Parts of the Violin Bow
Adjusting and Preparing your bow:
1. The screw tightens the frog so that the hair has tautness. Be careful to not overtighten your bow. The hair should have a slight bounce to it without touching the stick after placing it on the strings.
2. When you first attempt to apply rosin on a new bow, you'll have to go through a priming process. Check the rosin out that came with your violin...you'll have to make sure that it has some powder on the surface. Usually, a new cake will be too slick to apply to the hair. To correct this, take a small pocketknife and crosshatch the rosin so that there will be some texture to the cake. You can also roughen the surface of the rosin cake with some sandpaper. After this, slowly draw the hair over the rosin cake from the frog to the tip of the bow. Be careful not to draw the bow too quickly which would cause some friction. On a new bow, you may have to repeat this process approximately 5-10 minutes...test the bow off and on to detemine of the rosin is adhering to the hair. If it is, you'll start to hear a clear pitch emitted as the bow is drawn over the strings. if your bow happens to have already been used, you only need to apply the rosin a few times. Try placing the bow on your strings and play a few notes open. If there appears to be slipping (which means that the rosin is not assisting the hair in grabbing the strings...you'll also notice that there will be no tone or volume emitting from the strings with slippage), and the bow is not grabbing the strings enough to generate a tone, try applying more rosin. Follow this process repeatedly until the bow no longer slides on the strings, and you're getting a clear tone. If you start to hear a scratchy tone, instead of a nice clear tone, you may have applied too much rosin. If so, simply play until the rosin slowly wears off. There's a happy medium you're trying to attain when applying rosin. Listen for a nice clear tone as the bow draws on the strings. If there's a whispering tone, or no tone at all, add more rosin. If there's a clear tone, you should have the optimal level of rosin on the bow. If there's a scratchy tone, stop applying your rosin and start playing.
3. When returning your bow to its case, after your practice session is over, be sure to loosen the screw so that the hair is no longer taut....this saves unnecessary tension on the stick when the fiddle is not in use.