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Two of my bow hairs became loose while playing, so I plucked them out. Then after I did that, more and more started coming loose spontaeneously and now almost half my bow hair has gone loose and I'm a bit perturbed by this.

What did I do and how can I fix it?

  • 1
    What kind of bow do you have? Normally, with a violin bow it is fine to just tear off hairs that are ripped. Probably you loosened the grip of the other hairs when you pulled out (and not just tore off) the ripped ones. I'm afraid the only way to fix this is to rehair the bow professionally. – Jasper Habicht Nov 30 '19 at 17:43
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They probably weren't secured very well at the tip (which is where I assume they were falling from) and when you pulled a couple out it freed a bunch of others.

If half the hairs are gone it's time to find a Luthier or "Bow Guy" and get it re-haired. It's not a huge deal, bows need to be repaired just like Cars need to have their oil changed.

The only advice I can think of to avoid this in the future is to be sure to loosen your bow a bit after each time you play. If you leave it at a normal tension a change in humidity or temperature could cause the wood to expand which stretches the horse hair (not good) and could cause some hairs at the tip to be closer to falling out.

Also, when a hair breaks, make sure you aren't just yanking it out with one end in your hand and the other clamped into the tip.

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Well, the damage is already done. Luthier time it is. In future, never pluck out a broken hair. Instead, cut it off at both sides with scissors (or a nail clipper, something that fits in the violin case), close to its start/end. What keeps the hairs fixed is the bulk of the other hairs wedged in with them, so you don't want to remove the ends of the broken hair even if you could do it without moving the others.

If it breaks while playing, you can usually ignore it for the movement and try breaking the long end by pulling between both hands (so that you don't pull at its bow attachment). Horse tail hairs are rather strong, so don't bank on success here. And don't try helping with fire. If you are unlucky and the whole bow conflagrates, you have more of a problem than you started with.

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When a luthier rehairs a bow, they cut the new length of hair and tightly bind the ends with thread. After doing so the heat the end which causes the heated tips to swell. The also may melt rosin into it as well. All this is is that the procedure may have not been effective as it normally is or it’s just your bow needs a repair. Bows don’t last forever.

Another suggestion is that the bow or previous repair may have been of poor quality and sharp pieces of wood may have cut the hairs inside the tip or frog causing them to become loose.

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