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Has Anyone Experienced Problems Using Too Much Rosin?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (19 votes) 
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ELCBK
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August 9, 2023 - 3:10 pm
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@ABitRusty -

Interesting article! 

Some interesting tips for not only cleaning the bow hair & stick, but also the case. 

 

If wiping my hair down & wiping the strings with alcohol hadn't worked, I had planned to clean the hair next, otherwise I don't think I'd do it unless I saw discoloration or really hated the rosin on it.  New strings, then re-hair, was to be my last resort. 

The recommendation to re-hair every 6 months to 1 year, took me by surprise - maybe more relevant for professional violinists... but I've seen some fiddlers play hard with their hair too loose - causes a lot of breakage.  I removed bad hair when my bow was new, haven't had any break since then. 

Have you ever tried 'Leatherwood' rosin?  It would have to be able to play my violin for me at THOSE prices. 😳 (lol)

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ABitRusty
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ELCBK said
@ABitRusty -

Interesting article! 

Some interesting tips for not only cleaning the bow hair & stick, but also the case. 

 

If wiping my hair down & wiping the strings with alcohol hadn't worked, I had planned to clean the hair next, otherwise I don't think I'd do it unless I saw discoloration or really hated the rosin on it.  New strings, then re-hair, was to be my last resort. 

The recommendation to re-hair every 6 months to 1 year, took me by surprise - maybe more relevant for professional violinists... but I've seen some fiddlers play hard with their hair too loose - causes a lot of breakage.  I removed bad hair when my bow was new, haven't had any break since then. 

Have you ever tried 'Leatherwood' rosin?  It would have to be able to play my violin for me at THOSE prices. 😳 (lol)

  

not tried leatherwood rosin.  mostly holstein.  its not that expensive to rehair one.. but 6 months seems a bit extreme for the amount of use.

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AndrewH
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August 9, 2023 - 8:04 pm
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Considering how much we spend on strings already, Leatherwood rosin is not that expensive. That said, I've never used it, because I haven't seen a good reason to change from what I'm currently using (Jade).

I have my bow rehaired annually, and that seems to be fairly common among pros here in California where the climate is consistently dry. 6 months is more common in climates with big humidity differences between summer and winter, and it's probably more about adjusting the length of the bow hair than about the hair being in need of replacement.

https://stringsmagazine.com/ho.....-a-rehair/

"In climates with markedly contrasting seasons, it’s quite common to rehair bows in the spring and fall due to changes in humidity. Hair that’s the right length for the dry season can be too long to even reach playing tension when the rains come. Of greater danger to the bow, though, is hair that’s too short for the dry season, which can easily snap the head right off a bow."

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ELCBK
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August 10, 2023 - 12:04 am
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@AndrewH -

Thank you - great article! 

I'm sure I don't play/practice enough every day to warrant a re-hair, but I'll keep all the info in the back of my mind.  Jeez, really don't want my bow 'out of playing reach' long enough for a re-hair right now. 🙄 

...my luck I'll probably decide I need it at Christmastime. (lol)

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Gordon Shumway
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August 10, 2023 - 5:06 am
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My teacher spent most of her professional life using Hidersine rosin on her antique Hill viola bow. Then a couple of years ago she went to a workshop event in Cremona and was given a free sample of Leatherwood and realised that expensive rosin is better than cheap (she's a personal friend of the guy who owns Hidersine, so I guess she had been using the stuff since she was a student. I didn't ask if she got freebees). Rosin does last a long time, so Leatherwood will be acceptable value in the long run, but the thing that puts me off trying it is that there are now multiple "blends", and I'm not going to get lost down that rabbit hole.

I had slightly upped my game from Hidersine light and dark to Hill light and dark but Nicky Benedetti thinks Guillaume is the best (even if she is paid to say it - if she uses it, that's good enough for me). I switched to Guillaume after finding I was overrosining with Hill dark and needed to take a step back and stabilise.

(I see that in March my Visions had been on 8 months and I still haven't replaced the G and D strings, just the A and E!)

But here in London temperatures don't vary much, most of the time, and humidity varies almost not at all (yesterday I was surprised to see it as high as 59%). If you live somewhere where there are wild fluctuatioins, your needs will differ from mine.

Andrew

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Gordon Shumway
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AndrewH said
https://stringsmagazine.com/ho.....-rehair/   

"If the hair gets too dirty...just get it rehaired."

Lol, here's a picture of the frog end of my GX as it has looked since new.

P1000880.JPGImage Enlarger

Here's a picture of horsehair under an electron microscope. There are roughnesses, unsurprisingly, but they are probably less important than just basic friction, which is supplied by the rosin anyway not the hair. But hair roughness may help the rosin adhere to it. I will probably get a bow rehaired when a teacher faints at the sight of it.

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Andrew

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ELCBK
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August 10, 2023 - 3:03 pm
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Looks like a bad science experiment. 

Holy Moly Shocked Smiley

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Gordon Shumway
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Looks like hair that was too close to the horse's a-hole.

Doesn't smell of anything, though. Not even peanut butter.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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Forgot to mention I was able to play/practice for about 9 hours last week on my bow after I'd wiped it down with a dry towel! 

Tried using Andrea Solo again yesterday, but it wasn't as helpful for engaging my lower strings, so I'm back to using my Holstein Premium. 🤗

...VERY sparingly. (lol) 

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ELCBK
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While taking a break I decided it was a good time to practice, but after applying some rosin yesterday I started right off having issues again. 😒 

Since wiping the strings & bow hair with a towel didn't help enough - as a last resort I wiped the bowing area of the strings with alcohol (again)... HUGE difference (again), quicker response & got a lot of my ringing tones back!  Think this kinda rules out needing a rehair for me. 

Did a quick look over the internet to see how long synthetic-core strings are expected to last.  The consensus seems to be 6 months or 300 hours of playing.  I'm sure that people who don't dig into their strings like I do will get more mileage out of theirs.  Metal-core strings are supposed to last 10 months - not going there. 

I usually notice a loss in ringing tones after about 4 months - I'm in the 6th month & as long as I don't have other problems with the strings, guess it's not too big of a deal to use the alcohol once a week. 

...probably just going to put on new strings, soon.

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Gordon Shumway
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Since we appear to be looking forward to a pleasant August and September here in the UK, I think I'll allow this thread to inspire me to switch from Guillaume to Hill light for a while just out of curiosity.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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Well, I nursed my strings along, WAY TOO LONG, since back when I started wiping the bowing area (between the bridge & fingerboard) down with alcohol.

😔 Finally broke down & installed new strings the night before last. 

I'm still suffering from the effects ofThe Electric Shock Smiley!!! 

Just amazes me how much of a difference I feel & hear! 

 

Pretty sure (now) that I wasn't having an issue with rosin 'build up' (unless somehow it works it's way under the windings over time) & I don't know if my bow needs a rehair, or not.  At the moment I'm so blinded by the difference in response & sound I don't really care, as long as I have a few hairs left on the bow!

 

...really wasn't worth my trying to save some money this way. 

 

Strings... $$$... OUCH! Thread

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I just discovered this thread -- interesting. 

When I was first getting started on fiddle I struggled with allergic reactions when playing -- lots of nasal congestion and sometimes little spells of coughing. Though I have “normal” hay fever allergies, the reactions were much worse when playing fiddle. It was not usual that I had to stop in the middle of a piece of music. That also made practicing a chore. Quite aggravating. 

I attributed this to the rosin on my bow and I tried a number of different rosins, including some that are marketed as “hypoallergenic”. Along there way, I learned something about different levels of grip and dustiness. All very interesting -- but it didn’t really solve the problem.

I now believe that I was simply using too much rosin. I have drastically cut back on the amount of rosin that I use, and now apply more rosin only when things get slippery and tone gets weak. While I still experience some allergic reactions, they are significantly less bothersome.

I guess this adventure has been a by-product of being a self-taught musician. I have always enjoyed learning new things by my own wits and work, and by taking advantage of the experience of others. (Of course this forum has been quite helpful in that regard.)

But maybe if I had begun with a Teacher guiding my every move, I would have caught onto the joke much earlier -- and avoided some serious sneezing. I would also not have a rich collection of every type of rosin imaginable!

Strabo

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ELCBK
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f2011a297a462d478db537f1e3761eb4.jpgThe humidity in our house has finally dropped - pretty drastically.  

All the sudden, NO more problems with my rosin! 

This has been a very wet year & we had a hard time keeping the humidity down to 55%, but now it has been down between 40-45%. 

Noticing a HUGE DIFFERENCE not only with the rosin, but also the way my bow hair acts!  I don't need to tighten my bow as much now - less space between the frog & thumb pad lets my thumb set more securely, great for my overall grip!

 

...now I can't let it get any drier. 😶

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AndrewH
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What rosin are you using now? If it's a dark rosin, and the humidity gets high enough to cause problems, you might want to consider keeping a light rosin around to use when it's more humid.

I haven't had to deal with this issue myself, having never lived in places with big seasonal humidity changes since I started playing string instruments: Texas is humid all year, and California is dry all year. I started out using Hill Light on my violin in Texas, and have switched to Melos Dark in California. I've always used dark rosins on viola, and it can use the extra grip even when I bring it to visit family in Texas. I've never brought my violin back to Texas because it's not my main instrument, so I no longer really have any use for light rosin.

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ELCBK
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@AndrewH -

I use the Holstein Premium sparingly (it's dark) - didn't want to go light because of the lower strings.  Playing just my violin this past 7 months (strung FCGDA).  

Noticed the hair on my Arcus bow reacts MUCH more to changes in humidity, compared to my other bows.  When the humidity is up more it only takes ONE turn of the frog screw & the hair is sagging - had to cut some real stragglers when I 1st got it... it's different now with lower humidity.  I tried my other 2 rosins, but I don't have any actual 'light' ones.

I've been on the fence about sending it off for a rehair, but think I better do it since I've been playing with much more 'gusto' this past year. (lol)

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ELCBK
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Yeah, I always check to see how loaded my hair is 1st. 

I flick the underside of the hair with the back of my thumbnail & then a quick bow across the strings.  If I see any dust fly, or residue on my strings... then I don't rosin at that time.  I'm sure it depends on the type of rosin we each use, but I don't apply it every day. 

Oh boy, I've been thinking WAY too much tonight. 😶

Has anyone ever had to stop in the middle of practice to rosin their bow?

Seems if I can start playing okay without adding rosin to my bow - I'm fine for the rest of practice - no matter how long.  Now, I know there must be less rosin on my hair & strings by the end of my practice... but why was it still all going so well?

Do strings need 'warm up' time to respond their best? 

Sorry, I'm wondering just how much rosin do we really need to start playing - and what happens? 

Do the strings literally 'warm up' after vibrating rapidly?  ...now the rosin is warmed up, too? 

Rabbit HOLE!!!

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AndrewH
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I sometimes do stop in the middle of practice to rosin my bow, and I often rosin my bow at the break in orchestra rehearsals. If I don't quite have enough rosin on my bow, there may still be enough to produce a nice solid tone on a long bow stroke, but I find that fast passages suffer because the bow takes too long to get the string moving. It messes with both bow distribution and left/right hand coordination. But I don't always notice when I start practicing because I don't warm up with anything fast.

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ELCBK
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@AndrewH -

Very interesting! 

Thank you for saving me from another rabbit hole! 

Are you using the same 'Melos Dark' rosin on both your Violin & Viola? 

Or, are you using the 'Violin' version AND 'Viola' version? 

Love to try some, but curious to know how much of a difference there is between the 2 dark Melos rosins - just not curious enough to buy BOTH! 😄  I'm usually stuck in the middle with my Violin having 5 strings, but a low F string has me leaning maybe toward the 'Viola' rosin, this time. 

I'm waiting for samples of 'Lonesome Pine' rosin to try. 

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AndrewH
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I'm using Melos Dark on violin and Jade on viola. I've had the Jade longer, and I didn't want to spend money on a viola version of the Melos Dark when I was already happy with the Jade and couldn't find anything about the differences (if any) between violin and viola versions of the Melos Dark.

The only reason I've ever bought new rosin has been to replace rosin that was dropped on a hard floor. In 24 years of playing violin and 22 years of playing viola, I've bought exactly two violin rosins and two viola rosins.

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