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Gettin' Risky With Jade Rosin at a Gig...

Posted by fiddlepogo on Monday, August 13, 2012

Today was my day for the volunteer gig, and this Monday I was at the facility with an activity room with good acoustics.  I usually take both Booker and Carthy to see how they sound with good acoustics.  I started with Carthy today.  Sounded pretty good with the Jade rosin and the latest tweak.  Then, I got into waltzes, so I reached for Booker that tends to be somewhat more responsive, but it was obvious that the carbon fiber bow I normally use with Bookert needed rosin badly... and I had the Jade rosin out.  If I'd been at home, I would have wiped down the bow hair with clean tissue paper, but since there wasn't much rosin on it anyway, I decided to get risky and just put on the Jade.  But it wasn't THAT much of a risk, since I could just switch back to Carthy which was sounding just fine.

And Booker sounded good with the bow with Jade applied, right off the bat, and one of the residents commented on how good it sounded all of a sudden!

However, I'm starting to realize that with rosin, it's REALLY hard to do an A/B comparison on the same bow!  Really, you'd have to be able to rosin, de-rosin, and re-rosin INSTANTLY to really compare the sounds of two freshly applied  rosins without mixing at all.

So it's not so much comparing the sounds of the two rosins directly, but rather, "Does this sound good?"  And so far, Jade is sounding good on my two most similar Knilling 4KF Bucharests with Prim strings.

Edit much later:

When I took it home and practiced with the Jade on Booker with Booker's favorite bow (a carbon fiber one) Booker continued sounding very good... but it was odd, with the Jade rosin applied, it was throwing my bowing off!!!

That was Monday evening and yesterday.  I'm realizing that the Jade is giving the bow enough of a different feel that I'm having to do some major adjustment.  The only way I can describe it is the the Jade feels ELASTIC... it's kind of like trying to walk on a trampoline... there's a sense of there being more GIVE.  And I have to get used to it.  But it's WORTH it, because:

1. The tone is better, it's giving Booker a depth of tone I didn't know it was capable of!  It's a tone with both sweetness AND power to it.

2. I can bow harder without squawking, and lighter without squeaking, giving me a wider sweet spot, with more range for dynamics.

Oddly enough, the sense of elasticity is very similar to the feel of playing on synthetic strings.

A drawback.... somehow it's making the Pirastro E sound sharper in tone (not pitch).

I may have to change E's to go with the Pirastro.

All in all, I can see why many violinists like this Jade stuff!!!

It's almost like I got a new violin AND a new bow!

5 comments on “Gettin' Risky With Jade Rosin at a Gig...”

Freischutz Says:
Monday, August 13, 2012 @8:59:13 PM

I'm waiting to be able to tell the difference in sounds in all these things. Slowly getting less tone deaf the more I work with my instruments. I DO notice, however, that Percival (my old fid) sounds bad when it is humidity-sick or when the soundpost is poorly set.
I could probably not tell the difference between rosins, sound-wise, not yet. I don't know, maybe I could. I can tell the difference in how they feel... but not sound.
It's like, I just started drinking coffee, or soda, and I could not tell the difference between Blue Mountain and Maxwell House; Coke and some off-brand.

Where does your other fiddle fit in? You never mention that one. Carthy must be your favorite.
I must not play favorites with my instruments... they don't mind if I would flat-out say one sounds better than the other, but favoritism is not tolerated. They know, and they're jealous, even covetous, of my affections, if you can believe it. :)

Freischutz Says:
Monday, August 13, 2012 @9:00:34 PM

sorry, somehow that posted itself twice!?

fiddlepogo Says:
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @2:50:01 AM

Sokay! One click on the little trash can solved the double post!

"Stinky" isn't doing as well as the others:
1. Sound is more nasal- on an Irish tune it's tolerable because it reminds me of a bagpipe sound, but I don't like it on Old Time, waltzes or Eastern European tunes.
2. little cracks have showed up above the top circle of the right treble side f-hole. The finish on that fiddle is thicker than the others, and I have seen fiddles with really thick finishes get finish cracks, however, I'm going to take it in to have it looked at. But I'm not going to take it outside the house until I know that those cracks are just in the finish and aren't spreading.

However, "Stinky" has low action and Irish ornaments are more easily done on it. If I am going to play a lot of Irish tunes, it's sometimes my choice. But for performances, I seldom do more than an Irish tune or two, and the fuller sound of the other two is better over all.

There IS a perception thing going on. I didn't USED to be THIS picky, and I didn't used to tweak my fiddles before I stopped playing for 15 years. But I got into electric guitar as a mid-life crisis thing, I guess (men in particular tend to revert to interests they had as teenagers... I played guitar in a very bad rock band...) and with all the electric guitar tweaks, I got very picky about tone and treble and such... I turned into what guitarists call a "Tone Freak"!!!
I swapped out dozens of screws on the bridges of my electrics and did various other tweaks to them to improve the tone. I was in a guitar shop thinking about buying one more electric guitar, when I saw a fiddle on the wall, thought to myself "I used to play that, I should try it out!" and the rest is history.
Well, I'm still a tone freak, and the various tweaks I do to my fiddles are my way of trying to control the tone- usually trying to tame the treble, add some bass, and keep them from sounding nasal.
BTW, Percival's finish reminds me a lot of the "cherry-burst" finish found on a lot of Gibson Les Pauls and a few other models of electric guitar. My electrics are Stratocaster models however...well one is a "superstrat" clone.
I think Carthy has my favorite sound, but Booker is very close and is very responsive... plus I'm more used to the intonation on it, so I tend to perform better on it. So it still gets played more, especially at gigs. But it's nice having instruments with alternate sounds... I find I get bored with having the same tone all the time, whether fiddles or electric guitars.

Well, what I believe is that fiddles need to be played fairly often to stay "open" sounding, and for you to stay accustomed to them. So it definitely doesn't pay to neglect them... I'm not sure I'd call it jealousy, although it might SEEM like it... Because of that, it's hard for me to imagine having more than 3 fiddles... as it is, one always seems to get neglected. Electric guitars don't "close up" when you don't play them, so it's not a problem. My acoustic guitars however, DO close up if I neglect them.... and it's even more noticeable, since they aren't bowed, the deadness is even more pronounced than with a fiddle. My banjo doesn't "close up" but you need to tighten the head every now and then or it will get too quiet.

Freischutz Says:
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 @7:48:24 AM

Wise words, pogo.
My banjos get "cranky" for some reason, occasionally, especially the older one. Buzzes mysteriously sometimes(but it hasn't done it in quite a while now). It is just a problematic thing anyway but I like it the best, one because it is American made! (Chicago) two, it has a marvelous painting on the resonator, and three, it is the banjo I've had the longest and know the best. The other one is louder and probably sounds better but it is unusual... almost a dobro-ish sound. Though I can't find much info on the makes of Harmony, it just doesn't look or feel American. Has a "pie plate" resonator if you know what I'm talking about, it is not made of wood, either, I guess it is plexi or something??

Hmm, cherry burst, that is probably the better description. I have an actual sunburst electric guitar for comparison.
Last night Percival wasn't being too responsive on the A and E strings... I was playing Pachelbel's Canon and it just wasn't talking back, but I could tell it wasn't the instrument because it SOUNDED fine. I believe I need some grabbier rosin. Any good brands you can think of?

Poor Stinky. Is that the one that smells funny when it gets warm?

fiddlepogo Says:
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 @9:38:22 AM

Grabbier rosin- try Kaplan Premium Light. Maybe Jade.

Yup, that's Stinky!

Pie plate resonator- sure, I had one once- it was aluminum too, which increased the resemblance!
I've also discovered Mel-Mac plates fit nicely inside a lot of 11" banjo pots!

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