Bow Hold Comfort – Surgical Tubing

The BOW is magical. A Light Sabre for a cellist.  It can make your cello sing and the right bow can make the 1/32nd notes easy as 1/8 notes.  However, One of the things that’s bothered me is the comfort of the bow.  There is a very easy fix to make it more comfortable and it’s cheap and it’s DIY.

Surgical Tubing…Really. Surgical tubing.  My inspiration for this article came from Paul Perley Cellos, from their excellent series of articles, The Cellist.  You can find the referenced article here.

I originally had my Luthier put a surgical tubing on my bow because I wanted to hold the bow on the windings.  The tubing gave my thumb a little more meat to hold onto and made it so much more comfortable – helps me get a relaxed loose hold on the bow.


I went back to the normal position and I pushed the tubing over the thumb area of the frog.  And what I found is that this also greatly enhanced the comfort, also.


This cured my thumb cramps I’d get on some pieces like Bach Suite 1 Prelude.  It just made the bowing more enjoyable and helped develop strength in my thumb.  Definitely helps the “Loose” wrist action…difficult to explain so here is a video of Steve Isserlis.  Check out Steve’s wrist action!

This is a really easy DIY.

  • You basically cut the desired length of surgical tubing
  • Unscrew the adjusting screw until the frog comes off
  • Slide the surgical tubing on
  • Screw the frog back on.

Couple of things to keep in mind.  The tubing could be made of latex (mine is) and from what I understand, some people are allergic to latex.  It can be a little difficult to put on, but a little finesse, wriggling it up the bow did it for me.  And it makes for an unattractive bow.   I ordered black tubing to replace the tan-ish colored tubing to make it look less obvious but it didn’t help.  Seems a shame to do this to a beautiful bow.  I guess this is one of those function over form sacrifices.

The Details:

Surgical tubing has 3/8 in inner diameter and 1/16 in wall.  Ordered mine from

2 thoughts on “Bow Hold Comfort – Surgical Tubing

    1. Thanks for the comment and suggestion. I love this idea. I think the key is to make the thumb area a little larger and maybe a little grippier so you don’t have to hold on so tight with your thumb.


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