Pirastro Tonica Rosin fissures

Edited: June 18, 2017, 7:56 AM · Hello,

a quick question. I've been busy last 2 weeks and couldn't play the violin. Yesterday I played and when I opened the case (oblong, wood) and opened the rosin box, I noticed there were fissures all around the cake, and the shape was a little deformed. The violin was also a little of of tune, like a quarter of a tone lower.

The temperatures lately increased noticeably, but last summer I had the very same case, violin and the same rosin, and this did not happen. I guess it's because the temperatures, that have "melted" the rosin, but sounds a little "scary", besides, last year this didn't happen.

Do your rosins also get deformed during hot periods?
What do you do about it?

Replies (17)

June 18, 2017, 8:19 AM · My rosin becomes slightly moldable when rather hot outside, but not to the degree that it needs any treatment.

Why not stick the rosin in the fridge during nights or leave it close to a fan/AC? :)

June 18, 2017, 8:45 AM · Yeah, mine can be used perfectly, it's not damaged, but I just got kind of shocked when I saw that it was deformed and there were cracks around the cake. I've never seen it before, and I want to know if it's a normal thing.
June 18, 2017, 7:07 PM · I ask about such rosin issues and Dennis R suggested placing the rosin with the cloth flat on it, on a flat surface, with a heavy book on top. I did this and the rosin is now flat ( and a little fatter).
June 19, 2017, 7:15 AM · Oh, so you try to bring it back to its original shape by using also the high temperatures of summer?
June 19, 2017, 6:45 PM · Yeah, old rosin does get brittle. I especially noticed that with the obligato that I was using. It did the same thing , then shattered one winter (dry). Do you love it? If so, just get another cake, otherwise try something else, like Millant.
Violins go out of tune with changes in humidity more than temperature. Remember, it's not the numbers, it's how the numbers change over time. So, last summer you may not have noticed it if the changes were slower. As the wood absorbs moisture, it swells and goes up in pitch and vice versa.
June 19, 2017, 7:52 PM · Thank you, Edward, nice reply.

So, are there out there some rosins that are humidity/temperatures proof?

I'm happy with my Pirastro Tonica rosin, it's almost 2 years old but it's like new, I think I've used like 5% of it. I'm don't know about rosins though, but I've heard that as long as you don't buy those really cheap, bad looking kids rosin cakes, you're good to go.

Is there really a discussion about noticable differences between rosins?

Edited: June 19, 2017, 7:58 PM · Rosin is tricky Tim,

It's like defining tone, sr/no sr, cr types, etc.

There are noticeable differences between rosins. The biggest debate is how big the difference is and is it worth it. It's like the meaning of life - it's too subjective for a true answer. Some are 'run of the mill' (Hindersine), some people swear they're magic (Bakers), some are made -with- magic (well, astrology, I think), Libenzeller, and there is everything in between.

What works for you is what works for you. I use Larica Gold and have never had issues, but it's a pretty soft rosin and it doesn't get crazy hot here - never much above 30C and not for long - and when it does it's a humid heat from the river and not a dry heat.

Does rosin go bad? Depends on who you ask. chemically it very likely has to change over time. Is that change particularly important? Who knows. There are ancient chunks of rosin floating around still in use. I don't believe it matters enough to buy a new cake every few years, but that's just me.

June 20, 2017, 4:47 AM · But, when you buy a rosin, it will long for decades. How are you supposed to compare them?

And I guess that if you want to have a solid opinion about one rosin, you need to spend some time with it, 2-3 days at least.

June 20, 2017, 5:27 AM · Tim,

Use it for a few days, clean the bow and strings, use another one for a few days, clean the bow and strings, use another one for a few days..........

Many string players have a little pile of rosin that is collecting dust.

June 20, 2017, 6:18 AM · Yeah, that's what I thought, but that'd be a total waste of rosin.

What's the main difference between soft rosin and hard rosin?

June 20, 2017, 8:41 AM · Hard rosin is less grabby than soft rosin, and lighter rosins are less grabby than dark ones (less of the resinous part of the sap that is sticky). :)
June 20, 2017, 9:38 AM · So, if I want a very punchy spiccato I should use a soft dark rosin?

What famous soft dark rosin do you guys recommend?

June 20, 2017, 9:44 AM · For the stickiest rosin available (meant for historical THICK plain gut, the E being 0.7 mm!), Aquilausa.com has an order form for a cake of it for 18$ US. :)

In stores, it would be Melos dark rosin for baroque violin/treble viol, followed by Evah's Oliv rosin. :)

June 20, 2017, 11:46 AM · You can also try Viola/Cello rosin, if you need something even sticker. It's not going to hurt your instrument or bow.

However avoid bass rosin. Too sticky. Way too sticky. It's basically a semi-solid.

June 20, 2017, 3:41 PM · Especially Pops Bass rosin-the stuff approaches liquid in a hot summer, I could mold it in my palm. :D
Edited: June 20, 2017, 5:26 PM · Wait, violin and viola rosin are two different things? Why? How?

I even thought cello and bass did use the same rosin we violinists use.

June 22, 2017, 4:42 PM · Tim,

I agree, they are the same thing. But some brands market their softer rosins are for Viola, and most rosins marketed for cello are softer than those marketed for Violin or Viola. Just something to look into.

Bass rosin is it's own little world because the strings are so thick, they require something a little 'special' in terms of tackiness. I'm not sure what it would do to a violin's bow or strings, but I'd rather not try and find out. Probably nothing. Maybe something. Likely a mess.

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