Essential Violin Accessories | The Skinny on Violin Rosin

“All This Awesome Power, In An Itty-Bitty Little Package”

As I gazed upon my small collection of chipped rosin cakes this morning, I started to wonder if I needed something new. The less than pristine chunks I have on hand could conceivably last until I’m well into retirement, but still. Part of me just really likes buying new rosin. So I started thinking about what kind of rosin I might try next. Then I started thinking “What do I really know about rosin, anyway?“. This lead to a little digging.

The Basics About Rosin

  • It’s typically made from the resin (sap) in pine trees.
  • It usually comes in a cloth or a box.
  • Beeswax is commonly added in the rosin making process.
  • Some rosins contain particles of metal, like gold or silver; thought to produce a greater clarity of sound.
  • It’s not a good idea to switch between metallic and non-metallic rosins using the same bow.
  • When switching rosins, the old rosin will remain audible for a few hours. (Some players use a different rosin for each bow.)
  • It’s available in light or dark. (Both colors make white powder when used.)
  • It comes in varying degrees of stickiness. (Stickier = less powder.)
  • Darker rosins are typically sticker than light rosins.
  • Stickier rosins work better in cooler climates.
  • On a cheap bow, the type of rosin you use won’t make much difference.

Looking for more information about rosin?

Bonus: Here’s a fun fact I learned on BAVs this week: A wine (or champagne) cork works well for cleaning rosin off your strings. I’ll drink to that!

What kind of rosin do *you* use? Click here to chime in and see what others are using (2 Question Poll).

 

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