What is a Violin Bow Hair?
A violin bow hair is an essential part of a stringed instrument bow that is made of a bundle of horsehair. The bow hair is traditionally made from the tailhair of a white horse or from a blended mixture of several horses’ hair for more durability. Although synthetic materials are becoming popular, horsehair remains the most commonly used material for making bow hairs.
How is Bow Hair Made?
To make a bow hair, horsehair is sorted, washed, and then sorted again by strand thickness and strength. The strands are then tied together at both ends to create a bundle known as a hank. The hanks are stretched to remove any kinks or curls, boiled in water, and immersed in a solution made of careful measurements of oil and rosin.
Why is Bow Hair Important?
The bow hair is an essential component of a stringed instrument and plays a crucial role in producing a clear and resonant sound. The tension and grip of the hair on the instrument strings help to control the amount of sound produced, giving the player control over the tonal quality of the instrument.
How to Care for Bow Hair?
Proper care of bow hair is necessary to ensure its longevity and maintain its sound quality. It is essential always to loosen the bow hair after playing to prevent stretching and breakage. Bow hair should be wiped clean with a soft cloth after every use to remove any rosin residue or dirt that may accumulate on the hair. Additionally, it is recommended to take the bow to a qualified luthier for routine maintenance and rehairing when needed.
Where to Buy Bow Hair?
Bow hair can be purchased from music stores, online retailers or specialty shops. It is essential to buy high-quality bow hair to ensure its durability and sound quality. The most trustworthy brands to buy bow hair from include W.E. Hill and Sons, Julius Heinrich Zimmermann, and Pernambuco Bow Hair & Horsehair.