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Jun 20, 2021 - 1:02:45 PM
8 posts since 12/31/2008

I play old-time and generally use Prim (med or heavy) or Helicore heavy strings. I have tried lots of rosins, but have not yet found the "perfect" match for me. I like a really crisp/bright string attack (lots of string bite). Some dark rosins sound muddy to me, while some lighter rosins don't have enough grip.

What rosin would you recommend with lots of bite, quick string attack, crisp playing?

Thanks!

Jun 20, 2021 - 1:12:26 PM

DougD

USA

10171 posts since 12/2/2007

I've used Prims for years with quite a few different rosins which all seemed to work, more or less. I'd say my favorite is Pirastro Oliv, which is not really either dark or light.

Jun 20, 2021 - 1:42:22 PM

461 posts since 3/1/2020
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Hill Dark is tried and true. Works on everything and isn’t expensive. You can spend extra for bells and whistles, but nothing works better.

Jun 20, 2021 - 3:49:21 PM
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2 posts since 6/20/2021

I've done a considerable amount of work developing violin vow rosins and evaluating commercial rosins to see what physical properties might correlate to performance. Rosin performance is mostly subjective with way too many uncontrolled variables to be definitive, but I've found the "glass transition Temperature (Tg) of the rosin to effectively differentiate rosins in a way that seems to predict the "grab" and playability. The Tg can be thought of as the softening point and a measurement of the hardness of the rosin. The higher the Tg, the harder the rosin. There is no magic here, no special ingredient that makes a rosin "special". It's just a matter of relative hardness and softeners. I've attached a graph that summarizes the Tg's of several rosins.

I've concluded that most violin rosins are very similar and that rosin makers have little control over the properties of the rosins they produce. I doubt very much that many of them have any reproducible quality tests used to control production. I've found that the differences between any two lots of the same rosin can be more different than they are from other competitive rosins. Note the differences between new and old samples of Goldflex and Hill on the chart.

If you are evaluating new rosins, I suggest you pick some from the extreme ends of the spectrum with one in the middle. Note on the chart that there are a lot of rosins that cluster in the middle of the pack and are essentially identical. You really need to compare extremes to see any difference at all.

Lastly, good players make any rosin work.


Edited by - Yosh on 06/20/2021 15:51:37

Jun 20, 2021 - 5:38:23 PM

422 posts since 7/18/2014

Wow, thanks for your work Yosh.

Jun 21, 2021 - 4:55:33 AM

2372 posts since 10/1/2008

Pirastro gold flex, smooth not sticky with a good grass bite .....

Edited by - UsuallyPickin on 06/21/2021 05:05:59

Jun 21, 2021 - 4:01:20 PM
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2339 posts since 10/22/2007

Andrea solo. I don't apply it on the same day as a gig.

Jun 21, 2021 - 5:14:01 PM
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Swing

USA

2039 posts since 6/26/2007

Two things, first cleaning your strings...a most important thing...corks are good, shipping with a cloth is good, but I read in a uppity classical violin blog about using very fine, non-oiled steel wool...furniture makers use it for polishing finishes... So I tried it... it works wonders, I use much less rosin and a gentle swipe of the strings before you play is all you need...you do not need to rosin up the bow for many hours of playing....now as for as a rosin itself...I have been using Melos Light, really good! especially with the above string care.

Play Happy

Swing

Jun 22, 2021 - 4:32:15 AM

Ceanadach

Canada

9 posts since 12/30/2019

Melos Light for me too. Virtually no dust and lasts for a long time. I’ll try your super fine steel wool suggestion too.

Jun 22, 2021 - 7:51:43 AM

195 posts since 4/9/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Swing

Two things, first cleaning your strings...a most important thing...corks are good, shipping with a cloth is good, but I read in a uppity classical violin blog about using very fine, non-oiled steel wool...furniture makers use it for polishing finishes... So I tried it... it works wonders, I use much less rosin and a gentle swipe of the strings before you play is all you need...you do not need to rosin up the bow for many hours of playing....now as for as a rosin itself...I have been using Melos Light, really good! especially with the above string care.

Play Happy

Swing


Hey David,

What exactly is it and where do you get the steel wool you use?

Thanks!

Jun 22, 2021 - 8:25:05 AM

Swing

USA

2039 posts since 6/26/2007

ETF, the steel wool I use is a non-oiled steel wool, sold under the BRIWAX name...comes from Germany and the 0000 grade is very fine.. a couple of light swipes and the strings are clean... you can find the steel wool at most good wood working supply stores like WoodCraft Supply or on line..I recommend the Melos Light, it is hard and leaves little dust..between the two you will use less rosin...

Play Happy

Swing

Edited by - Swing on 06/22/2021 08:26:35

Jun 22, 2021 - 10:04:28 AM

Swing

USA

2039 posts since 6/26/2007

One more bit on the steel wool...I cut a little square about 2 to 3 inches and keep it in a plastic bag in the case...just keeps everything a little cleaner

Play Happy

Swing

Jun 22, 2021 - 7:25:42 PM
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461 posts since 3/1/2020
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Read this before taking cork or steel wool to your strings:

shop.warchal.com/blogs/what-s-...r-strings

Jun 23, 2021 - 5:33:17 AM

Baileyb

USA

47 posts since 1/24/2019

I use Norton's 0000 synthetic steel wool. It appears to be some kind of plastic fibers.

I haven't examined the strings with a microscope so I don't know if there is any damage to the strings but it sure gets the rosin off them with minimal effort.

In re: to rosin 

I just received a tin of Tad Mark's Lonesome Pine "Smooth" rosin. He sells several varieties on Ebay.

After using it, I can see & hear why he is getting such great reviews.

Edited by - Baileyb on 06/23/2021 05:45:40

Jun 23, 2021 - 7:28:30 AM
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WyoBob

USA

261 posts since 5/16/2019
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Cork worked well but I quit using it after reading the article mentioned above, although I think discussion of string contamination's effect on strings might be more  theory than having real world effects.   (A 74 year old, old-time fiddler wearing hearing aids is probably not the person to ask about this subject).

Fine steel wool?   If one is worried about skin chemistry affecting strings, dissimilar metal corrosion might be an even greater problem.   One of the first things an aircraft mechanic (or a guy who's built an aluminum airplane) learns is to never, ever use steel wool on aluminum.

I tried a piece of worn, gray, Scotchbrite on my strings yesterday and it worked fine.  But perhaps small bits of that material might be caught in the windings, as well?   I mostly use a micro fiber cloth on my strings and it works well. Same thing. Maybe bits of micro fiber are getting caught.  If so, I'll never know.

I  get very little rosin build up on my strings (Prim and Helicore) and wipe them off (most of the time) after playing and the strings clean up easily.   I use Kaplan Dark and Magic Rosin (and don't find much difference between the two but for price).

Jun 23, 2021 - 9:07:44 AM

Swing

USA

2039 posts since 6/26/2007

I read the Warchal report....it was interesting and informative... as far as steel wool or even the plastic versions thereof wearing away the strings outlet layer...I guess that if you never change your strings or wipe the strings with a more than heavy hand and for long periods of time that the strings will suffer... I have been using the steel wool on a set of Eva Golds for six months and have not seen or heard an issue.... I expect that in another three months when I change the strings. Cleaning the strings of rosin will be different between users, so I should have added the caveat "your milage may vary"

Play Happy

Swing

Jun 23, 2021 - 6:10:39 PM
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5244 posts since 9/26/2008

Andreas Solo is now Cecilia Solo. Love it. Good bite, nice tone, low dust, only needs a couple of swipes and lasts for hours and hours.

I see on that scale that Jade is the, what, softest one? Easiest to melt? Anyway, it was suggested to me and I can confidently say it is the least effective rosin I've ever used.

Jun 23, 2021 - 7:10:58 PM

2339 posts since 10/22/2007

Hill lite is pretty impotent as well. There are some black rosins that smell like bad feet. So even if it was the best, I wouldn't use it.

Jun 23, 2021 - 7:39:27 PM
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DougD

USA

10171 posts since 12/2/2007

Billy, "glass transition temperature" is not quite the same as the melting point, but similar. Probably an appropriate measurement for this purpose, and apparently a common term in physical chemistry. You can Google it.
I think the rosins I like are towards the middle of that chart (thanks for posting it, Yosh) but I'm not too particular.

Edited by - DougD on 06/23/2021 19:40:30

Jun 24, 2021 - 8:33:26 AM

5611 posts since 7/1/2007

You know how plastic buckets shatter when they get cold? That's an example of glass transition temperature: the point where an otherwise tough and flexible solid gets cold enough to shatter. i.e. when hard candy, for example, cools enough to turn hard.

BTW, Jade is probably the most popular rosin among my pro clients. Hill Dark is also popular, but they , like fiddlers in general, vary in their opinions. The violinist who plays Pirastro Evahs likes Goldfleck.

Jun 24, 2021 - 2:29:50 PM
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2645 posts since 2/3/2011

I'm not a materials guy, but I've broken a few things. I noticed that only two brands were shown on the chart with both a "new" and "old" rating. I don't really believe that two is enough to be statistically significant, but the chart suggests that a higher Tg might come with time. On the shelf? In the case? Out in the open air? If volatiles are released to atmosphere over time that might affect the characteristics of the rosin.

Jun 24, 2021 - 2:41:27 PM
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WyoBob

USA

261 posts since 5/16/2019
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quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Andreas Solo is now Cecilia Solo. Love it. Good bite, nice tone, low dust, only needs a couple of swipes and lasts for hours and hours.

I see on that scale that Jade is the, what, softest one? Easiest to melt? Anyway, it was suggested to me and I can confidently say it is the least effective rosin I've ever used.


By the time my Jade was a year old, I thought I was going to have to buy a  diamond tipped scribe to scratch it so I could get it on the bow hair.    So, after seeing a recommendation on rosining a new, un rosined bow, with rosin powder, I did something very gratifying.  You can see where this is going, right?

I smashed the dickens out of it.  To heck and back.  A very satisfying experience and I now have a lifetime supplysurprise

Jun 24, 2021 - 2:58:50 PM

2 posts since 6/20/2021

quote:
Originally posted by boxbow

I'm not a materials guy, but I've broken a few things. I noticed that only two brands were shown on the chart with both a "new" and "old" rating. I don't really believe that two is enough to be statistically significant, but the chart suggests that a higher Tg might come with time. On the shelf? In the case? Out in the open air? If volatiles are released to atmosphere over time that might affect the characteristics of the rosin.


New and Old on the chart is simply my notation for a cake I already had and one I just bought.  All were relatively "fresh".

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