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When is it time to get a new cake of rosin.
I know that most professional musicians change theirs often, even say once a year. But I as a beginning amateur don't see why, since it still works. I mean I have 3 full size cakes.
1. Fiddlerman . 2. Kaplan Dark and 3. Magic Ultra, and even trying to play once a day for a few minutes. Over the last 3 years I have hardly dented them, yes they show use, but they are far from being worn out.
With violins there is no fretting over the music.
I'm no expert, obviously, but I think that if you aren't having any noticeable trouble with it, keep using it. One of my go-to rosins I bought when I started playing, so it is going on 3 years old, and I don't notice any real difference in it, still bites the string the same, isn't any dustier, etc. I'll keep using it until I notice some kind of change.
On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
Yeah - for "fiddlers having fun" as distinct from aspiring professional violinists - like Mandy more or less said - if it ain't broke and if you don't observe significant changes in tone, response, bowing and action - don't try to fix it.
Of course, of course, there ARE folks who are truly in a class of their own, and indeed - more power to them - who recognize what are indeed the HUGELY subtle changes in playing over time - be it strings, rosin, and indeed the bow hair - some people WILL want to refresh their rosin maybe every 6 to 12 months, change strings after a few hundred hours of playing, and rehair the bow every six months. I have NO issue with that at all - just quoting what I have read.
Personally, for me - it makes no difference, although for sure - there are cheapo rosins to avoid. To my mind @OldOgre you have a reasonable choice of rosin there. I would not worry over much at all. There are arguments/discussions to be found talking about "the loss by evaporation" of the "essential oils" in a particular rosin cake leading to it "drying out over time" - and - I can in some way understand that - and I'm sure some of the real cheapo rosins ( which will fracture into pieces the moment you open the plastic case ) are probably either cr4p to start with, or have been sitting for years in a south facing shop window... LOLOL
My own choices include Fiddlerman, Kaplan Dark, Pirastro Gold Flex and what is currently ( only currently ) my favourite - Andrea Solo - every one in that list is gonna be pretty good - as are yours - and honestly - until you start to notice a real difference in bow hair grip, tone production and string response to bowing - don't waste money on rosin upgrades - stick with what you have and save the cash to simply try different strings - MUCH more telling on any given instrument - ( hahaha - I still love my Prelude steel-strung 3/4 fiddle - nothing wrong with "good" cheap strings hahaha-yeah you'll be fine where you are Don ( @OldOgre)!!!!
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
Thanks @BillyG and @damfino ,
I too have cheap rosin laying around that should be in the trash, but keep the to use on pegs that slip or to help remove the dye on fingerboards.
My good rosins have cases, all except the Kaplan Dark that come in a pouch, and still clings that the cloth that it comes in. They all still grip well and don't overly cause dust.
So I guess I'm good for awhile longer.. Have a great day at playing..
With violins there is no fretting over the music.
I've had the privilege of working with old rosin salvaged out of old abandoned violin cases. Rosin does degrade over time. It seems to dry out and become brittle and take on a cloudiness. This seems to be exacerbated by conditions(especially heat) and condition of the cake to begin with.
It gets more gritty and doesn't take as well to hair. But we're talking about decades old rosins left in garages and basements. I've also noticed that thinner caseless rosins tend to warp if left in hot conditions as well.
Not a big deal as rosins are the cheapest part of our kit. And we all seem to collect a variety.
Just had an interesting rosin experience I wanted to share. The short version is that I'm discovering that choice of rosin really matters (humor me, I'm new to this game.)
A couple of weeks ago, I got a new, super light-weight bow (Arcus M4) from Fiddlershop to help aleviate some right wrist-arm-shoulder problems. My initial impressions were really positive. I was using the Fiddlerman Premium rosin I had on my other more modest bows.
But, hey, a fancy bow deserves a fancy rosin, right? So I got myself a cake of 'Larica gold I', wiped the Fiddlerman Premium rosin off a bit and applied the Larica sparingly as instructed. Note: There was still a good amount of Fiddlerman Premium underneath the Larica. Nonetheless, the sound produced was already nice and silky.
But as the week progressed with the new Arcus-Larica combo, I began having trouble tracking the bow. It was slithering around more than usual between the bridge and the fingerboard. Open string bowing practice ensued... I tried index finger pressure awareness on top of that. Still not much better. Finally I taped a dime to the tip of the bow but wasn't sure if that helped or not. Pierre (Fiddlerman himself) was willing to order the necessary lead weight to be properly installed in the Arcus' tip so we could find out. Maybe it was worth a go.
In the meantime, I went home and tried the dime trick again. It didn't fix my bow tracking problem... and certainly didn't enhance the sound.
I replaced the super smooth Larica gold with my trusty old Fiddlerman Premium and the slithering has greatly diminished. Ooooof.
1) Larica makes rosin with various metal additives in 5 hardness levels. "1" is the hardest so maybe that was just too hard for my needs.
2) I think the Arcus original bow hairs may be just a tad finer and more homogeniously selected than the average. Now that can be a big plus but maybe not with a super fine-hard rosin and beginner technique.
I'd love to hear experiences from others as I'm sure this isn't my last rosin experiment!
My adventures in rosin-land continue.
When last heard from (I know, that was just yesterday 🙂 I had ditched the Larica for my trusty Fiddlerman Premium rosin and my fledgling bowing was as back on track as it could be.
Was I frustrated that my Larica experiment hadn't worked out? You bet!
So I spent some time surfing the internet and found a couple of hints that mixing rosin types sometimes "soaps-up" the bow hairs. Sure enough, I hadn't removed the previous rosin very well before applying the Larica Gold.
In particular, a luthier on a German forum mentioned that:
- Putting rosin with metal particles on top of rosin without was a no-no.
- Putting larch-based rosin on top of pine based would also soap-up the bow hair and that such a mistake couldn't be remediated. I would require a rehairing of the bow.
Stubborn me... I unclipped the frog of my bow and gave the hairs an isopropyl alcohol bath. At first, the dried hairs were stiff and stuck together. Another alcohol bath ensued. Finally, combing with a soft toothbrush made the dry bow hairs look and feel virgin.
Happy to report that now the Larica Gold is working just fine on my bow. Is it really different or better that the Fiddlerman Premium which is half the price? I don't know and I'm sure not about to switch back and forth so soon to find out!
Wow, nice bow Bocaholly! - I'd be a nervous wreck trying to do that...when I got my bow it was a bit dark towards the bottom so I rubbed an alcohol wipe on it and got carried away, 10-20 wipes later and I went half way up the bow - I was terrified, it looked really wet and was really sticky, I had to go over it again and again, I thought I had ruined it, left it out 2 days to dry....it did even out eventually....and back to norm, (thank goodness)....I swiped it with my Holstein rosin, there's probably 2 types of rosin on my bow, one on the top half (that it came with) and one on the bottom....but I have no idea if rosin would make any difference to my playing right now - I do kinda want to get some of that fancy one with gold in it. But I'm never going to do that again!
When I bought my cheap Chinese fiddle kit, I didn't realise it came with rosin, so I bought some cheap Chinese rosin too. It pretends to be Austrian, but it's hard as glass Chinese summer rosin. So I bought some Jade. Then a pro violist told me I already had a lifetime's supply there, and that she didn't get through a lot of it. Since then I've ditched all that summer rosin and bought some Hidersine dark in case I lose the Jade or something.
I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.
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