Fresh bow hair is one of the most important tools of the trade for classical double bassists. Almost all of us should get our bows rehaired more often. Ideally, your main bow should be rehaired two to three times a year, but everybody should get a rehair once a year at a minimum. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had students complain about the sound they are pulling, only to find that their bow hair is thin, stained, greasy, and old. One of the best things you can do for your sound is to simply get a rehair a few times a year.
It can be quite difficult to find an adequate bow luthier unless you are in a major metropolitan area, and it is even more difficult to find a luthier that works well with bass bows. DON’T just bring your bow to the local violin shop and expect a good rehair.
I recommend three bow specialists to my students:
1) Ward Hansen of the Bow Wright (630-567-2697) is located in the Fine Arts Building 4th Floor Annex at 400 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago. In addition to rehairs, Ward does a great job with general bow repair, new bow wraps, recambering bow sticks, and the like. (Closed Sundays and Mondays)
2) Kenneth Stein Violins in Elmhurst (630) 782-0273 also does a good job of rehairing bass bows. Their address: 172 N. York Road Elmhurst, IL 60126
3) Robertson & Sons Violins in Albuquerque, New Mexico (check website for details) does a really outstanding job on rehairs. It’ll cost you more to ship it and get the rehair than at the other places. They have this really excellent Siberian Red bass hair that I love to use.
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