We are going to dive into the Violin Bow and it’s individual components. I decided it would be easier on the eyes and the reading to divide this from the “parts of the violin”. This should help you out and continue to help you on your journey to master the violin!
Here’s a great graphic to help you learn the parts of the bow.
Violin bow tip
The tip of the bow is where the hair connects directly to the bow stick. It’s rounded and lifts slightly, which is all part of the design. Underneath the flat bottom of the tip is where the bow hair actually connects. A small, usually white or beige cover conceals the connection.
The tip is where you will find yourself if you want to produce the most quiet sounds possible on the violin. Because it is so far from the frog, it has very little weight which makes it easier to reduce the volume you are producing.
You can make this effect even more pronounced by choosing a light-weight
Violin bow stick
The bow stick is the long piece of wood that is the main structure of the bow. It connects the tip and the frog. The bow stick is usually made of Brazilian pernambuco wood. Other materials used can be Brazilwood and synthetics such as fiberglass, carbon graphite, and carbon fiber. Some are of better quality than others.
The bow stick may look slightly different from bow to bow. For example, some are octagonal in shape while others are round. Another thing that can vary is how many pieces the bow stick is made of. For various reasons, I tend to lean more towards one-piece bow stick construction.
Violin bow grip
The grip, or pad, is where one places their first finger on the bow. It is just above the frog on the bow stick. There are two parts to the grip. One is the rubber material at it’s base and then there is metal winding that is added that extends towards the tip. Many people consider them to be one, but I personally separate them for educational purposes.
High quality bow grips will be made of real leather. This helps create the most comfortable finger placement for the violinist. The winding is most often made of nickel-silver. Nickel-silver winding gives a very polished, refined look to your bow that is aesthetically pleasing.
Violin bow frog
The frog is a small piece of ebony wood that sits just between the grip and the screw. It is where we generally place our second and third fingers when holding the bow. The frog actually moves in conjunction with how much or little one has turned the screw. This in turn, tightens the bow hair. Often times the frog is decorated with silver, gold, ivory, pearl shell, and other materials....
One tip I have for you is to make sure that the frog sits flush against the bow stick. A major problem can arise when our frog has space between it and the stick. First, the front of the frog will wear into the bow every time you adjust mthe screw. Finally, it can cause tension issues if there is any play as the frog is what holds the bow hair in place. Make sure you don’t have this problem.
Violin bow hair
The bow hair stretches almost the length of the bow from the tip to the frog. Usually, there are about 150 strands of horse hair. However, some bows of lesser quality will use a synthetic bow hair. Most quality and superior bows will use Mongolian horse hair.
The reasoning behind Mongolian horse hair has to do with the climate in which the horses grow. Most violinists believe that the hair produced by horses in cold weather produces more friction, making it easier to produce sound on the string. Siberian horse hair has also become popular for the same reason.
Violin bow screw
The screw is literally just that. It sits at the end of the bow, opposite of the tip. The screw serves to move the frog and therefore tighten and loosen the bow hair.
On some bows, the screw is one piece. On others, it’s three. The screw can be loosened to the point of removal. However, be careful if you plan on doing this, as it will allow the frog to drop off of the bow and swing free. Be ready to hold the frog so the bow hair doesn’t get twisted. I don’t recommend removing the screw unless you are experienced with bow maintenance.
It’s important to know the names of the parts of the bow so that your teacher can effectively direct you on how to use it properly. This article aims to help you along that path of knowledge.
Violin bows are multi-faceted and knowing the parts is only the beginning. It’s also important to know how a violin bow works and what makes a good bow.
I hope this helps and I'll see you in the next article!If you’re interested in knowing what makes a good bow and how to select the best one, check out this article. Have fun, and happy learning!