 months?).  I looked into this and after speaking with several luthiers came to realize how much more often I should be rehairing my bows.

Aside from the obvious reasons (better grip, etc) bow hair stretches over time and continued use.  When the hairs stretch, it causes the bow to be tightened more.  That in turn affects the stick, its curvature, and the frog mechanisms.  

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Rehairing the bow? If the owner is a full-time playing professional and teacher consider the bow is in use, powerhaps, 2,000 hours a year. Rehairing every 3 months  might be rehairing about every 500 playing hours. For a busy amateur player this might be a year of playing.

On the other hand, if the hairs are relatively unbroken they can be safely cleaned with **alcohol swabs and pretty much renewed a number of times. (I use the alcohol swabs sold in drug stores, drying the hairs immediately after each "swab" with a cotton cloth.  (When I first tried this over 20 years ago I reasoned that if it didn't work I could get the bow rehaired, which I have also done. At the time I had more than 20 bows (violin, viola & cello). It works very well! Sometimes it takes me as many as 8 swabs (or passes) over the hair until the swabs come away unstained (there is still residual rosin on the hair, but audible problems are gone and I re-rosin.)

I also have a toothbrush that I use exclusively for "dry" cleaning and separating bow hairs if I think they need that before any thought of alcohol cleaning.

Hair does stretch, but tightening the bow more is not going to hurt the stick as long as the force/tension on the stick from the hairs is the same. A specific amount of strain in the hairs is essential to optimize the sound produced.

**British bow maker Andrew Bellis

( http://www.andrewbellis.com/home/andrew-bellis- number-one )

now advocates such alcohol cleaning.

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Many people view re-hairing their bow as equivalent to changing strings on a violin, but it is not. It is the equivalent of a significant repair. If performed incorrectly, several procedures involved can ruin a bow if not performed correctly, such as too large a wedge in the head of the bow can break the head.

Personally, I recommend re-hairing a bow only if absolutely necessary, and only by a first-rate archetier. @Andrew Victor's suggestions are good for preserving the hair on your bow. 

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