What fiddle rosin should I buy?

What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I know that this question has been asked a few times by the way, but I just want to be sure.
I just read that old rosin doesn’t work well, cause mine is like 10 or 15 years old or something like that and it sounds really gritty so I thought it might be cause its old so I did some research and apparently if its old it goes dry and that.
I want to buy some new stuff, but I don’t really have a clue how to go about it, like what to buy etc..
I heard humidity has to do with it, so if it helps, I live in Scotland so you can probably guess that I won’t be experiencing much warmth or humidity :L
Thanks a lot! 🙂

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

i’m just seconding the question, would love to know more about rosin. stuff that works in hot humid summer in new england vs stuff that works in cold very dry winter air. stuff wherei can feel the difference in "grab".

i know that rosin that got left in the car and frozen got all flakey and not useful. and very old rosin kind of dries up.

sure would love to know people’s thoughts.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

It depends on what you like and what you get used to. I’ve been using the same cake for 35 years. I ocassionally try others, but always come back to the old one. It’s about half the size it was 35 years ago. I’ve also heard of classical players who stick with a favorite cake for decades.

Some (probably most) like it sticky; some like it dry.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Don’t buy the cheapest, it’s usually difficult to get any off the block and onto the strings. Conventional wisdom is, dark coloured rosin is stickier than light coloured, which may be good for dragging the volume out in a session, light coloured is finer. Not sure I play well enough to tell the difference, but the Other Person In The House reckons she can tell the difference.

And though I haven’t bought rosin for sometime, I don’t think you need to pay more than a fiver, though I do think the sound benefits from going slightly up market.

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Full measure - I live slightly south of Scotland, so like KaateeMac warmth and humidity is something I only read about 😉

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

My preference is less sticky, and I live in a dry environment. I like the Korean stuff has this fellow wearing a wig on the cover. the cover has a website www.creamonainseoul.com. Its great his better rosin’s don’t make a mess of my fiddle, as in i can put on a fair amount lasts more than one play often, and doesn’t feel like sticky rosin. If i do want some sticky I use his cello/bass rosin, that i got a hunk of, and still doesn’t make a mess. Some folks like the dust, I find the dust is just ugly and Im lazy about cleaning. The super cheap stuff, that comes in the wooden blocks that they sell for kids to use in school orchestra, i actually LIKE how it feels, and plays, but again it makes a huge mess, so have to have a duster in my case. I don’t think price is the concern so much as do you like sticky- vs powdery -vs clean-etc.?

Speaking of duster’s i found a great one, its just a "swiffer" duster refill, i can dust out under the bridge, and finger board in less than 2 seconds before putting the fiddle away, and it compresses easily into the case, can basically toss it anywhere in the case, I put it under the neck.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

http://www.cremonainamerica.com/Andrea_Rosin.html

here is a better link.

Really you should just try some rosin’s. If you are on a strict budget then talk to you local friends, since they are in the same weather/humidity. maybe you can shorten your search.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I would second the advice not to buy super cheap stuff as it is in my experience rather gritty and lacking in grab. A reasonable block will last a lifetime if you take care of it. It doesn’t ‘go off’ — it’s the same stuff that flies are preserved in for millions of years.

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I got a cake of Gustave Bernadel when I bought a new bow a couple of years ago and like it a lot.

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Don’t go for the really cheap yellow stuff which is rock hard and no use for anything.
In general light coloured rosins are harder, and therefore suited to a hot climate, dark or green rosins will work better for you in Scotland. I live in Ireland and use Jade, a green rosin, and am very happy with it.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Goodness me! Did you know you can pay up to £30 for rosin? At that price it would need to have gold flakes in it. I can get a decent set of strings for less than that!

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I’ve been using D’Addario VR300 Natural Dark rosin. I really like it; it grips well, and it cuts down on the mess all over the fiddle.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Baker’s Original is made each summer from fresh pine sap from living trees…. Anything else you buy is made from a waste product known as sylvaros left over from wood processing plants. They just add dye to make it darker for the dark stuff. After I tried fresh real rosin… I’ll never use Hill’s or any other again. Baker’s is very grabby with no dust what so ever. He is very picky about the particle size of the colophony… Just great stuff. I think there is a guy in Greece who makes a similar rosin called Melos, but I have never needed to try it.

http://www.bakersrosin.com/

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I’m a fiddle beginner and rosin is a bit of a mystery to me, also. At the moment I’m using some Hidersine which we’ve had in the house for years - so well used it has a 5mm groove in it … in the shape of a beautiful Saltire. Yes, I live in Scotland too … SO - kaateemac and c.g - I would dearly love to know how you both seem to have lived here without experiencing humidity!

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Whichever rosin you buy, just keep it well away from your bottle of string-cleaner.

I tend to leave my cleaner at home - but once, I put a bottle of it in the wee compartment at the top of the fiddle case to give to a mate. Alas, the top wasn’t on properly and it leaked onto my rosin - result = horrible sticky mess (which luckily didn’t spread very far)

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

My wife used Hidersine rosin for a long time and always assumed it was "good enough" because…well, that’s what she’d always used. She then discovered other rosins which are much better. Hidersine has the single advantage that it costs next to nothing.

The rosin is the point of contact between bow and string, so using poor rosin is a pretty false economy - a bit like putting poor tyres on a car. Even the expensive rosins (Melos, Andrea etc) are likely to last a long time and give you more control.

Given the bow / rosin / strings are also creating microscopic particles of dust, you might also like to consider one of the hypoallergenic rosins, such as Clarity.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

boxershort - yeh, I know, as I sit here looking at the rain and reading that a gig in Manchester was called off cos the venue was flooded … but I’ve been in Massachusetts in July, 98 degrees and 99% humidity or something. This is just cool and damp.

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

c.g. Quite agree - when it’s cool it just feels damp but it’s what I can cope with - Massachusetts sounds hellish! Mind you 98%? At what point does humidity just become rain? 😏

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

C.G.,

Here’s some very basic information.

http://www.violinstudent.com/rosin.html

There’s a huge variety in rosins, and your expensive rosin may actually have gold in it. Mine does, and I bought it to mellow the harsh sound of one of my violins. I bought it about six years ago and I think it’ll last the rest of my life.

I use a darker rosin in the winter, when things dry out and I need more stickiness.

I have read that you shouldn’t change rosins on the same bow, but I’ve never had a problem. Then again I play on a relatively inexpensive bow, and no amount of practice would ever get me to Carnegie Hall.

Wolf

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I bought some rosin once with real gold flecks in. It was bloody expensive, but bloody good. However, true to form, I lost it before I’d even scraped off all the shiny bits off the top.

I don’t buy rosin anymore … waste of money.

As Tome Waits says, "I never buy umbrellas, ‘cause there’s always one around."

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Ha … "Tome" Waits?? …. That made me laugh

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I’ve tried a few - Bernadel was good, then I went to Piastro
Goldflex which seems slightly ‘grabbier’. I think partly it depends
on what strings you use - and I use different ones all the time.
I’m on Spirocores now and this Goldflex stuff is working very well.
But last winter it wasn’t grabbing too well on the Chromcores.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

"winter" for me here is June / July by the way

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I never understand why some people change their strings all the time.

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I’ve been told (by a salesperson in a music store) that a rosin cake dries up and needs to be replaced after a few months. That’s one of those things that might be true—but isn’t true enough.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

My main instrument is the double bass, and if my rosin gets out of shape or otherwise unusable, I wait until a very hot and sunny day, and put it on the dashboard of my car for several hours with all the windows closed. The rosin flows back to its original shape, mostly.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Rosin doesn’t dry up or need to be replaced. And it’s not a very good idea to make a saltire in it, because eventually it will fall to pieces. I resist the temptation to make a groove for the bow to sit in; but then I don’t plan on buying another 100-year supply.

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I’ve developed an allergy to rosin, my eyes water and itch and my nose gets congested. Colophony is a well-known sensitiser. It’s used as a flux in solder, and people working in electronics are known to be affected.

I was seriously concerned when I realised what had happened, then relieved when I found there are hypoallergenic rosins. But then I found the Clarity rosin isn’t very good, no grab. So it was a great weight off my mind when I found Geipel hypoallergenic rosin. I really like this rosin, it leaves little dust on the fiddle, and it’s grabby without being harsh. And it’s cheap.

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Gosh - it seems there are as many rosin preferences out there as there are fiddlers! Interesting about the hypoallergenic ones too. I take your point, gam, but by the time I acquired the rosin the Saltire was well and truly embedded! Perhaps I should melt it down and start again?

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

One that makes me laugh every time I see it is when people rosin their bow and simultaneously wipe the rosin off their bow with the little bit of material the rosin comes in. And it’s funny how they are always the ones who profess to like lots of rosin on their bows

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

What makes me laugh is people with huge white deposits of rosin
on their fiddles. It takes about 3 seconds to blow the rosin off
after you play. They let it build up for ‘street cred’ I think.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

I don’t let it build up for street cred, It’s my emergency supply.

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

And it knackers yer varnish ……..

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Yeah, it knackers the varnish and it looks like I’m doin’ it for street cred. I’m not defending it.

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

One of the best cd covers i ever saw was the first Beolach one, they are from Cape Breton, where the rosin piles deep. It just had their name and a very used crossed rosin cake with shards flying. Good tunes, too. You can see a pic of it here, second cd down:

http://www.beolach.com/music.htm

It may be uncouth in ITM circles, but it made me grin.

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Yeah, full measure, my kitchen has quarry tiles on the floor — I’ve got rosin like that. And a few plates.

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Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Years ago, for 35 cents, I got a handful of rosin chunks, each with one flat side, from a barrel at Agway (farm store). This is pig rosin: soft yellow rosin that was crumbled and spread on pigskin before scraping off the bristles. I used it on my bowhair years. They now stock bags of rosin crumbs. One bag and a form and you’d be in business.

This rosin makes much dust, and I liked the contrast of the white in the center of the fiddle until I realized that too much rosin dampens the vibration of the top. Now, I only let it build up on the fingerboard (visuals are still good).

Another consideration is that rosin buildup on strings weights them out of balance, so they can be difficult to tune, and sound less free. So I keep mine clean.

Great discussion. Thanks for the tips.
vlnplyr

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

Sorry I haven’t got back to all of you in ages! Lost the internet for a few days :/
I have came to the conclusion, seen as I have heard about it lots of times, i think I will buy Bakers Rosin?
Thanks so much for all the answers everyone, I have learnt a great deal about rosin now! :L

Re: What fiddle rosin should I buy?

In the realm of resins, of which rosin is just one kind, rosin is considered to have a short shelf life due to it’s tendency to oxidize. It does not "dry out" or volatilize, but the softening point increases and it loses tack as it oxidizes. I spent 29 years with a company that used a rail car (160,000 lbs) of a rosin every week and they considered the shelf life to be 6 months. Anything older than that was not used to make products. Using rosin on a bow is another matter in my opinion. People use the same cake for many years and claim there is no change, which indicates to me there is wide latitude in the properties of rosin that make it useful for bow friction.

Baker’s may be a fine bow rosin, but there’s a lot of myth surrounding it. Most rosins are derived from distilling live tree sap, and in this regard Baker’s isn’t unique. Sylvaros is a trade name for Arizona Chemical’s various rosin products, which are a byproduct of papermaking. Their rosins are anything but “waste products”. There was an article about a bow rosin maker (Sherman) in “Strings Magazine” a few years ago who used Sylvaros as the base for his bow rosin. I suspect that’s where the myth that everyone but Baker uses it started, but Sherman may very possibly be the only one.

All rosins, including Geipel, are primarily composed of abietic acid, a strong allergen so I don’t know on what basis Geipel claims to be hypoallergenic. Clarity is based on a totally different molecule and is truly hypoallergenic. If the violin grade doesn’t have enough grab, try the cello grade – it’s softer and grabbier. The bass version, even more so.