How much does rosin matter?

December 18, 2017, 5:17 PM · I have recently purchased a violin & bow, and the workshop owner claims it makes a massive difference to the sound if I use a specific rosin tailored to this instrument/strings/bow.

Is he just trying to get me to buy some expensive $50 rosin or is there a lot of truth to his suggestion?

If this helps, the rosin is Larica Gold II and it's an early 20th century German violin/bow.

Thanks :)

Replies (28)

Edited: December 18, 2017, 6:48 PM · That's one of the Liebenzeller Gold rosins. That's a high-quality line of rosins, but there are plenty of other good rosins, including less expensive ones.

In general, you match the rosin to your strings, and your playing style. Use a rosin that gives you the traction you're looking for, with minimal string noise and dust. The tonal difference is subtle.

December 18, 2017, 7:09 PM · There a massive difference between the rosin that comes with most student violins and every other decent rosin out there.

But I haven't been able to hear more than a very slight difference between a 30-dollar rosin a 60-dollar rosin. I might matter quite a deal if you play professionally, which is not my case.

I'd say any rosin from around 10 to 20 works just fine.

"if I use a specific rosin tailored to this instrument/strings/bow."

What strings do you have?

Sometimes I wonder if there is much more than a marketing reason for releasing rosins together with strings. For example Pirastro having a rosin for many of their strings.

I'm not very fond of Thomasik Dominant rosin, but I can't pin-point why. And I did had Dominants when I tried it.

December 18, 2017, 7:24 PM · Thanks - I'm already using Pirastro Oliv Evah rosin.

This violin came with Evah Pirazzi Gold which I like the sound of.

December 18, 2017, 8:24 PM · Rosin! Been a while:)
December 18, 2017, 8:45 PM · I've never heard of anyone not using rosin, including professionals. How does that work?
December 18, 2017, 9:08 PM · Everyone uses rosin.

The Pirastro rosin should be fine with EP Golds. If you were using Passiones, you might want something with a bit more grip.

December 18, 2017, 9:09 PM · Jason probably refers to the last time we had a rosin thread.

>Thanks - I'm already using Pirastro Oliv Evah rosin.

I would stick to it. I don't think Larica Gold II is really going to do a massive difference.

Edited: December 18, 2017, 9:32 PM · To get your violin to sound right, you need to try at least 50 bows, 10 rosins, and 10 sets of strings. Because these factors are indeed interdependent, as your dealer says, you are faced with conducting no fewer than five thousand individual experiments. Let me know how it goes. And by the way if you get a new violin or even a sound post adjustment you have to do it all over again.

Everyone uses rosin. V-commers do tend to brag about how little they use, though.

Edited: December 18, 2017, 10:42 PM · I really like the Larica Gold III on my viola.

The way their numbering system works is:

I/II: Violin
II/III: Viola

And then cello rosin, etc.

Gold II is the 'softer' of the two gold rosin they recommend for violin. If you have the money sitting around, give it a shot, or borrow someones, but if you don't it's not really so amazing that dropping $30 is going to make your life substantially better for it.

I seem to recall reading at some point that Larica is the same recipe as the Liebenzeller (as Lydia says) but without the astrology and mysticism. This would have been completely anecdotal so take it with a grain of salt.

Edited: December 19, 2017, 1:28 AM · Demian is correct. I also have ten different kinds of rosin at home, so please don’t think I’m casting stones;)

I like Vienna’s Best and Andrea Solo, or Baker’s. I mostly use Baker’s nowadays.

December 19, 2017, 1:32 AM · Alright, I think given that I am a broke student I'll stick to my (brand new) Pirastro rosin for now :) Thanks everyone for the info.

December 19, 2017, 4:49 AM · The thing about the cost of rosin is that even the most expensive one in the world costs less than a single one-hour lesson and it'll last for a couple of years (or centuries if you use it "sparingly" by taking a few swipes every couple of months).
December 19, 2017, 4:54 AM · Paul,

I thankfully am not paying nearly $100 per 1hr lesson! (I'm thinking of leatherwood)

December 19, 2017, 5:27 AM · But... what is this rosin?
December 19, 2017, 5:30 AM · Michael that's the going rate in some areas. Fortunately not in mine either. I pay about $60.
Edited: December 19, 2017, 5:43 AM · On my violins I'm still using a dark cello rosin I bought in the '90s. It's getting a bit thin but hasn't broken yet - but I have a new Pirastro rosin in reserve, just in case.

What would do without us eccentrics!

December 19, 2017, 6:05 AM · The difference between a $100 rosin and a $100 lesson is that a $100 lesson has half a chance of improving your playing if you spend the next month practicing what you discussed in the lesson. By contrast, while a $100 rosin will have no impact on your playing at all but will make you feel better. :)
December 19, 2017, 6:20 AM · It's that instant gratification that drives us, Chris.
Edited: December 19, 2017, 7:04 AM · Some rosins do make a difference - at least right after you apply them-a BIG difference. Perhaps this is why cellist David Finckel recommends frequent applications of lots of rosin. He is pretty much an outlier in this opinion - but his results cannot be denied! However, I find that if you do that you will want to clean your bow hair rather often.

Some rosins seem to retain their superior friction coefficients for a long time; others fade faster. Right now I'm using the Australian brand, Leatherwood, but there are other, much cheaper rosins that come close. For example the several varieties of "MAGIC ROSIN" have a wide range of "grippiness." I recall a couple of string quartet sessions where I was sharing some of the Magic rosin with the other 3 participants- and all were pleased. Thomastik's Peter Infeld rosin has a good feel and most of the French "colophony" brands do a good job. Personally I have trouble with the Pirastro Goldflex - irritates my eyes.

I used Liebezeller rosins (perhaps the same as the current Larica brand) for quite a few years and found no mythology. The different grades (I-IV) and the different metal loadings did indeed make differences in playing characteristics (I have tried gold, silver, copper, and meteoreizen(sp)-supposedly meteoric iron, and grades I-IV). I switched off Liebenzeller because after 90 minutes of ensemble playing I needed to re-rosin to keep "my" sound and I would rather not in the middle of a session. The copper-loaded Liebenzeller was especially forgiving of crooked bowing and so would allow a sloppy beginner to make some nice sounds - but would not please an experienced player. I always felt that the (violin) grade-I, the first Lienbenzeller I ever bought, was like rubbing my bow on a stone.

I do prefer softer rosins, but have to beware of some that are just too gooey! Maybe they will harden enough as they age (one rosin company sent me over a dozen samples of new product to test that were too soft and gooey (one or two were OK) - that are still "aging" in my garage; if I live 1,000 years I might get back to using them.)

December 19, 2017, 7:53 AM · "Thanks - I'm already using Pirastro Oliv Evah rosin.
This violin came with Evah Pirazzi Gold which I like the sound of."

Then you don't need anything else. He's trying to sell you something you don't need.

December 19, 2017, 8:27 AM · Well I think rosin is just a myth.
December 19, 2017, 9:59 AM · Pirastro Oliv-Evah rosin and Larica Gold II are both good rosins. Unless there is something you're not getting with your current rosin that you get with the Larica, I see no reason to switch.
December 19, 2017, 9:01 PM · Has anyone here tried Andrea Solo rosin?
December 19, 2017, 9:11 PM · Yes, see above.
December 19, 2017, 9:29 PM · I’ve never spent more than 8 bucks on rosin.
December 19, 2017, 11:44 PM · Andrew be sure not to miss the new thread with your name in the title.
December 20, 2017, 4:42 AM · Andrew Victor's guide to rosins of the world, perhaps? ; )
December 20, 2017, 5:34 AM · To get your violin to sound right, you need to try at least 50 bows, 10 rosins, and 10 sets of strings.*

You forgot bow hair, bridge wood, bridge shape, tailpieces, sound post positions etc etc etc.

There’re not too many breeds of horses out there. Same for others.

Also try thick rubber bridges - that increases the well-being of thy neighbours ;)

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