Baker's rosin

March 14, 2014 at 08:42 PM · Hello all,

Yesterday I received my cake of Baker's original rosin.

It does indeed enhance the instrument's tonal qualities as much as the bow's response and grip.

The amazing quality though I found in the orchestra rehearsal today. It makes the most incredible pianissimo which still has a core in the tone using just the weight of the bow alone. If I wanted PPP with an airy sound, just moved the bow towards the fingerboard and used less hair.

When I received it I made an experiment with my two good bows.

I know that my Viorin make a more brilliant fuller sound than my Sartory. I first rosined the Sartory and tried it against the Voirin. Now the Sartory made the fuller more brilliant tone. Then I rosined the Voirin and tried them both. With the same Baker's rosin, now the Viorin came out on top.

The difference in tone and colors on the violin are also amazing. I tried it on my Vuillaume and it really sounded more brilliant and warm at the same time, qualities it always had, but now enhanced. On my second modern violin it did just the same.

I let some friends in the orchestra try it and they came out with the same result as mine.

I've tried most of the rosins that are out on the market, some more expensive than this and for me, from now on it's going to be just the Baker's.

Replies (100)

March 14, 2014 at 10:19 PM · There are many, many recordings by great artists out there.

Surely it's clearly distinguishable who uses Baker's rosin and who doesn't?

(Like anyone at once can hear whether a cremonese violin is being used or a contemporary one)

Thank god Oistrakh, Milstein and Szeryng used Baker's. Imagine the lack of details in their tone without...

March 15, 2014 at 05:40 AM · They probably didn't, but for lesser us mortals any help is wellcome.

March 15, 2014 at 08:09 AM · Please take a look at an earlier Baker's topic - it was both informative and a lot of fun...

Baker's - in the oven

March 15, 2014 at 09:48 AM · Dear Elise, I did see it, but I just wanted to convey my observations about this rosin.

March 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM · I bought it and tried it. It's ok but I could live without it. People will convince themselves of anything if there is enough hype, especially with the violin. I love the way they have done this... secret formula, small quantities, limited availability, and high price.

What I do believe is that the plasticisers in rosin evaporate quite quickly, so a new block of almost any rosin that you buy, will work better than the old rosin that you have that has dried out. That is why, in my opinion, people notice such a difference. My tip, buy medium priced brands of rosin sold in a tin from a shop with a high turn-over, at least once a year. You can give the older blocks to your students.

Finally, one should worry less about unimportant things such as brand X rosin, and put in organised, intelligent, daily hours of practice.

Cheers Carlo

March 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM · The last rosin I used before the Baker's was the Andrea which cost more than the Baker's. It was I assume fresh as I received it a couple of weeks before the Baker's.

My problem being that I suffer from tendinitis and I really need the extra grip that Baker's has provided which made my life easier. This is not an imaginary but a real difference as the pain from my wrist and shoulder is now less. This extra adhesion though also helps the violin to sound better with more overtones.

I am not trying to endorse any brand of rosin,rather let people with a similar condition know how they can play with a little less pain.

March 17, 2014 at 12:46 PM · Carlos wrote: "Finally, one should worry less about unimportant things such as brand X rosin, and put in organised, intelligent, daily hours of practice."

Yada yada yada...

Maybe I need one of those new tailpieces... or better strings - a $10,000 bow... a real, not this fake Strad; I know a computer program that provides the orchestra! No, how about a silk bag to put my violin in - that has to be lucky... Menuhin mute, bigger SR, smaller SR, ebony pegs! Hypoalergic boxwood chinrest, better teacher, more teachers, better teaching teacher, soloist teacher, no teachers - use Fischer's book - no buy the Compleat Violinist 25 book course; no - I've got it - I need a tiger mom.

My Tiger Mom - where are you?

March 17, 2014 at 05:22 PM · Elise your list reminds me of a project I once envisioned for the blog here, had I more time: An essay that would create a hierarchy of all these gut-wrenching violin issues, loosely fashioned after Dante's Inferno.

There are many levels of hell for us violinists. This thread happens to focus on one level: Rosin Hell. It's not as deep or hot as Shoulder Rest Hell or Arm Vibrato Hell, but surely deeper and hotter than Cleaning Cloth Hell.

And I guess you've got to be your own Tiger Mom. No sleepovers!

March 17, 2014 at 07:04 PM · Elise, if you want i can be your Tiger Mom over Skype, but I have to advise you that I practiced on my sweet daughter for many years, to no avail.

March 17, 2014 at 08:48 PM · I hear that if you simply drive past the Baker's rosin factory (with your violin also in the car, of course) your tone will improve!

March 17, 2014 at 09:12 PM · Please don't call it a factory, they are artisan producers.

Also don't toot when you pass, as you may disturb the white robed virgins who are tapping the trees by moonlight, with a silver sickle, whilst singing Bach Cantatas

Cheers Carlo

March 17, 2014 at 10:57 PM · I can neither confirm, nor deny allegations that this is the reclusive Baker's rosin smelting center located deep in the elven forest...

March 17, 2014 at 11:03 PM · That's the moonshine division of Bakers

March 18, 2014 at 12:25 AM · I fully agree with this.

I had received my a few months ago but I wanted to get the most out of my old rosin so I used it up until none remained. As soon as I rosined it up with Baker's, during my 3 hour rehearsal,the most amazing thing happened. It not only was more brilliant, it was SMOOTH. It was the smoothest sound I had ever produced. It was so clean,the dynamics were much each to produce and I was just dumbfounded. 2 years waiting for this. I would do it again.

March 18, 2014 at 01:59 AM · Carlo wrote, "What I do believe is that the plasticisers in rosin evaporate quite quickly, so a new block of almost any rosin that you buy, will work better than the old rosin that you have that has dried out."

My knowledge of the chemical composition of rosin is not expert, but I would be curious indeed to learn of any volatile "plasticiser" in violin rosin, besides perhaps water. If you keep your rosin in a sealed container and inside your (humidified) violin case, I don't think there should be issues with shelf life. I use Bernardel rosin and I don't think it ages. I've melted and remolded broken cakes of it, and they play just the same for me.

On the other hand, I just had the idea to experiment with the addition of compounds to rosin that might have a plasticizing effect, or better still, that might improve transfer of the rosin to the bow hair.

March 18, 2014 at 03:02 AM · OK, there are now 2 issues that have come up before: Baker's rosin as such, and rosin shelf life or use life. I've had rosins for years that have worked just fine. I've also experimented with many rosins, and yes even a rosin can make some difference in the tone - not night and day, more subtle.

If someone says that they're crazy about Baker or any other brand, I would not think that they are wrong, as it is a personal choice, and even the humble cake of rosin has a place in the mix of chemistry along with player, instrument, string choice and bow.

Personally, I've tried Baker, both the regular and the, I think it's called Citron? I thought the regular was good but didn't care for the Citron(?). But in both cases, what I don't like is the small diameter of the surface. In long rosining strokes I found it more difficult and uncomfortable to keep on the hair than with other rosins of more typical diameter. I actually told this to Mr. Baker. He said that no one else had ever made this complaint before and he wasn't going to change it for one complaint. That's understandable, but I know I'm not alone in this.

My overall favorite is Liebenzeller Gold 1. (I haven't tried the other Liebs.) Its adhesion, the sound it helps me make with various violins and bows in my collection, and its low dust make it my current favorite, though I am open trying something new that I haven't tried yet. There's one thing I don't like about the Lieb: it tends to form little ridges. I'm NOT talking about the deep canyon or gully that forms after a long time of going in only one direction. I know how to keep changing direction and keep a rosin flat and even. Nevertheless, these small ridges form. In a sense they are the opposite of the canyon effect, as they form above the rest of the surface. They are more like the ridges of some finger nails. I've actually filed these down a couple of times. Then I have another Lieb. cake that melted a bit in last year's heat wave, forming a series of gentle bumps. But it works great! Any other Baker users who don't like the small diameter, or Lieb. users who have experienced the ridge formations?

BTW, that photo above is of MY still - and I'll thank y'all to keep away. I have a well-rosined bow with a sharp tip - and I'm not afraid to use it!

March 29, 2014 at 11:00 PM · Anybody ever try Hindersine rosin? I'd heard of it but never tried it - until very recently. By an odd coincidence I was in 2 very different places and situations within one week, trying fiddles where a cake of amber Hindersine was on hand. Each time, I found it surprisingly good. It had good adhesion, crisp hair-to-string contact and very low dust.

I did not have my own rosin with me in either situation for the important tonal comparison. But it's so cheap - about $5 - that I may buy both their amber and their dark, and experiment...

March 30, 2014 at 12:07 AM · Thanks for the hindersight Raphael... one day I'm going to have to replace the Baker's (I can't see getting on the list TWICE)...

March 30, 2014 at 01:41 AM · A friend of mine claimed that you need to wait 2 years in order to get the Bakers Rosin. Is this at all true?

March 30, 2014 at 07:21 AM · yes it's a long wait, but it's worth it.

Once your name is on the list, every time it comes up they send you an invitation to buy. The list grows longer by the day so I would expect the sooner one is on the list,the sooner they will get it. I wonder has anyone tried the citron? It would be helpful to compare the original with the citron.

March 30, 2014 at 01:08 PM · I mentioned above that I had tried Citron - but I didn't care for it.

But folks, let's put this in perspective. To commission a whole violin from a busy maker averages about a 2 year wait. And people are eagerly lined up to wait at least a year for a cake of rosin!

I mean, it's ROSIN for gosh sakes! Yes, it certainly has a place in technical aspects and tone production. That's why I'm still experimenting. And it's fun to try something new and see how it works out. But rosin - any rosin - is not a magical elixer or a philosopher's stone. It won't turn an average violin into the best Strad in the world, or an average bow into the greatest Tourte. It won't make us play as well as Jascha Heiftez, and it won't send us into a state of Nirvana! (Well, inhaling some of the rosin dust just might make some of us a little high, but...) And I think that Baker, and even more so, Lebenzeller, even though it's my current favorite, is way overpriced.

Keeping that perspective in mind, let's experiment, and have fun!

March 30, 2014 at 03:15 PM · Raphael, I agree entirely.

PS I'll pay $100 to anyone that will sell me a cake of Bakers.

March 30, 2014 at 05:07 PM · Raphael,

I do also agree and thank you for the feedback on the citron.

A cake of rosin is indeed not the philosopher's stone, but when something makes a difference even a tiny one, I think it's worth a try. I do not agree that Baker's is expensive, not more expensive than Andrea or other top notch rosins and it should not be compared with rosins of poor quality that sell for a couple of $s and make a mess of the varnish of your instrument. Consider that even if you change your rosin every year, how much a single application costs.

In my case every time I rosin my bow and feel that creamy adherence of the hair to the string, I bless myself for putting my name down on the waiting list.

Two years I agree is a long time to wait, but keep using your favourite rosin until you get your invitation to buy. If you turn it down your situation will not change from what it would otherwise have been. If you decide to buy and you don't like it you can sell it and get your money back. If it helps you even a little with your playing, even if this improvement is perceived and not real then I would say the wait was well worth it.

A lot of us have tried in the course of years many different up market rosins, many more expensive than the Baker. We did this in order to find what works best for every one of us. Raphael doesn't like it and this is respectable and I have no problem with it. Others have chosen the liebenzeler gold and loved it. I'm sure that long waiting list down at Baker's, is not comprised from dissatisfied customers but from people who presumably tried it and liked it. For argument's sake, say that people are curious and put their name down but don't like it after all. Then why is the waiting list getting longer by the day? Dissatisfied customers would turn the invitation down and the next name down on the list would be invited to buy.

March 30, 2014 at 06:24 PM · "For argument's sake, say that people are curious and put their name down but don't like it after all. Then why is the waiting list getting longer by the day? Dissatisfied customers would turn the invitation down and the next name down on the list would be invited to buy."

My guess would be that the product is good enough to be noticeably 'good'. We all want to feel we get on a waiting list. Getting on the waiting list feeds our vanity - since not 'just anyone' can easily get it. Then we wait --- and the product becomes potentially 'magical' during the wait. When we receive it...we discover it's good - just like we anticipated it would be! We are so relieved that we might consider it to be even better than it actually is. At that point we get all romantic and are willing to to ascribe greatness to it...

But perhaps I'm wrong. :D

I am also playing with rosin a bit. I was very happy with the Liebenzeller Gold I purchased (several years ago...before it was 'reissued')...and after some time the honeymoon was over and I just found it too sticky and too dusty.

March 30, 2014 at 09:58 PM · Well, this whole rosin thing is a sticky subject! (C'mon, somebody had to say it!)

Kypros - keep in mind that I did try both Bakers, and only didn't like the Citron, though in both cases I did't like the small diameter of the cake. I still think that it, Andrea and Liebenzeller perhaps most of all - and keep on mind that Lieb is my current favorite - are way overpriced.

I'm beginning to think that it's a marketing technique. I remember reading that when perfume manufacturers offered their wares at low prices, nobody wanted them. When they raised their prices considerably, implying or outright hailing their perfume as rare and made of costly materials, they did much better - with the same stuff!

I'm not sure what you mean by "cheap" rosins. Leaving aside the little square ones that come in cork containers with $100 violins, beginning with Hill and AB, the first "real" rosins I started to use as an intermediate student, I've never had any rosin even come close to ruining any varnish. And again, I'm not saying that Baker isn't good or that you shouldn't like it. Just calling in general for some perspective.

N.A. I'm surprised to hear that your Lieb became too sticky and dusty. I've kept 2 in use for a few years now, and don't have the sticky problem. And I still find both cakes to be low dust. But what about the little ridge formations that I complained about in an earlier post - ever experience that?

Smiley - I'll sell you both my Baker regular and the Citron for $149,000! OK, they're not all new anymore, they're certified pre-owned - how about $148,000? ;-)

March 30, 2014 at 10:40 PM · It'll be 2 years for me next month since I got on the wait list for Bakers. Looking forward to finding out first hand how it plays... Btw, does anyone else get a bit excited every time someone says "cake of rosin"? LOL

March 31, 2014 at 12:47 AM · @Raphael,

What a generous offer. Just think, for only $298,000 I can have Dylana Jenson's Zyg and a cake of Bakers to go with it. The gods are shining down on me today.

March 31, 2014 at 02:21 AM · Remember Smiley, that's TWO cakes for the price of one that I'm offering! And with that violin, it's kind of like having your cake and Zyging it too!! :-D

March 31, 2014 at 06:44 AM · R.K

I don't think it's a marketing ploy as far as the Baker's is concerned. The waiting list defeats the purpose. What's the point of generating demand for your product and then not have sufficient quantities to satisfy this demand.

Tom Baker says, the size of the cake should last a working violinist about a year. He does suggest using the rosin for about a year because the oils evaporate and presumably loses some of its playing characteristics. This I assume presents problems because even if you order two cakes when the opportunity presents itself, both should be discarded at the end of the first year.

March 31, 2014 at 11:32 AM · Does anyone have firsthand experience with the shelf life of Bakers? For example, someone who has ordered Bakers year after year, have you compared the performance of a new cake with one that is a year old? Any difference?

March 31, 2014 at 01:37 PM · They say it lasts a year, but there is a definite performance drop off after the first two months.

If your Bakers is over two months old you may as well throw it in the trash, as all of the magic will be gone, gone, gone.

For the first few weeks, you will dance through any and all of Pagannini's 24 caprices. Month 2 you'll glide through Mendohlson's violin concerto as smoothly as Dorothy Hamill flying across the ice winning gold.

But after that point it's like Cinderella staying out too late: the carriage becomes a pumpkin once again, and you'll be lucky to escape with a rendition of Twinkle that doesn't send the neighborhood dogs into howls of anguish.

Get on The List.

Stay on The List.

Or face a violin life lost in the wilderness!

March 31, 2014 at 03:38 PM · Smiley, regular or citron?

March 31, 2014 at 04:14 PM · "Tom Baker ... suggests using the rosin for about a year because the oils evaporate."

What oils, exactly? And if they evaporate inside your violin case, where do they go? Do they diffuse into your varnish?

March 31, 2014 at 06:52 PM · Krypos - I think you answered your own question, as did N.A earlier: "We all want to feel we get on a waiting list. Getting on the waiting list feeds our vanity - since not 'just anyone' can easily get it. Then we wait --- and the product becomes potentially 'magical' during the wait. When we receive it...we discover it's good - just like we anticipated it would be! We are so relieved that we might consider it to be even better than it actually is. At that point we get all romantic and are willing to to ascribe greatness to it..."

That doesn't prove that it was a marketing ploy; it may just have fortuitously worked out that way. And mind you, I'm not just picking on Baker. My own current favorite, Liebenzeller Gold 1 has me suspicious as well: do the gold flecks (if they are really there) really do anything? And what about the meteor formulation? Do we need to keep that away from Kal-el? And speaking of being suspicious and back to Baker, re the oil evaporating: oil in its original liquid form evaporates at a very slow rate. So more dried as an intrinsic part of the rosin, it should be quite a bit slower than that. And being part of the rosin, how would it escape? What about violins with oil varnish, and oil paintings - all dried up after a couple of years? Then, as was pointed out, most of the time it's kept in the closed case - indeed in a small closed compartment within the closed case. And the rosin itself - and this, in fact, is a nice feature - has a tight-fitting metal container. Where indeed is that oil going to go?

Anyway, a while back I started a blog re rosin and put it on the back burners. Maybe I'll take another look at it and take a vacation from this thread. You won't have Klayman to sticky, er stick, um, kick - that's it! - around anymore! ;-D

March 31, 2014 at 11:38 PM · In view of the (rightfully so, imo) cynical comments in this thread some readers may wish to explore and enjoy the delightful world of Woo, an introduction to the geography of which is outlined here:

FWIW, I rosin my violin bows - a couple of swipes about once a week - with a block of Kaplan cello rosin that must be all of fifteen years old, and therefore well predating my violin playing. I guess I must be about halfway through the block.

April 1, 2014 at 12:51 AM · "They say it lasts a year, but there is a definite performance drop off after the first two months."

That is pretty crappy. Don't Twinkies last longer than that?

April 1, 2014 at 12:53 AM · Seraphim,

I'll take two cakes of the T-Rex rosin please.

April 1, 2014 at 04:16 AM · You're at the top of the list.

Simply wait 10,000 years whilst I process your order.

Delivery will be via FedEx overnight though, so you got that going for you.

April 1, 2014 at 02:45 PM · Awesome! I'm also on the list for Bakers. I'll let you know which comes first.

April 1, 2014 at 03:00 PM · @Smiley. You can bypass the list. I have a block of Bakers you can have. Pop into Christchurch NZ, and I'll give it to you. Free!

Just don't get too excited... it's rosin, and it works um, like rosin.

Cheers Carlo

April 1, 2014 at 07:50 PM · Awesome! Yet another option for some killer rosin. I've never been to Christchurch, probably never will, but I do believe in reincarnation. Several generations from now when I am reincarnated as a sheep, I'll come get my rosin. I'll be the sheep with slanty eyes.

April 1, 2014 at 08:22 PM · You'll be easy to spot as you will be the only sheep in ChCh. I'll keep an eye out for you.

Cheers Carlo

April 1, 2014 at 09:34 PM · Smiley, don't forget that sheep are the prime providers of gut strings ;)

April 1, 2014 at 09:45 PM · Oooh, new idea!

Feed the sheep pine needles and other such rosin rich nutrients, and then when their guts are made into strings they will already come pre-rosined naturally!

April 1, 2014 at 10:13 PM · Seraphim,

I usually put rosin on the bow, not the strings.


I thought New Zealand had 10x more sheep than people.

Time to get some dinner. Somehow, I'm in the mood for lamb chops.

April 2, 2014 at 12:10 AM · Smiley,

Please don't point out all of the flaws in my logic. This is a Baker's rosin thread, unbridled hyperbole unfettered by logic or reason!

P.S.-How about feeding the horses pine needles instead and then the horsehair will come pre-rosined?

April 2, 2014 at 02:44 AM · My apologies for interjecting logic into this thread. I will try to stay more focused and stick to illogical comments and conclusions. Please forgive me.

April 2, 2014 at 02:45 AM · Seraphim, Do horses eat pine needles? If so, that's a really good idea.

April 2, 2014 at 06:43 AM · @Smiley. You are right, in NZ there are only 4 million humans with 30 million sheep (down from a peak of 60M) and 10 million dairy cows... however there are no sheep (or cows) in the cities!

Cheers Carlo

April 2, 2014 at 11:45 AM · When I see rosin on my plain gut strings (it tends to adhere to the plain gut) I wonder whether I need to rosin my bow, and so I don't, for a while.

April 3, 2014 at 11:48 AM · It occurs to me, with those vast numbers of sheep around the world why do we still fuss around with synthetic strings?

April 3, 2014 at 07:56 PM · Im surprised no one has mentioned Melos as an alternative. Tapped from fresh pine in Greece available in both dark and light.

April 3, 2014 at 08:20 PM · I like Melos.

For what That's worth.

April 4, 2014 at 12:39 AM · Guess what? I just received one cake of Bakers rosin in the mail today, thanks to the generosity of a member who had an extra. I have not tried it out yet, but will certainly do so tomorrow and let you know what I think. I'm trying not to get too excited because I don't want to soil my pants.

April 4, 2014 at 01:40 AM · You cut in line?!

You jumped to the front of the Baker Rosin List and simply bought a cake?!

Unheard of!

I do look forward to your review though...

April 4, 2014 at 12:22 PM · Dear Smiley,

-I don't want to soil my pants.

A very important point. It is far better to rosin your pants. They will then not only glide on and off smoothly, but also grip the seat nicely if the taxi you are sitting in comes to a sudden stop,



April 4, 2014 at 05:38 PM · Buri,

Excellent idea. Question... do you rub the rosin on your butt or rub your butt on the rosin. If you do the latter, you would get a nice core workout while improving the safety of your taxi rides, hence killing two birds with one stone, or rather two cheeks with one cake.

April 4, 2014 at 06:16 PM · Butt rosining....

OK, now I'm glad it's Friday


April 4, 2014 at 06:45 PM · > hence killing two birds with one stone, or rather two cheeks with one cake.

or killing the cake with two cheeks...

Seriously tho, Smiley, I am looking forward to reading your review.

April 4, 2014 at 07:16 PM · "Seriously tho, Smiley, I am looking forward to reading your review."

I got distracted this morning so was not able to try out the Bakers on the bow... or my butt. I have two bows, so I can do the test twice, once with each bow. I will post here with my results.

April 5, 2014 at 12:59 AM · I let my son be the guinea pig. While he was horsing around, I did a quick video before and after Bakers.

Before Bakers

After Bakers

April 5, 2014 at 01:11 AM · Perhaps you need to put that bun back in the oven.

The rosin, that is...

April 5, 2014 at 02:24 AM · Smiley - lol! And seriously, some nice playing from your son and a lovely home!

BUT! Here is me before Liebenzeller, Intergalactic formulation:

And after:

April 5, 2014 at 05:48 AM · Okay, none of this is very helpful... :-D

April 5, 2014 at 11:52 AM · Gene: good.

If it were I would fret for you.

Newsflash - someone is playing the Viotti 23 - which I'm currently working on - on the radio!!

I'm SURE they are using Baker's!!

April 5, 2014 at 12:22 PM · Elise, Smiley is a bloke - there wasn't much danger of his misinterpreting your comment.

As regards this fret business in your last comment, aren't we supposed to be talking violins not mandolins?

April 5, 2014 at 12:23 PM · Elise, Smiley is a bloke - there wasn't much danger of his misinterpreting your comment.

As regards this fret business in your last comment, aren't we supposed to be talking violins not mandolins?

April 5, 2014 at 12:45 PM · John: Smiley and I have enjoyed a lunch together in Baltimore - I did register his gender.

I was just working on the assumption that his son was born the usual way, even if Smiley was not directly involved.

April 5, 2014 at 07:46 PM · Elise, tread carefully. This is not the place to question paternity.

April 5, 2014 at 09:21 PM · elise, who did you register Smiley's gender with?



April 5, 2014 at 09:31 PM · help...

deep water; or maybe I should say the deep water broke...

April 6, 2014 at 07:29 AM · Elise, always happy to save a damsel in distress. I shall change the subject back to Baker's. Ok, everyone say, "snake oil" ten times...

April 6, 2014 at 10:46 AM · Thank you Carlo, you are my hero. Swoon. Come let me adorn you with a garlands of laurel and massage your skin with exotic scented oils.

Shoot, can't find the exotic scented oil bucket - I guess this block of Baker's rosin will do...

April 6, 2014 at 01:39 PM · "elise, who did you register Smiley's gender with?"

She registered with the ASPCPWB (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to People Without Bakers).

April 6, 2014 at 01:52 PM · OK, so I tried out the bakers. Here are a few sound comparisons.

Kreutzer before bakers

Kreutzer after bakers

Bach before bakers

Bach after bakers

April 6, 2014 at 05:49 PM · Smiley - it really DOES sound better; at least the Kreutzer. the bach was too complicated to hear. Maybe you played it a bit slower? But the notes were more sustained and clearer.

What was the 'other' rosin?

April 6, 2014 at 06:21 PM · The other rosin was Pirastro Oliv Evah

April 6, 2014 at 06:33 PM · Hi Smiley -- Thanks for posting the videos, but it's pretty hard for us listeners to tell any difference through them. Any personal opinions on using the Baker's? Love that you used Bach Chaconne for your test, btw. :)

April 6, 2014 at 07:20 PM · Fresh Baker's rosin beats anything I have ever tried on my bows.

It feels like the rosin indeed loses some of it's wonderful stickiness and becomes more dry after about 3 - 4 months or so.

Nothing weird about the volatile oils. They are part of the tree sap. They evaporate very slowly and wouldn't do anything to your violin varnish in your case I imagine.

However rosin left on the varnish near the bridge over long periods of time will affect your varnish. Just look at some old fiddles.

I have tried to prevent the evaporation of the volatile oils by sticking a piece of Saran wrap

between the lid and the canister. Makes it hard to open. It seems to help but the rosin loses it's flat surface and becomes more round. It behaves almost like a very viscous liquid. The same may well happen with other rosins but I haven't tried.

Even after 6 months it is still a very good rosin. Doesn't leave much residue on the violin.

But it's not the same as the fresh product.

Now if there was a way to keep it fresh without

it losing it's shape that would be great.

April 7, 2014 at 12:51 AM · OK, here's my assessment. Honestly, I could not hear much difference in the recordings. If there is a difference, it is minimal. That said, I noticed a pretty significant difference when playing.

The Bakers is really grabby. But unlike some grabby rosins that tend to sound raspy, the Bakers is really smooth.

I was pressed for time yesterday when I did the recordings so was not able to get acclimated, but today, I played for an hour and really started dialing in to the new rosin. My fiddle is not the easiest to play and some notes require a bit of coaxing, but the Bakers helps to get the notes started. I feel as if everything is just a little easier on the bow arm.

I am currently working on Saint Saens Introduction and Rondo Cappricioso, and there are many special bowing techniques and they seem to be a tad easier to execute. It is not a dramatic difference, but it is noticeable.

So my conclusion is, Bakers is not exactly magic. I mean, it certainly doesn't help ones intonation (as evidenced by my Bach above), but it does work really well. I have never paid much attention to rosin, but I would say that Bakers is perhaps the best rosin I have ever tried. I intend on using it as long as I can get a fresh supply.

April 7, 2014 at 02:41 AM · Thanks for that assessment, Smiley. Obviously, rosin can't be a magic fix all, but your statement "Bakers is perhaps the best rosin I have ever tried" is a pretty strong endorsement.

April 7, 2014 at 03:03 AM · I wonder how often Bakers ships rosin. I know it is seasonal, but if they only ship during one time of the year and the rosin only lasts 4-6 months, then that leaves 6-8 months of using something else.

BTW, the Oliv rosin I was comparing the Bakers against was about 5 years old -- maybe not a fair comparison. In 6 months or so, I might shop around for other rosins and see how they compare to 6 month old Bakers.

April 7, 2014 at 04:39 AM · I've ordered from Baker's twice now - once in December 2011, another time in December 2012. I haven't gotten another invitation to order since then... it really does feel different after two or three months of use. I've been using Bernardel and Dominant rosin in the meantime (Bernardel for summer, Dominant for winter).

April 7, 2014 at 06:58 PM · Smiley, to make this a fair test, I suggest you buy a fresh oliv rosin from a shop with a high turnover, and compare the two. Otherwise, you are comparing new rosin with old, and preferring new.

Cheers Carlo

April 7, 2014 at 07:12 PM · piggy backing of what Gene said, I wonder how melos would compare since they make these similar claims:

It is always fresh (made only upon an order).

It is a 100% hand-made product.

It is made of high quality Greek pine-tree resin.

Does not contain any chemicals (glucose, sugar etc.)


Maybe you could become a rosin expect, sampling only the finest rosins as a wine connoisseur is to wine.

April 7, 2014 at 07:14 PM · Regarding OP's statement:

"It makes the most incredible pianissimo which still has a core in the tone using just the weight of the bow alone."

Yes it is true. I confirmed it this morning. With almost no weight on the bow, even the most feathery bow stroke maintains a core in the sound.

April 7, 2014 at 07:17 PM · "@smiley

Maybe you could become a rosin expect, sampling only the finest rosins as a wine connoisseur is to wine."

Since I will never be known for my virtuosic violin playing, I might as well shoot for something attainable :-). Please visit my new web site:

April 7, 2014 at 07:40 PM · I just tried an ancient block of Melos - its great! Better than the Bakers I think...

There is one negative issue with the Bakers: it doesn't last long on the bow. But maybe I should stop my habit of licking the horse hair when I get peckish during a 12 hr practise session...

April 7, 2014 at 07:41 PM · Smiley, there seems to a problem with your website as I can't log on. Maybe the demand is so high...

Cheers Carlo

April 7, 2014 at 09:19 PM · Elise, I don't put a lot on my bow and it seems to last me for four 3 hour rehearsals. I definitely put a lot less that I used to do with other rosins. What I found is that at the exact time you put it on there is a slight difference than the sessions thereafter, so I now rosin my bow very little at every rehearsal.Maybe this is the trick. Try it and it would be interesting to compare notes.

April 7, 2014 at 09:23 PM · "Smiley, there seems to a problem with your website as I can't log on. Maybe the demand is so high..."

I can't imagine what could be wrong. I hired the same company that designed the Obamacare website.

April 8, 2014 at 06:02 AM · which also makes Baker`s rosin. Hence the difficulty of getting anything before you die.

April 23, 2014 at 11:26 AM · I've been using the Bakers for a couple of weeks now and I have noticed a downside. Perhaps because of the added adhesion, I am breaking a lot of bow hairs. It has been about a year since my last bow rehair. Prior to Bakers, I don't think I broke a single bow hair in the past 6 months. After Bakers, I have broken 6-7 bow hairs in the past 2 weeks. Anyone else have the same problem?

April 23, 2014 at 12:34 PM · Some folks have chickens out in the back so they can have a few fresh eggs every morning. Maybe they should have a few pine trees too so they can make their own violin rosin. Recipes are probably already in one of the Foxfire books.

April 23, 2014 at 02:02 PM · Smiley,

I use Baker's all the time and have broken maybe 2 hairs in the last 6 months.

what do they say about 'looking a gift horse in the mouth'? Maybe one should look the other end too...

April 23, 2014 at 05:54 PM · I have been using the Baker's for the third month now and I haven't broken any hair yet and I'm a pretty strong player.

April 23, 2014 at 06:43 PM · I guess it must be those new supplements I've been taking. Too bad they don't have the same effect on my sex life :-)

April 23, 2014 at 06:48 PM · I have used my Baker's for more tan 2 years and don't notice an increase in breaking hairs. Still a

very good rosin.

With my next cake ( I guess i should order soon)

I hope to experiment a bit more with trying to keep the rosin fresh.

April 23, 2014 at 09:10 PM · How do you achieve this?

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