Rosin.

April 15, 2014 at 05:35 AM · Can we discuss opinions on rosins - which colours/makes are the best?

Replies (100)

April 15, 2014 at 10:35 AM · Bakers is the best.

Unless you prefer Liebenzeller.....

Or Andrea, that one is really the best.

Although many get by just fine with Bernadel....

Basically, it's like deciding which of the Emperor's new outfits is the best...

For some actual helpful info, go to the Warchal website. They did a big rosin shootout and determined a winner or two. Although I don't think Bakers was included in that test.

April 15, 2014 at 01:44 PM · Baker's is the very finest, but you can't have it any time soon.

My second preference is the Melos from Greece.

April 15, 2014 at 02:39 PM · My theory as to why Baker's appears to be so good:

You have to wait two years to get it, and in the meantime, the 1,000 hours of practice has made you a better vioinist by the time they call your name on the list.

April 18, 2014 at 07:10 AM · Has anyone views on how Bakers and Andrea compare to 'dedicated' rosins like dominant and various pirastro?

April 18, 2014 at 10:37 AM · In my opinion any pirastro rosin will be better than the Andrea. I ordered a cake sometime ago and I used it once, then gave it to a friend.

The Baker's is by far the very best I have ever used.

April 19, 2014 at 02:15 PM · I've been using rosin for 75 years, but my rosin "experiments" only go back about 15 years. At the time I got involved in trying different rosins (I've got at least 60 discarded cakes of so many types) I finally settled on Liebenzeller and used level III for violin and IV for cello for some years. I preferred the Gold and Meteoreisen types. The Copper is good for beginners (very forgiving) the Silver creates a rather shrill sound. The only problem I had with Liebenzeller was that after about a hour of playing my sound would lose its "core" and I would need to add rosin - right in the middle of a rehearsal or performance.

Next I settled on Tartini - and particularly like the "Symphony"grade and I used the violin type for violin & viola and the cello type for cello. Tartini allowed me to get through rehearsals and performance without losing my core sound. When Tartini was discontinued I found the Andrea rosin to be identical in all aspects that I could detect.

More recently I have found and now use exclusively MAGIC ROSIN ULTRA - I use the same rosin for all my instruments. Unfortunately it is dusty and I have to clean up my instruments from visible dust after every session. But WOW - what sound and control. It was very convincing to all the musicians I loaned it to. The real proof was the way my cellos sounded in the top octave of the C string when using this rosin compared to all the others I have tried.

As for BAKERS rosin, I like the finesse of sound I got with the "original," but found it gave me less access to the core sound I want. It is dusty like the MAGIC, and for me it required frequent reapplication to keep my sound level. I subscribed for 2 years.

My experience with the Pirastro rosins is limited, but I did have a lot of trouble with the Pirastro Gold because it is the only rosin that has ever irritated my eyes.

Clearly other musicians have had different experiences - but I do suggest that if you are still looking for YOUR rosin - consider MAGIC ROSIN ULTRA (or regular) - although it is supposedly formulated for cello (by the cellist who owns the company) it works great on all instruments and as I understand it it is made by a process similar to Baker's (I could be wrong on this).

Andy

April 20, 2014 at 08:45 AM · Andrew, were you referring to Andrea solo or piacere in your report?

April 21, 2014 at 05:54 PM · I haven't had too much time (or skills) to test out bunch of different rosins. I've used some cheap no name rosin that they give you in outfits and it was a low quality rosin - didnt seem to stick well to the hair, powdery, and didnt get that great of a grip.

Now I think I'm just sticking to melos light and dark. they both don't powder up too much, grip the strings very well and applies easily to the hair. The dark can feel a bit too sticky and tacky on the strings when the weather warms up but then I just switch over to the light. I tend to like the dark better since I feel its a bit more forgiving on tone quality.

With all the Bakers rosin scuttlebutt going on around here I thought i give my .02. Given the chance to sample bakers, I'd be more than happy to TRY but actively seeking it out and waiting on a long list for YEARS, not my cup of tea. Im sure its a top tier high shelf rosin but Melos seems to follow the same philosophy but no wait list and a similar price. I'd rather take 2 years to find a rosin just as good commercially available then wait.

April 23, 2014 at 04:16 PM · When testing rosin, be sure to weigh the practical benefits along with the change in sound.

I have found that some high end rosins build up on the string quickly / wear off of the bow quickly -- changing the sound and requiring very frequent re-application. Sometimes too frequently to get through a demanding concerto. Andrew Victor eluded to this phenomenon in his post.

There can sometimes be a early sense of rosin lust, only to find out later that it sounds great but doesn't meet the practical needs of a professional musician.

June 10, 2014 at 10:26 PM · I catch your drift about having to re-rosin more frequently or getting more buildup. I've been using motrya gold or Millant Deroux, depending on how I felt, and I've been doing this for many years. After reading about some of these 'interesting' rosins with all these different flavors, I figured I'd try one. I had no idea what to try or what I really wanted but I decided to not go with anything that said smooth or soft or rounded because that seems to be what's always attracted me and I'm looking for something different. Also, I didn't believe these rave reviews.

I bought Liebenzeller Meteor-Eisen 1. I received it a week ago. I was almost in a state of shock over the fact that the rosin made such an incredible difference. I had to modify my playing a bit to kind of work with the rosin but the edge and the sound, the clarity I can get with articulation really really impressed me. But I'm finding I need to re-rosin more frequently. I began to wonder if buildup would be different, and where this would go. I also wonder is it really so great just because I paid a lot of money for it and yes, the sound I get is wildly nice, but can't I do just as well (though differently) with my original rosins.

The answer is I don't know ... yet. Is it really so great?

Maybe I'm learning a lesson of how to approach getting a certain sound that could now be obtained using a 'lesser' rosin. Who knows.

June 10, 2014 at 11:53 PM · I find it interesting that there is no expiry date / date of production on rosin. The differences some of posters described may, at least partially, be due to comparing a freshly produced rosin over an old one. Baker's secret may not be nothing more but carefully controlled delivery of fresh rosin.... and also great marketing strategy.

I use Pirastro rosins, depending on which strings are on. I also red somewhere that certain type of rosin performs better during summer versus the ones for winter.

my 2 cents.

June 11, 2014 at 11:09 AM · I agree that freshness is vital for the performance of any rosin, but I cannot accept that this is the only thing going for the Baker's. Melos is fresh but its performance is nowhere near the Baker's. (My opinion of-course). The Baker's apart from having the right amount of adherence to the string, it also produces a noble full round sound full of overtones. For adherence to the string,the Liebenzeller gold,comes second but I found it to have too much grip and being coarse at the same time for my taste.

These observations are not entirely my own, but we conducted an experiment in the orchestra with the different rosins that I was experimenting with. The Andrea, liebenzeller gold II, Melos,pirastro olive and Baker's. All of the players liked the Baker's most

June 11, 2014 at 11:54 AM · Bakers is very fine rosin, and I did use it for a while, but it was a bit too "sticky" for my taste and I was breaking a lot of bow hairs. I am back to using Oliv Evah rosin which does the job.

Notice, I used the term "sticky" and not "grabby." That is the best word I can come up with to describe the Bakers feel. But as Kypros pointed out, it does produce a very round full sound. It is good stuff, but not by any means the ultimate rosin. There are many choices out there and it boils down to personal preference and finding a rosin that agrees with your bow, violin, playing style, repertoire, etc.

Or to put it another way, the rosin will not magically transform you into a better player. That can only be achieved with LOTS of hard work.

June 12, 2014 at 01:22 PM · Now that's interesting. I'd describe Baker's Original rosin as anything but 'sticky'. I have found it to be on the dry powdery side, even when I received it fresh. It's still the same, two years later. I stopped using it because whilst the sound was oh so smooth and colourful, the grip was poor and as soon as my bows even looked like they needed a rehair, it was very difficult to control.

I have recently purchased a cake of Larica Gold 3, which is supposed to be the same as the Liebenzeller rosins, but I'm not 100 percent sure of that. Whatever it is, it's brilliant. Just the right amount of grab, but a smooth sound to boot. Hardly any buildup on the strings, which Andrea Solo has way too much of. Quiet passages are a breeze as well as loud ones. I'm very pleased with it.

June 12, 2014 at 01:52 PM ·

What does "the best" mean to you? The best for what?

June 13, 2014 at 11:21 PM · I have been using Gustave Bernardel and have been happy with it. I apply it after about every six hours of playing.I like the tone I get. Has anyone else used this? or is it too standard or "gosh"

June 14, 2014 at 01:26 AM · Bernadel is for commoners. There isn't even a waiting list. Elite violinists wait at least 2 years to get a cake of rosin.

BTW, I use Dominant strings and they always arrive way too quickly. I want really good strings that have a long waiting list. Any recommendations?

June 14, 2014 at 03:36 AM · I have some string sets that have been aging, like a fine wine in my desk drawer.

They shall be at the peak of perfection in 2016. Reserve your set of slightly used, and slow aged Pro Artes now. I accept credit cards, Paypal, cash or checks.

June 14, 2014 at 06:20 PM · I'm in, Seraphim! :D

I love the humor on this site.

Anyone make their own rosin? I want to try and hybrid two and and make my own (kind of easy enough), but have always been interested in how it's made from scratch.

June 14, 2014 at 08:42 PM ·

Doesn't seem like rocket science, but what's the secret recipe?

Homemade rosin

June 17, 2014 at 02:49 AM · I want to officially rescind an endorsement that I made on another thread of Liebenzeller Gold 1, which I used to like very much, having tried sooo many. This is the 2nd cake that has developed a tendency for ridges to come up - and I do mean UP, not down. I'm NOT talking about the gully or little canyon that develops when you rosin in the same direction each time. Of course I change direction each time I use a rosin, to keep it flat and even. These are ridges a bit above the rest of the cake, not below. They are a bit like the ridges on some fingernails, but more salient. They can cut into the bow hair. I've already filed the cake down twice, but again they've formed. Also, it seems to have lost something, the way a string can, after some time - not like going very false, but not like it was. I was always in the camp that didn't believe that rosin had a limited shelf or use life, but I'm beginning to wonder. To be fair, though, my main bow really needs re-hairing, so that could well be a factor. I just found out that the developer died, after passing on her formula to someone else, but was upset that the new person didn't exactly follow her instructions. So maybe what I've been using is new wine in an old bottle.

In any case, starting tomorrow, I'm going to try something new. At other places, by coincidence, I tried what was available - Hidersine - and I was impressed: good adhesion, little dust, and a little went a long way. There seem to be a few formulations. I think what I tried was a light orange color, and what I bought, called "deluxe" is very dark. It's the 6V formula, with a red cloth and a mostly red box. I'll see how it works, and maybe even try the others if I can find them. It was only $5!

June 17, 2014 at 04:41 AM · Raphael, I had a cake of "Vienna's Best" that looked withered. It also had hard areas, in indistinct patterns. The rosin wore down around the hard spots leaving the surface rough and abrasive.

June 17, 2014 at 12:16 PM · "Vienna's Best" - do you refer to "Petz"? Haven't tried that one.

June 17, 2014 at 12:18 PM · "Vienna's Best" - do you refer to "Petz"? Haven't tried that one.

June 17, 2014 at 01:46 PM · VB was a winner in the Warchal rosin test.

June 17, 2014 at 01:53 PM · Petz makes a few different rosin products from student to "Soloist".

The rosin I had trouble with was indeed "PETZ Vienna`s Best".

The rosin arrived slightly shriveled and progressively shrunk.

Seraphim, it was the Warchal test that led me to try this brand.

Rosins I have tried and liked include Bernardel, Jade L'Opera, Melos Light, Melos Dark, and Melos Baroque (with pure gut strings).

June 19, 2014 at 01:05 AM · Patrick - that rosin looks scary!

Anyway, yesterday, I used my new Hidersine "Deluxe" rosin for the 1st time. I went through several hours of regular practicing with several different violins and bows from my collection, and got a preliminary feel of the new rosin for the first time. It felt fine, a little went a long way, and it was almost entirely dust-free. But I wanted to see how it would directly compare to the Liebenzeller, apart from my issues with the ridges that kept developing. (See my earlier post.) So, at the end of my regular practice, I set up the following test:

I selected one test violin - my Vittorio Villa del Gesu model, "Michelangelo" and one test bow - my Emile A. Ouchard, "Excalibur". I played certain passages and bow strokes first using the Liebenzeller (henceforth abbreviated "L") followed by the Hidersine ("H"). In-between, I would clean the rosin off the strings and the bow hair, to avoid build-up and to prevent mixing of the two rosins. I ran several tests:

1. Basic long strokes, whole bow: it felt very close, yet somehow, a bit different.

2. For focus and bite, the telling passage of the first allegro in the Bruch concerto (with the D and Bb). Here, "H" gave me more grip, bite and depth.

3. I tried a few sautillé passages - here both rosins seemed about equal.

4. I then played some spring bow arpeggios - eg, Mendelssohn concerto cadenza. The results were very close, but just a bit more definition coming with "H".

5. I then improvised a short, expressive passage, utilizing some of my favorite and very familiar notes on my Villa. Here I got a sweeter sound with "L", and a tad more grit with "H". It felt as though I had put more rosin on for this test with "H", though I tried hard to keep consistent with applications of both rosins, with this and every other test. (Also, remember that between one rosin and the other I'd thoroughly wipe the hair and strings.) I had a feeling though, that at a distance, "H" would have projected more presence.

6. Finally, I chose a passage that I always like to end with, when comparing bows, as I feel it is a good test for the strength, stability and stamina of the violin, the violinist and the bow: the final variation of the Vitali Chaconne (just before the theme returns for the last time in octaves.) Here, I felt that "H" gave me better tracking, more presence and depth of tone.

So there you have it - we have a new winner! The humble and inexpensive Hidersine has more than proved its mettle to me!

So, am I through trying out new rosins? Well...it's a sticky subject!

June 19, 2014 at 06:41 AM · Raphael,

since you are through with the rosin debate, I'd like to ask you a question on the matter of bows.

What plays better, is more desirable and a better investment, a Vigneron pere, or an Andre Vigneron violin bow?

June 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM · As an investment, others might know better than I. As far as playing qualities, just like a violin, it depends on the individual item, the player, and the 3-way chemistry of player, bow and fiddle. I have a couple of excellent Chinese bows that I wouldn't part with. I played on a Tourte once, at the Library of Congress, with limited appeal for me, preferring a Hill there, that had belonged to Kreisler. Once I tried a Pecatte that I didn't like at all. Once I tried a Lamy that I loved, and another time I tried another Lamy that was so-so to me.

June 20, 2014 at 08:45 PM · Hi Smiley, regarding:

"From Smiley Hsu

Posted on June 14, 2014 at 01:26 AM

Bernadel is for commoners. There isn't even a waiting list. Elite violinists wait at least 2 years to get a cake of rosin.

BTW, I use Dominant strings and they always arrive way too quickly. I want really good strings that have a long waiting list. Any recommendations??"

LOL

ummm....what rosin do you use anyway (I must be a commoner because I think I'm going to go back to Bernardel).

edited to add:

duh

I skimmed thru the post an missed what you said

" I am back to using Oliv Evah rosin which does the job."

June 20, 2014 at 09:42 PM · Yes, I am back to using Oliv Evah. But, my 12 year old son loves the Bakers. He swears by it - perhaps because I told him it was "magic rosin" with a 2 year waiting list. He took it and now he won't give it back.

June 21, 2014 at 02:16 AM · Smiley, why would you tell you son that Bakers is "Magic Rosin".

I haven't tried "Magic Rosin" but from what I can tell there isn't a waiting list. Though some of their product is pretty. This is a link to Magic Rosin

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with "Magic Rosin". This is simply a pathetic attempt at humor. For which I must apologize.

June 21, 2014 at 02:38 AM · Smiley, why would you tell you son that Bakers is "Magic Rosin".

Thanks to my love and guidance, my son is perhaps the most misguided person you will ever meet -- a chip off the old block as they say :-)

June 21, 2014 at 04:34 AM · For what it's worth, I learned about Vienna's Best rosin from the Warchel test too and I've been using it happily for several months now. It's still perfectly flat on top. I find some of the 'soloist' rosins too bright and rough for my tastes. I am mainly concerned with orchestra playing and auditions and I find that Vienna's Best helps smooth out my sound compared to the Liebenzeller Gold I was using before.

June 21, 2014 at 05:46 AM · I have wondered about my problem with Vienna's Best. I will probably give it another try someday. Though I don't think I will buy rosin from the source I bought this one from.

I didn't think about it at the time, but I should have sent it back. Unfortunately I didn't start using it right away and it really didn't start showing the hard spots until I had used it for a while.

I bought it in May of 2012 and it looked a little shriveled, but it was nothing like the picture above. I do not think it was heat during shipping.

I really like Melos. Though I am also very happy with L'Opera JADE and Bernadel.

June 21, 2014 at 08:39 PM · One thing that would be useful to know in all these rosin discussions is what strings are being used. I should think a rosin would behave differently on Helicores -vs- Dominants -vs- Gut, for example. That said, my teacher has used the same cake of Hill Light for the last 25 years and recommended it. She plays on Dominants.

I went on a rosin buying spree just for the fun of it. Tried a bunch of different ones thinking fancier rosins would be better than plain-Jane old Hill. Started with Hidersine 1V on the cheap end (not bad, actually!), then Bernadel, Melos, Sartory, Salchow, Magic... didn't love any of them. Finally tried Hill Light.

Lo and behold! On my little viola with Helicores and my paltry beginner skills, Hill Light feels and sounds much better than all the others. It has the right amount of grab, no scratchiness, no dust. Lasts a long time between applications. The trick, I think, is to use it very, very sparingly.

June 22, 2014 at 01:29 AM · Wow - your teacher may have set a record! It also casts a de facto vote for the unlimited shelf and use life theory. How thin or low is that cake now?

Anyway, for the past several years or so, I've mainly used Vision Solo with different E's. The bow, the type of playing, the taste and the demands that the player makes, are all factors as well. A smooth, mellow choice for violin, strings or rosin is not typically that for a professional performer.

June 22, 2014 at 02:38 AM · This rosin is a little too dusty, that rosin is a bit too scratchy, this string is too bright, that one is too dark, this bow is too stiff, that one is too heavy, the other one is too light, this fiddle sounds tinny, that one has a wolf, blah blah blah.

I think all violinists are mentally insane. We nit pick about every little thing.

June 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM · Yes.

(This post was too laconic.)

June 22, 2014 at 02:24 PM · "(This post was too laconic.)"

Yes it would have been had you not stated that it was.

June 22, 2014 at 03:18 PM · Responding to Raphael, her cake is the same height it started with on the sides, with a deep, deep canyon in the middle. There goes the rule about always rotating the rosin to make it wear evenly.

She's been performing in symphonies for probably 40 years. Doesn't matter how crummy the student's instrument is, it sounds wonderful in her hands.

Her only advice to me about rosin was to not use the cheapest student junk in the wooden trays.

June 23, 2014 at 02:52 AM · True.

June 23, 2014 at 10:08 AM · You can't have your cake and eat it ...

All this talk about rosin is enough to send people insane!

I knew a fiddle player in an orchestra once who was nicknamed "Rosin" because the conductor saw him rosin his bow and it caused a cloud of toxic dust.

A cake of rosin should last many years - and it matures and improves with age. (Like any good old fiddle player).

June 25, 2014 at 07:35 PM · After several years of nothing but Salchow, I branched out to experiment some time last year. Both flavors of Baker's are very fine, depending on the weather and the equipment. But if I needed a truly fail-safe choice I'd probably go for the Andrea Solo. Good rosin, nice packaging, very reliable, etc. Not that the differences between these three and a handful of others were at the OMG! level.

July 6, 2014 at 10:00 PM · I have to add, I posted above my being glamoured by the Liebenzeller meteor rosin. I have to say that I became frustrated with it, began to even wonder if I needed a sound post readjustment. I took the rosin off my bow, cleaned my strings and re-rosined with Millant Deroux (one of my usual rosins) and with that, I breathe a sigh of relief. To experiment with the gold, the silver etc...is just to costly for me to even think about it, and now that I've been using the Millant Deroux again, I have to say, yes, the rosin you use will definitely affect your sound and your playing. I have to reject the Liebenzeller meteor.

July 7, 2014 at 05:55 AM · To save you the expense, I have tried the Liebenzeller gold II and I found that it adheres to the string more than any other rosin I have ever used.(not a good thing),also the sound it produces is too raw.

The best rosin I ever used,still using and will be using until the end of time,is the Baker's original formula.

It's not very expensive,but there is a waiting list of about two years to get one.

July 11, 2014 at 04:18 PM · thank you, kypros. Advice that I will follow.

March 13, 2015 at 04:30 PM · Rosin is such a subjective experience. And there are so many variable involved: physiology of the player, player technique, response of the instrument, the bow, the hair, etc. In a 35 year career as a professional violist (and violinist) I've experimented with many rosins. My favorite turns out to be Andrea for viola and Jade on violin. I did try out Baker's, and it was not to my liking - and so I canceled my subscription. Within a few days the head of Baker's emailed me, asking why I was no longer using his rosin. So I wrote back saying I preferred a different brand. Curiously, he replied, expressing real surprise that I was rejecting his rosin, when there were so many professionals who love Baker's, etc.(!) I was amused that he seemed not to want to accept the idea that there are "many fish in the sea", and that someone might prefer one over another.

March 13, 2015 at 10:22 PM · Martin,

I am also surprised you didn't like the Bakers, but I assume, string players will not like a rosin, if their equipment do not respond well to a particular brand. It is indeed a subjective issue. What you are saying, I find perfectly acceptable and legitimate.

What I find is good about the Baker's is that it's guaranteed to be fresh when it reaches you and it really is as you have also no doubt observed I'm sure. This I think is very important when it comes to string adhesion. I assume old traditional rosin formulations like what Tom Baker is using are still in existence and also employed by other rosin manufactures. There can be no guarantee however that what you buy from the shelf will be as fresh.

For a year now, I have only being using Baker's as it helps with my bad case of tendinits. May I please ask you, if you could possibly get back to Baker's and make use of your invitation to buy. I would gladly pay you a premium for the 2 cakes you are allowed to buy. It is really very important to me as it's the only one rosin that makes it possible for me to keep on playing. I don't know how, but it really does.

I do not want to ask Tom Baker again as he has very kindly helped me in the past and I don't want any preferential treatment over other players on the waiting list due to my unfortunate medical circumstances. I would greatly appreciate though if you could help me as I'm running out of the original formula and it's going to be the end of my playing when this cake of rosin runs out.

Thank you.

June 15, 2015 at 11:46 PM · Question,

Do rosins go bad over time?

- My Hill light rosin(had it for a year and half), everytime I use it, I get the grainy sound. I did not notice that until this past Winter.

I have been mixing it with Hill dark, because plain hill dark has too much grab on the string. I am going to have to ask the luthier which rosin she put on it when she let me sample it because I really like the sound it made.

June 16, 2015 at 05:37 AM · After a year or so, the essential oils evaporate which make the rosins' quality deteriorate.

Tom Baler from bakers rosin, suggests to replace rosin after a Year, which is the reason he makes his cakes small to last the average musician a year.

June 16, 2015 at 06:47 AM · Dear Kypros

How much rosin do you use? You must be putting it on your salads!!

One normal cake of rosin lasts me for years - even when I was playing professionally in orchestras full time!

I only put a little rosin on once or twice a week and I play for about two hours a day. If you use too much it will mess everything up and have a bad effect on your sound.

Are you sure your bow hair is not worn out? I re-hair at least twice a year, or one bow every nine months. (I have three bows).

June 16, 2015 at 10:44 AM · Dear Charles,

I'm referring to the Bakers rosin which is a small cake. I received my first Bakers original in April 2014 and now it's almost finished, although I have been using on occasion the citron as well. I don't really rosin my bows that much, but because I have six and I only play with two in the orchestra, I keep all of them rosined, but after resting in the case for a while they have to be rosined again even if playing time on them has been minimal.

The essence however is that in my case Tom Baker was right. A cake of his rosin will last me a year and no more.

June 16, 2015 at 11:19 AM · It sounds like a profitable bussiness for Mr Baker. Sell small amounts for a lot of money and convince people that it goes off after a year!

June 16, 2015 at 11:44 AM · Well, Bakers must be great as I left my bow resting across the strings when I had a tea break and it played a whole Paganini Caprice all on its own! Magic stuff.

June 16, 2015 at 01:45 PM · It is an exceptional rosin and I don't think it's because of the formula, but due to its freshness when it reaches you.

Right now there is a two year waiting list showing that other people might be having the same experience with their bows and the Paganini caprices during tea breaks.

June 16, 2015 at 01:53 PM · A two-year waiting list for a rosin? Is it THAT good?

Since I can't wait two years for my next major gig, what would be a rosin second to the Bakers?

June 16, 2015 at 03:18 PM · Kevin, though I'm sure many will disagree about the next best, I've found Melos Light to be very satisfactory. Not too pricey, but a good amount of stick while being smooth (once played in a little). I prefer the light with a good amount of swipes; the dark variety is a bit too sticky for me, even when I apply a little.

I believe they also strive for freshness of tree resin, with the entire product made in Greece, but as it is not a direct mail-order there may be some discrepancy. Still, it's a good rosin.

June 16, 2015 at 03:50 PM · I agree with Peter. I think selling a tiny amount of some stuff for an exorbitant price, claiming a lack of raw material supply, making you wait a long time for it, and then telling you it has a shelf life that is shorter than the waiting period ... all of that sounds like someone's been to grad school in marketing. One thing there is definitely NOT a global shortage of is pine rosin. The hard bit is to find new uses for the excessive amount that's available.

Someone wrote, "After a year or so, the essential oils evaporate which make the rosins' quality deteriorate." I have seen this claim elsewhere too. It's never substantiated in any way. If essential oils were spontaneously evolving from your rosin, you probably would not want to keep it in your violin case.

June 16, 2015 at 03:54 PM · Melos Rosin, which is owned and run by cellist Christos Sykiotis, produces a completely hand-made, fresh (made-to-order), and well-performing rosin in light and dark grades for all stringed instruments. He uses no fillers. Check out his site at Melos Rosin (English language site).

My wife likes Guillaume, which used to only come in a somewhat expensive wood case, but now also comes in a metal tin. My colleagues have also had good experiences with Hill Light/Dark, Millant-Deroux Light/Dark, Bernardel, Magic Ultra/3G, Petz Vienna's Best, Motrya Gold, etc. Also, "Rockin' Rosin" which makes a variety of cute shaped rosins for kids is excellent. I brought a couple dozen of theirs at the ASTA conference in March and the response from our students is very positive. It also works a heck of a lot better than their cheap block rosins!

Depending on your string choice, setup, and instrument/bow, you'll find that your tastes in rosin differ based on things like grip, clarity, powdering, frequency of application, etc. Sitting in the pit for 150 minutes of Les Miserables has different requirements than presenting a Bartok String Quartet or making yourself heard over a huge symphony in the Brahms Concerto. For me, it's about consistency and reliability...luckily for the given environmental conditions that I usually find myself in, many different brands all work despite their behavior quirks.

There's quite a few sources in chemistry journals on the process, but as I understand it in a simplified way, during the distillation process for pine resin which involves heating beyond 100 degrees C, any essential oils are separated away. The "essential oil" here is turpentine, which you definitely don't want to come in contact with long-term without protection. It's an organic solvent with many industrial uses, but is an irritant that can damage the lungs and respiratory system.

June 16, 2015 at 04:45 PM · I'm currently on Liebenzeller Gold II. I liked it at first but now I find that it gives a sound that is a bit too sandy on my violin with Kaplan Amo. I am looking for something that is as grippy but a bit smoother. Any suggestion on what to try next is greatly appreciated. Maybe the Melos?

June 16, 2015 at 07:27 PM · The most important aspect of rosin in my opinion is freshness.

Let me explain.

I bought a cake of liebenzeller gold I from a mail order shop and I hated it. I couldn't even get it started with sand paper or putting a rasp on it.

Then from reading the reviews, I decided to buy a second cake but this time from the source. I explained the problem with the first cake and where I bought it from. Their answer was that the place I bought from it did not order any rosins for the last five years. They sent me a fresh cake of gold I which was wonderful this time. I think this proved to me the importance of freshness.

June 16, 2015 at 07:44 PM · If the freshness matters, I suppose that they somewhat do age, and not well.

June 16, 2015 at 07:58 PM · Also, after debating and reading I bought a cake of Andrea Solo. I can't argue with the sound, but I am yet to try any other high end rosins

June 16, 2015 at 09:06 PM · So it sounds like my Lienbenzeller is dying. In that case I will try Melos next. It is cheaper than the Andrea.

June 16, 2015 at 09:15 PM · Learning to play the instrument well is much more important than wasting time agonising over rosin.

June 16, 2015 at 10:58 PM · Defective rosin is preventing me from learning to play well. :)

June 17, 2015 at 02:35 AM · Rosin doesn't age because of the evaporation of volatiles, but it rapidly ages due to oxidation. As it oxidizes its softening point goes up and it gets harder. The oxidation happens on the surface of the cake and this portion gets used first so overall, the oxidation probably isn't much of an issue. Obviously, it isn't a big issue because people use cakes of rosin for years, but there is no doubt a cake of rosin will change over time.

I've read of references to fires caused by rapidly oxidizing rosin spontaneously combusting when stored in flaked bags.

Since rosin oxidizes so rapidly in a fine powdered form, with lots of surface area, I've often wondered if the white rosin powder that builds up on strings, hair, and instrument isn't oxidized rosin that has lost most of its tack.

My previous employer used rosin in huge quantities and assumed the shelf life to be six months. Inventory older than that was not used in products.

There are antioxidants that can be added to rosin to greatly improve shelf-life, but I don't know which, if any, rosin makers use them.

June 17, 2015 at 03:36 AM · I always enjoy these rosin threads.

As for rosin makers "not adding any filler," rosin is such an inexpensive natural product that I can't imagine what purpose a filler would serve except to increase the manufacturing cost. It's a bit like advertising sand or water that does not contain any filler.

As for oxidation, you might enjoy looking at the Journal of Natural Products 2002, volume 65, pp. 1530-1534. Rosin does indeed oxidize and much of the article is necessarily consumed by highly technical discussion of the isolation and characterization of the oxidation products. Most relevant to this discussion is the second full paragraph on p. 1531, in which the authors describe that exposure of a powdered sample to air at 100 degrees Celsius resulted in melting and 30% conversion to oxidation products over an interval of four weeks. Note that a molten substance will oxidize much more quickly because of the ability of a liquid sample to continually refresh its surface layer. I infer from the findings reported in this article that the air oxidation of a cake of solid rosin at room temperature would be exceedingly slow. Oxidation is unlikely to penetrate beyond a very thin surface layer.

As for spontaneous combustion, that's been "reported" for people too. Just look it up on Wikipedia.

June 17, 2015 at 04:07 AM · I agree, Paul, that the use of fillers such as gold, copper is pure marketing hype. These aren't the kinds of materials that would have an effect, especially at those small amounts. On the other hand I can see where some fillers would be of benefit.

One of the many theories of how rosin works suggests that rosin cycles through a solid/melt phase as it stick/slips. For sure, rosin is used at a temperature close to its Tg so the potential for some kind of phase change is high. There are fillers that have the ability to bind with and gel materials like rosin. Such a filler could potentially expand the useful temperature range, or alter the slip/stick performance. After all, you are adding a component that is insensitive to temperature changes and affects the flow characteristics of the rosin.

June 17, 2015 at 08:51 AM · Assuming that oxidation does occur and that it doesn't run deep in a typical rosin cake, I should be able to revitalize my Liebenzeller by scraping off the top layer, right?

June 17, 2015 at 07:57 PM · Yes I would think so.

June 17, 2015 at 11:29 PM · Feedback on Anderea Solo so far:

1. It surprisingly has a very good grip, but not too sticky, and has the soft tone(not power).

2. Many would consider it good, but it's powerful. I mean It makes my head ring powerful in an acoustic room powerful. I live in an apartment building so now I strictly only play around noon in my room and in the basement parking lot any other time(that's where it's very acoustic).

3. It also makes very little residue in comparison to Hill, Dominant rosins.

In conclusion, Warchal review wasn't lying

June 18, 2015 at 01:29 AM · If your apartment has an extra room you can fit it with a sound insulated music studio.

June 18, 2015 at 02:02 AM · That'd be the day.. Right now, I live in a bachelor's apartment. I'm looking forward to gain access to the acoustic room at my school. Also to start my MSc to have money to move to a single bedroom.

June 18, 2015 at 12:21 PM · The simple answer is to shoot your neighbours.

June 18, 2015 at 02:32 PM · Perhaps supplying them with ear plugs would be a less drastic option ....

June 18, 2015 at 02:37 PM · Very well, I shall shoot them in the ears. Good compromise?

June 18, 2015 at 03:59 PM · This is not a good avenue of humor. If you are a college student, posting such things on public forums is grounds for expulsion.

June 18, 2015 at 07:10 PM · It's OK if it's a pea shooter. (And don't forget that this is known as humour - or even humor!)

June 18, 2015 at 09:30 PM · I recently started using the Guillaume rosin. The rosin is manufactured in France by the bow-maker, Pierre Guillaume. After performing the first movement of the Sibelius concerto, my bow was still sufficiently rosined to finish the piece effectively.

While a bit more expensive than other options, the quality is worth the price.

June 18, 2015 at 10:17 PM · Anyone tried Vienna's Best? It is one of the winners in the Warchal rosin shootout.

June 19, 2015 at 03:56 PM · I forgot to mention that Andrea Solo makes my violin sound bright, since Warchal is recommending Vienna's best for darker sound, I'm currently using Infeld Red, and with Hill Light/Dark, it makes relatively darker sound, just grainy. I will be trying on Obligato once my Infeld red gives out.

I personally wish to try Vienna's best, but I've already spent $35 on a rosin, so I'll keep it until I finish it(in 10 years maybe?).

June 19, 2015 at 05:23 PM · I use soap on my bow as it gives a good clean sound and its very smooth too. (It has to be fresh soap in a tiny cake).

June 19, 2015 at 05:32 PM · Soap is too bubbly. Try Vaseline.

June 19, 2015 at 06:48 PM · Now that we are in the bathroom, I use a very clean, worn out, soft, dry toothbrush to periodically clean the bow hair. I'm not sure if it keeps the sound minty fresh.

Stay pawsitive,

Dave

June 19, 2015 at 09:21 PM · Okay... Out of seriousness, how and when do you clean the bow hair? I've never done it.

June 19, 2015 at 09:22 PM · Urine is the best - you can then play pp, mp, or any p you need.

June 19, 2015 at 09:42 PM · Seriously, you don't need to clean bow hair unless it is losing its function. And you use alcohol to clean. But don't do this unless you know what you are doing.

June 20, 2015 at 02:02 PM · If the frog end of your bow hair gets grubby you can use a small piece of gauze with some isopropyl alcohol or denatured alcohol (ethanol). Just be careful not to get alcohol on any of the other parts of your bow. After that you can rosin the frog again. Start with three swipes of Bernadel, then two of Andrea Solo, then four swipes of Bakers followed by one each of Hill Light and Hill Dark and cap it all of by two swipes of Vienna's Best. Then you'll be able to play anything.

June 20, 2015 at 08:43 PM · I see,

I just got an e-mail from the luthier I bought the bow from, she used Gustave Bernardel rosin. I think I kind of went a little overkill with Andrea Solo, because Bustave Bernardel made very good noise.

Not as powerful, I feel that everytime I try on more expensive and "Better" things, bow, violin, rosin. I have an extremely hard time stepping down. I'll see to it and also Vienna's best after my Andrea Solo wears down. I'm still marking its surface.

June 20, 2015 at 10:20 PM · I've never tried Viennas best, but I was under the impression that it's a student rosin.

June 21, 2015 at 12:41 AM · Paul, I've been told by people that I should use Isopropyl Alcohol to wipe the whole stick and the frog, I have been doing this to my new bow, should I stop doing it.

I don't really see anything wearing down, just very clean.

October 18, 2015 at 02:00 AM · Has anyone had experience with the Liebenzeller tin?

October 18, 2015 at 10:45 AM · I have Liebenzeller with Meteor Iron and it is in the top three of my favorite toxins which work well for me. It leaves very little dust and is not overly sticky. I do wonder if the iron source is really from meteorites. If you are drawn to the Liebenzeller Tin mix go for it.

October 18, 2015 at 03:09 PM · meteorites? What's next? Moon rock in rosin?

October 18, 2015 at 03:49 PM · Yes, Yes, I know,,, even more rosin discussion.

Has anyone tried "OLD MASTER HANDCRAFTED" ???

October 18, 2015 at 06:57 PM · I wonder how they get a steady supply of meteor iron.

October 18, 2015 at 07:19 PM · Well, you put out a lot of nets at night and....

October 18, 2015 at 11:28 PM · Meorites in this rosin is what attracted me to give it a try. Just consider when I rosin my bow I am applying material that has traveled through the universe for possibly billions of years and now it is making me play beautiful music and best of all there is no one year waiting list.

There are numerous videos on YouTube of people with metal detectors hunting meteorites. They do come in weird colors, shapes and sizes. Sort of interesting to me to ponder.

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