Tuning – 1. The Nocking Point

Nocking Point Location

When installing the point, make sure it is positioned approximately half an inch above “square” which is an imaginary line that extends from the surface of your arrow rest and forms a 90 degree angle with the bow string when in its lose position. You should use a T-square device to measure that precisely.


It is important to check that the nock on your arrow should have a proper fit for the nock point on your string – tight enough so that the arrow can hang freely from the string, with the nock/nock point being perfectly capable of supporting the arrow’s weight, but such that the arrow should be able to disengage if the string is given a strong tap (with your hand) a few inches away from the nock.

You may have spent months researching the perfect arrows but it is also certain that no amount of research will actually help you choose the “perfect” arrows for your bow; only practice and time will help you determine that, because you need to intimately understand the behaviour of your particular bow.

Micro-Tune The Brace Height

By brace height we simply mean the distance between the deepest part of the bow riser, and the string in its loose position.

brace height

The vast majority of recurve bows have a brace height somewhere between 7.5 and 9.75 inches. The brace height of your bow will dictate some of its behaviors, such as how loud it shoots and how much pivoting your arrow will experience mid-air. On most recurves you’ll be able to adjust the brace height by up to 1/2″ in both directions (either increase it or decrease it). How do you do that?

Twists on the Bow
The more twists you add at the tip of the string, the more more “flexed” it becomes, hence pulling the limb tips slightly away from the riser and increasing brace height, so dropping your sting can be disasterous unless  you know how many turns you have.  (Decrease brace height by reducing the number of twists on the string).  Twist and untwist the bow string until you reach a brace height that results in the least noise and vibration when an arrow is shot. It’s a good idea to ask someone to stand next to you and tell you when the bow is being the most quiet, as it can be difficult for the archer shooting the bow to judge this properly due to very close proximity to the string.

Step by step:

  1. Simply string your bow, measure the brace height using a ruler, shoot 10 or so arrows, then adjust the brace height by 1/8 of an inch up or down by adding or removing a few twists.
  2. Make sure to measure the exact brace height after every change made, note it down, and assign each setting a subjective “noise” rating based on how loud it tends to be when shooting the arrows. At this point don’t worry too much about your shooting accuracy.
  3. Once you’ve found the ideal brace height (which will differ depending on your bow, string materials, and type of arrows you’re shooting), it’s best to write the exact height in inches onto the inside of the limbs of your bow, using a permanent marker. This is a very important value and you want to always have it available “on hand.”

Note: ideal brace height varies from bow model to another, and can even vary slightly across two different bows of the same make and model. You should therefore never rely on another person’s suggestion regarding the brace height to use, and always follow the procedure above to determine the appropriate height for your setup.