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Rosin Hell

Posted by bj on Monday, November 24, 2008

So the minute the weather got cool and I closed the windows, and the heat kicked on this winter, that expensive rosin, Andrea Paganini, stopped grabbing. It just  . . . stopped.

I've been in rosin hell ever since.

Tried going back to Gustave Bernardel. Just as bad as the Paganini. So I bought Hidersine Deluxe (I think it's dark.) It's grabbier and actually plays VERY well, and produces nice tone, but it's WAY dusty and makes me sneeze. A lot. So Jane broke off a piece of her Hill Dark the other night, and I've been using it for two days. Now every single string squeaks like it's a bad unwrapped E string and the tone is awful. UGH! I'd rather sneeze. I even tried that ancient block of Leeds Rosin with the graphics on the box that look deco 1930's-ish, the one that came in the coffin case of the french fiddle. And I thought the Hidersine was dusty!

Why do I have a feeling finding the right wintertime rosin is going to take awhile? And why do I think I know what FiddlePogo is going to say? Of course, he doesn't live in this peculiar Pennsy river valley weather, where if you don't like the weather you just wait a minute . . .


16 comments on “Rosin Hell”

ChickenMan Says:
Monday, November 24, 2008 @8:52:02 PM

I'm taking note of the ones that are not working for you, trial and error vicariously. My cheapo rosin is still working, but it doesn't work like it did in the more humid days of yore. Here in Iowa the weather is also by the minute...Keep posting your rosin failures, I mean, let's hope the next one is THE one so I can go out and try it. :-)

fiddlepogo Says:
Monday, November 24, 2008 @9:56:44 PM

See what happens when you don't listen to your uncle fiddlepogo! ;^)

Of course you know what fiddlepogo is going to say-
Kaplan Premium Light (or even Dark if you wanted supergrabby)
in the convenient pop-top container! ;^D

We get REALLY low humidity here in the summer, and it survived that.
Humidity is humidity, whether it comes on quick or slow.
And we've had a couple of rains so far (when it rains here it rains for DAYS), AND cool weather and
the Kaplan Premium has worked fine, and we've had cold weather
where I've had the heat on all the time, so it's worked well cold, hot,
wet or dry.
And it performs very well- best tone I've gotten from a rosin yet.
It sounds smooth and rich, I haven't tried the Paganinny, but
how much better than smooth and rich can you get?
And it's only about $12 for the experryment.

And it leaves almost no rosin dust at all.

Clean off all the paganinny first though- you're not supposed to mix that stuff with anything.

And don't overapply it, (three strokes) unless you want so grabby that you have to work twice as hard!
That's the only flaw I can find in it, and it's not really a flaw-
otherwise it's PERFECT.

Well, okay... if you're all ORGANIC and stuff, it comes in a creepy
plastic container...
BUT it protects the rosin REALLY WELL! ;^D

bj Says:
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 @6:14:43 AM

Chickenman, do keep in mind that this seems to be a personal thing. Jane SWEARS by hill dark. I hate it. Seriously. When I took the rag to the bowhair to clean it off, the bowhair squeaked so loudly it hurt my ears. It sounded the same on my strings. SQUEAKS. Argh.

Yes, I will be trying the Kaplan, though I don't hold out high hopes, Isn't that made by D'Addario? I already tried rosin by them and I was not impressed. Quite the opposite, which is why I've hesitated.

FiddleCat Says:
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 @6:29:02 AM

I use a rosin I think it's called Kolophonium, by Vienna Thomastik Infeld. At least that's what I think it's called, also says Mittle Meduim II (best if used with those kind of strings?) Nr 202a, and says Kunstler Violine-Viola. So really your guess is as good as mine.

I got it free with a purchase of a set of string that are Dominats so I gave it shot. I really like this stuff. I have to keep the surface scratched up some in order for it to adhere better (I do that with a simple push pin). I really like it. I've had no problems in any type of weather. I use it lightly when it's humid out. I put it on a little heavier when it's dry out. I do get dust. But not alot like I've seen on other fiddles. It's a darker honey color. I need to apply it about every 3rd time I play, sometimes less. Mabey that may work for you?

bj Says:
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 @6:42:22 AM

Thanks Dee. I'll put it on the list, though I use steel strings, and I have to wonder if that makes a difference in the way rosin works. Though Jane also has steel strings on most of her fiddles, so who knows?

Chickenman, the Hidersine really does grab well and sound fine, and it's cheap. I just wish it didn't make me sneeze.

FiddleJammer Says:
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 @6:57:53 AM

I'll throw in a word for also cleaning off the strings from time to time. I don't use any fancy product. Just my jeans or a bandana scrub from time to time. Might be the old gunk is causing problems with the new gunk.

bj Says:
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 @7:02:11 AM

Thanks Terri, but I'm religious about cleaning my strings off at least once a playing session. So that's not it. The mixing may have been an issue though.

Arkansas Traveler Says:
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 @9:47:53 AM

I'll add a couple of words,
I use Hidersine Rosin , it's works fine for me .
'appy fiddlin'

ChickenMan Says:
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 @2:51:38 PM

I couldn't find Kaplan or Hindersine today while stopping at the music store. I didn't check the Violin Shop though, and will try that tomorrow. I don't know about whether I'm all that interested in the dust either and already tried Hill once and couldn't stop dropping it and it eventually shattered into tiny pieces. No, I don't still have the pieces and therefor can't melt them back together ;-) but I'll try it next time.

bj Says:
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 @4:42:15 PM

Well, if they don't have it at your local shop, $2.93 with free shipping is kinda hard to beat.

fiddlepogo Says:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 @12:52:23 AM

Yup, Hill Dark has got to be the most fragile cake of rosin made!

yeah, D'Addario owns it, but Kaplan is apparently a rosin maker they
bought that constitutes their premium rosin line.
I also tried Kaplan Artcraft Dark, and liked it pretty well- it was very grabby, but the Premium Light is Grabby and Smooth.
Grabby and Smooth is a magical combination, because it's almost a contradiction- those are pretty much opposite characteristics; grabby rosins usually aren't smooth and smooth rosins usually aren't grabby.

transplant Says:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 @7:54:11 AM

Last spring I was visiting someone and saw a cake of Melos rosin lying around-- tried it, liked it, got a chunk for myself. Haven't yet tried it in the winter. Used Hill dark for years, still grab it sometimes, Hidersine ditto. Not too long ago someone gave me a block of Bernardel, which I like, too. Not too picky about rosin, most stuff works for me, but the Melos first impression is smooth, grabby, and keeps on going.

One thing I've taken to doing lately is wiping the hair on a dry cloth or tissue to smooth it out along the length, since I play just tipwards of the middle a lot, sometimes going back to the balance point, and saving the frog area for crunchiness. That eventually gives me a slick spot near the middle, with plenty of rosin at the ends, and the wiping evens it out.

When I'm feeling diligent, I wipe it until it doesn't grab so well, so I know there's not too much rosin on, and give it one or two passes over the rosin again, no more. Not much need for that lately, since I've gotten used to managing how much is there, mostly by not worrying about it.

FiddleFish Says:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 @2:10:54 PM

My winter-time rosin comes from a violin maker right there in dear old Pennsy, in Boiling Springs. Its The Chimneys Rosin for Violin & Cello and their shop is in Boiling Springs. I tend to play with a rather heavy hand but it still doesn't throw off much dust.
A cake is $12. Chimneys has a web presence at I'd like to visit their shop some day - sounds interesting.

bj Says:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 @2:35:39 PM

Yes, FiddleFish, it does sound interesting. And they're less than a 2 hour drive from me. Sounds like a good summertime road trip! And since a lot of their trade has to come from the Susquehanna Valley, you'd think they can make rosin that will behave in the Delaware Valley!

ladymuse Says:
Thursday, November 27, 2008 @3:47:02 AM

I have an old cake of cello rosin - and though it is grabby usually, I only use it when the like circumstances of heat and fall winter and no real fresh air come together -

Fiddlefish is giving a GREAT clue!

bj Says:
Thursday, November 27, 2008 @7:51:54 PM

Um, cello rosin for winter??? Worth a try . . .

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