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Violinist.com Interviews: Vol. 1

Our exclusive, one-on-one interviews with 27 of today's best-known violinists, including Hilary Hahn, Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, David Garrett, Anne Akiko Meyers, Maxim Vengerov, and others.


Liebenzeller or Andrea Bang

Violinists: Recordings and Performances: Which rosin would u rather use?

From Stephen Colantonio
Posted March 27, 2011 at 03:53 PM

 so i have been a violinist for 8 years now, and i want to start getting the best of the best, so here is my question, how can you compare the liebenzeller rosin and andrea bang's solo violin rosin (i currently have this one and love it)

so i am wondering if the liebenzeller is so good,  should i switch to it?

From N.A. Mohr
Posted on March 27, 2011 at 04:41 PM

I'm actually thinking of getting rid of my Liebenzeller (except I have lots left, and it was very expensive...) because I find it's too sticky.  I'm constantly scraping it off my strings (and no, I am not over-rosining my bow).  Even so I think the build-up is adversely affecting my sound quality.

Maybe it wouldn't stick so well to another brand of strings.  I'm using Thomastik.

From Brian Lee
Posted on March 27, 2011 at 05:17 PM

I haven't really heard too many good things about Liebenzeller, but lots of people like Andrea rosin, especially cellists and violists. I used to use Andrea, but I switched to Baker's Citron, and then back to the Bernardel which I used to use (also, it's more reasonably priced). For the best of the best, try Baker's Original when it comes back into season.

From Tobias Seyb
Posted on March 27, 2011 at 07:11 PM

There have been many comments about Liebenzeller in this forum (I recommend my own remarks), just use the search mode!

From Raphael Klayman
Posted on March 27, 2011 at 09:23 PM

I've tried many rosins - none bad, but some better than others. These have included Hill and AB (when I was very young) Pirastro Goldflex, Kolstein, Tartini, Bernadel, Millant, Motrya, and more. I Iike Leibenzeler Gold 1 far and away the best. A former teacher compared it to Bang and liked it (Leib.) better. I don't find it too sticky at all. (I've tried Salchow dark, and found that  too sticky, but liked it for outdoor beach concerts.) For me it's just right, a little goes a long way, it is low on dust, and I get little rosin build up on my strings. Importantly, it helps to produce a good and complex tone, as well as good tracking. There's a focused, concentrated, centered feel to it that seems to mirror my favorite bows. I'm quite surprized that anyone has found it too sticky - or is it the same Gold1? They have several formulations.

Like anything else, it's a matter of taste and playing style as well. I'm still open to experiment, and have put myself on the Baker list.

From Ray Randall
Posted on March 28, 2011 at 12:51 AM

Neither. The best rosin I have ever used is Baker's Rosin. Hand made using real sap, not by products. Almost no rosin dust on the top. The violin's tone even improves.

From Manuel Tabora
Posted on March 28, 2011 at 02:10 AM

 Man, I'm rather intrigued by these comments about Baker's rosin. I too have put myself on their mailing list and am anxiously awaiting the onset of rosin season!

From Stephen Colantonio
Posted on March 28, 2011 at 02:24 AM

 i did as well! haha

From Ray Randall
Posted on March 28, 2011 at 04:16 AM

If you can't get Baker's, one that is extremely close is Melos from Greece. Both are pure rosin and not by products. Both leave very little rosin dust on the strings or top. But, as for Baker's,this rosin has a super strong grip, but,without the scratchiness you would expect. The first time I tried it, it blew my mind, lots of grip, no scratch.

From Robert Spear
Posted on March 28, 2011 at 01:57 PM

Years back when Liebenzeller was being made in small batches by hand in Bad Liebenzell, my wife was the sole US importer. Apropos of Raphael's comment about gold rosin, there were four grades, Gold I, II, III, and IV. The III and IV grades were better for cello and were softer. The complaints we got were that the rosin cakes were either lost, stolen, or fell on the floor and broke long before they had any significant wear. The bad thing about the product for both the maker and the sellers was that the stuff lasted almost forever, so no one ever bought a second cake!

From Andrew Victor
Posted on March 28, 2011 at 03:19 PM

Of course, Robert is right, there were 4 grades of Liebenzeller - for most of the metal filler types and even a 5th grade  - for bass, although some like that gradefor cello use too.

My favorites for violin were Pyrite and Gold -III for violin (IV for cello). But when the Andrea Bang (Tartini and later Andrea) brands appeared I found they gave me an important advantage in that during a playing session, the rosin would still be behaving the same way after 90 minutes or more that it did at the beginning. This is especially important to me when I'm playing cello in an ensemble and can't hear my tone quality very well until it starts to go bad and have to vary some elements of my technique.

I agree that Baker's is a wonderful rosin for the tone colors it allows me to access, but unfortunately (for me anyway) those qualities vary over time so if I'm playing in ensemble, I can't be sure what I really sound like after playing for a while.

So - I've been favoring the Tartini/Andrea brands since they first became available. I carry both the symphony and solo grades in my case and use them according to the temperature/humidity conditions of my playing venue.

Andy

From Raphael Klayman
Posted on March 28, 2011 at 03:55 PM

BTW, for all you "Bakerites" - how much do they charge for one cake, and is there more than one formulation?

From Christina C.
Posted on March 28, 2011 at 06:16 PM

Not a Bakerite (cute!), but I do know that in 2009, Baker was going for about $20 US... there's a waiting list & you can only get 2 cakes at a time.

http://www.bakersrosin.com/

 I don't get the impression that there's more than one type.

My teacher swears by Liebenzeller & I tried it. If I hadn't just missed the sale at Shar I would've grabbed a cake.

From Brian Lee
Posted on March 28, 2011 at 08:36 PM

There's Baker's Original and Citron; the Original is supposed to produce a darker sound, and the Citron a brighter sound. I prefer Original, but I only have Citron right now.

From Raphael Klayman
Posted on March 28, 2011 at 11:17 PM

Thanks, Brian.

Christina - too bad you live so far away from NYC. There's a store, Ideal Music, that sells Lieben. (only the gold 1) for $20.

From Andrew Victor
Posted on March 29, 2011 at 12:03 AM

I bought some Liebenzeller Gold-I some 40 or so years ago on a trip to DC. It never worked for me playing in the California desert. The Gold-II wasn't much better. I like a rosin with more "bite."

Andy

From Raphael Klayman
Posted on March 29, 2011 at 07:26 PM

I'm beginning to think we should put all these rosins in an octagon and face off in a URC = ultimate rosin championship!

From Christina C.
Posted on March 29, 2011 at 08:04 PM

It was Liebenzeller meteor iron that I tried.

From Tobias Seyb
Posted on March 29, 2011 at 08:27 PM

METEOR IRON
Wonderfully clear, the tone is light, brilliant and sounds vigorous even if played softly. The player's intention can be heard more easily. Especially suitable for solos.

Meteor Iron I: light, brilliant and vigorous (violin, viola)

 

lol

From Brian Lee
Posted on March 30, 2011 at 01:08 AM

Raphael, Ideal is my favorite place to get strings (and stuff)! The people who work there are so nice! Also, they used to sell Andrea Bang rosin for less than $30, but they were told to sell it for at least that amount, so they stopped ordering it (and I bought the last cake a couple years ago).

From Stephen Symchych
Posted on August 3, 2013 at 06:16 PM
I recently had something of a panic when switching to all-gut strings, and did a bunch of experimenting with different rosins. Previously, I'd been using Salchow, which is to my untutored taste a very good all-purpose recipe.

Anyway, the problem wasn't the rosin, as a day or so of getting stretched and easing away from 90% humidity pretty much cured the squeaking. But in the meantime, I'd tried Melos light and dark, and Andrea Solo and A Piacere. Next on tap are the Liebenzeller Gold I and II.

The Melos Dark is too sticky for summer, although the light seems to be OK. We'll have to spend more time on modern strings to see, but so far I'm not wowed by it. Perhaps its charms are too subtle to notice quickly.

The Andrea is quite interesting. The Solo seems under the ear to be very hard, bright and somewhat undifferentiated in tone. It might be different out in the hall, but I'm going to wait before trying more. The A Piacere is quite fantastic in most respects, however. Not too hard or sticky, and while it increases articulation and allows me to hear more high overtones on the gut strings, it doesn't overdo it. It's even more effective on modern strings with modern bow. So far, we have another tentative winner.

Q: for anyone who's been lucky enough to find Baker's, how do their two formulas compare (objectively, I mean-- not just "I love it") vs. each other and Salchow or Andrea? Brighter? Harder/softer? Anything else to be aware of? Has anyone found a good reason to prefer the Citron to the original?

From Darrett Smith
Posted on August 3, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Baker's Original is a darker sounding rosin, which consistently draws a very broad tone with a wide range of overtones; it is amazing for detache playing and sautille, and is very clean in terms of articulations. The Vuillaume-Citron formula is much, much brighter, and is extremely focused with hard edged attacks; when it was in the process of being made, Tom Baker referred to the Citron rosin as "Fiddler's Rosin", whereas the original formula was a rosin he made for his own use (he uses plain gut strings).

Bernardel and Bogaro & Clemente are both very good rosins that one ought to try if you do not have access to Baker's. When my Baker's expires, I use Bernardel until I am able to get my next shipment. Consequently, I usually end up using Baker's during the winter and Bernardel during the summer, both to good effect.