How (much) To Tighten Your Violin or Viola Bow

by | Mar 18, 2014 | Maintenance | 2 comments

In my violin shop I need to throw away violin and viola bows very often. They are not useable anymore and worthless. Why? Because people tighten their bow too much when they play and lots of times forget to loosen it when they don’t play. It’s a waste of bows and of course very expensive. Tightening your bow too much can even be dangerous as the bow can break and hit you in the face. In this video I show you how to tighten your bow, which dramatically increases the lifetime of your violin or viola bow.

How to tighten your bow

A good bow is when the hair is untightened, so when the screw is a bit to the left and the hair is lose, then the hair is all the way or almost against the wood or against the carbon.

  1. When you tighten the bow, then don’t feel the hair because if you touch the hair it becomes greasy and dirty and the response is not good on your strings.
  2. Turn the screw to the right
  3. And look at what the bow does. A bow is not called a bow for nothing: it is a bow shape. So don’t think the bow has to be nice and straight. In the middle, where the wood is closest to the hair, you must be able to put a pencil through and not much more. At the tip between the wood and the hair, and at the frog between the wood and the hair there is a little bit more space. What a lot of people do is straighten is too much. The bow should stay in a bow shape because otherwise it will lose its flexibility after a while also its elasticity. It doesn’t really help your playing because in violin playing we use a spring system of the strings of your body but also the bow and the bow must be able to be a spring system and not some kind of stick.

Is this video useful to you? Please let me know in the comments!



PS: Do you want to see YOUR question answered in a Violin Lounge TV episode? Post a comment below!



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:


  1. Thisbe

    Thanks for showing it so clearly!


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