How to Rehair a Violin Bow | Violin Lounge TV #237

by | Jun 15, 2016 | Maintenance | 9 comments

Last week I’ve visited the Czech Republic to attend a 3 day workshop with the violin makers and bow makers who deliver instruments and bows for my violin shop in Holland. I learned a lot about adjustment of violins, what determines the sound, how to recognize good quality wood and a lot more.

During my visit with the bow makers, I’ve captured a bow maker rehairing a bow. I hope you find it just as interesting and meditative to watch it as I did:

Do you find this video interesting? Please let me know in the comments below! If you like it, share it with your friends!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below!




  1. John Norton

    My Dear Zlata,
    Your bow rehair video is special. Many rehair videos on youtube are not useful nor instructive, although there are some good ones. Being adept at repair on string instruments is one of my main interests. I was very interested in the tools he used and their design, and how he used them. Most are taught to insert hair in the bowhead first, but I find many experts do the frog (nut) and then the head. This video shows good reason for that approach. He was very careful not to abuse the bow in the entire process. It is good for players to see this video so they appreciate why it is not good to let an amateur work on a bow they value. Good bows are hardy but also very fragile in critical places and can be easily destroyed. Fitting the plugs and wedges properly requires making them carefully with a critical eye and very sharp tools. Patience, care and experience is necessary. It can’t be done “by the book” because every bow is different. Having some one who can do this work properly is a blessing, and knowing to use that person is the a valuable lesson we should all learn from your video.
    With love for you (and your videos), John Norton

    • Violinist Zlata

      Glad you like the video, John, indeed it’s a craft and it’s worth it to hire a professional for rehairs. I even send my bow to it’s maker in Germany for each rehair.

  2. Jim

    Maestro Zlata:

    Congratulations on the half million views! That is A LOT for any stringed instrument site so quickly and speaks to your dedication and drive on so many levels. You help so many people young and old attain the gift of music – a priceless gift. Thank you.

    And you are such an accomplished violinist, too. I watched your video of Bach’s Air on a G, and I thought, how does she make it sound so perfect yet appear effortless? Such artistry is no accident.

    You truly are an inspiration. Best wishes!

  3. Blair Faulk

    Hi, Zlata, and Congrats for meeting a Youtube milestone!
    The video on re-hairing was interesting. The main thing it did was convince me not to try it on my own! What an interesting instrument we play!
    One related comment I’d like to make is, in this area, it has rained frequently in recent days. The relative humidity is above 80% most of the time. Horse hair is what is actually used to determine humidity in some humidity gauges! I’ve found that lately I must turn my bow screw a little more, even a half turn, to get the same hair tightness–I don’t think I’ve ever seen that addressed in a video.

    • Violinist Zlata

      Thanks, Blair! Yes, horse hair certainly reacts on humidity. In my shop sometimes suddenly all bows have extremely loose hair and sometimes tighten over night (scary!).

  4. Dirk

    Hi Zlata, nice to see this demo about rehairing. Not for the starting violin player. One question: Why does the wax of the bow hairs disappear so fast. Is this based on the quality of the wax? (after playing for about 40 minutes I suddenly hear the squeeking, for me always a moment to think:”did I wax it well enough?”.

    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Good rosin could last for a couple of days. Squeaking usually means too much rosin (or playing with too little speed and too much pressure).

  5. Jessica

    I don’t know it this thread is still alive but I’m looking for some advice. My sister doesn’t play much, she has an old cheap violin and when she took it out, the bow hair was all but completely fraying off. I decided to take a shot at rehairing the bow since there’s not much to loose. I’ve watched quite a few videos and decided to take the frog to top approach. I was able to get the metal band off (turns out the part of the bow sticking out isn’t even ebony do I stressed about it possibly cracking for nothing. I get the frog open and I find a flathead screw in the mortise holding down the ream of hair instead of a wooden plug (or in this case it probably would have been plastic.) There’s also a circular metal thing which I’m not familiar with from any of the videos I’ve watched. I’m a little hesitant to remove the screw just because I don’t know what I’ll find when I take it out. Plus I don’t know if I should use this ratchet screw method to replace the hair or if I even have the option to try to do it the right way. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.


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