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Rosin Comparisons
Can anyone share their experiences with rosins?
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Ferenc Simon
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November 1, 2017 - 8:33 am
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zpilot said
My bow is a FM CF and it is less than 2 months old.  Even though I practice 2 hours a day I don't think it is close to being worn out.  

Oh no, I wasn't referring to you 🙂 I just meant that maybe some of the old 'rosin aging' stories can be accounted for that, not all of course, but partially and especially the really exaggerated sounding ones.

On the side note I can't wait to get my FM CF bow haha just ordered it yesterday, it's gonna be awesome! (I hope)

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RockingLR33
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November 1, 2017 - 11:14 am
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I agree that not all the issues are the rosin especially when you've had a bow for a while without a re-hair! I was amazed at the sound difference the first time i re-haired my bow haha after having it several years. though unless your practicing several hours a day or really sawing on that bow and loosing hair i doubt the 2 month old bow is gonna have issues. However doing a quick clean of the hair may improve it a bit until you decide on your rosin!  

I do think there are rosins that age really badly, and some that don't, or at least age slowly enough we don't outright notice a huge difference until getting a new rosin.  It's probably all in how the it's made and especially how it's stored and handled but at the end of the day rosin is rosin and as long as it makes the strings move thats what we want. 

I think we, as violinists, are always searching for the mythical "perfect" rosin. I know when I was just learning I was a bit obsessed with rosins (still am a bit) but I calmed down when I realized how little difference it made in my playing/sound with the different upper quality rosins (there's a huge difference between student and professional/premium rosins in my opinion). I found the ones that worked best for me and I've stuck to those. I think our preciption that it "makes us sound better" gets a little blown out of proportion, especially as beginners, since we are really wanting ANYTHING to stop the screeching cat/missed notes phase of our playing.  What we really need is a decent rosin that won't break the bank and LOTS of hours practicing. haha but thats my two cents from a non professional enjoyer of the violin. 

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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Cearbhael
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November 1, 2017 - 6:42 pm
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@Fiddlerman HaHa! I ran into a buyers guide to rosin. It was on musilesson.com. They listed Holstein Premium Rosin as an excellent and fairly economical rosin. They listed pros and cons, one con being that they heard a couple claims of cracked rosin. They added that your shop was legendary concerning customer service, so if it did crack, all you would have to do is contact them and you would probably help! It was a real treat to read! Oh, they loved the magnet and that it could be handled one handed. The author really wasn't fond of cloth holders on rosin (mentioned in a review of Andrea Solo rosin)

Post Script: I was not aware that you had an inexpensive dark rosin (Fiddlerman's brand) I am wondering if you're ever going to come out with a "Holstein" Dark rosin!? I realise that Holstein is the premier brand from your store and Fiddlerman is the general brand. (Please correct me if I am wrong) is it that you have yet to find a manufacturer that is good enough to put the Holstein brand name on or have you simply not considered doing a Holstein dark? I suppose then you would have to produce a Holstein amber? At any rate, I am going to try your Fiddlerman Dark rosin. As well as the Holstein red.

"Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one".- Albert Einstein 

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Fiddlerman
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November 1, 2017 - 10:30 pm
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Cearbhael, Thanks for sharing the review. I had not seen that. 🙂
We concentrate on one product at a time and a dark rosin is definitely not out of the question. The Fiddlerman Dark Rosin is one that we came out with to give with our outfits. It's considerably more affordable but don't let that fool you. That rosin is perfectly fine. 🙂

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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MrYikes
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November 2, 2017 - 10:56 am
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When it comes to rosins, I like round. Round just works better for me. I also like small, like the Andrea half size. It feels better in the hand and pocket. I have tried over 10 brands and they all have good points (even the very cheapest) but the only one I use daily is FM. Even though it is big and won't fit in my pocket, I never go anywhere so it doesn't need to fit in my pocket. It is large enough that it is easy to find and the top comes off easily. The rosin stays put and grabs well. I can go several days without using more rosin. The best thing I can say about FMs rosin is that I don't think about rosin anymore.

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Charles
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November 2, 2017 - 12:44 pm
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I read an article on the physics of violins a while back (I can't read it now without paying significant money ($80 or so). I think someone else at work had a subscription to that site and I piggybacked on theirs without knowing it. If it wasn't for that, I'd post the URL.)

The bow hair and string interact via rosin. I don't know for certain, but I suspect there has to be some rosin on the strings as well as the hair. There certainly will be rosin on the strings in short order, so I think it's safe to say that it's a rosin<->rosin interaction.

The action of the hair(rosin) on the string is what they called stick-slip motion. The bow (which if you're being technical and picky about it is actually the rosin on the hair) catches the string and pulls it away from current spot. As the pressure builds, eventually something gives, and the string starts sliding along the bow. It works very much like an ice skater - it melts the very top layer of rosin (we're talking 1/10s or maybe even 1/100s of a millimeter here) and skates along it, losing energy as it vibrates. When it has lost enough, the string (which is moving this whole time) catches it again, and the cycles starts over.

Combine that with another article I read that found that humidity had rather little effect on rosin - temperature had a much bigger effect, and the difference between light and dark rosins is the temperature they melt at. (Light ones melt at a higher temperature, typically.)

Since you have to melt the rosin (even if it's only a microscopically thin layer) for the process to work right, temperature probably makes a much bigger difference than humidity does.  My house is fairly climate controlled. The temperature is within a few degrees of the same summer and winter, and the humidity maxes out at 70% in the summer (because of the air-conditioning) and 50%-70% in the winter. (I got a whole-house humidifier to make sure it stayed up. There's nothing to keep it from going higher in the winter, but I've never seen it go higher than that.)

I mostly use the Holstein rosin these days, and have not noticed any big difference with the seasons.  Of course, I also haven't seen any big difference in performance with various kinds of rosin (not that I've tried that many).  I like the Holstein stuff because it produces less dust than most of the others, but all of them that I've tried (including some really cheap ones) make the strings move. That might be because of the conditions I play in. If I played outside frequently (or let the inside of my house swing a lot more between seasons), I might see very different results.

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zpilot
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November 2, 2017 - 6:08 pm
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That all makes a lot of sense.  I suspect the practice of changing from light to dark rosin with the seasons comes from the era before houses were closely climate controlled in places where there were wide temperature swings, which describes most of Northern Europe.  I talked to my teacher and she only uses one rosin.  Same with the other players in her orchestra.  I'm sure they all have central heating/cooling where they play.  I do too but I let the temps swing quite a bit; as much as 20 degrees.  It helps me to acclimate to the temperature differences outside.  I'm going to try sticking to one good rosin though.  I have been using Andrea Solo and been happy.  I have a cake of Andrea Symphony (what my teacher uses) coming and will order one of Holstein soon.  I WILL settle on one of those.  Then concentrate on more important things, like practicing.       

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Cearbhael
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November 2, 2017 - 8:17 pm
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Yes, Well my home was built in 1890, and there is no dishwasher, or air conditioning. Fans, ceiling, floor and otherwise, but the windows are opened in the Spring and stay open until it gets consistently under 60 degrees Fahrenheit. My heat kicks in at 62 degrees. Yes, chilly, but the cost of heat in MN would amaze you! I wear sweatshirts and sweaters! My upstairs is usually 50 degrees in the winter and VERY warm in the summer! Making the downstairs warmer in the winter doesn't make it warmer upstairs! Old home syndrome. So I use a dark rosin in winter (and will buy Fiddlerman's for sure). In the summer I will stick to the Holstein Premium.

"Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one".- Albert Einstein 

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StaccatoDuo
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Pirastro GOLD. It is extremely powerful, but produces no dust. 

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zpilot
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November 14, 2017 - 9:20 pm
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More on this.  I tried the Andrea Symphony and the tendency to scratch was less than the Solo but the tone was subdued.  I didn't think the trade off was worth it.  I got a cake of Andrea A Piacere a few days ago.  Wow.  This stuff is so easy to play with and the tone is pretty without being bland. 

I just got a cake of Holstein rosin but I haven't tried it yet.  I cleaned off my bow using a "rejuvenation kit" before I tried the A Piacere and I want to leave it that way.  I have another bow on the way and I will try the Holstein on that unused hair to give it a fair trial.

I could tell a difference in sound between all of the rosins I've tried but the A Piacere was the only one that made me think my technique had stepped up a notch.  Kind of like the first time I tried Ping irons which were claimed to be "game-improvement" golf clubs.   

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Fiddlerman
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November 17, 2017 - 8:11 am
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Nice to hear that the Andrea A Piacere is helping you. 🙂
Always good news!

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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