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Breaking hair on starter bow
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Guitarman
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April 13, 2016 - 8:53 pm
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I've had my bow for about a week now. It came with the starter violin as a package deal. I have practiced only an hour or so in that time (it's been a hectic week) and already have hair breaking on it. How long should I be able to play before breaking hair? Is this normal or is it a case of a cheap starter bow? 

Thanks in advance for any help.

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1stimestar
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April 14, 2016 - 12:53 am
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Do you have the hairs tightened too tight?  Probably just because it's a cheaper bow.  

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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April 14, 2016 - 1:50 am
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As @1stimestar referred to - check how tight - a reasonable rule of thumb is adjust until at the closest-point a normal sized pencil would just fit between the hair and the stick.   Apologies if you know this already - and if that's how you have it set up (and sure, there is a bit of lee-way - you might like it slightly tighter or looser dependent on many things) - it's possibly just a "cheap" bow....   lower cost/quality bows can use poorer hair, a synthetic hair, even a nylon type compound....  (although I'm told you can get some "high quality" ( and really expensive! ) synthetic hair.   Never tried that though).  

Horse hair is usually "selected" for constancy of size (diameter) and general quality, with the best clearly destined for high quality bows, the stuff that "fails the selection process" will probably be used on cheaper products rather than just being discarded.

In two years, with a lot of playing, I've only lost 3 or four hairs - and even that was when I was thrashing the fiddle to within an inch of its life.... LOL

The other thing to be watchful of - did the hair really break, or, did it come loose/pullout of it's binding either at the frog or the tip ?   Ohhh - having mentioned that - yes -I do recall on my (cheap) EV and cheap bow - whole cost about $100 - some hairs did initially pull out (at the frog end) - but I now never use that bow at all and just swap between the two FiddlerMan CF ones I also have - so that COULD be a possibility as well....  have a close look when it next happens....

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Guitarman
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April 14, 2016 - 6:51 am
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I think the tension on the bow is correct. I am using the #2 pencil rule when I tighten it.

 BillyG you may be correct that the hair may be pulling loose from the frog. Of the three that broke all were longer and have all come loose from the frog end. None were actually broken in half. 

Thank you both for the info. 

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Hermes
Agrinio, Western Greece, GR
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April 14, 2016 - 7:28 am
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I'm with @BillyG on this. This happens frequently on starter pack bows. Sometimes it can happen to a better bow as well if it is not stored properly, the hair may get dry, or just old and snap. However it may not be the case since you've pointed out that they snap near the frog. 

I wouldn't worry, as long as the bow is straight (when you sight it down from above) when there is tension on it and it does not bounce like mad.

Many people insist that a great deal of your feel, sound performance etc comes from the bow. It's one of your main contacts with your instrument , so if you feel something is wrong or something troubles you/discourages you from playing in a free and relaxed manner, upgrade 🙂 (and by upgrading I mean finding a better bow for yourself, not necessarily a more expensive one)

Cheers and enjoy the ride 🙂

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coolpinkone
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April 14, 2016 - 3:31 pm
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I lost some hairs (5-7) on a decent bow the first year or so then it became a rare thing.....is there a chance that some just break in the beginning?

I always just thought it was a "breaking" in process.

?

🙂

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Guitarman
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April 14, 2016 - 4:05 pm
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I will keep an eye on things and if the breaks continue I will have to consider upgrading the bow. I'm sure this bow (being a beginner package bow)isn't worth the trouble to re-hair.

Thank you all for the great information.

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BillyG
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April 14, 2016 - 4:35 pm
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Yup Toni - just from the "nature of things" - I guess it is more likely for any "loosely gripped" hairs to slip from the compression grip in the frog end.  You may think they have broken, but my guess is, largely, they won't have broken at all, and just that they will have slipped-out from the compression band on the frog.    Even, I suppose on a high quality bow, there may be the occasional "rogue hair" that's not totally "gripped", possibly nestling in-between others - and will slip-out in the early days of playing....   dunno for sure, but I can well see how it could happen.   The tip-fastening of the hair is however quite mechanically different from the frog-end and is (unless there is a serious defect) probably signifcantly less likely to make a bid for freedom....  LOL

Just my thoughts...   

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
April 15, 2016 - 4:39 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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The bow has ample hair so that you can afford to loose quite a lot before it's too little. I would loose like 5 hairs a day typically when my hairs were worn and when playing professionally. I think a bow has around 150 hairs to begin with. I actually had my bow re-haired every 6 weeks back in the day. LOL

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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