Hi @Mouse and others. Please be more specific regarding your perception of “sliding all over the place.” The utility of rosin is to provide sound, and not bow traction control across the strings. Are you sliding with or without sound? If with sound, the rosin is providing utility.
I would start by rubbing down the strings with a micro fiber cloth and removing stubborn clots of rosin with the edge of a credit card. Rosin the bow only a few swipes along its extent when bowing results in deminished sound production (once or twice a week, perhaps). Do not touch the hairs on the bow with your fingers, since skin oils will indeed provide a slippery bow that defies control.
Type of rosin is a topic upon reams have been expended. Avoid the cheapest and do not be lured by the claims of the most expensive (gold infused and the like).
Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. —Earl Nightingale.
Is it a hissing sound you're hearing, like the bow gliding on the strings and not gripping them properly ?
If your teacher is saying you're rosining too much she's probably right. From here it's hard to tell. Can you tell us
- how often you rosin your bow (how many hours of playing between two rosinings),
- and how much (how many full-length swipes of the bow on the cake each time) ?
If you over-rosin the bow, you can wipe it off on a cloth. With darker, stickier rosin you can feel it still on the bow if you touch the hairs, so you know you haven't wiped it all off. I don't know if light rosin is the same.
There's a difference between the hissing you can always hear, but the audience can't, and the gritty scrunching you get when you have over-rosined the bow.
In agreement with @Irv, the cheapest rosin tends to be Chinese summer rosin (even when it pretends to be Viennese, I suspect); it's very pale and as hard as glass. Once you spend approaching $10 on any darker amber or dark rosin, there's no need to worry about your rosin. You should get a circular cake of it, and not one of those little rectangular bricks. You can then rotate it and get even wear. There's an excellent Fiddlerman video on how to do it. Here it is:
Ah, our (common) eternal quest for smoother sound (most of it not having to do with rosin.)
Here are a few random experiences I've had along the way.
- I started using a super smooth rosin (Larica Gold I in the summer and now Larica Gold II in the dryer winter.) Certainly helped. I have to re-rosin (a few seconds of short stroked everywhere and then 4-5 long strokes) after 60-90 minutes but the trade-off is OK.
- In my quest for less irritating sound, I unfortunately got in the habit of not letting the weight of my arm allow the bow to sink into the strings. When I worked on my chinrest / shoulder rest set-up with Felix at Fiddlershop for a few sessions, he gave me some exercises to overcome this reticence. The sound was alarming but the change in technique was absolutely necessary. Whenever I repeat this exercise (basically: repeated heavy and very fast bow strokes with inordinate pressure - first on the bottom half of the bow, then on the top half, then the whole bow) my bow tracking in the following practice session is much improved... and over time as well.
- To handle that "in-my-face" sound, I started using musicians' earplugs (Earrasers). Huge help. Our violins are "unfortunately" made to project to an audience, not to deliver a tame sound under our ear. I use the earplugs for normal practice too and am a much braver, happier camper for it.
- Re: Bows themselves: I invested in a couple of relatively expensive bows, think along the lines of the Holstein pernambuco 3-star and the "beginner" Arcus M4. It definitely makes a difference under my ear. I spend a couple of hours a day plus orchestra practice trying to learn to play violin. That's about 300 hours in 9 months. In 4-5 more months I'll be up to 450 hours. So I figure that the price of a Holstein 3-star will amortize at the rate of $1/day by early summer. By the way, I brought some Holstein bows to my teacher to demo and she bought the 3-star for herself!
- Strings... Have used Evah Pirazzi green, Obligato, Warchal Brilliant Vintage and Warchal Timbre. On my violins, I find the Obligatos the grittiest under my ear... but also the darkest (most soulful) A trade-off.
- Finally (long post, sigh) you could experiment with tension, both of the bow hair and the strings. When I had Obligatos on my Sima, I tried setting A = 432. I found that sound more pleasant but not practical for playing with others so back to A = 440 it went.
Cid - I see that you are focused on the rosin as the likely culprit. However, it is possible that the rosin is not the issue. There is a chance that you might get better results if you focus on the amount of arm weight (not pressure) that you are putting on the strings. Try to relax your shoulder, exhale, and let a little more weight bear on the bow and strings. Try this with a simple piece of music that you know very well (something that you "own"), as opposed to some music that are a bit tentative with. Hope this helps.
If I don't have time for a short post, I'll write a long post - (adapted from Mark Twain)
I've heard that at least some of the Pirastro rosins don't really match the strings they're sold for. Your mileage may vary, depending on your instrument.
Jade, both for me and for other users I know, is very smooth for a dark rosin, with the trade-off mentioned above for other smooth rosins (that have to rosin your bow again after less than two hours of playing). Don't be tempted to use extra rosin to extend that time. Excessive rosin will still sound gritty.
Because you're using a smooth rosin already, I don't think rosin is the problem at all unless you're using too much of it. I suspect the main issue is bow weight vs. bow pressure. A bow being pressed into the string from above tends to sound choked and gritty.
The sliding is an indicator that your bowing technique is the problem. Your bow shouldn't slide on the strings, even if you have no rosin on the bow, if your technique is good. Could be a minor issue. My guess would be the arm weight since you play better with a heavier bow.
'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.
Hi @Mouse and others. Another thought. @bocaholly has suggested in previous threads the placement of small segments of lead weight (original intent was for golf clubs) on the head end of the bow stick to bias the balance of the stick for more fluid tracking. A short wrap of lead electronic solder or (more attractive) lead core fishing line should also work.
Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. —Earl Nightingale.
@bocaholly has suggested in previous threads the placement of small segments of lead weight (original intent was for golf clubs) on the head end of the bow stick to bias the balance of the stick for more fluid tracking.
Full disclosure: I recently removed that lead tape from the tip of my 51gr CF bow. I think it did initially help me with the bouncing bow phenomenon but I figured the smart move was to learn to use it as the maker intended. Work in progress
Being a beginner that hasn't played regularily for MONTHS I don't feel like it's my place to give advice right now, BUT, I had problems with scratchy sound for a while which was too much rosin. But also, i cleaned off all dried up rosin on the strings with a coin AND went over my bowhair with a toothbrush to get most of it off and re-apply rosin. This made a huge difference too.
But like others have pointed out and you have realized yourself, your sliding bow is probably you being very aware of your bowing. Only time i used to slide was in the very beginning when i was more focused on my left hand than what my right was doing. But this also make me think that the scratchy is mostly you tensing up too. Crap sound is all I get these days because of the pain in my body and stress causing me to be extremely tense 24/7. Maybe you should try Alexander technique, it seem to help a lot of people. Or maybe you need to tell your teacher to stop pointing out the things you do well