Rosin

May 10, 2015 at 08:01 PM · I hadn't bought new rosin for about 10 years, when I bought my cake of Millant-Deroux at Ifshin's in Berkeley. But I have a new bow and instrument now, and decided it deserved its own cake. Imagine my surprise when I asked my luthier for the same and was told that she doesn't sell it--Ifshin's owns it!

I did a quick google search and found that it's sold all over the place. Has anyone else heard this? Anyway, she sold me Gustave Bernadel. I haven't tried it yet (unless it's on the bow she just sold me) but it does have its own pouch, which is nice because my new case doesn't have much storage space.

I guess there are actually two questions. The second one is: I understood that the best rosin depends on the climate you live in. Did I make that up? Rereading Laurie's weekend question from Apr 20, 2012 implies that this consideration is very low on peoples' list, if on it at all.

Replies (12)

May 10, 2015 at 08:13 PM · Oh boy! Rosin forum!! Bernardel is a fairly commonly-used rosin. Mine is heart-shaped because I had two old, partially-used, broken rosins that I melted together and re-molded in a heart-shaped, silicone mini-cupcake form.

May 11, 2015 at 01:11 AM · Greetings,

Bernadel is a good, high quality roain. It's a little too smooth, lacking in edge to the sound for my taste . But to tell the truth I try not to get too hung up on the differences between the best rosins.

Cheers,

Buri

May 11, 2015 at 01:21 AM · I'm actually curious at the differences between various qualities of rosin(whether or not it matters at all). Unless I'm mistaken, I still use the same cake of rosin that I used the day that I started using violin. I've borrowed rosin from other people before, but as far as I can, tell if I've put a good amount on the hair, the difference is minimal. What I have left right now is perhaps something around the size of a sugar cube, so it might be time to get some new rosin.

May 11, 2015 at 01:23 AM · I too prefer the Millant-Deroux rosins -- I use the Colophane 2000 gold/silver, and Jade.

You're in Berkeley? (Going to... Joan Balter?) You could just go by Ifshin's, or order it from the many online stores that carry it.

I've used Bernardel but don't like it as much. For the Bay Area, Jade can be a little grippy. I was using the Colophane 2000 primarily and then doing a single swipe of Jade on top.

May 11, 2015 at 01:37 AM · Greetings,

I use Colophone 2000 as well. Good stuff.

Cheers,

Burp

May 11, 2015 at 07:22 AM · I use Castrol GTX engine oil on my bow as it gives me a very smooth legatao.

(Please don't do this at home - this is meant to be a twisted English attempt at humour (humor!))

By the way, what I'm really saying is that rosin may make a 1% difference (probably not even that) - but an extra 10 minutes of good constructive practise or just thinking about the violin could over time make 100,000% positive difference to your playing!

May 11, 2015 at 03:49 PM · Lydia, yes, Joan Balter. She's on my daily ant trail (as my husband calls it) so I go to her as much as possible. I love the bows I've bought from her. But my three instruments were from Peter Van Arsdale, who isn't too far from Joan. Just worked out that way. Ifshin's--I tried violas there and go there for music and such. BTW, I just bought an Everest viola shoulder rest from Joan that she recommended over the Kun. Very comfortable yet I don't lose the vibrations. (I went restless for awhile so I had a good basis for comparison.)

OK, and you addressed the climate issue, also. Thanks! I'll try that combination if I'm not happy with the Gustave Bernadel.

Thanks everyone, even if your answer is just to add spice to this rather mundane topic. (I know, it gets asked a lot. But I did have a couple specific questions that I THOUGHT were new.)

May 13, 2015 at 08:54 PM · Andrea solo is just awesome. Works even on newly rehaired bow.

May 15, 2015 at 03:56 AM · Thanks, Robert. Turns out there is an entire thread on this rosin. Google also turned up the fact that there is a version for the viola. Who'd have thought!

May 16, 2015 at 12:26 PM · I've posed this question to 2 major bow makers here in Chicago, and several respected luthiers. Every one of them recommended Bernardel. They didn't think that spending more got you anything.

One the practical side, I like the sound I can draw with it, it produces very little dust, requires infrequent rosining, and cleans very easily off of my strings. I've tried Andrea Solo, Hill (light and dark), Salchow and Baker. While all of them are just fine, I didn't notice any real difference in sound. The Baker and Andrea cake more on the strings and are harder to clean off, and the above referenced cost a whole lot more. The cost is not particularly important, as a cake lasts forever and would be worth the few extra bucks if it did anything for me. The seasonal issues seem to more to do with the humidity changes that impact my instrument, than having anything to do with rosin.

Perhaps if I were possessed of a professional level of technique and equipment I'd notice more of a difference. But, for the time being, I think I'll stick with the Bernie.

May 16, 2015 at 05:29 PM · "I've posed this question to 2 major bow makers here in Chicago, and several respected luthiers. Every one of them recommended Bernardel. "

In some previous posts I've described some work I've done to measure the glass transition temperatures (Tg) of commercial rosins. I suspect it's the biggest factor in performance. Of the twenty or so I tested, Bernadel ranks #3 in high Tg. In other words it is one of the hardest. The most similar competitors are Magic Rosin and Tartini Silkier.

If you like hard, "dusty" rosins, you'll like Bernadel. If you prefer softer, "smoother" rosins, you won't.

May 17, 2015 at 08:27 AM · I agree with Peter.

But then I remember that it is actually the rosin which sets the string vibrating: the bow hair is just there to hold the rosin dust in a straight line, and the priceless pernabmuco stick is only there to keep the hair tight enough to do so!

Weather?(what the Brits have instead of a climate!) Rosin absorbs moisture, so I imagine that differences in tone from one day to the next can be partly due to rosin.

But to compare rosins properly, we would have to clean off the old rosin completely, each time. And try them all on the same day!

Much too tiresome. Time to practice!

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