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Author Topic: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?  (Read 6897 times)

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Offline nhfiddler

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Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« on: Aug 29, 2007, 04:56:27 PM »
Seeing Trish's latest photo can be blamed for this inquiry.  I noticed that she has TONS of rosin on her fiddle.  I've seen numerous professional players with the same thing, lots and lots of rosin.

I've also heard that too much rosin is not a good thing and can even mess up the tone of the fiddle with the bow and the instrument's body as well.
So WHY do some folks rosin the b'jayzus out of their bows and others don't?  Can it damage the fiddle over time?  What would be the advantage/disadvantage of applying so much?

Thanks for humoring my curiousity.

Offline Tize

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #1 on: Aug 29, 2007, 05:05:57 PM »
Tons of rosin my backside ;) Contrary to Joe's belief I do actually clean my fiddle (note the cleanliness of my fiddle on my homepage pic!), but unfortunately the rosin I have produces an unbelievable amount of dust for the amount of rosin I use. Which annoys me because it a) makes me sneeze and b) further convinces Joe that I never clean my fiddle where I actually clean it very regularly - even after every time I play when I'm at home ;D

Last week with it being the fleadh I was just wiping down my strings after playing, not the fiddle... didn't see the point in cleaning the fiddle as a) it was being played three times more than usual and b) probably would've ended up in damage because by the time I'd finished playing each night I probably wasn't too light-handed ;) Plus it was very humid and so there was sweat on the instrument as well - I find that when I wipe that with a duster it just smears it around, so I prefer to wait until I get home and use the cleaner I have to do a really good job on it.

A lot of the aul fellas playing trad have a lot of rosin on their fiddles and they don't mind, nor does it seem to effect their tone.

A cynical view I heard from a player last week was those who never rosin their bows are the ones who only pretend to be able to play... there are a few around the place who come over the Fleadh who seem to be playing every tune but you can't hear them and if you watch their fingers you realise they haven't got a notion ;)

I use the amount of rosin required to get the tone/response that I desire out of my bow... I find the weather also effects how much rosin I need, and the amount of hair on my bow, which, at the moment, isn't much; one bow is ready for yet another rehair after only a few weeks, ARGH! Also the strings seem to make a difference. I've just today changed from a set of Prazisions which, whilst a great low-cost alternative, seem to require more rosin than the more expensive Warchals etc.

Offline beeswing

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #2 on: Aug 29, 2007, 05:08:52 PM »
PE Island's Crackerjack fiddler, Cynthia MacLeod rips it up on a nicely dusted fiddle.
I want to be a musician when I grow up.
Sorry, son, you can't do both.

Offline nhfiddler

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #3 on: Aug 29, 2007, 05:31:36 PM »
The Glengarry Bhoys fiddler Miranda (former Barrage player) also carries about 1/4 lb of rosin on her fiddle too.  If I put a lot on my bow it sounds
screechy-scrawly...I usually wipe it off on my jeans in disgust at that point.  Wonder why for some it sounds great and for others not!

Offline Tize

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #4 on: Aug 29, 2007, 05:35:24 PM »
Probably playing style, bow, strings... combination of things.

I need a lot of grip from my bow for triplets etc., and I'm looking for a more raw sort of a sound. Classical players probably wouldn't want as much because they might want a smoother, purer sound.

Offline Joe Gerardi

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #5 on: Aug 29, 2007, 05:39:31 PM »
Clives is of course correct, but too little, and you get a thin, watery sound. I'm pretty much guilty of under-rosining my bow. Actually, I'm more guilty of being too lazy to get up and go over to get the rosin after I've sat down to play. I play the "cripple" card and usually get one of the other members of the quartet to go get it for me during practice, but at home, no one bothers. (I think that's because I live alone...)

..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 June

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #6 on: Aug 29, 2007, 05:46:30 PM »
the more rosin builds up on yer strings the less often you gotta rosin up yer bow   ;D

great fun vid of Cynthia MacLeod, thanks Beez

Offline beeswing

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #7 on: Aug 29, 2007, 06:07:16 PM »
:D She's one of my all-time faves. Came for a concert and workshop in our town once, sweet kid. If you ask nicely, her dad will get up and dance while she fiddles, with only a tiny bit of arm-twisting. Atlantic Canadian fiddlers do seem to favor the big patch of dust on top look. Better if it's got a finger smear or two round the edge where you needed some for a better bow grip.

Strings get kinda squarky sounding with too much rosin on. I've seen Myra use her sleeve on them when playing out.


Joe, your story has touched my heart. I feel for you. Too bad I can't quite reach you. ;D I'm sure one or a few of the ladies round here will help you develop a more disciplined approach to your unpacking ritual, involving checking the hair, and putting the rosin in your pocket before you sit.


"Kindly do not put my rosin in your breeches pocket."
                        - Maturin to Aubrey, or vice versa


I want to be a musician when I grow up.
Sorry, son, you can't do both.

Offline sreizes

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #8 on: Aug 29, 2007, 06:13:58 PM »

"Kindly do not put my rosin in your breeches pocket."
                        - Maturin to Aubrey, or vice versa

I seem to recall that Stephen said that to Jack.  :)

Offline Joe Gerardi

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #9 on: Aug 29, 2007, 06:39:43 PM »
Are you sure it wasn't "Is that rosin in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?"

..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 nhfiddler

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #10 on: Aug 29, 2007, 06:51:06 PM »
And this thread is galumphing along most degenerately...

2nd query which is less dusty light or dark(rosin!)

Offline beeswing

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #11 on: Aug 29, 2007, 06:54:40 PM »
So, Joe, how's your rosin?


Jean, Jade has a name for being not very dusty. Is green light or dark?
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Offline Joe Gerardi

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #12 on: Aug 29, 2007, 07:13:56 PM »
Jade Dark is the green rosin. It's what I use.

..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 nhfiddler

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #13 on: Aug 29, 2007, 07:23:04 PM »
I'll have to try some sometime.  I'd have to order online as there's a real shortage of violin shops in the local area.
Sometimes living out in the hinterlands has its disadvantages.
Putting up salsa this weekend Bill - I'll set aside a jar fo 'ye...like it hot or not?

Offline beeswing

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #14 on: Aug 29, 2007, 07:36:26 PM »
I like it hot I like it not so hot I like it any way you fix it. Surprise me?

(Hot please, unless it's real seven-alarm stuff you make...)
I want to be a musician when I grow up.
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Offline sreizes

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #15 on: Aug 29, 2007, 07:40:18 PM »
I find that old rosin is dustier than new rosin.  

Offline nhfiddler

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #16 on: Aug 29, 2007, 08:12:24 PM »
Dries out maybe?
I've got some ancient stuff and some D'Addario light.  Seems ok but wouldn't surprise me if there was better to be had. 

Offline ApK

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #17 on: Aug 30, 2007, 05:18:13 PM »
A cynical view I heard from a player last week was those who never rosin their bows are the ones who only pretend to be able to play... there are a few around the place who come over the Fleadh who seem to be playing every tune but you can't hear them and if you watch their fingers you realise they haven't got a notion ;)
Ah!  So no rosin on the bow is sort of like what someone over on acousticguitar.com described as 'the universal guitar chord':  Mute all 6 strings completely.  It can be substituted for any chord in any song!
I'll have to remember these techniques.....

Offline sreizes

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #18 on: Sep 26, 2007, 11:00:06 PM »
It just occured to me that too much rosin on the bow will be self correcting, as it comes off onto the top of your fiddle.

Offline frodopogo

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #19 on: Jan 14, 2008, 05:51:12 AM »
My experience exactly... so the
real decision is between grabby rosin on one extreme, smooth on the other, or something inbetween.

So far, I find Kaplan Artcraft Dark to be the grabbiest I've tried,
Hill Dark the smoothest.  And I'm blending them (applying one on top of the other) to get something in between.

I wish rosins had a rating on a Grabbiness Index! ;D

It just occured to me that too much rosin on the bow will be self correcting, as it comes off onto the top of your fiddle.

Offline Tize

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #20 on: Jan 14, 2008, 01:39:30 PM »
We were talking about this in chat last night. A few weeks ago someone advised me to try rosining the bow before and during playing, anytime I pick up the fiddle. They said it'd prevent breaking so many hairs and save cost on rehairing (they previously had the same problem as me with going through bows far too frequently!) and they were right. So I now use a lot of rosin, and it hasn't changed the sound or playability noticeably but it has definitely prevented as much hair breakage as i was getting before.

Offline lapowerlifter

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #21 on: Jan 14, 2008, 11:54:34 PM »
I have been using the cheaper rosin I mentioned in the original post (no name) and have purchased some Thomastick dominant rosin not the cheapest but not that expensive. So here is another question, would it be better if I had the bow rehaired before I change rosin? I have been have a problem with my bow where the hair is sticking to the g string while playing. I am getting a decent sound and beleive that I am properly rosined (is that the correct wording?) What woule be causing this? I have 2 bows, and the cheaper bow does not do this, only the fiberglass one. Anyway thanks.

Offline Steve_W

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #22 on: Jan 15, 2008, 01:23:35 AM »
Iapowerlifter, sounds like too much rosin...  No, you don't need to rehair when you switch rosin brands; all you really should need to do is wipe off as much of the old rosin as possible onto a clean cotton cloth before applying the new stuff.

I think a lot of this depends on your style and what you need from the bow.  Classical players tend to use less rosin, but they also don't want as percussive a sound as many folk fiddlers so don't need as much.  I've found that as I've gotten better on the violin, I've been happier with less rosin on the bow (and lighter, smoother rosin--I currently use Tartini).  I also tend to use longer bow strokes with less pressure than I used to though.

Offline Joe Gerardi

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #23 on: Jan 15, 2008, 01:29:50 AM »
So I now use a lot of rosin, and it hasn't changed the sound or playability noticeably but it has definitely prevented as much hair breakage as i was getting before.

And probably makes it in need of a dusting even MORE!!! ;D

..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 Tize

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #24 on: Jan 15, 2008, 10:26:43 AM »
And probably makes it in need of a dusting even MORE!!! ;D

..Joe

Actually, Sarah, darling, you wait til you see the photos from the shoot i had done for the CD last week... fiddle spotless, gleaming even :P

Offline nhfiddler

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #25 on: Jan 15, 2008, 11:09:50 AM »
But you should see her coffee table!!!  >:D

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Re: Rosin - Too Much - Too Little Pros-Cons and WHY?
« Reply #26 on: Jan 15, 2008, 10:00:51 PM »
I use mellos rosin.  Some greek cellist makes it.  Plays great, like it better than tartini.  I put more on when the grip starts to slip.

 




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