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Does anyone know why the plastic ring in the photo below would be put on the bow for an instrument? I thought maybe it would be to help shuck off broken strings, or somehow vary the tension, but neither of these seem plausible. Maybe it was put simply to keep the strings safer during shipping?

Does anyone have any idea what the purpose of the little ring could be? enter image description here

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Your last guess is almost certainly correct: the ring is just to keep the hairs from getting jumbled during shipping. You can safely remove it.

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