Fiddle Rosin

Fiddle Rosin

Just did a quick search and it appears there has not been much discussion on rosin in a few years.

I recently ditched my hindersine Rosin which I’ve had for about 3 years in favour of Kaplan (clamshell type box) Rosin and I have to say it’s made an enormous difference to the precision of my bowing and overall response of the fiddle.

So what’s your current rosin of choice and why, and what have you previously tried but fallen out of favour with and why have you replaced it with what you currently use?

Re: Fiddle Rosin

As of last week I am using Melos Light. I previously used Pirastro Goldflex. The Melos was an experiment, having read a variety of good reviews. It has a lovely bite, and I am converted - I imagine that this will be my main rosin for a long time to come.

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Just started on Magic Rosin 3G.
Very enjoyable.
Nice packaging.

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I just collect up all the old blocks that come into the workshop with old fiddles. When I’ve got enough I put them in a jam jar and zap them in the microwave, then pour the liquid rosin into the metal cans off old teas light candles.

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I used Hidersine for years for the technical reason that it’s what they had in the shop. Then I bought a set of Dominants and decided to go the whole hog and buy the Dominant rosin advertised as being made especially for those strings. The rosin cost £8 or thereabouts and p&p was £4, so my rosin cost me £12.00! A couple of weeks ago I bought a wee pink 1/4 size Archetto fiddle for my eldest grand-daughter and the rosin that came with it was a rectangular block in a plastic holder, open at the ends and open on top. I said to the shop keeper that I had only ever seen that style of rosin online, but never for real. I thought it looked like it would last longer than the usual round cake - drop that and it’s smashed! Drop the oblong one and there’s a wee chance it might survive! And bless him, he gave me 2 pieces of adult sized Archetto rosin for myself. He also threw in a shoulder rest for the wee fiddle. As long as I don’t drop any rosin I should have enough for the next 15 - 20 years! Does the rosin really make much of a difference? I’ve seen beginners rosin that was so soft it would have worn out in no time at all, but as far as the real stuff goes, does it really matter for fiddlers? I’m nothing special as a fiddler, but I find that if I clean my strings off with a spot of turpentine every couple of weeks, my Dominant rosin seems to give a nice bite to the bow and a better response from the strings. This seems to also be the case with my new carbon fibre bow which I bought through Donedeal from a vendor in Cork. Cost me the grand sum of 56 euro, which worked out at £41.00. Weighs the same as my student wooden bow, at 62 grams, but seems to be better balanced.

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Coincidentally, I’ve used Hidersine for the last year and have not been happy with it and am considering a change. (Before that I used some unremarkable stuff whose name escapes me at the moment.) I’ve been thinking about trying Bernardel. I’ll keep my eye on this thread.

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I’ve been on Jade l’Opera J100M for the last 10 years.

I’ve always been meaning to try other brands, but never got round to it. I tend not to use much rosin anyway.
I’m thinking I’ll go for the ‘stickier’ stuff soon.

Mark M, I want my money back.

(Just kidding) :)

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My latest experiment was Pirastro, Evah Pirazzi Gold. I tried it based on the often wrong assumption that it must be good because it’s bloody expensive. This time though, it’s proved to be well worth the money (to me) and I’m going to stick with it.
But @Alexander Gurgan….. Is it normal to have to clean your bow with turps every two weeks? Maybe that’s because it gets gunked up with poor rosin (??) I don’t honestly know, but what does everybody else think?
Apart from the better grip and response since I switched to Evah Pirrazzi gold, two other things I’ve noticed is that (a) my bow stays clean for much longer, and (b)I now get white powder on my fiddle, which I never used to.

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Re: Fiddle Rosin

Gobby, he’s cleaning his strings, not his bow. You’re supposed to do that about that often but fiddlers often don’t bother. You’re supposed to clean that white powder up too, but again, many fiddlers don’t bother.

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Oh Yes.. Thanks tdrury, I misread it. But now I’m even more horrified. I wouldn’t put turpentine within a mile of my fiddle!! I simply wipe my strings down with a cloth just about every time I finish playing. I also clean the rosin powder off my instrument.

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Turpentine dissolves varnish, doesn’t it? They make stuff you can clean your strings with that doesn’t do that, I think. But I just do what you do, wipe the strings down and clean the rosin up.

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Tiny spot of turps on a rag, piece of card underneath the strings, a wee wipe and away you go!

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Which solvents are safe a which aren’t depends on what type of varnish is on your fiddle. If it’s a cheap modern fiddle with cellulose or acrylic lacquer, then just about anything other than paint stripper is safe, if it’s a good fiddle with oil varnish, then both alcohol and turpentine are safe, provided the exposure isn’t too long. But if the oil varnish has been over-coated with shellac (which is frequently done by dealers wanting to ‘tart up’ an old fiddle) then alcohol, turpentine and even water can damage the finish. If it’s a factory fiddle with spirit varnish, then anything that dissolves rosin will also attack the varnish.

But common sense tells me that wet-cleaning strings isn’t a sensible idea - you dissolve the rosin, the fluid seeps between the windings into the core (which on synthetic strings is fibrous and very absorbent), then the solvent evaporates and the rosin sets, stiffening the string.

The best way to keep stings clean is a rub with a cloth every time you put the fiddle back in its case. If you can’t be bothered with that you get a buildup that won’t come off with a dry cloth, then a rub with a wine bottle cork will do the trick without the need for solvents.

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" a rub with a wine bottle cork will do the trick without the need for solvents."
Now there’s a good excuse for a nice bottle of vino!

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I’ve been using Piastro Goldflex for a few years - bitier than Bernadel
and others I’ve tried. I’d like to get something with even more grip

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Two years ago I had really bad facial eczema; tests revealed I am allergic to anything made from tree resin!!! and obviously I had been scraping my rosined bow up and down 6 inches in front of my face. I have been playing (or trying to) the fiddle for over 50 years so the allergy was a bit of a surprise. I researched hypoallergenic rosins and bought L’Opera Jade which is working well. It does not produce much dust and has reasonable traction tho I maybe use it more frequently than "normal" rosin. I tried Clarity but it seemed to have no traction at all so I threw it away. I haven’t tried the other non-allergenic rosin, Greipel? is it? but am happy to continue with Jade.

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Bernardel Amber (round cake) —- leaves NO visible residue on the fiddle, however, I do clean the strings w/ rubbing alcahol.

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Pirastro olive. It is dark green in colour. Used by one of our prestigious school, music string master. Nice on fiddle work too. Helps to use good strings too. Keep the fiddle clean, use a soft cloth.