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Sound Samples Hill's VS Pirastro Gold Flex
Does the Brand of Rosin Make a Difference
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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Uzi
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March 26, 2014 - 8:05 pm
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Here are two sound samples recorded (one right after the other) using the FM Concert Violin with D'Addario Zyex strings and FM carbon fiber bows.  One bow has Pirastro Gold Flex rosin and one has Hill's Dark rosin. If you can ignore my bad playing, I think you can tell that the rosin does make some difference in the sound.  I find the Hill's has more grip, sometimes too much grip.  On the other hand I find that the Pirastro has much less grip, sometimes not enough.  What do ya'll think about rosin differences?

 

http://www.logicpipe.com/Hills.mp3

http://www.logicpipe.com/GoldFlex.mp3

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Shell
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March 26, 2014 - 9:25 pm
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I love this experiment!  I really hear a difference between the two and I wouldn't have expected it.  I still have the rosin that came with my cecilio electric.  I think it's time to start trying out new rosins!

Blogging my beginner journey and progress...Diary of a Fumbling New Violinist:  http://learningviolin.ca/

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rockinglr33
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March 26, 2014 - 10:27 pm
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I think different brands definitely have different tones or maybe to be more accurate different feels and "grab" on the srings and since rosin is so cheap its fun to play around with to find the one that sounds the best! 

 

I've played around with Hill dark, Hill Light and Jade. I want to play with more but for now I'm sticking with Hill dark. 

 

What surprised me most was the huge difference in grip between the three rosins i tried that really effected the sound and just feell of the strings with the bow. the light for me didn't have enough grab, the jade wasn't bad but i preferred the grip and feel of the dark. one of these days might get around to trying some new brands :)

 

the great rosin debacle! muh hahahahahaha devil-violin

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

             ~General George S. Patton

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Oliver
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March 26, 2014 - 11:04 pm
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Did you mess with this ?

Not sure they still exist.

Stickiest rosin I own.  Might "freeze" up on the strings if I play something fast. 

Play at your own risk !!!

 

 

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
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March 27, 2014 - 8:44 am
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From my experience, it's more a matter of how much the rosin grabs and how long it will stay on the hair. Some rosins are very messy while others give off way less dust. I have not been able to tell a difference in tone other than a better grabbing rosin gives more sound and less effort for me.

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

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rockinglr33
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March 28, 2014 - 12:11 am
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oops...tone was the wrong word to use in my previous post...maybe the vibration change? lol. any who I'll stick with "grab" of the rosin on strings....sorry should have proof read that before i submitted!

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

             ~General George S. Patton

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Fiddlerman
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March 28, 2014 - 8:32 am
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I'm not saying that you are wrong by any means. I was only sharing my own personal thoughts. I'm sure that there are many violinists that would disagree with me.

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

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rockinglr33
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March 28, 2014 - 11:46 am
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no worries! i agree with you to. 

 

i wonder since darker rosins have more grab do they cause bigger vibrations with the string, increasing the sound or rather volume of sound?where as lighter rosins have less grab so you get more soft and subtle vibrations and a bit more quieter sound?

 

I also wonder if on a overly loud violin a lighter rosin might tone it down bit along with certain strings? and a quieter violin just a tad louder with darker rosin?  any who i doubt a rosin would have that profound of an impact on the violin but it was just a curious thought/question that popped into my head.

 

*sorry uzi if this is hijacking your thread!*

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

             ~General George S. Patton

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Uzi
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March 28, 2014 - 2:14 pm
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OK.  I'll jump back in, since I started this.  I'm sure we all agree that there are many variables that contribute to the sounds a violin makes. The amount of friction created by different rosins between the bow hair and the string is one of those factors. For one thing, I would surmise, that a stickier rosin is going to bend the string more as it is pulled across the string making it louder than one that skates over the string with less grip -- if and only if it is specified that, in both cases, the bow is moving at the same speed, with the same bow pressure.  That is what I tried to do in the sound samples. 

Does a note's "tone" (and by that I not only mean it's pitch, but its timbre, including it's overtones and other nuances) change with volume and other vibrational characteristics imparted by a bow.  I would suggest that it does.

Here is why I think we have some disagreement on this subject.  I can hear a difference in timbre, @rockinglr33 can hear a difference, but @Fiddlerman doesn't think it makes much difference.  Here's why:  Pierre is an expert violinist and I am a beginner.  He says, "I have not been able to tell a difference in tone other than a better grabbing rosin gives more sound and less effort for me." Because he is so much better than I am, he can, through extra "effort," make them sound exactly the same.  While I am, to a much greater degree, at the mercy of the rosin.  I have not developed my bow skills to the point that my right arm and hand can compensate automatically to what my ears expect to hear.  So while it makes a difference to a player of my caliber (I'm not sure they make calibers that small), to someone of Pierre's ability, it's just a matter of it being annoyingly dustier.  Make sense?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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MrYikes
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March 28, 2014 - 8:34 pm
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Sure does Uzi, but you know how guitar players bend their strings to change the sound, like when they are playing blues.  I believe the stronger grip may have the same effect on the violin by taking the string sideways farther than a rosin with lesser grip.  It would be a very small amount of sideways pull, but it would set up a vibration for both up and down and also sideways.

Some enterprising young person should gather several brands, chop them into trial sizes and sell it as do it yourself experiment.  Of course as with everything violin, I'm talking over my head as I have no idea how many brands exist,,but still it's an idea.

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Oliver
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March 29, 2014 - 2:32 pm
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@Mr.Y

You might be more right than you think.

My failing memory tells me that I read on-line that a test had been done.  It used a bunch of listeners hearing different rosin being played.  I don't remember the test details but I think I remember "double blind" being mentioned.

The listeners could not detect any differences in the sound quality of the rosins.

In any case, I use the cheapest rosin, totally without pedigree.  In fact, the very worse of all possible rosins.  The dreaded "student block" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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DanielB
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March 30, 2014 - 4:18 am
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Well, as with all things violin, your mileage may vary.

The two rosins I usually use are Hill dark and Magic Rosin Ultra.  Both of which are quite "grabby".  If the weather is very hot and humid, sometimes I'll switch to Magic Rosin 3G, which is a bit less grabby.

Other brands I've tried were RDM dark, which was ok, but I didn't like as well as Hill or Magic; Super-Sensitive Light, which I didn't care for because it just didn't seem to do as much; and of course the cheap rosin that came "free" with a couple of my violins, which I didn't feel worked well at all.  The "free" may have been old or dried out or something, but it left a lot of dust and seemed to make for a lot more bow noise and general scratchiness.

I do personally feel that I can both hear a difference and feel a difference in how the bow and strings interact. Not as big a difference as a change in type or brand of strings makes, or the difference between bows, but a bit.  I suppose some of that could be placebo effect, since I know when I've changed.  But other members of my household wouldn't usually know right when I have switched rosins.

I can't say for the online test, but members of my household have noticed differences when I change rosins.  I don't know what sort of listeners they may have used for this online test, but my household isn't typical and most do have rather picky ears and musical background.  I didn't make a test of it, but I don't announce such changes, and they still sometimes get noticed.

Personally, I would liken the difference to the slight difference in sound and playing feel one gets with changing guitar picks. If two thicknesses of pick (assuming same brand and shape) are close, there isn't likely anything I can do with one of them that I can't do with the other, but the sound is a little different and how the pick and string react with certain techniques will be slightly different.  While I could get by with either, for certain sounds and techniques, I will usually have a preference.  One will be just a little better for some things.  That's why I usually have more than one pick.

I think it really boils down to being a matter of what an individual player likes.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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March 30, 2014 - 9:11 am
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Now, I know that I do not have to explain to you about all the variables in A vs. B violin related tests.  While I consider trials/reviews to be honest, subjectivity rules and I am seldom, if ever, convinced.

There is something I would like to hear about as regards "good" rosin.  That is, how long should a few swipes last?  We have orchestras that play non-stop for almost an hour.  We have Charlie Daniels doing his "dust".  And I actually was at a stage door when the Russian soloist entered with the remark "I forgot to rosin.  Oh, the hell with it!"

What is a poor beginner to think? 

?????

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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DanielB
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March 30, 2014 - 10:36 am
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I don't know if what I use is considered "good" or how long rosin should last.  But I usually rosin once a day and typically practice for 45 min and then play for probably another hour over the course of the day/night.  I don't use a lot, it takes 2-4 swipes before it feels right.

At least for me personally, that seems to be enough that it never feels like the bow needs more rosin in a typical day.  I usually figure that if I'm getting slower response than usual or if it seems to be taking more pressure from the bow than usual to get the sounds I want, then I need more rosin.  Rosining at the beginning of my practice every day, that rarely if ever happens. 

Maybe some folks like a "fresh coat" more often, maybe some think it's fine for a few days.  I don't know.

Speaking of beginner confusion, I remember being told things like "Use enough rosin, but not too much.."  I found such advice pretty useless, although probably intended as meaning well.  Kinda like when instructions tell you to use water that is "very warm, but not hot.."  Give me an actual temperature once, and I'd have a good idea, but I find instructions like that pretty vague. LOL

Maybe some genres or styles of playing use more than others and that's actually more a factor than if it is real good rosin or not so far as how often one needs to use it.  I really don't know that either. 

I'm not sure if Magic Rosin is considered a good rosin by the folks with expertise on such things, or not.  I think Hill is considered at least ok.  I used the Hill Dark mostly for about 7 months, then have used the Magic Rosin for about a year and 3 months.  I don't think I've used more than maybe a couple mm off either cake in that time.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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pky
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March 30, 2014 - 12:14 pm
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http://www.nativeground.com/ar.....akula.html

http://www.warchal.com/the_big....._test.html

Not sure if these were what Oliver read.

I personally thought the second link did a more scientific and a more control test than the first link, but bear in mind, they only did the test on one kind of strings and one kind of bow. There are so many factors (the violin itself, the strings, the bow, the climate, the location[small room, big room, outdoor, bathroom, etc], the violinist) that affect the volume, the tone, etc. It would be interesting to conduct experiment on different violin, different bows, and different strings with same player when one factor is the only variable during each test.

I personally do hear differences in tone when use different rosin, but I never clean my bow hair before applying a different kind of rosin, so the results would be of mix rosin. I have only used cecilio rosin, supersensitive light, SWstrings dark (probably supersensitive dark) some other no brand Chinese rosin (light and dark) from my Erhu as well as the one from my daughter's violin kit, and magic rosin.

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Oliver
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March 30, 2014 - 3:31 pm
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@pky   Well, the Native Ground site sure has plenty of rosin information but did not mention my favorite "industrial" grade known as Student Block.  But that's OK .  

I do not think there is an answer about "best rosin".  Too subjective.

@DanielB     The "best" advice I ever had was to use rosin "A" with a finishing "blush" of "B" !

My guess is that rosin consumption is almost entirely subjective except I was intrigued by one comment about signal to noise ratio.  I never listened for that and maybe I can't hear it as the performer.

I know that at this point in my (under)development I tend to be heavy handed with the bow. 

I recently played a violin in a shop with the owners wife (good musician) as audience.  She said "lighter" (bowing).  I complied.  She said "lighter"!  After the third time I know she was serious.  Later, I also realized that she was right.  I do use less rosin than before and another feature is slower build up of rosin on the strings but that's another story.

 

 

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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