For a musician, the bow is a highly personal item of great importance: it feels like the music-making prolonged hand of the player.
So it is extremely important to maintain it in optimal condition.
- with best-quality hairs which grab the strings well (see below)
- with a symmetrically distributed band of hairs in order to have the same amount of traction on the left and on the right.
Each time a bow is brought in for maintenance, we check the condition of the stick, the the bow tip, the screw and eyelet, and the thumb leather. Slight divergences can be easily corrected at the onset: in doing so, we can avoid greater damage in the long run.
• Each Thursday is “bow day” at our workshop. Leave your bow with us either on Wednesday, or else bring it in on Thursday morning between 9 and 10 AM, and if you need it rehaired, or the thumb leather or eyelet replaced, it will be ready by the same evening.
For more extensive repairs (such as cracks or bow tips), please make an appointment.
• Regarding bow hair, we could write an entire chapter…
In our view, the best bow hair currently comes from Canada. These hairs are somewhat stronger; they are chemically untreated, and have a granular surface structure that doesn’t slip, but takes the rosin well and adheres well to the strings. They produce a full-bodied, “creamy” sound, with very little noise, and maintain their adherence to the strings for a considerably longer time than other varieties. They also tend to break less than the thinner Mongolian hair.
Each bundle of hair we receive is tried out on our own bows in order to give us an impression of its playing quality and its sound.
• Bow tips: since ivory is internationally protected, we replace broken bow tips with a new synthetic material: Tip-Armor®, made out of a fabric-reinforced polymer. Tip Armor® is more stable than ivory and can be formed into beautiful classical shapes. And due to its discreet farbric pattern customs officials will easily recognize that the material is quite evidently not ivory.
• Thumb leather: to replace damaged thumb leather, we exclusively use European goatskin leather, available in different varieties and in several degrees of rigidity.
• Inner mechanism / screws and eyelets: old eyelets are often made of brass, which eventually wears off after years of use. When replacing a worn-out eyelet, we control and correct the geometrically correct alignment of screw and eyelet to ensure the mechanism runs smoothly, with as little abrasion as possible. For new eyelets we use bronze, which is much more rigid and durable than brass.
• Warping: if a bow stick warps off to the left or right, that's usually because the hair has worn off too much on one side. So, if twenty hairs have broken on the playing edge, the remaining hairs will pull the bow-stick off-center every time you draw it across the strings. In such cases, a rehair is immediately called for, in order to rebalance the tension on the bow.