Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

I never thought about this question until recently. A few days ago the bunnystomper talked about a certain brand of rosin and stated that it ‘….tends to flake and break, and gets slippery and glassifies on the strings really quickly, especially as it gets old’.

So I did a web search and there actually is some talk about replacing rosin after a certain amount of time. Someone even states that Pirastro advices to buy a new chunk every year (that would suit them…).

What are your ideas? I’ve had my chunck for over 15 years, no complaints, but maybe it is like with replacing strings: when you do it you find out you should have done it long before…..

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

I wished I could hang on to rosin for 15 months never mind 15 years. It either gets left behind, Knocked & Broken, or just borrowed & not returned, & as it is no big expence, it will always be put to good use.
The funiest story about rosin I lost was, having it conficated for testing by a female Garda Siochana….! At the Fleadh Cheoil… a few years back, She did ask if I wanted it back when it was tested, if it wasn’t an "iIlegal Substance" , so I told her to hang on to it as an educational tool, I wouldn’t mind but she was Irish too…! & the rosin was in the box & still attached to the cloth.
Getting back to aging rosin it does seem to harden but if it still works I can’t see a problem. I can take to the Bow easier when it’s softer.
10 years ago in the South of Spain someone dropped mine, and I gathered the pieces & had to melt them down & remould, because I could not find a shop with any for sale, it worked just fine.
Maybe with old rosin one could try this if you thought it was no longer effective anymore to see would it help renew it.

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

Well Henk, I’ve been giving it a bit of thought myself lately. I suffered a while with a very squeaky bow … and it was probably because I was using 10+ year old French rosin … Gustave Bernardel … I seem to remember it as being expensive at the time, in a nice blue velveteen pouch … not much left of it, and bought in cooler climate, but in a way, I’m grateful for the squeaky bow because it drove me to buying a new bow (that I really love), durgh! … and along with it some new rosin, Pirastro gold, bought here! …

The thing about it is … if you should be changing your rosin yearly, it seems to me that it would also hold that there might also be a shelf life to the rosin … and if that is the case, shouldn’t the rosin blocks be stamped with their production date and a recommended use by date?

… but, yep, seems the Bernardel should have been chucked years ago … still learning.

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

FWIW:
I vaguely remembering being told that you can gently heat the rosin till it softens/reliquifies and form a new cake from it, or combine all your leftover bits so as not to waste any.
That’s all I recall, not much help probably, and seems not worth the bother, but this is the only context I have ever encountered in 25 years to share the trivia.
Good luck, all.

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Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

I’m skeptical. It’s hard to imagine something more "stable" than a lump of rosin.

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Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

Henk, I’ve actually had the same STRINGS on my fiddle for 15 years, but I replace my rosin every 6 months. I just realized I’ve got it backwards!!

;)

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

And, did you notice any difference?

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

Yes. The string is down to merely a thread, but there’s lots of grip.

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

Actually, Henk, to be serious I’ve been using an entirely new kind of rosin — called Amber. Mine has ancient bugs, ants in this case, preserved in it.
I find I can use the same chunk pretty much ad infinitum…. 🙂 as the age of the rosin itself will attest [5,000BC in my case].

Also, having stuff preserved in the rosin adds to overall "conversation piece" aspect when I pull it out at a session. Of course, it’s priceless [i’ve been approached by The Museum of Natural History for it for inclusion in their collection] but I just can’t sell….

Here’s a link to my sample:

http://www.fathom.com/feature/121693/index.html

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

I also used that Gustave Bernadel in the dark blue felt pouch just because I read that Donal Lunnys daughter ( classical violinist ) said its the best. It went rock hard in about a year .Now I use a bit of fine sandpaper ( glasspaper) to agitate the surface of the rosin before applying it to the strings.It works OK but its a bit gritty I feel

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

Oh dear. Fragments of sand/glass embedded in the rosin now being applied to the surface of the strings …

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older? It sure does!

The reason rosin has a very short shelf life is that it’s an organic substance (largely). It seems to dry out quite quickly. A year or two is the absolute maximum for rosin in my experience. You don’t need a lot of rosin to make the bow adhere to the strings, but when it’s old people tend to put loads on to compensate for its deterioration. The reason the air around many traditional fiddlers is white with rosin is that they’re using tons of old dusty rosin and it isn’t doing its job, (though there’s a tendency to use too much anyway.) Rosin’s not all that pricey anyway, so spend a bit extra and get some good stuff. This Greek rosin is all natural (all pine resin and nothing else added) and very nice to play: http://www.melosrosin.gr/comments_en.htm
(I prefer the light variety to the dark.)

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

I used the same cake for nearly thirty years and I’ve heard of classical players doing the same. Mine was fairly dry to begin with, so I wouldn’t have noticed a little additional dryness. I recently started using a new cake (only five years old) because I lost my old one for a while and got used to the newer, slightly softer one.

It would make sense that rosin would get drier with age, but at what rate, I wonder. Is it really noticeable in a few years?

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

Not possibly.

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Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

Very opposite opinions……what to do…….

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

In cold weather (such as we’re experiencing at the moment where I live) it helps to warm the rosin by holding it in front of a heat source for a short while. Hold it with your bare fingers so as to ensure it doesn’t get too hot or melt! All you need to do is just to get it gently warm to the touch.

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

"Very opposite opinions……what to do…….?"

Buy new rosin and tell us if you find an improvement!

(I used the same rosin for years and found that when I got new stuff the bow had much better bite on the strings, and I didn’t constantly have to wipe rosin off the fiddle.)

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

If you need to rough up new rosin to get it to powder onto your bow, don’t use sandpaper. Eesh. I just score it gently across the top with the tightening screw on the bow.

(tangent) Regarding replacing strings, I replace mine every 3 months, ‘cuz I play the heck out of them. And I rehair every 6 months, minimum.

Re: Does rosin get worse when it’s getting older?

Just asked my luthier, and he says that rosin does get wordse due to oxidation. Makes it dry out, glassifying, powdery.