Posts Tagged violin supplies

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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Is Your Violin Case a Zen Garden or a Junk Drawer?

Zen gardens, minimalist and organized, are thought to encourage contemplation and perhaps enlightenment. Junk drawers, while arguably fascinating and useful, are far from relaxing or enlightening. But couldn’t the visual stimulation and juxtaposition of objects inspire creativity? It reminds me of a plaque I read on a friend’s wall: “Dull people have immaculate houses”. What, if any, relationship does organization of supplies have on performance? When playing with other musicians, I’m fascinated by their instrument cases. Some players keep a minimalist, Zen garden-like case. Others have a less rigid approach, keeping their cases more like, well, junk drawers. Many players tuck a photo(s) of special people or animals tucked in the bow ribbon, and almost everyone seems to keep a shoulder rest, a bow and a tuner on hand. Would you consider your instrument case more like a Zen garden or a junk drawer?

Mine is a little of both. On one hand, I try to keep my case clean, organized and stocked with useful items. On the other hand, I have a plastic sandwich bag, batteries (the quintessential junk drawer item) and packet of tic-tacs purchased circa 2007 in there. Articles come and go from the case based on what I’m doing, but here’s what’s in my case *right now*:

* A violin
* A shoulder rest
* Two violin bows
* Peg Dope
* L’OpĂ©ra Jade Rosin
* Cherry passion flavored tic-tacs (see above)
* Embroidered ornaments from a wedding performance
* Extra violin strings (new strings in tube)
* Used violin strings in plastic bag (see above) for emergency use
* A Korg tuner
* A Seiko metronome
* Two AA batteries (see above)
* A fingernail clipper
* A clip-on pick-up and audio cord (in front pocket)
* A turquoise marble (pre-twinkle exercises)

What’s in your instrument case? Do you keep a Zen garden-like minimal case: violin, bow, rosin – or is your case brimming over with post-it notes, memorabilia and used tea-bags? More importantly, does it matter? In a perfect world, what *would* be in your instrument case?


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