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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Rosin and Humidity


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/55563

ritonsj - Posted - 08/03/2021:  17:41:29


Hello, I recently moved from a high humidity environment to a relatively low humidity environment, and I felt that my bow performance has changed.

I was thinking on buying a new rosin, so I was interested to know if anyone could tell me what the effects of humidity to rosins are.

Thank you in advance!


Edited by - ritonsj on 08/04/2021 05:49:35

Earworm - Posted - 08/03/2021:  20:40:56


Hi ritonsj, welcome! Maybe you could describe a little more how your bow performance changed? I don't know that I can help you with your question very much, but if you could share a little more information, someone's bound to pop up.


Edited by - Earworm on 08/03/2021 20:45:03

ritonsj - Posted - 08/04/2021:  02:51:07


Hello Earworm !
Thanks for the warm welcome and the quick reply!
I felt that my rosin became less effective and did not feel as sticky. I couldn't search much information on rosin being changed by humidity. Most information I found were vague and simply said that high humidity makes rosins stickier. I wanted to know if anyone had a factual reason for this...
I wanted to know the reason, so I could get the right rosin for this situation. However, I would also like to know the effects of humidity to rosin.
Thanks alot!!!

ChickenMan - Posted - 08/04/2021:  04:29:00


If you are living where the humidity is low, look for "winter" rosin. I think you are looking at the difference between light and dark rosin. Some rosin is naturally stickier and humidity affects that stickiness.

DougD - Posted - 08/04/2021:  04:46:16


Rito - Your first post is unclear. Have you recently moved to a lower or higher humidity environment?
Generally, darker rosins work better in lower humidity (wintertime) and lighter rosins are better in high humidity (summer).
You can still edit your post to make it clearer.

ritonsj - Posted - 08/04/2021:  05:50:05


Thanks for the advice! ChickenMan

ritonsj - Posted - 08/04/2021:  05:51:27


DougD
Im sorry for the grammatical error. I meant to type "from" instead of "to".
Thanks for telling me that darker rosins work better in lower humidity. I was just curious as to why.
Thanks for the advice, and sorry for the error! :)

DougD - Posted - 08/04/2021:  07:35:57


I'm no expert but I don't think humidity affects the rosin itself. In other words, darker formulations are always "grippier" and lighter ones generally less so.
What the change in humidity affects is the rest of the system - the bow hair, maybe the strings, and maybe even the response of the wood of the instrument itself. The result is that in low humidity you may want the extra "grip" of the dark rosin, and at other times not.
Like I said I'm not an expert on this.

farmerjones - Posted - 08/04/2021:  09:30:47


If one was to inflate a balloon with 50 percent relative humidity air, the balloon won't be half filled with water. That said, there is still a higher percentage of H2O molecules in "humid" air. When one applies rosin to hair, the rosin is in fine layers. No longer a cake, but something much more subtle. The hair itself is somewhat susceptible to humidity but more so temperature.
Let me back up. If one were to measure just area or volume. The relationship would be a large amount of humid air. A smaller amount of hair. And the smallest amount would be rosin. Thus the rosin is influenced by the air.

pete_fiddle - Posted - 08/04/2021:  09:46:25


I definitely have to tighten my bow hair when it is humid even to the extent where i have no adjustment left. and if i accidentally leave it tightened it can be a disaster if the humidity drops. Humidity and temperature also effect speed of sound, string tension, and the wood that the fiddle and bow are made from...just a few more parameters to consider.

boxbow - Posted - 08/04/2021:  14:04:10


quote:

Originally posted by pete_fiddle

I definitely have to tighten my bow hair when it is humid even to the extent where i have no adjustment left. and if i accidentally leave it tightened it can be a disaster if the humidity drops. Humidity and temperature also effect speed of sound, string tension, and the wood that the fiddle and bow are made from...just a few more parameters to consider.






I have a bow that won't loosen all the way in the winter, but it works normally in the summer with 60-70% humidity.  Even with my humidified practice room kept between 40-50% during winter the hairs rest well clear of the stick.  It's in line for a rehair anyway.



And I use the same rosin on all my bows all year.  It's not ideal, but I get it done.


Edited by - boxbow on 08/04/2021 14:07:04

ChickenMan - Posted - 08/04/2021:  14:26:15


Humidity definitely has a bigger effect on the bow, or rather the hair, than heat, causing it to be very stretchy.

ritonsj - Posted - 08/04/2021:  17:25:45


Thanks everyone!
I feel really welcomed after the quick responses.
I came up with a conclusion that it is a misunderstanding that the humidity affects the rosin, since it is more so the bow and the instrument itself.
Thanks again!

Yosh - Posted - 08/05/2021:  08:55:03


quote:

Originally posted by ritonsj

Thanks everyone!

I feel really welcomed after the quick responses.

I came up with a conclusion that it is a misunderstanding that the humidity affects the rosin, since it is more so the bow and the instrument itself.

Thanks again!






Natural rosin is primarily comprised of abietic acid and related chemicals which are hydrophilic and will absorb water, so much so that rosin can dangerously foam all over when melted if there is too much moisture.  The performance characteristics of rosin will change with humidity and you'll find little difference among the various brands.  The one exception is Supersensitive's "Clarity" rosin which is hydrophobic and unaffected by humidity.



BTW, there is no intrinsic relationship between a rosin's color and its performance.  However, it's possible some companies will distinguish their hard and soft versions by giving them different shades.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 08/05/2021:  19:30:37


There are some misconceptions here that should be cleared up.

First, rosin IS affected by humidity. This is why light rosins tend to work better in humidity and dark rosins in drier climates. Since climate control indoors is less of an issue in the modern world, using one rosin year-round is generally fine, but if one plays outdoors in humidity, it’s good to have a light rosin.

A professional player and customer of mine plays lots outdoor gigs, especially at Wolf Trap. He told me he always goes over to one of the bassists during rehearsals to take a couple swipes of bass rosin on humid days because his regular rosin just stops working in the swamp weather.

As to the color, it’s based on the cooking process. Most rosins begin by cooking colophony and adding a couple extra ingredients, typically metals. The longer the rosin cooks, the more color it takes on. The same is done when oil varnish is made—resins are cooked to get a good color, then oil is added. As resin cooks longer, its chemical structure changes, making it softer and stickier.

Dark and light rosins are NOT the same. Their basic characteristics are different. Players may gravitate to one type more than another, so it’s good to experiment a bit to find a favorite if you’re unsure or don’t have someone to rely on for advice. When I was growing up, I always used Hill dark as my regular rosin for practicing and performing. However, for playing outdoors, I always kept some Pirastro Goldflex in the case with my “outdoor violin.”

There are gimmicky rosins on the market now and there have been for ages, but the light/dark distinction is genuine.

Yosh - Posted - 08/05/2021:  20:09:07


quote:

Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful



As to the color, it’s based on the cooking process. Most rosins begin by cooking colophony and adding a couple extra ingredients, typically metals. The longer the rosin cooks, the more color it takes on.   As resin cooks longer, its chemical structure changes, making it softer and stickier.






As someone who has made thousands of rosin based samples and thermally aged them for weeks at a time while measuring their changing physical properties I can say that heat aging will darken them as they oxidize, and they will get harder and less sticky.  The oxidation is one contributor, but simply driving off the volatile components raises their softening point, hardness, and reduces tack.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 08/06/2021:  06:35:39


Here are a couple articles that explain some of the differences in rosins:



connollymusic.com/stringovatio...nstrument



stringsmagazine.com/the-differ...er-rosin/


Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 08/06/2021 06:43:17

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