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Too much rosin...

Instruments: any good advice on application of rosin? what type to use? how much? how often?

From Jim Tsai
Posted March 30, 2007 at 06:20 AM

I'm not much of a rosin user. i apply rosin only once every three or four days of playing. In fact, i've used the same cake of Salchow rosin that i've had for 20+ years. i never gave much thought to rosin, until now.

I've found that my violin periodically loses its focus. One day it would sound wonderfully thick and focused. The next day or two days after not playing the violin would sound fuzzy and noisy, especially on the D and G. i thought it was the strings at first (quickly realizing that was not the culprit after changing to new ones and then encountering the same problem after a short break-in periord) or soundpost (went through a slight adjustment.. which helped but the same problem returned) but i've finally come to realize it's the damn rosin. after vigrously removing the excess off the D and G, which seem to accumulate more rosin than the others, i found that the focus returns and grippiness is actually improved. i never thought the rosin could make as much difference in sound as any of the other elements in setup.

I'm going to get rid of this rosin tomorrow. but now i need to know if people have any general advice on which rosin to use, how much to use, when to use, and when to take some off. it seems like using rosin is a delicate balancing act - one has to avoid using too much as well as too little. Also, do some rosins require activation, ie, require a warming up period before each use?

just FYI, i'm using medium gauge dominants with this particular violin.

thanks to all you sages.

From al ku
Posted on March 30, 2007 at 12:53 PM
i do not see any drawback to cleaning all the rosin off all the strings after each day of play, and then start the new day of play with one to two gentle strokes of rosin to the bow. to me, the issue is not as much about rosin as it is about how clean the strings are when being played.

the danger of applying rosin every 4 days is that by the end of that cycle, the bow may not bite the strings with enough friction and slips toward the fingerboard. it may be too late to find that threshold,,,during a performance.

i aspire to be a sage wannabe when i grow up.

From nigel le
Posted on March 31, 2007 at 05:56 AM
i use jade rosin, it has really good grip on the string yet it wont damage the varnish later. every time i finish playing i always wipe my strings clean underside and all to keep the rosin from building up to the point where they fight against the vibration of the strings. after i wipe my strings i gently wipe the violin but i don't have to be too picky after about a week i use an oil to clean everything off. i apply rosin everytime i'm about to play to preserve the bow hair and to keep it as oil free as possible. you can hear the really crisp grip i get with the rosin in my recording of fugue in my profile
From Jodi Bernard
Posted on April 1, 2007 at 02:01 PM
My daughter tells me that a teacher once told her to rosin her bow every 2 hours of playing.. giving it 4 strokes ( down and back). She had it down to a science.. ha ha..
From al ku
Posted on April 1, 2007 at 02:51 PM
if she practices the full 120 minutes with aggressive bowing, that is about right:)
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