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How to clean fiddle bow hairs?

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CharleyR 29 Jan 05 - 06:50 PM
DADGBE 29 Jan 05 - 07:26 PM
khandu 29 Jan 05 - 07:27 PM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Jan 05 - 07:37 PM
Jeri 29 Jan 05 - 07:44 PM
Sorcha 29 Jan 05 - 07:56 PM
Pauline L 29 Jan 05 - 08:20 PM
Jeri 29 Jan 05 - 08:40 PM
Sorcha 29 Jan 05 - 10:14 PM
Susan A-R 29 Jan 05 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Jan 05 - 11:24 PM
DonMeixner 30 Jan 05 - 12:25 AM
Hand-Pulled Boy 30 Jan 05 - 03:57 AM
Dave Hanson 30 Jan 05 - 04:18 AM
HiHo_Silver 30 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM
Pauline L 31 Jan 05 - 01:55 AM
Jeri 31 Jan 05 - 06:22 PM
Hand-Pulled Boy 31 Jan 05 - 07:40 PM
wysiwyg 31 Jan 05 - 10:25 PM
Pauline L 31 Jan 05 - 11:54 PM
Hand-Pulled Boy 01 Feb 05 - 07:59 PM
fiddler 02 Feb 05 - 03:35 AM
Pauline L 02 Feb 05 - 08:50 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 02 Feb 05 - 09:36 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Feb 05 - 09:55 PM
Jeri 02 Feb 05 - 10:54 PM
Bob Bolton 02 Feb 05 - 11:43 PM
Pauline L 10 Feb 05 - 10:50 PM
dick greenhaus 10 Feb 05 - 10:56 PM
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Subject: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: CharleyR
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:50 PM

Does anyone have any advice on how to clean fiddle bow hairs? I bought a new bow today partly because I realised the one I had is full of grease/rosin build-up/general icky stuff and I was wondering if it is possible to wash the hairs? The bow isn't worth a lot so I probably wouldn't bother getting it rehaired or anything, but I thought it would be worth making it a bit nicer if I can.

Charley


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: DADGBE
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:26 PM

Hi Charley,

I've seen it done with varying degrees of success.

First the rosin accumulation is dissolved by soaking the hair with V M and P naphtha. The frog is removed from the stick by removing the end screw. Then the hair is gently coiled with the frog still attached. The hair bundle and frog are submerged in the naphtha and left in a well ventilated spot over night.

In the morning the hair is uncoiled and the frog is loosly screwed back onto the stick. The hair is then gently brushed with more clean solvent and blotted with rags until it looks fairly rosin free.

The bow is then hung up to dry.

The next day, the hair is throughly washed with unscented soap and soft water, then left to dry throughly - usually several days.

After that the bow must be re-rosined as if it were just rehaired. That means using powdered rosin or rubbing cake rosin on the hair until your arm falls off.

Good luck,
Ray


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: khandu
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:27 PM

Charley
HERE is some advice I found on the 'net. I am not suggesting this or anything else since I know nothing about the subject, but it seemed like a decent answer!
Ken


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:37 PM

That's the posh method. With a little care, you can clean bow hair quite effectively while it's still in place. Mild shampoo (or just soap; it's a cheap bow), a delicate toothbrush (don't rub too hard), and a hair-dryer on a low setting. Cover the stick so you don't damage the finish, or risk warping from any transferred heat.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Jeri
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:44 PM

I just used the alcohol on cloth with the hair still attached. It worked great, and I didn't notice I destroyed anything.

The shampoo after the alcohol doesn't really serve any purpose as far as I can tell. Alcohol dissolves everything (and more) that shampoo does, keeps the bow from getting wet so there's no drying time, and leaves no residue. Do NOT get the alcohol on anything but the hair, though. You'll also (as previously mentioned) have to rosin the heck out of the bow later.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:56 PM

Just don't get the frog, tip or stick wet. I've done it with soap and water. Pain in the ass, but worth it for a good bow.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Pauline L
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 08:20 PM

Personally, I recoil in horror at the thought of cleaning bow hairs with shampoo, alcohol, or any solvent. To me, if the bow is worth keeping, it's worth rehairing.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Jeri
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 08:40 PM

I don't get it. The WORST damage to the hair that cleaning it with alcohol could do would be fixed by re-hairing. I can't afford skipping the attempt. Alcohol hasn't seemed to hurt the hair one bit, though.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 10:14 PM

Issue is that if I've just had it re haired (which I do about twice a year) and it gets grease on it.....I don't want to foot the cost of another re hair.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Susan A-R
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 10:43 PM

I did a mild soap and water job on my bow a while back and it worked relatively well. Wish I'd thought of the alcohol trick thouogh.

Ultimately I got the bow re-haired, but that's cause it had been years (I won't even mention how many) since I'd re haired.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 11:24 PM

Good thread Charley - never really thought about it....have just let the sap accumulate ..... on very rare occasion passed a damp wash-cloth over .... but was more concerned with humidity....and avoidance of oils.

Do you use the "backside-finger-bounce" to deter tension?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 12:25 AM

I have a book on rehairing violin bows which I'll check tomorrow for you. I had a friend in Norwoch, NY who was a fiddle mechanic and a bow rehairier. If the bow hair came loose and needed to be attached at either end he'd clean the rosin out of the hair with alcohol or naptha. He'd rinse the hair very well in boiling water. He'd then comb it out straight with a lice comb from the Drugstore. And then he'd reset the frog or the tip always being careful to remember the silver ferrule was slid into place first.

I watched him do it more than once and it was always quite successful.

Don


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Hand-Pulled Boy
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 03:57 AM

Real horses roll in soft wet mud and become totally blathered in the stuff. They wait to dry off and, as the mud falls off it has absorbed all of the grease and dirt that it's coat has endured. Employ 2 bikini clad women to mud-wrestle for you and ask them to sword fence with a violin bow each ensuring full immersion in the mud. Then it's just a question of patience.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 04:18 AM

Sulphuric acid works for me, come to think of it it works on fiddles as well.

eric


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: HiHo_Silver
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM

Subject pretty well covered. I have washed countless bows with mild hand soap and luke warm water and they come completely clean. Use common sense and do not get stick and frog components wet and do not use excessive force on the hair so that you pull it loose of tear it. Sometimes takes a bit of washing to get the hair white in the area where your thumb and fingers make contact ahead of the frog. loosen hair and let dry until completely dry and then re-rosin. sometimes it is necessary to powder some rosin to fill the bow but usually conventional method of rubbing rosin on from a cake will suffice. Too much rosin is as bad as not enough.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Pauline L
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 01:55 AM

Jeri, you said that cleaning the bow hair with alcohol has not hurt the bow. Has it helped? How about the rest of you who clean your bow hairs? Does it help? Come to think of it, how do the bow hairs get dirty?


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Jeri
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 06:22 PM

It worked great for me. I'd had the bow re-haired about a week before somebody dripped food grease on it. The alcohol worked fine for that, and has since removed rosin build-up (when the bow starts sounding scratchy from all the miniscule clumps). I sometimes clean the strings with it too, but have to be really careful not to drip because it dissolves the finish.

I'm not saying it's the correct way to do it, just that it's worked for me.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Hand-Pulled Boy
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 07:40 PM

Vinegar.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 10:25 PM

That bikini-mud job would take care of any annoying problems with LIMPNESS, too, eh?

~S~


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Pauline L
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 11:54 PM

Food grease on bow hairs would require *serious* action.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Hand-Pulled Boy
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 07:59 PM


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: fiddler
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 03:35 AM

I am amazed, I have never worried about cleaning a bow.......

Mine has mark where the thumb sits but other than that if it builds up too much rosin I don'tr rosin it until it starts to skid, I never touch the hair wiht hands or anything other than Rosin or Strings!

That is what it is designed for!

Respect averything then you ge teh best out of it.

Andy


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Pauline L
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 08:50 PM

I agree with Andy.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 09:36 PM

Does the stuff that's needing to be cleaned off actually impair the bow's performance or is it just a looks thing? If it's just for appearance, why not dye the hair black? Then you won't have to worry about it again.

Heck, I've seen teenagers at festivals using bows with the hair dyed any color you can imagine, sometimes multiple colors on the same bow. Some of them even had the hair on their heads died to match their bows.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 09:55 PM

They shampoo their hair quite regularly, though: the dye is not intended to conceal grease and dirt. The same is true of bow hair (dye wouldn't take on greasy hair anyway)- shampoo works fine. A normal player will accumulate some grease and dirt just beyond the frog where the thumb contacts the hair, but not much further up (although vernacular players do tend to use something more like the old-style baroque bow holds; more contact than with modern styles).

A "classically trained" player may very well prefer to have the hair replaced regularly rather than clean it (or may -who knows- not get it dirty in the first place), but we can't all afford that luxury. I know several good fiddle players who have bought new, cheap bows when the hair on the old ones wore out because it was cheaper than getting them re-haired. Seriously.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 10:54 PM

I wonder what they're having the bows re-haired with - it's fairly inexpensive here.

I think the rosin tends to stick together and build up into a gritty-sounding ...er, buildup. It does this on strings too. I know it gets to a point where my bow sounds scratchy, and cleaning it returns it to normal. I've scraped the gunk off too, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was not a very good thing to do to bow hair.


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 11:43 PM

G'day,

No fiddler I ... but an old friend who is recently (re-)told the story of his Primary School stage debut ... required to play the old Australian "potboiler" Click Go The Shears in front of a campfire scene (and over a scratchy background track). He had left his violin and bow off-stage during a bit of crowd scene ... and his charming schoolchums picked up his bow ... and ran it repeatedly through their hair ... mostly gunked into place with Californian Poppy hair oil ... or some other concoction of scented vaseline!

When he popped onto stage for the fiddle bit ... not millidecibel of sound ... ! Good trouper, for a 10-year old, he sawed on (hoping something might bite ... somewhere ... sometime ...)! End of track / scene ... Wild Applause! ... he's been hooked ever since.

However, he cleaned the pernicious gunk off with many applications of plain soap and elbow grease - resumably under the direction of his Sydney Symphonic Uncle - and resined like mad to get the bow working.

The germane point, to this thread, is: he swears by soap - and energy - as a full-time musician maintaining what is the life and soul of the instrument.

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: Pauline L
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 10:50 PM

I just read a good suggestion on cleaning bowhairs: use compressed air. This avoids the risk of getting a mild soap solution or alcohol on the wood part of the bow. However, I prefer to moderate my use of rosin. If I've apllied too much, I can see it on the strings or fingerboard. I clean it off with a dry cloth and avoid rosining the bow for a while.

I wonder what teenagers use to dye their bowhairs?


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Subject: RE: How to clean fiddle bow hairs?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 10:56 PM

Pauline-
Be careful when using compressed air--unless it's very well filtered, there's usually a mist of oil in it.


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