How Much to Tighten a Violin Bow | Violin Lounge TV #506

by | Jan 25, 2023 | Maintenance | 4 comments

Learn to properly tighten and loosen your violin bow

video tutorial plus cheat sheet

Below is a cheat sheet how much to tighten and loosen your violin bow

Know that there can be differences per bow and it depends on the personal preference of the player. In the text below the image, I’ll explain more about that.

how to tighten your violin bow url

When you loosen your violin bow hair too much the hair is scattered

The risk here is that the hair can get caught up in stomething and break. Also the hair will touch the stick of the bow and leave rosin, so you’ll have to clean the stick more often.

Mainly check that the hair is not too scattered. If you have a bow that has quite a curve, it could just be normal that the hair touches the stick with the bow is properly loosened.

Properly loosen your violin bow hair

The bow hair is properly loosened when the hair doesn’t touch the stick, but you see that the tension is off the bow hairs. The hairs are not scattered, but they can wobble around a bit. Most important is that the tension is off the bow hair.

How to tighten your violin bow properly

Know that this differs per bow and personal preference of the player. It’s important that the bow maintains it’s natural curve and that you don’t force it to be straight. Play different bowing techniques and notice how the bow reacts. Depending on the stiffness or flexibility of your bow and your playing style, you might like your bow a bit tighter or looser than shown on the picture.

The violin bow has a curve that allows different violin bowing techniques. The bow functions as a spring system and in passive or semi-passive bowing techniques like ricochet and spiccato the bow should be able to bounce on it’s own. Tightening the bow properly allows the violin bow to function best.

If the bow is too tight, it becomes very jumpy and nervous. If the bow is too loose, it becomes wobbly and it’s not possible to transfer weight into the bow to make a full sound. Find the sweet spot in between for your violin bow and your playing style.

Hi! I'm Zlata

Let me help you find a great bow for your violin, so you can improve your bowing technique and sound quality:

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

Tightening your violin bow too much can damage your bow beyond repair

If you force the bow out of it’s natural curve and make it too straight or even entirely straight, this can damage your bow. Often it’s not possible or very expensive to bring the curve back. For wooden bows this is a bit riskier than carbon fiber bows.

It can be that your violin bow feels very wobbly and to transfer weight you need to tighten it so that it’s straight. This could mean that your violin bow is too weak to function properly. This is the case with worn down or very cheap bows, maybe one that came with your violin set.

Find the right violin bow for you

A violin bow is very important to get good progress on the violin and play the music you love with expression. Tightening and loosening the violin bow properly is important to have the bow function at it’s best for many years to come.

If you’re looking to buy a violin bow, check out my guide right here.

Make sure you rosin your bow properly too

Check out this article to learn to properly rosin your violin bow.

How much do YOU tighten or loosen your violin bow?

Is it different or the same as shown in this video and the picture? Leave a comment below and let’s share experiences.


  1. Sylvia

    This video was very informative. Thank you.

    • Zlata

      You’re welcome 🙂

  2. Greg

    What do you think about using a #2 pencil as a guide to check for proper bow tension? Just tight enough that when the pencil is slipped between the hair and stick it barely touches both. Checked near the middle of the bow.

    • Zlata

      Yes, that’s a great way!


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