Bow Tension Survey

I’m currently survey luthiers around the country for input on how long is safe to leave a bow tightened.

How long is safe to leave a bass bow tightened?

What effect does the bow material have?

What other concerns are there such as the stretching of bow hair.

What about violin, viola, and cello bows?

Any other thoughts, concerns, or comments?

My reason for the survey:

I’m a bassist and public school orchestra teacher. I keep my bass at school to practice before school and during random free moments that arise. I kept loosening my bow each time but I wondered if – A) Is it ok to leave it tightened from 6am – 3pm and B) is the tightening / loosening process doing more harm than good if I do it 6 or so times a day.

But I then thought that there are many musicians out there that can benefit from professional luthiers’ input.

My focus is on the stick and it’s material, including:

Carbon Composite
Carbon Fiber
Snakewood (I don’t have anyone with a Snakewood bow but perhaps we should include that info for the article)

My initial question was bass specific but as I teach all strings I’d like to know the same thing for bows of the other instruments if there is in fact any variation due to the differences in bow length and thickness.

Please feel free to comment with your experience and thoughts.


One comment

  • I’ve certainly had sticks where the screw and/or eyelet on the frog have worn badly over time. I don’t know if that’s overuse (tightening and loosening) or just bad materials to begin with.

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