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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Clarity Rosin?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/4695

aspenleaf - Posted - 09/05/2008:  20:10:53


Hello forum members. I've been reading the forum for a while, but this is my first post.

I'm a novice and I'm having a severe allergic reaction to pine rosin. I found a synthetic rosin called Clarity, and was wondering if anyone here has used it and knows how it compares to other rosins, or can make a recommendation. Thanks.

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/05/2008:  20:26:45


quote:
Originally posted by aspenleaf

Hello forum members. I've been reading the forum for a while, but this is my first post.

I'm a novice and I'm having a severe allergic reaction to pine rosin. I found a synthetic rosin called Clarity, and was wondering if anyone here has used it and knows how it compares to other rosins, or can make a recommendation. Thanks.



Well, it sounds like there may not be many other options.
However, you might do okay with a rosin that puts out less dust,
like Kaplan Premium (which I use) or (so I hear) Andrea Paganini.

It depends on just how allergic you are to pine-
have you had a reaction to pine pollen before?
They say if you react to one part of the tree or plant,
eventually you'll react to the whole plant.

Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

aspenleaf - Posted - 09/05/2008:  23:12:41


Hi Michael,

Yes, I do have allergic reactions to pine pollen. I live in the middle of a pine forest and every June I'm plagued with itchy eyes and a runny nose for a few weeks while the area gets blanketed with green pine pollen. That's the same reaction I get to the pine rosin.

I actually bought my fiddle 5 years ago, but I rarely play it because of this problem, so I haven't made much progress in learning to play.

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/06/2008:  11:35:15


quote:
Originally posted by aspenleaf

Hi Michael,

Yes, I do have allergic reactions to pine pollen. I live in the middle of a pine forest and every June I'm plagued with itchy eyes and a runny nose for a few weeks while the area gets blanketed with green pine pollen. That's the same reaction I get to the pine rosin.

I actually bought my fiddle 5 years ago, but I rarely play it because of this problem, so I haven't made much progress in learning to play.



Yeow... that's terrible!
I had a feeling it was something like that-
I'm allergic to walnuts and I live in a walnut growing area
of California! Fortunately they don't use walnut sap for rosin!

You should just get the Clarity, and get on with fiddling.
I'm almost sure it's wouldn't be the best, but it's
performance is probably at least adequate.

And after you do that, if it's only so-so rosin,
you COULD:
1. Figure out if the sap from a tree you're NOT allergic to
makes good violin rosin, or at least better than the Clarity.
Brew your own! I'm sure you could find out how to do it on the Internet, just like everything else!

On second thought, after looking at the wikipedia
article on rosin, it looks like it's almost all some kind of pine sap
although it does mention other plant sources but doesn't give a link.

If you are allergic to pine sap and pine pollen, you probably ought to look at this:
dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/rosin...ergy.html
And you shouldn't drink the Greek wine retsina-
it has rosin in it!

This link,
fao.org/docrep/X0453e/X0453e10.htm
provided this quote:
"MINOR SOURCES OF RESIN

In Brazil, as of the late 1970’s, the resin of Araucaria angustifolia was a locally important material for varnishes, turpentine, acetone and other chemical products (Reitz, et al. 1979).

Resin of Agathis vitiensis, known in Fiji as dakua, is an alternative ingredient to the resin of Canarium harveyi var. harveyi , known as "Fijian glue," a material used in the construction of ocean going canoes. The resin is extracted from pieces of bark by heating the bark in a can over an open fire. The glue is applied hot and the excess is stirred and reheated for later use. A. vitiensis resin is used primarily on the island of Vitu Levu where the tree occurs naturally (Banack and Cox 1987). "

Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

bj - Posted - 09/06/2008:  13:42:05


If the Clarity artificial rosin just doesn't cut it, I can attest to both Gustav Bernadel and Andrea Paganini as producing very minimal dust. And the Andrea Paganini comes in a case that you wouldn't have to touch the rosin to use it, though I suppose there's still the danger of accidental contact.

You might wanna hook up with Kiva Rose and see if there's something she can recommend. Sometimes allergies are made much more severe by nutritional lacks, by medications, or by other health issues, and an herbal or nutritional adjustment can lessen the allergy considerably.

fiddlehangout.com/myhangout/ho...p?id=3418

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captainhook - Posted - 09/06/2008:  18:29:54


I recommend that you THOROUGHLY clean all the rosin off your bow hair before you apply the Clarity. I know of one person (I think he's on here somewhere) who mixed them and went through a lot of grief. He may have had the bow rehaired to fix it but then went back to rosin. However, I don't think he was allergic, just wanted to try the Clarity. I'm pretty sure I remember somebody saying they liked Clarity, so it's definitely worth a try in your case.

captainhook
Transylvania County, USA

krugwaffle - Posted - 09/07/2008:  22:03:17


That's me, captainhook. I had a bow already loaded with a mix of natural rosins that I tried to use with Clarity and had a real problem with it. The Clarity didn't mix with the natural and rolled up into hard plastic pills on the strings, making playing difficult. Problems really started when I couldn't figure out how to wash the Clarity out of the hair and get back to one type of rosin. After much washing and re-applying of regular rosin I was able to get the bow to be useable again. To be consistent, I went back to natural on all my bows.

Since then, I've met several people who play with Clarity - all for allergic reasons - and they swear by it. They all started out with it and have never tried mixing in anything else.

The guy who designed and patented Clarity rosin has responded to one of these forums and said exactly what could be used to remove Clarity from bowhair but I've forgotten what it was. I think it was mineral spirits but don't try it without finding out for sure.

Aspenleaf's more interested in switching TO Clarity and not FROM so removing the pine rosin is much easier. Some people wash their hair with soap and water but I'm always leery of soaps these days. Most all have perfumes and moisturizers that can leave residues on the hair. Definitely stay away from shampoos because of the conditioners and other stuff that's going to stay in the hair after it's rinsed.

For me, I always use isopropyl alcohol. It's cheap, abundant and cuts rosin quickly. I put about half a cup in a 9" aluminum pie pan to make a bath. I remove the screw from the bow to release the frog and wrap the hair in one or two large loops that will fit in the bottom of the pan. If it's a wood bow, I'll gather the frog and the tip of the bow together and wrap in plastic and rubberbands to protect the finish. I'll usually rinse the hair for a minute or two then remove it from the bath and place it directly on some paper towels to blot as much of the alcohol out as possible before it evaporates. This removes almost all the diluted rosin and the hair will dry without being sticky. After a couple of hours drying under the ceiling fan, it's ready to remount the frog and apply any rosin you want.

I hope you have good results with the Clarity. I'm marginally allergic to pine because there's so much of it in the air down here. It overwhelms the senses when it's in full bloom. If I'm careful and keep from inhaling rosin dust directly, I'm OK. I think Clarity is good stuff. Please don't judge it on my misfortune. I was just messing around and ended up finding the one thing you should never do with the stuff. If natural rosin didn't work so well in the high humidity we have down here in Florida, I'd probably be tempted to get out the Clarity and try it again.

aspenleaf - Posted - 09/08/2008:  05:52:07


Thanks everyone for the responses.

krugwaffle, you are right on the mineral spirits. I found the forum post you are referring to, where one of the developers of Clarity responded to the question of how to remove it. I did buy some Clarity rosin, and the good news is I can play without an allergic reaction. The bad news is it is not as sticky as the pine rosin I was using. It still puts the strings in motion, but requires a bit more effort than the pine rosin. Someone mentioned that the cello rosin is sticker, maybe I'll try that sometime.

We're almost always 40 to 50 percent humidity (in my house) here in the Colorado Rockies. How does humidity affect rosin? Also, I read somewhere that altitude affects violins, but it didn't say how. I'm at 8600 ft. Anyone know what effect that has on the violin?

bj - Posted - 09/08/2008:  06:13:47


aspenleaf, it's pretty easy to tell you what affect it will have. Less air pressure because of the altitude means you have to work harder to make things vibrate, and that will include all parts of the fiddle and bow. So I do imagine you will need grabbier rosin, but given your lack of choices . . . ack.

Anyway, I live in a PA river valley and usually am dealing with high humidity. There are a lot of rosins that just don't do well in humidity, and a couple that do just fine. I also notice that when a relatively rare bonedry day comes along, I end up microretuning incessantly as my instruments adjust. The Paganini rosin seems unaffected by climate changes, which is why I like it.

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My inspiration:
pandora.com/?sc=sh14633812588807237

Feistyfidlr - Posted - 09/08/2008:  06:34:04


krugwaffle~I can't help but giggle at the visual of one seeing rosin balls stuck to the strings. I'd have a wide eyed, huh? look then, once I figured out what was stuck to the strings I'd have the "Oh no!" face look. lol

Thanks for sharing. I just know I would have tried something like that eventually. Also, thank you for sharing an inexpensive way to clean my bow hair. I've always been afraid to use soaps or other household cleaners for fear of what would happen.



I got caught fiddlin'' around

Feistyfidlr - Posted - 09/08/2008:  06:37:54


"So I do imagine you will need grabbier rosin, but given your lack of choices . . . ack."

As a newbie myself, I don't know if this will help or not but I find the light rosin to be grabbier than dark rosin. I don't know if that will be true with the Clarity rosin though, then taking altitude into consideration.... I don't know. It was just a thought.


I got caught fiddlin'' around

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/08/2008:  07:30:26


Well,
If Clarity is IT, due to allergies,
you can't tweak that.
But there may be some other things that would give
you a similar feel to a grabbier rosin, and let you relax more.
All of these other factors interplay with the rosin choice to
produce the bowing feel you experience when you play.

1. Have the bow rehaired with a higher quality hair
2. Get a slightly heavier bow, preferably better sounding
3. Go to a lighter gauge string-
I did, and I find they produce more sound with less pressure
(although I think the heavier gauges produce more sound with MORE pressure). I'm using Thomastik Precision Lights (steel wrap on steel core)
4. Try a different kind of string that may be more responsive.
5. The Clarity Cello rosin sounds like a good possibility,
you might even try mixing that with the Clarity violin on the bow, first a swipe or two of one, then a swipe or two of the other.
I'd even be tempted to melt and mix the two, but since that's not
a natural product, it probably wouldn't be a good idea!

quote:
Originally posted by aspenleaf

Thanks everyone for the responses.

krugwaffle, you are right on the mineral spirits. I found the forum post you are referring to, where one of the developers of Clarity responded to the question of how to remove it. I did buy some Clarity rosin, and the good news is I can play without an allergic reaction. The bad news is it is not as sticky as the pine rosin I was using. It still puts the strings in motion, but requires a bit more effort than the pine rosin. Someone mentioned that the cello rosin is sticker, maybe I'll try that sometime.

We're almost always 40 to 50 percent humidity (in my house) here in the Colorado Rockies. How does humidity affect rosin? Also, I read somewhere that altitude affects violins, but it didn't say how. I'm at 8600 ft. Anyone know what effect that has on the violin?



Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

krugwaffle - Posted - 09/08/2008:  09:20:21


quote:
Originally posted by Hi Strung

krugwaffle~I can't help but giggle at the visual of one seeing rosin balls stuck to the strings. I'd have a wide eyed, huh? look then, once I figured out what was stuck to the strings I'd have the "Oh no!" face look. lol

Thanks for sharing. I just know I would have tried something like that eventually. Also, thank you for sharing an inexpensive way to clean my bow hair. I've always been afraid to use soaps or other household cleaners for fear of what would happen.



I got caught fiddlin'' around



They were like little clear hard plastic beads of varying size stuck to the SIDES of the strings. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. After applying Clarity rosin, My fiddle was slowly becoming impossible to play. I noticed a fuzzy buildup on the strings from all the other rosin so I thought I'd clean everything and see if that would help. I put a tiny bit of alcohol on a rag and wiped the strings in the bowing zone. The pine rosin came off instantly but I could feel something else. A roughness to the otherwize smooth strings. I had heard of strings breaking their windings and unraveling so I inspected closely. I used a magnifying glass and the windings looked good but there was something glossy stuck to the sides of the string. If the circular cross-section of the string was like the steering wheel of your car, these little blobs were at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions like your hands would be. I tried washing them off with alcohol again and they wouldn't move. I finally ended up using my fingernail to scrape the hardened nodules off the string. They would crackle as they popped off they were stuck on so well.

At this point, I didn't know the beads were caused by the rosin so I just went back to playing. After about five minutes, the fiddle became belligerent again. I found the beads had reformed like before. Now I put two and two together and decided I wanted to get the Clarity out of my bowhair. That's when the real floorshow started. I found that nothing I tried dissolved the stuff. (I'm still thinking 'solvents' due to my natural rosin bias.) I tried all the alcohols I had, Axarel solvent, Acetone, Xylene, Naptha, lacquer thinner, you name it. Never occured to me to try mineral spirits!

I figured out why the blobs formed on the sides of the strings. They're actually forming on the contact point between the bow and the string but because the friction makes the string twist a little, the string turns a different face to the bow when you're pushing and pulling. Two ridges of nodules would build up from this action. That one kept me wondering for a while.


Testing

Feistyfidlr - Posted - 09/08/2008:  11:17:22


krugwaffle~you poor thing! But I still can't help laughing. I can see the "what the hail?!" look. lol If it had been me, I probably would've panicked thinking I damaged the instrument somehow. lol I just find it such a hilarious visual. I'm seeing it in cartoon format.

I got caught fiddlin'' around

fiddlepogo - Posted - 09/08/2008:  13:04:18


Well, it sound like the "nodules" formed right where the rosin builds up normally on the string,
but since this was a mixture of different compounds it must have had some kind of chemical reaction to make
it much, much, harder!

Michael

"It''s hard to take yourself seriously when you''re singing about chickens!"

ezfolk.com/audio/bands/1088
for mp3s, blog, and "Michael''s Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Hour" (hifi & lofi audio streams)

lcannon@nctv.com - Posted - 09/09/2009:  09:44:37


Will someone explain to me why bow hair breaks on the bow when only used a short time. It could'nt be the price, for it is a 150.00. bow. I need a good explanation why any hair shoul break and come off on any bow when used
only a short time.
lcannon@nctv.com

bj - Posted - 09/09/2009:  10:39:44


lcannon@nctv.com, you've posted a different question altogether on a thread about something else, and because of that you might not get responses. You'd be better off posting your question on a new thread. Find the area applicable and click into it, then click on the "new topic" link up at the top of the page.

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aspenleaf - Posted - 09/09/2009:  13:00:05


quote:
Originally posted by pattik

Aspenleaf, go check out Baker's Rosin webste and feel free to call him, I certainly have, and he really cares about fiddlers and stands behind his product. I have no doubt he would specially make a product just for you. Its worth a call. Hope this helps.

pattik



Thanks pattik! I will check it out.

TomQuinn - Posted - 09/09/2009:  20:11:52


As the developer of Clarity I thought I'd add my thoughts on some of the comments made here.

1. Aspenleaf, I'm sorry to hear about your rosin allergy, and it's unforunate you've had to curtail your fiddling because of it. You're not alone. I've corresponded with many people with the same problem, including a couple of professional violinists who've had to change careers because of it.

2. The grab and stickiness of Clarity can be formulated over a wide range. The particular formulation used by Supersensitve for their violin grade is simply the one their test groups preferred. Ultimately, it's a personal choice. The cello and bass versions are softer and stickier and you may like them more.

3. Contrary to the comments by the owner of the Baker's Rosin posted by Pattik, rosin allergies are common and serious for those affected. The primary allergen is abietic acid, the major component of rosin. All naturally derived rosins contain abietic acid and all are allergens. It's not possible to "distill them awayf" Obviously, the less dust formed by a rosin, the less contact, and the less the effect, but the downside is that low dust rosins are that way because they are softer and their playing characteristics may not suit you.

Many of the other comments by the Baker's Rosin owner make little sense to me.

4. Clarity is based on a fully hydrogenated, pure polymeric material. It's commonly used to make adhesives for surgical tapes and baby diapers. It has been used for twenty years and been shown to be very inert, non-reactive, and hypoallergenic.

Clarity is the ONLY hypoallergenic rosin on the market.

5. Krugwaffle, your problems with bead formation puzzle me, and I can think of no reason why it would happen. Clarity has been a commercial product for a few years now and this is the first time I've heard of a problem like this. I've personally gone back and forth between rosin and Clarity hundreds of times without a problem. I wonder if there wasn't some other variable affecting this. I think I'll do some mixing over the next week and see if I can duplicate the problem.

6. Both rosin and Clarity are soluble in non-polar, aliphatic solvents like mineral spirits, but rosin is also soluble in more polar solvents like alcohol. Personally, I use no solvent for cleaning strings and bow, but a microfiber cloth. They work great.

The characteristic that makes Clarity insoluble in alcohol also makes it hydrophobic. Unlike rosin, it will not pick up moisture on humid days and its playing characteristics are unaffected by humidity.

7. Lastly, the motivation behind developing Clarity had nothing to do with allergies. I had no idea of how many people were affected by rosin allergies until Supersensitive started selling it. The intent was to make an improved violin rosin. Rosin is a difficult substance to work with. As a raw material it varies all over the map depending on many variables difficult to control As a result, it's very difficult to make the same commercial grade of natural rosin twice the same way, How do you make a "better" natural rosin when you can't even replicate the last batch?

Compared to natural rosin, Clarity is a pure and consistent material that can be predictably formulated with other additives to control hardness, tack, and grab. The problem with Clarity isn't that one can formulate to a specific set of properties, it's figuring out what those properties should be. During development I sent samples of different variations of Clarity to scores of violinists around the world to get a sense of what people want. I quickly learned that people all like different characteristics and they seldom agree. I never did this, but I'm sure had I sent the same sample twice to the same person, I would have gotten two different appraisals.

I've thought for a long time the best solution is to make many grades of Clarity, from hard to soft, and let people pick the one they want. It would be like using cross country ski wax where each grade is labeled by temperature characteristics.

- Tom

bj - Posted - 09/10/2009:  06:07:34


Tom, even if your rosin isn't humidity sensitive, fiddles are. So is bowhair, almost wickedly so. So if you had sent the same sample to the same person twice you very well may have gotten two different appraisals.

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pattik - Posted - 09/10/2009:  10:52:40


The following information is provided by TC Baker of Baker's Rosin.

The information I provided was an attempt to assist a fellow musician privately and wasn't meant to be a public statement. The fact that it was posted in a public forum was an oversight by the person relaying the information to the party in question. My assessment of Clirity rosin is based on my own personal experience and although I stand by that assessment, I in no way meant to present a blanket opinion about the product one way or the other.
I stand by my assessment of Abietic acid being a minor contact allergen and that it is the oxidized airborn particles that cause the problem.
I suggested Melos rosin because I know it's made from fresh tree sap rather than Sylvaros, so I think one can safely assume that my goal was to assist a fellow musician and not to push my product.
I try to live life by one rule-do no harm and this is why I've asked to have the offending post removed.
-TC Baker


pattik

TomQuinn - Posted - 09/10/2009:  15:10:38


I agree with TC Baker that oxidized rosin is a stronger allergen than unoxidized rosin. There was a study done by A.T. Karlburg from the Swedish version of their Dept. of Health about 20 years ago that showed rosin to be a strong allergen. This led to the elimination of adhesives containing rosin derivatives to manufacture baby diapers in Europe. This is a huge adhesive market and the rosin ester manufacturers (Hercules, Arizona Chemical, etc.) were put on the defensive. They conducted their own study and showed it is actually the oxidized versions that cause most of the problem, as TC Baker says. Unfortunately rosin oxidizes very rapidly. To this day, rosin and rosin derivatives are not used to make baby diaper or hygiene products in Europe.



amwildman - Posted - 09/10/2009:  22:34:11


I'm allergic to just about everything under the sun. Grass, pollens, dust, molds, and tons of things I don't bother trying to identify. When I first started I bought Clarity just to be safe. However, it just wasn't sticky enough. I have a light touch, and need a fairly grabby rosin. The Clarity couldn't get the job done for me. I switched back to a cheap dark rosin and it does just fine for me. I found out that standard rosin dust doesn't really bother me, and keeping the right amount on the bow makes a big difference. Haven't used Clarity for close to 3 years now.

That being said, if it's Clarity or nothing, then use it! Use the 'cello' version, as Tom advised. I've heard it's quite sticky.

healey61 - Posted - 09/13/2009:  06:38:04


When a practice is completed, I always wipe down my fiddle, and I used to wipe the wood of the bow. Is it wise to wipe off the hair also?

That place is so crowded, nobody goes there anymore.

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