Care and Maintenance of Your Erhu Bow

Care and Maintenance of Your Erhu Bow

While the quality of the your erhu bow greatly affects the tone your erhu produces, the condition of your bow is equally important in ensuring you get the best out of your erhu.

Here are some tips on how to maintain and care for your bow:

1. Keep the bow hair away from oil, grease, wax or soap.
Oily substances will reduce the ability of the hair to grab the strings, leading to uneven tone. Keep your fingers off the hair as well because the oil on your fingers might contaminate the hair.

2. Make sure there is enough rosin on the bow before playing.
You might damage the microscopic scales on the hairs of the bow if you do not apply enough rosin while you play. After playing for 1-2 hours, reapply rosin again.

3. Loosen the tension after use.
This is to preserve the shape and elasticity of the bamboo of the bow, particularly if you like to play with a high tension. However, a bow with a lower tension produces a better tone.

4. Clean off the rosin from the rod and hair and store it in a plastic cover if you are not going to use it for a long time.

5. Wash the hair with non-oil based shampoo
If the bow hair is dirty, oily and losing its grip, you can wash it with non-oil based shampoo. Avoid using oil based soap.

6. Change your bow at least once a year.
When you feel that the grab is diminishing despite your efforts to rosin and clean, the scales on the hair could have been damaged beyond repair. It might be time to change a new one. Professional erhu players change theirs every 6 months.

If you do not want to go through all the hassle, just buy new erhu bows to standby. They are very cheap compared to violins’!