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Another one bites the dust . . .

Posted by bj on Sunday, January 18, 2009

In my continuing quest for the perfect dry house wintertime rosin I recently purchased RDM Irish Green Rosin, in the hopes that it would be better than the dusty sneezy Hidersine I've been using (which I would actually be very happy with if it wasn't dusty and sneezy!)

I wiped the bows clean and gave them a good dose of this vivid green stuff. And I gotta say, the tone I first pulled with this rosin was madly beautiful, and the rosin was both grabby and smooth at the same time. Sweet! Which lasted for all of about five minutes, at which time the bow was already getting skittery, and the good tone was already fading. Five minutes? Sheesh.

I used this for three days. I gave it a fair trial. With Hidersine I rosin roughly every other day. With this stuff I have to rosin up multiple times each session. Oh well, at least it's relatively dustless and not sneezy.

But it's annoying to have to rosin up between songs! So this one is just another failed hunk of rosin that will gather dust in a drawer somewhere, or get shipped out as a courtesy rosin with a fiddle I sell somewhere up the line.

I have a feeling I'll be sticking with Hidersine for the rest of the winter. At least it works consistently.



12 comments on “Another one bites the dust . . .”

SMDTMTL Says:
Sunday, January 18, 2009 @8:30:20 AM

I'm running a humidifier 24/7, and additionally boiling a pot of water on the stove now and then... trying to keep the humidity up, but it's only helping minimally. I expect one of those whole-house-humidifiers attached to the furnace is really the answer, but then I'd also need to pay a lot more attention to insulation and weather stripping in my old house. Sounds like we've both been banging our heads against the same wall.

Soon as they arrive in the mail I'll going to be experimenting with synthetic strings on at least one of my fiddles. Always trying for a little softer tone. I wonder if those little green in-instrument humidifiers, ("dampits" I think they're called,) would be a better answer. I've thought about using them, but then I think, as dry as it is around here, I'd probably have to re-wet three of them, about four times a day.
Maybe we should all take our fiddles and move to Mexico each winter. Sub-zero in Ohio this whole last week... sheesh!!

bj Says:
Sunday, January 18, 2009 @8:48:50 AM

I use the dampits, but remove them when I'm playing, since they alter the sound. And yes, I have pots of water on all my radiators.

Terri posted somewhere about taking her fiddle into the bathroom when she takes a shower, to give them a good steaming. I've been doing that, and it seems to be working nicely. Maybe you should try that. Though it doesn't help the rosin situation.

ChickenMan Says:
Sunday, January 18, 2009 @9:08:09 AM

BJ - last time you posted about "winter" rosin, I looked for something besides the $2 stuff I was using. I ended up finding only one brand mentioned here - Hills dark. I think you found it dusty (I'm not looking it up) and I was not looking for dusty either, but I really like it. At first it seemed a little weak and skittery, but then I did something odd (for me). I just wiped the whole bow lightly across my pants, and then it was like a fresh rosinning. Since then, I only rosin every two or three days - sometimes longer - and give it about four swipes and go. Strange, eh? Plus, it is then, less dusty. :-)
I'm sure my house is as dry or drier than your place as we run forced air heat, fireplace and the weather is/has been super dry and bitter cold. I did have the bow re-haired this fall and that could be a factor for me. We don't use pans of water, and I don't use damp its.

bj Says:
Sunday, January 18, 2009 @9:31:01 AM

I tried Hill's Dark once. I didn't like it at all.

Rene Says:
Sunday, January 18, 2009 @11:27:59 AM

Curious bj, how many hours a day are you playing? I'm struggling with the low humidity thing right now also. Fiddles sure don't 'appreciate wood heat like I do.

bj Says:
Sunday, January 18, 2009 @11:37:01 AM

I'm not playing as much as I did in the spring, summer and fall, since I'm in my busy season with work. I'm lucky to get in an hour a day all total.

FiddleJammer Says:
Sunday, January 18, 2009 @2:44:30 PM

I usually make a lame attempt to clean off the strings and finger board before I take the fiddle into the steamy bathroom, fwiw. Perhaps it avoids making any stuck on rosin more stuck on. I also avoid rapid temp changes. ie. Have the fiddle in the bathroom before the water starts running, and open the door and let the room cool down naturally before taking the fiddle out of the room.

This advice was given to me, by the way, by a professional violin salesperson and luthier. He could have sold me any number of whatchamacallits, but told me about the steamy bathroom instead.

On the rosin topic, I usually save my cast-offs and try them again in a different season or environment. They seem so weather related to me.

I treated myself to that Pirastro with the gold flecks 4 years ago. I'm about half way through it. It hasn't cracked and I have lost it. And, I'm going to use every last flake of it, whether I like it or not. :-)

fiddlepogo Says:
Sunday, January 18, 2009 @7:48:25 PM

BJ,

You KNOW what I'm thinking, don't you-

K----- P------ L----!

Besides, it has a container TupperWare would be proud of!

fiddlepogo Says:
Sunday, January 18, 2009 @7:49:54 PM

BJ,

You KNOW what I'm thinking, don't you-

K----- P------ L----!

Besides, it has a container TupperWare would be proud of!

janepaints Says:
Monday, January 19, 2009 @2:46:31 PM

My experience with Hills Dark is like Chicken Man's. Actually, since it's all I've used for almost a decade, rosin rarely comes to mind anymore. Hills solved my 'quest' for good rosin. I fiddle a LOT (sometimes, especially in busking season, six hours a day) and yet rosin-up rather infrequently. A few swipes every couple of days. One thing I've noticed when getting a new unrosined bow (or after a rehair): it takes awhile to really get the rosin evenly distributed throughout the bow hair, and also takes a day or two for the newly rosined bow toi 'settle down', for the true nature of any one rosin-strings-bow combination to make itself known, only after this 'setling down' do I seem able to really appraise whether eveything is copasetic or not. But this is only 'IMO', since it seems most darn aspects of fiddling, fiddles and fiddlers is pretty darn individualistic and one-of-a-kind. My preferred bow pressure/bow tightness etc. ain't other folks' preference and vice versa. I've often jammed with fiddlers who seemed to be ripping it up--great sound, and then I ask to try their bow and fiddle during a break. And their gear feels and sounds AWFUL to me. I blame it all on alchemy, personal chemistry and the lack of rigorous Universal Compulsory Enforceable Standards. Something must be done about this! :)

bj Says:
Monday, January 19, 2009 @3:04:07 PM

Terri, I hear ya. I've got a very expensive block of Andrea Paganini that will be used three seasons of the year whether I like it or not. But actually I did like it a lot every other season other than for dry indoor winter playing.

Yes, Michael, if I decide I'm going to try yet another damn rosin, that's next on my list.

Jane, you fiddle really HARD and your fiddles are exceptionally dark in tone. You also use very short bidirectional bowstroking. My fiddles are brighter (though not exactly bright, they are much brighter than yours!), I tend to bow longer strokes with a much lighter touch and only digging in on accents where you dig in constantly, and I bow with a very light stiff bow (though that may change.) We are at polar opposites in the way we use our (very different) equipment. Is it any wonder we'd have different preferences for rosin?

janepaints Says:
Monday, January 19, 2009 @6:15:42 PM

Aside from the main topic here--something I've been meaning to mention to ya but it kept slipping my ever-more prone-to-slipping mind. My fiddles ain't actually that dark in tone. Tuning in GDGD yields the darker more-mellow tone, and that's the tuning you've heard all of my fiddles in. My lefty 'normal-shaped' fiddle, you oughtta hear it tuned to AEAE--it seems twice as loud and it SCREAMS. Very bright, very projectiing. That's purely due to acoustic physics and mechanics.. Less string tension = less energy throughout the entire mechanism, less volume, mellower tone. I formerly tuned AEAE (and/or ADAD) all the time, but switched, very deliberately, to GDGD for busking purposes. Being Too Danged Loud on the public sidewalks raises the likelihood of Irate Complaints To Da Cops from citizenry not fond of fiddle or loud music. Try it on your own fiddles--tune your brightest fiddle down to GDGD and play the tunes you know in AEAE on it. It'll sound quite different. Darker, more mellow. (One nice side-effect of playing in GDGD--less likelihood of overloading mic diaphragms and recorder pre-amp circuits. When playing in higher-tension tunings I'd sometimes have to set the mic six feet (or more) away from the fiddle to avoid peak overloading. Now the mic is usually two feet away. The meters tell the tale: same mic, same recorder, same fiddles--but less decibels.

Other than that, as stated previous, it's all essentially mysterious, IMO. As individualistic as fingerprints and snowflakes.

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