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Author Topic: Ethics of selling the last of the Tartini Rosin - what's your opinion?  (Read 8419 times)

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Offline marktheharp

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We're pleased to have got hold of the last batch of Tartini Violin / Viola / Cello / Bass rosins we're likely to be able to get hold of. There's certainly enough to satisfy any normal need, and we're pleased to have been able to get some more so that UK fiddlers at least can still enjoy what I think is a pretty amazing product.

We sold quite a quantity of our last stock to someone in an orchestra, and having now taken delivery of our last ever batch, it got us to thinking about the ethics of selling what is a finite resource - what Tesco call a "WIGIG" - "when it's gone, it's gone".

One thing we're sure of is that we will keep it at the price we've always sold it at. Even given that,  there is an ethical choice to be made. Is it OK for someone to be able to buy a lot and therefore potentially offer it at a higher price? Is it OK to sell more than a certain amount to any one person? What other ways could we sell it apart from via the shop?

I think this is an important consideration for us all. We had a similar dilemma a few months ago about the drainpipes we used to ship our Incredibows in. We asked our customers whether they could see a further use for these pipes beyond contributing to landfill, and one person eventually came back and offered us a source of perfect cardboard tubes - which had already been used once and which wouldn't be degrading the environment unnecessarily. So we all win - the environment wins, we don't have to saw up bits of drainpipe any more, the things are less awkward to post, and our very kind customer allows us to reuse something at least one more time than it otherwise would have been used.

Since we solved that particular problem by asking our customers for ideas, we thought we'd do the same again.

Any thoughts, then, on the ethics of selling a finite resource?

« Last Edit: Dec 04, 2005, 06:02:52 PM by marktheharp »

Offline Joe Gerardi

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Re: Ethics of selling the last of the Tartini - what's your opinion?
« Reply #1 on: Dec 04, 2005, 06:01:57 PM »
We're pleased to have got hold of the last batch of Tartini we're likely to be able to get hold of...

One thing we're sure of is that we will keep it at the price we've always sold it at. Even given that,  there is an ethical choice to be made. Is it OK for someone to be able to buy a lot and therefore potentially offer it at a higher price? Is it OK to sell more than a certain amount to any one person? What other ways could we sell it apart from via the shop?

Any thoughts, then, on the ethics of selling a finite resource?



As an American that believes in the free-market capitalist system, I would say that if you can get more money for it, then go for it. Also, if you do, and someone is willing to pay that amount and buy you out, then again, go for it.

Supply and demand. That's what makes the world go around. Were diamonds not as scarce as they are, they they'd cost pennies. Is it wrong for the sellers to charge more? In my opinion, no.

..Joe
"Some people are like a Slinky... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs"

stone

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Offline giannaviolins

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I just sell things out at normal prices.  If people seem berserk over something I'll put it on ebay and see who wants it the most.

Offline Moriarty

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I suppose that there would be people out there prepared to pay more for the last of the Tartini - but if the rosin does come back (from another manufacturer, with a different name I guess) they might feel cheated, even if it was their own decision to buy.

Quote
Supply and demand. That's what makes the world go around. Were diamonds not as scarce as they are, they they'd cost pennies. Is it wrong for the sellers to charge more? In my opinion, no.
Probably a bad example of supply and demand, given how the diamond cartels fix the prices for their product. ;)

Offline Joe Gerardi

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Probably a bad example of supply and demand, given how the diamond cartels fix the prices for their product. ;)

Actually, I think that reinforces my point. Fixed or not, people are paying what the cartels want.

..Joe
"Some people are like a Slinky... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs"

Offline Moriarty

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But it's not a matter of classical supply and demand though, if you want a diamond you still have little choice but to pay what is asked. Here's 'The Straight Dope' on the subject.
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/040903.html

Offline sreizes

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Actually it is classical supply and demand, just not "Free Market" supply and demand.  It is Monopolistic Seller Supply and demand, where the monopolist seeks to adjust the market clearing price, through manipulation of the supply curve, to the point where its marginal revenue equals it marginal cost.

stone

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Offline Moriarty

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I depends on how 'free' the market really is for a product I suppose, the supplier will always try to get the best price they can - as will the customer. When you only have one supplier you'll usually get abusive pricing as a degree choice has been removed from the buyer. Ford would only sell black model 'T's, but at least he wasn't the only car manufacturer out there, and the reason did benefit the customer - to sell a car as cheaply as possible.

srizes: Well, strictly speaking you're right I guess.  :P

Personally though I don't like to use the term 'supply and demand' in such clearly monopolistic circumstances, it seems to me to altogether different from the 'spirit' of the term.

Offline fidla

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I don't adjust my prices according to demand, only according to what I pay for it.  If it sells out it sells out.  There are other rosins on the market just as good or just as effective for fiddling, so I'm not looking for more tartini personally.


stone

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Offline woodwiz

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The "Straight Dope" article ignores the independent competition form Russia, Canada, India, and Israel, none of whom participate in the cartel, as far as I know.  Nor does it reflect that fact that diamond prices have been pretty flat over the last 20 years or more.  The diamonds that I bought for my wife 25 years ago are available at the same price I paid for them back then after shopping hard.  Meanwhile, the cost of everything else has more than doubled.

Things are generally worth what people will pay for them, and prices are subject to fluctuation depending upon collective opinion based upon myriad factors, as the $850 gold of 1980 and the tulips of 1593 clearly demonstrate. Some things are more stable than others, but they are all subject to market forces.

Offline Moriarty

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'Things are generally worth what people will pay for them'

I think that it's more true to say the 'people will pay what they think something is worth', whether it's really worth it or not, or you wouldn't get Dot com bubbles or the tulip thing. High demand or a shortage of supply will give a price higher than the 'true' (ie, production cost plus profit) value of the product and a customer will lose out, the opposite will give a low price and the producer will lose out and maybe even get less for their product than it cost to produce. Then I think you're not just dealing with market forces, but with ethics too, especially if the supply/demand is in some degree artificially controlled - which was what prompted the original post I guess.

Stone: I mean 'free' as in not monopolised by a single/dominant supplier.

stone

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Offline woodwiz

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'Things are generally worth what people will pay for them'

I think that it's more true to say the 'people will pay what they think something is worth', whether it's really worth it or not, or you wouldn't get Dot com bubbles or the tulip thing. High demand or a shortage of supply will give a price higher than the 'true' (ie, production cost plus profit) value of the product and a customer will lose out, the opposite will give a low price and the producer will lose out and maybe even get less for their product than it cost to produce. Then I think you're not just dealing with market forces, but with ethics too, especially if the supply/demand is in some degree artificially controlled - which was what prompted the original post I guess.

Stone: I mean 'free' as in not monopolised by a single/dominant supplier.

I don't think the cost of production has much relationship to worth. Just because something costs a lot to make doesn't make it worth more to the market. Buggy whips would be a classic example. No matter what they cost to make, you're not going to sell many of them at any price.  Cosmetic companies sell their products at fantastic multiples of production cost, and cosmetics have no objective value at all, except to make one feel better abot their appearance, a purely transitory and culturally determined value.

There are lots of products that never got off the ground because they couldn't be sold profitably at a price comparable to what  the market thought they were worth. That's why I say things are generally worth what people will pay for them.

 All prices fluctuate due to variations in demand and supply, and  while some things fluctuate less than others, nothing material has any value that's not related to what people will pay for it. In many primitive societies gold and diamonds which we prize so highly had no value at all.

I don't think free and open markets have any ethics.  People have ethics that influence how they relate to markets.  For example, if I were selling Tartini Rosin, I would probably sell what I had at "normal" prices, and discreetly discourage hoarding. but that would be up to me, not the market.  If it were up to the market, I would simply charge what I thought the market would bear, and I'd be perfectly within my rights to do so.


Offline sreizes

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Yep, things are worth what people will pay for them.  That is the principal behind the demand and supply curve functions.  The demand curve represents how many units will sell at a given price and the supply curve represents how many a supplier will be willing to sell at a given price. Where they meet is the Market Clearing price, i.e. demand = supply.  Diamond are a very good expample for monopolistic practice actually, since the cartel restricts market supply (shifts the demand curve "up" or to the left, causing the curves to intesect at a higher price, though lower quantity.  Production costs affect the supply curve, not the demand curve, that is how something can cost more to produce than it is worth on the market. 

So far as I can remember, Steve has been always right.  Maybe only one time he got busted in the 4-letter game for an unusal word? ;D
why thank you! :)

Offline fidla

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If it were up to the market, I would simply charge what I thought the market would bear, and I'd be perfectly within my rights to do so.

A perfect example of this is one I've used in another thread.  Whole Foods is a natural products supermarket chain based in Austin, TX with over 250 locations world-wide.  I was the wine & cheese mgr of the Hadley MA store for 7 years.  Basically we were taught to test the market and charge what it would bear.  Let me give you an example.  Feta cheese is very cheaply made.  Essentially fresh curd, dried, packed in brine and sold refrigerated.  It costs pennies to produce, and the whole milk version made by any local dairy costs a store around $1 a pound.  This same pound of Cabot Feta sold at Stop & Shop would go for $2.99 a pound because that is what customers expect to pay there and no more.  But at Whole Foods, customers expect to pay more because everything's more expensive.  This same Cabot Feta (or something like it - a Whole Foods Private Label Feta, for example) might sell for $4.99, not because it costs Whole Foods more to buy it, but because the market will bear it.  And there's nothing illegal about that.  Not illegal, but somehow not right. 

Trader Joe's is another "natural products" market that plays with the market quite a lot.  I did some consulting for a company that makes salsa and salad dressing a few years back.  They made private label salsa for Trader Joes.  Private label means TJ can charge what they like for something (often below a similar product from a competitor, or even the manufacturer), and not reveal the manufacturer.  TJ perfected the art of private label, and now everyone's doing it.  The same salted almonds sold at Stop & Shop for $4.99 a pound go for $5.99 a pound at TJ's, and $7.99 a pound at WF. 

A couple years ago when the FF was in its infancy there was a member here who caused a lot of grief on this and other forums.  She made a mistake by gouging her customers in what is a very public place - the internet and all these related forums.  Now she's gone, but I think most people have learned a lesson from it.  Who is going to buy from the gouger?

So I don't agree with you woodwiz.  I think things are worth what they're worth.  What people pay is up to them.

Offline Steve_W

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If you charge "what the market will bear" you need to be careful, if you're someone who values repeat customers.  If people pay your price but later decide that they didn't get a good deal, they'll blame you, not themselves!  If I were in posession of a finite resource like Tartini rosin, sales of which would be a very minor portion of my total income, and I wanted to be fair, I'd charge the normal price but limit quantities to 1 cake per person, or whatever's reasonable.

Offline Moriarty

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I think that there's a difference here with the meaning of the word 'worth'. I'm of the same opinion as fidla, that somethings worth is quite different from what people will pay for it. To say that something is always worth what people will pay seems to me to lead to the conclusion that nothing is ever sold at an unfair price.

Offline Nfkfiddler

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I would like to believe that my regular suppliers think like Steve W.

Offline sreizes

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Yep, things are worth what people will pay for them. 
It was late I was tired... On second read "worth" is indeed a poor choice of words.  In a case like this what is being sought is some insight into the fair market price.  "Worth" is an individual concept, kind of like "need", in economics, there are no "needs" only "wants", absurdist example:  you want food because you want to live.  You don't need to.

Now as fidla indicated, Fair Market Price will depend on customer expectations, and knowledge.  We shop a TJs and may pay a slight premium over some other options for the surety of a minimum quality level and the convenience of meeting most of our shopping list in the one location.  We stopped shopping at the big chains mostly when they were reduced to two really big chains or the premium stores like Whole Foods etc. 

Now back on the topic of the Tartini Rosin.  If the price of the remaining stock is raised due to the scarcity, then the remaining stock will sell at that price, to those who really think Tartini is worth it.  Others will change brands (they'll buy fidla's Fiddler's Green Rosin or something else yet).  If the price is not raised, then you would expect that the people who would have paid more will respond by buying more, since what happens economically due to the end of the production is the supply curve has become vertical, no matter what the price the amount suppled will not be changed and as sales proceed, the curve will move left until it is at zero.  So against a stable demand curve, as the rosin sells out, the "market clearing price will quickly move up to the amount where the demand curve crosses the origin.   

In other words, that last cake will hit max market price.

Offline WildFiddler

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Any thoughts, then, on the ethics of selling a finite resource?

I usually try to avoid politics. This topic seems harmless enought. I hope I'm not proven wrong.    :o

Here in the US, an item can sell for what someone is willing to pay. Law permits it. Free enterprise system works for me.   ;D

Ethics definded on my internet dictionary is: A "set of principles of right conduct." So it seems, that while the law may not always be moral, law meets the definition of ethics.

Auctions sell "finite resource" items based on this principle everyday. Used "finite resource" items are sold as is, with this same principle.  Obvious statements, but my point is, items have been sold for "whatever" probably since the dawn of trade. No worries then, say I. Buyer can also say no. Morally we might feel bad if we overcharge someone, but the buyer has a responsibility also.  Buyer beware is heard in small claims courts everyday.

Ever hear of a buyer freakin out causes he got charged $.99 for a $99 dollar item?

Of course Mr. Retailer you can do as you please, good business practices are another thing. If you want my repeat business, throw something my way. At least don't sell for more than I can get it else where. Cause I'll go else where.

So I've got 4 brand new Tartini Rosin's in my drawer. Who'll give me $1,240? $12.40?    ;D


Offline Lllizard

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The thing about diamonds is that nobody NEEDS diamonds.  (Unless the cartel is controling industrial diamonds too.)  And there is competition in the form of other types of jewelry.

Offline WildFiddler

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The thing about diamonds is that nobody NEEDS diamonds. 
What a breathe of fresh air to hear that from a woman.   ;D  A lady friend of my family, explained to us the other day that she does *need* to buy jewelry on the shopping network. It's an investment she said. I told her to try and sell a piece of her "investment" jewelry, then get back to me.

To relate jewelry to this thread, is it ethical to sell rubbish jewelry, on TV, for a price that the item can not be resold at?   

Offline sreizes

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As I said, there are no "needs" only "wants" in economics.  And yes the Cartel has a significant inpact on industrial diamond prices also, though I believe they do not practice the same sorts of supply controls as they do with the gem quality ones.

Offline apollonike

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I dunno about all this ethics stuff.  But I just tried tartini, and I need to get a couple more cakes!

Offline Lllizard

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I guess I had better not try any.  I'll be in trouble if I like it a lot.

BTW, how long does a cake of rosin general last for you guys?  I'd say at least a couple of years for me, but I never finish one because I'm alway trying out a new kind.
(Related question:  how many cakes of Tartini does a person need to last the rest of their life?  I can see people trying to decide, "Is this concert important enough to use Tartini on my bow?")

Offline fidla

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There are purists who think that if you change rosins, you must rehair your bow.  To a certain extent (bow noise due to overlapping of rosin layers) there might be some truth to that.

I generally don't change rosins mid-stream.  I have a cake of fiddler's in my case and use it on my TTCG and P&H.  I use Tartinin only on my pernambuco, but that's only because I started out this latest rehair with it to test the theory.

Offline sreizes

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Y'know, I have addressed the economics of the last Tartini, but not yet the ethics... Oh, wait, I have a degree in economics (minor anyways) and am in Real Estate, I clearly have no ethics.

Offline marktheharp

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Hi all,

I suppose as I started this discussion it's only right to come back!

Thanks all for an absorbing exchange of views. I started the discussion partly becuase I think it's right as a business to ask the customer (although that may be also not considered "right" by some!) but also partly because I was intrigued by the relationship of business to ethics (and to the environment).

I guess I have always thought of ethics as a subset of business - ie, that it's something you ought to consider as part of conducting business, and taking it a stage further, the environment as part of ethics. Ie, if you're going to behave ethically then you should also take the environment into account.

I've realised that actually, I had it the wrong way round. If you accept that the environment is the biggest thing (ie, we all live in it) then our ethical behaviour is part of how we behave socially within that environment, and our commercial behaviour is part of our social / ethical behaviour. In other words, ethics is not part of business, but the other way around.

I could of course just think in commercial terms. In terms of "capitalism / economics / supply-and-demand" or whatever, the problem I have with basing any decision purely on economics is that economics only measures a small part of our total activity - it's a very narrow view of the world, and limits what we see going on. Hence to me, and the reason for how I worded the question in the first place, the issue of selling a finite resource is a broader ethical one, not a narrow economic one.

Not sure what I conclude from the discussion - but certainly there hasn't been a "run" on Tartini just yet - so it's still going to be around for a bit!!

Offline guta

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Marktheharp - I agree with your assessment of the  Tartini drought. There are much broader issues to which personal ethics should apply. The Tartini issue is no doubt of interest to all of us here, but in the scheme of things, one could easily say  who cares what Tartini costs?
Seriously, does $5.00 more or less make any real difference to anybody? Will it really be a windfall to a dealer to make an extra $ 50. on his/her Tartini inventory? With living costs what they are, such considerations seem pretty irrelevant.

Here's an ethical issue which concerns me more: So far this year an area the size of New Jersey has been cleared in the rainforests. This is supposedly down a bit from last year. Next year, a similar leveling will take place. What will happen to the lungs of our planet long term?     Cheers,   Larry.

Offline postingtoomuch

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interesting scenerio...

"One thing we're sure of is that we will keep it at the price we've always sold it at. Even given that,  there is an ethical choice to be made. Is it OK for someone to be able to buy a lot and therefore potentially offer it at a higher price? Is it OK to sell more than a certain amount to any one person? What other ways could we sell it apart from via the shop?"

one thing so far missing in the discussion if i am not mistaken is the concept of "goodwill" in the operation of a business entity.  every merchant needs to make profit to stay in the business, yet every merchant has a different set of rules dictated by personal believes and social factors.  some want to make a 20% margin, some 40%, etc.  they are all ethical because as many have said, a free market will dictate the success or failure of each and every business model.

IF this shop has decided to set a firm price, like before, then, it is my opinion that the price is artificially set, and not dicated by the demand and supply concept of a free market enterprise. 

If i have a genuine Strad in great condition and I insist on selling it for 1000 dollars,   there is no ethical problem on me and the buyer, because both are willing participants in this trade, although the whole transaction may not be considered fair to some observers.

the question to ask in the case of the strad is the reasons the seller want to sell something valuable on the cheap.

is the seller in his sound state of mind and just want to do it for the sake of doing it?

is he doing it out of some charity arrangement?

out of some other arrangement which will promise more financial return down the road?

or whatever one can think of....


In this case with the rosin, my opinion is that there may be strong consideration for the goodwill and PR value this business practice may generate.   one can argue that the potential "loss" from the price ceiling may be compensated later through increased exposure.

a random walk in the market after all...
« Last Edit: Dec 07, 2005, 05:26:50 PM by postingtoomuch »

Offline Lllizard

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If you held it for a while until it was really rare, and then sold it at some charity auction, you might get advertising exposure worth more than the selling price.

Offline guta

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Anything from the W.E. Hill & Sons shop is a collectors item today. I think it's true that eventually Tartini will be of historical interest. Maybe 10 yrs.

Offline Rhonwyyn

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Two questions: 

1)  Unused, how long will a Tartini rosin last on a shelf somewhere?  If someone were to invest in a bunch of rosin in hopes of selling it at a huge markup later, I'm guessing if they wait too long the rosin will have deteriorated and not be worth anything then anyway.

2)  If Tartini rosin is so popular, why isn't it being manufactured anymore?  The first I heard of its discontinuation was earlier this week in an e-mail from Chris Quinn, my retailer in Minnesota, so apparently this is an industry-wide thing and not just a discontinuation of carriage by one shop.

Offline WildFiddler

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Tartini Rosin - it's just a good rosin amongst others. A $20 cake of rosin. There are lots of other awesome rosin's to buy.  ::) The market will simply look elsewhere, when it's gone. No tears from me.  :'(   ;D   Now, if it were the last rosin on earth you'd have a rare commodity  ...   ;D

There are purists who think that if you change rosins, you must rehair your bow.  To a certain extent (bow noise due to overlapping of rosin layers) there might be some truth to that.

I generally don't change rosins mid-stream. 

Any suggestions for changing rosin between re-hairs?  I want to switch so I can use up my four cakes of Tartini.  ;D    Oh no, what if I discover Tartini is truly the greatest rosin in the univerise, and I can't live without it, and start freaking out ....   :o   :o   :o

Offline Mark Cordova

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I always thought that this was a weird topic so I never got into it. And now here I am. I was wondering what all the buzz was about. After reading through the last page of posts, I have come to the following conclusion:

I am a rosin heathen.

If someone near me has some rosin and I hear a tell tale squeek out of my fiddle, I'll grab theirs and put it on mine. I had no idea of the gravity of my sin! I tried to grab someone's tartini and they wanted to charge me a dollar!!! I ended up picking a broken piece off the floor and rubbing it on the bow.

Interesting, I usually viewed rosin as a commodity. Now I have to think about it.

Offline guta

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Here's another thought - Before all these various rosins were available, there was only one premium brand: W.E. Hill & Sons. This was used in all probability by Heifetz, Elman, Milstein, Kreisler, Grumiaux, Oistrakh, etc. etc.  Their tone production has still never been surpassed IMHO.

Offline postingtoomuch

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remember in the late 80s? or early 90? when Coke was talking about changing the formulation with a new flavor?

i understand sales went nuts that year.

Stay tuned.  again, ask ourselves the question,,,,in a free market, does stopping the production make any sense?

Assuming the wife of the korean guy is royally sick of that tartini flavor whenever he comes home, can they think of simply selling the brand and the formula to a bigger outfit? 

 

Offline Lllizard

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Quote
I am a rosin heathen.
Me too.

 ???  So what is the rational with sticking to one rosin at a time?

Offline WildFiddler

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Me too.

 ???  So what is the rational with sticking to one rosin at a time?
Yes I want to know also. Is it a proven problem to switch?

What the procedure for switching rosin's between re-hair's?  Can I just blow the old rosin off with compressed air or is the rosin too deep into the hair?

Offline Steve_W

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I have to say, I was dubious about Tartini but I was in Ifshin's today checking out tuners and saw that they had some Tartini Mini's in  their display case so on impulse bought one.  I tried it out tonight while playing for a dance class and was really impressed.  It has a really smooth feel and was giving me a great tone; I've been using Millant-Deroux for about a year and before that, Hill Dark.  Guta, I'm no Heifetz; I need all the help I can get!  Mark, how much did you say you were selling those cakes for? ;) -Steve W.

Offline marktheharp

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Same price I always have - 12.50 for the symphony / solo and 15 for the greens! Bargain! These prices include postage to the UK. We've had the odd inquiry from the US and have pointed people at Quinn Violins, as they seem to have some over there. We have very few minis left - at least the violin/viola ones, but plenty of the full-size cakes.

Going back to the Tartini itself, MinKwang, who is the manufacturer and who designed all the boxes etc, had a disagreement with Mr Bang, who is the owner of the formula. So I'm sure at some point another maker will take it up but that's why at the moment it's the "last of...". I'm sure (I hope) that it will be revived by someone but it won't be the present makers.

I suppose the price of anything is just the price we agree - and the market decides in the end what the right price is (that's how eBay works, for example). In our shop, we have decided to keep it the same price to customers as we've always charged. We have paid the same to the manufacturer as before, and so we don't see the need to make it more expensive. Ultimately the point is to sell the stuff, and for us it would be a great win/win situation if the people who really need the rosin get it, and no-one profiteers from its (hopefully temporary) rarity. The greater good, and all that...

I do like the charity auction thing, and what we might do (if we have any left!) is say in March, sell some on eBay with some charity element - which would be great publicity for some worthy cause plus commercially it would make a bit of sense for us too. But in the meantime, business as usual!!!

Thanks all for a really stimulating debate!
« Last Edit: Dec 10, 2005, 11:00:09 AM by marktheharp »

Offline fidla

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mark do you know what the disagreement was? 

Offline marktheharp

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Hi Adam,

I don't exactly but it wasn't about the rosin or formulation. Perhaps you could ask him at ABSSS for more information?

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I'm all for ethical business lads, but, errrrrr, this is rosin we're talking about! It's only one make of rosin, not the whole of the shtuff that's running out. Or am I just not getting it? Must be a trad player thing ;)

Offline fidla

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Hi Adam,

I don't exactly but it wasn't about the rosin or formulation. Perhaps you could ask him at ABSSS for more information?

Believe me, I did.  Emily and I went to his violin store when we were in Seoul last spring.  Mr Bang was there, but was not willing to speak with us.  He was actually very rude and we were surprised, becaue Emily speaks fluent Korean and usually Korean shop owners are very appreciative of Americans who at least attempt their language.

I have also sent several emails since hearing about the breakup.  No replies.

Offline Don Stackhouse

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Yes I want to know also. Is it a proven problem to switch?

What the procedure for switching rosin's between re-hair's?  Can I just blow the old rosin off with compressed air or is the rosin too deep into the hair?

Yes, in some cases, mixing rosins can result in problems. The Liebenzeller I've been using on my viola and tried on my Eastman violin does not like to be mixed with other brands, and I've had problems mixing other types as well. The main problem I've seen is where the hair develops inconsistent grip along its length, including patches that are slippery like ice.

It is not necessary to rehair to make a switch. All you have to do is clean it thoroughly.

Yes, there is the technique of removing the frog from the bow, then dousing the whole length of hair in a pail of water and dishwashing detergent, but that's a lot of work and isn't really all that effective.

Instead, I just use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on a cotton wipe, or a Kleenex folded up into a pad. Yes, I know that "alcohol" can attack the varnish on the stick. This is definitely true for ethanol (ethyl, or denatured alcohol), but far less of a problem for isopropyl, or rubbing alcohol. Concetrated scrubbing against the varnish with rubbing alcohol will start to soften and eventually dissolve varnish, but an accidental brush of a cleaning pad across the stick is unlikely to have any measurable effect, especially if the varnish is old.

Just hold the bow horizontally with the hair side down (so gravity will help keep the alcohol away from the stick) fold the cleaning pad around the hair, squeeze gently but firmly with thumb and forefinger, and wipe the cleaning pad along the whole length of the hair. Refold the pad to expose a fresh surface (or if you can't, just discard it and get another pad), and wipe the hair again. Keep doing this till the pad comes out essentially clean. Usually 3-6 wipes is good enough in my experience.

Don't forget to wipe the strings on the fiddle as well, there's enough rosin residue on the strings to cause problems.

After that, let dry, re-rosin with your new rosin and you're all set to go.

Offline WildFiddler

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Thanks Don, that's the information I was looking for.

I'm currently using a Liebenzeller Gold rosin. It grips really well, but can sound scrappy. I've heard this Tartini can be real smooth. I happen to have 4 cakes, 2 of each type. Can anyone attest to the smoothness? Is it worth be bothering to clean my bow hairs to switch?

Offline Steve_W

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I'm all for ethical business lads, but, errrrrr, this is rosin we're talking about! It's only one make of rosin, not the whole of the shtuff that's running out. Or am I just not getting it? Must be a trad player thing ;)

Aaah, you know everyone here's a bunch of "gear-heads," always looking for an edge by trying different things!  It's easier than practicing... :) -Steve

Offline marktheharp

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Could be something in that - perhaps the rosins don't actually make any difference, but all these exotic rosins just contain stuff that you inhale when you play, and it makes you think you're playing better...which would also explain why manufacturers are so secretive about their formulations?

I think we should be told. I'm all for any product that means I don't have to practice (beer works for me).

Offline fidla

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I think we should be told. I'm all for any product that means I don't have to practice (beer works for me).

that's why you should use my bow hair :)  we soak it in a solution that makes you sound like Mark O'Connor! :) :)

Offline WildFiddler

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that's why you should use my bow hair :)  we soak it in a solution that makes you sound like Mark O'Connor! :) :)
  So that's why I've been *dreaming* I sound good - the fumes from your beta bow hairs are making me delusional!  ;D

Offline foose4string

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Laced rosin, beer soaked hair....next thing you know, you guys are going to replace the silver wrap with hemp :D
« Last Edit: Dec 13, 2005, 09:44:05 PM by foose4string »

Offline marktheharp

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Smokin' idea!

Offline quinnt01

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Rosin can also be cleaned with mineral spirits which is much less harmful to instrument varnish than alcohols.

With regard to mixing, rosin on a bow and hair breaks up into very small particles so when differnet rosins are used, about all you are doing is interspersing fine particles of differnet rosins which are all very similar chemically.  I would guess the final effect is proportional to the amounts and properties of the rosins used.

The rosins do not really mix in the sense of becoming a solution.  If you were to melt the rosins and blend them in the fluid state they would solidify into one compatible, homogeneous material and be truly mixed.

- Tom

Offline WildFiddler

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This thread inspired me to clean all the rosin off my bows. So I did so. I blew excess rosin off with compressed air, then cleaned with alcohol. No problem with the alcohol. I was carefull and did'nt touch the wood.

Anyway, I have 4 cakes of un-used Tartini, which I applied to my bows. My bows have never sounded better, nor bit into the strings as nice. Is it the Tartini or the cleaning of excessive rosin?   If it is the Tartini, I'll have to break all ethics and stock-pile this stuff!   :laugh:

Offline postingtoomuch

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bummer, now you only have 3 cakes that you can sell for top dollars in 50 years ;)

wait a minute, is it unethical for you to keep 4 when you need one?  share!

Offline WildFiddler

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bummer, now you only have 3 cakes that you can sell for top dollars in 50 years ;)

wait a minute, is it unethical for you to keep 4 when you need one?  share!
  sorry, no Tartini for you ...  I'm saving my ethics for important issues ...hmm, I'm thinking ...  ???   What's an important ethic?   Do unto others ...  hmm, what if I don't treat  myself good, do I still do unto others as I do unto myself?    ???    ;D     How about, is it ethical for me to think good happy thoughts, and to think good happy thoughts about others? Is that ethical?  ;D    The diffler is in a silly mood ...

Offline postingtoomuch

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in the spirit of the upcoming holiday seaon, your feeble plea is accepted. i only have one small cake, you have 4 large one?  life is real fair.. :laugh:

Offline WildFiddler

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in the spirit of the upcoming holiday seaon, your feeble plea is accepted. i only have one small cake, you have 4 large one?  life is real fair.. :laugh:
  MyMotherLaidYearsOfGuiltTripsOnMeSoYourGuiltTripA ttempHasNoHopeAsItsNothingComparedToMomsGuiltTrip pingMrPostingTooMuchCallMePostingLongSentencesFid dleMan    :P    Whew!    :P How long a sentence can you make about Tartini Rosin Ethics?

Offline Steve_W

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With regard to mixing, rosin on a bow and hair breaks up into very small particles so when differnet rosins are used, about all you are doing is interspersing fine particles of differnet rosins which are all very similar chemically.  I would guess the final effect is proportional to the amounts and properties of the rosins used.

The rosins do not really mix in the sense of becoming a solution.  If you were to melt the rosins and blend them in the fluid state they would solidify into one compatible, homogeneous material and be truly mixed.

- Tom

I agree however I've heard it claimed that the friction of the bow against the string actually melts the rosin and provides some of the grip; if true there actually could be some mixing going on (I think this is unlikely since I've never noticed any warming of my horsehair with use but I'm not used to dealing in microscopic sizes so could be wrong).

BTW I was still able to find Tartini rosin in my local shop today, although they do seem to be starting to run low.  I just got a full-sized cake of Soloist to supplement my mini.  At any rate supplies have not yet totally dried up so WildFiddler, I think there's no need to feel guilty about your hoard! ;D -Steve

Offline WildFiddler

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BTW I was still able to find Tartini rosin in my local shop today, although they do seem to be starting to run low.  I just got a full-sized cake of Soloist to supplement my mini.  At any rate supplies have not yet totally dried up so WildFiddler, I think there's no need to feel guilty about your hoard! ;D -Steve
  Whew! :P  Thanks Steve, I feel better. I better start hoarding ...  ;D 

I do like this rosin. BTW, i was reading an interview with Carol Cooke, violist for Mark O'Connor - she really likes the Tartini - says it's real smooth.   

Any idea of shelf life for rosin?   What's the oldest rosin cake someone has?

Offline sreizes

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Any idea of shelf life for rosin?   What's the oldest rosin cake someone has?
I have read and been told that it goes "dry" and is not as good after a year or so.

My oldest cake is 26 years old and has been retired.

Offline Steve_W

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As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I had a cake of Hill Dark that I calculate to have been 25 years old and when I replaced it with a new cake I didn't notice any difference in performance (OTOH I have a cake of AB that is around 20 years old and it seems significantly harder than when first purchased).  I've been wondering what it is that "goes bad" with rosin.  If it's oxidation it should be possible to seal extra cakes in a container with a non-oxygen atmosphere to extend the life.  If it's a water reaction (either losing or absorbing moisture) that also can be controlled.  If it's some sort of chemical reaction in the rosin itself I don't see a way to defeat the "shelf life" problem.  However I take heart from the story that Tartini rosin was reformulated from a cake of rosin found in an old violin case dating to Tartini's time that was still usable!   :)

Offline quinnt01

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The reaction is oxidation, not hydrolysis.

The bit about deformulating a 250 year old cake of rosin is marketing hype. 

Offline Steve_W

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The bit about deformulating a 250 year old cake of rosin is marketing hype. 

Oh, do you think? ;)  Well, oxidation shouldn't be too hard to deal with.  Time to start stockpiling Tartini! -Steve

Offline Lllizard

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from Wildfiddler
Quote
Tartini Rosin - it's just a good rosin amongst others. A $20 cake of rosin. There are lots of other awesome rosin's to buy.   The market will simply look elsewhere, when it's gone.
So... what are the names of these other rosins -- only those not going out of business, please.  :)

Offline WildFiddler

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from WildfiddlerSo... what are the names of these other rosins -- only those not going out of business, please.  :)
  Moytra Gold, Jade and Liebenzeller Metall-Kolophonium Gold (whew, that's a mouth-full  ;D).  

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I've had good luck with the Liebenzeller Gold.  And the new Dominant rosin seemed good as well.  But I like the Tartini Symphony better than either of them.

- Ray

 




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