Bow tuning (and wood selection) for fuller and richer tone ...
Page V_16
...There are two basic ideas I believe that need to be satisified in order to get a properly matching bow for a particular instrument.
   First, the wood needs to have certain acoustical characteristics, namely (unless I am mistaken... ) a "wood tone" property of 242 HZ for both bow stick and frog wood.
  Secondly, and just as importantly, both parts need a "Rub Tone" property of # 22 rub tone. (please see other articles on these two topics).
  Besides this, of course, there are the matters of wood camber, weight, balance, stiffness, fittings, bow hair, and so on. Here I am just speaking to the contribution in these two areas, which are also very important, and without which, the bow will not produce the required tone and power required.
..Now in addition to these important wood properties (Wood and Rub tones), here are some things to look for as far at "Tap Tones" of the violin bow:
...First, I believe that you would like a bow to have a downward {downward from above toward the hair} tap tone, all along the length of the bow, which is even throughout its length, and is 198 HZ (same as the back plate and many other of the violin parts.

{ To test, please review articles on tap tone skills which should prove helpful:}
...Once you understand the principles you should be ready to use tap tones to adjust your bow to acoustical balance, provided it is close enough to the goal frequency ( 198 HZ) to adjust.
...Finally, the bow being even in fundamental tap tone all along its length, you next want to adjust the bow tip and frog so that the each end tap in line with the bow hair also matches this tap tone { 198 HZ} ; then your bow will be performing at a high level.
  Tap along the top surface of the bow hair to gently strike the tip of the bow and the silver collar of the frog. These should match the bow stick tap tone frequency of 198 HZ.
  If you can find such a fine bow... treasure it!

(c) David Langsather 2017
..The first adjustment is to have the fundamental part of the tap tone (as well as the highest part of the tap tone) match all along the bow stick.
..If the tap tone (fundamental) is too low, then scrape even amounts from each side of the stick in that area until the tap is raised to match your goal frequency.
..If the tap tone (fundament, or lowest part of tap) in a certain area is too high, then scrape even amount from the top and bottom of bow in that area until it matches your goal frequency.
...Finally, we want to tune the bow tip and frog to match the new even tap tone of the stick.
..If the front end tap (inline with bow hair) is too low, then scrape the side concave shape evenly on each side to raise it. If too high then scrape material from inner or outer ends to lower to goal.
..If tip is too low in fundamental tap tone, then scrape side of bow head; if too high, then scrape material from front edge to lower tap tone to goal frequency.
...I hope this information is helpful, please let me know if you have questions....

David Langsather
503 364-8685 PST USA
or E-mail to
  To refinish, you might try some boiled linseed oil lightly applied with a cotton rag (being careful to not touch the hair).

  I have read about possibly adding a little plaster of paris into the oil before rubbing in to bow wood.

... I suspect that the 'Rub Tone' of the bow should match the wood of the instrument:
please see: for more information on this subject.
...If the insturment has numerous different rub tones for its major components, then I select the rub tone of the back plate and try and find a bow which is made of wood having that rub tone.
...The goal is to have an instrument make entirely of matching rub tone woods and to then mate that instrument to a bow made of entirely matching rub toned wood.
(...As you might imagine, this kind of matched set is very rare.)...
violin016003.jpg violin016002.jpg violin016001.jpg
Ideal Tap Tone...
........198 HZ
Ideal Wood Tone... .........242 HZ
Ideal Rub Tone...
........# 22