Rosin for Hot Environments

Rosin for Hot Environments

I’m wondering about rosin suited for extra warm situations. Not "Hot" as in strip clubs or whatever, although a friend of mine was busted a while back for running a shebeen at a sports facility - I would have loved to have been the musician in the corner who got busted too! Shades of "The Night They Raided Minsky’s!" Something for the CV! Like Rolf (or was it Rowf?) from the Muppets, who Kermit discovered tickling the ivories in "a low dive!" Some of the joints I’ve played in would fit that description!
No, I’m thinking of very warm environments. I’ve played for years in Pubs, Clubs, Hotel Lounges, but nowadays I’m playing unplugged (most of the time) in Charity Concerts, Church Halls and in Care Homes. Last week I was playing in a Care Home, firstly downstairs in the large lounge for about 20-25 residents, then upstairs for other residents who aren’t very mobile. All these senior citizens said they like fiddle music - takes them back to before electric guitars - so I was going around various rooms playing a wheen of tunes. (I believe "Wheen" is an Ulster-Scots word?) After playing for a few residents I realised things weren’t quite right with my fiddling. Especially on the e string, then on the A string as well. Felt like there was no bite between bow & strings. Later that night at my fiddle class with Belfast Trad, my bow felt skiddy, and then the penny dropped! It was so warm (hot) in the care home that the rosin had been melting on the bow. So, sez I, where did it go? Well it must have been sprayed like a mist into the air.
I put my first set of Dominants on my fiddle 4 years ago and I’m still using the chunk of Dominant rosin that I bought at the time. It comes in a cute little round tin so it’s well protected. It cost £8.30 so I should like to think so! I’ve seen the odd reference to different grades of rosin - soft/hard, light/dark and so on. Should I be looking for a Tropical/Semi-Tropical grade rosin to cope with the higher temperatures in Care Facilities, or should I shut up, man up, and rub on a dose more of the Dominant cake? Tonight I gave the bow a couple of strokes before starting practising, but the strings look like towropes now. It’s gonna be kitchen roll and white spirit in the morning I think. I did have a wee bottle of real turpentine but it’s all used up. Need to head down the Art Supplies shop for more!
Speedy answers appreciated folks - I’ve 2 more Care Facilities to play this weekend!
Alex.

Re: Rosin for Hot Environments

Typically you’re supposed to use light rosin in hot climates,,,not so sticky, though more may come off on the strings and fiddle (big deal),,,is hard to tell from personal experience, even though I live in a very hot and humid climate, and don’t play out these late years. Inside the house I have the Air Conditioning keeping things about 75 or a bit higher, generally, and I think (not sure) the AC tends to dry things, so my rosin story is a long one,,,lots of dark, some amber, a couple light. Presently it’s Bernardel that takes the cake,,,err, IS the cake. Bernardel might be an all purpose answer, for SOME.
Is an amber rosin. I have some Melos light, seems to be pretty nice. Least the Bernardel can be had for $8.00 here, is not dear at all. The Melos is kind of dear,,,at ‘least’ twice the price. Many more light rosins available. Cheap, too.
But yeah, light rosin for what you describe is common currency,,,however there will be many more opinions, I’m sure :)

Re: Rosin for Hot Environments

I wouldn’t change rosin just because you occasionally play in a hot building. Remember that once you put rosin on the hair ir stays there, so if you put hard rosin on for a hot room it will still be there and you’ll struggle for grip when you go back into the cold. It’s not that hard rosin only works in hot climates and soft only works in cold, it’s just that hard works a bit better in hot and soft works a bit better in cold.

The room would have had to be too hot for human survival to actually melt the rosin, I think your problem is more likely to be down to adapting to playing un-amplified for an audience - you do need to rosin a lot more frequently if you are playing loud. Practicing at home I probably only apply rosin every 2-3 hours, un-amplified on stage it can be every 3-4 sets.

I’d lay off the turpentine and just use a dry microfibre cloth, and if the bow hairs have stuck together you can freshen the bow by just combing the hair (keep a comb specifically for the job, the one you use for your own hair will be oily).

Re: Rosin for Hot Environments

I played for years in a hot, sometimes quite humid, climate. Throughout I used the Dominant rosin that just happened to be in the case at the outset. It worked fine, but I did need to apply it liberally and often, especially when humidity was high.

"Wheen" is a word widely used in Ulster, but it’s not ‘Ulster Scots’ in origin. It’s just a continued use of the same word from Old English.

Re: Rosin for Hot Environments

Thanks for the replies everyone. Just use more rosin then.
@Jerry O’Donnell: I’d never have thought of "wheen" being of English origin.

Re: Rosin for Hot Environments

Jerry’s idea of using more rosin when the humidity is high reflects my experience here by the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. When the humidity is very high, I apply rosin more often — humidity here can change very quickly depending on the tide and the air temperature. For several years, I spent winters in the high desert of southeast Arizona. The humidity is frequently below 15%. I bought some rosin that fiddlers down there seemed to like - softer stuff - and that seemed to work out better than what I’d been using up in Nova Scotia. It might be worth doing a bit of experimenting.

Re: Rosin for Hot Environments

@Alexander Gurgan: Feel free to check it out in an etymological dictionary !

Many "local" words are simply continued usage of words from Old- or Middle-English, or Old Norse.

Re: Rosin for Hot Environments

Pirastro Olive dark green. rosin.