Rosin Review

July 11, 2015 at 10:07 PM · Hello, I'm making review on multiple rosins I've tried.

First, a disclaimer. I am not a professional violinist. If anything, I should be considered as a beginner. I have been obsessively trying to find the rosin I like the best after realizing how much difference it makes after buying a new bow.

The medium I've been using is a German factory made violin from early 1900s labelled "Andrea Amati 1672" with Infeld Red Strings. I had to trade in my old violin and pay $800 on top of that. It sounds very good, warm, but needed a better set-up.

The bow is unlabeled Brazillian Pernambuco bow that I bought for $300. This is my only "good" bow, I cannot make a comparison if it's warmer or brighter, I can only claim that this gives me a LOT more control than anything I used as a bow. I am hoping to find a heavier and stiffer bow, because it seems that I've already dented a few spots here and there from aggressive playing.

Here's what I have used:

Hill Light,

- Not too warm, not too bright, but it made grainy sound with my violin. I didn't like it at all.

It made a lot of residue and I needed to reapply frequently and very lightly(4 full strokes maybe) to avoid grainy sound. Moderate grip on the string. Moderate sound volume. This used to be my main-stay.

Hill Dark,

-Almost the same as Hill Light, but stickier and less amount of residue, but harder to clean. Again, required frequent application and even lighter application(2 full strokes). Very strong grip on string. Moderate-high sound volume.

Bernardel,

-Definitely brighter than Hill, very smooth and requires less frequent application than Hill rosins and I have been putting 10 full strokes easily on the bow. It makes about the same amount of residue as Hill Light. Light grip on string. low sound volume.

Andrea Solo,

-Brightest than anything I've used here, very smooth and 10 full strokes lasted me exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes of play. It's weird because as soon as the rosin wears off, you can immediately feel it. Try timing it. It's very accurate. While it makes very little residue, and not very sticky to touch, it has very good grip on the string. Also this rosin makes my violin sound the loudest.

//Sidenote: I've used this on a temporal violin with Dominant string, possibly during the break-in time. The brightness made my ears hurt. I didn't play again until Vienna's Best arrived.

Vienna's Best

This rosin made my violin sound the warmest. It makes as much residue as Hill Light, and about as sticky as Hill Light, it has a little more grip than Bernardel and moderate sound volume. I would consider this to be counterpart of Bernardel, except warmer sounding. The rosin cake top layer makes it easier to apply than Bernardel.

Overall, although Andrea Solo is priciest, if I could return other rosins and keep two, I'd like to keep Bernardel and Vienna's Best. I find these to be good enough and most pleasant to play with. I feel that Andrea Solo may be over-kill at my skill level.

Replies

July 11, 2015 at 10:57 PM · I'm in heaven. We haven't had a rosin thread in *days*.

July 12, 2015 at 02:14 AM · Thanks for your thoughts.

Did you clean the bow hair completely between the different rosins?

July 12, 2015 at 02:37 AM · I did not clean the bow, but I played with each for over quite some period of time. Basically I stayed with one rosin for 2~3 days and I only made notes regarding it on the evening of the last day practice.

I don't know how to clean the bow hair.

July 12, 2015 at 07:18 AM · So you have the rosin disease for which there is no cure.

It sounds to me as if you apply rosin too much and too often.

I never think too much about rosin until I need a bit more.

There was once a player in an orchestra who used so much that clouds of the stuff would emanate from his bow. He was knicknamed Rosin. Even the conductor noticed ...

July 12, 2015 at 10:19 AM · The granddaddy of all rosin tests:

http://www.warchal.com/the_big_rosin_test.html

July 12, 2015 at 11:05 AM · I actually read the Warchal's rosin review and cannot agree more.

Except, I would include Bernardel up there as well.

July 12, 2015 at 11:24 AM · I just read the Warchal review of different rosins, thanks for the link Seraphim. I will have to order a cake of Andrea Solo

with my next string purchase. I would have like to seen how

the rosins that I have and use and am familiar with rated compared with the top three choices but Mr.Warchal said he did not want to hurt the lower rated rosins that were tested.

My newest rosin acquisition is Lapella Gold medim. I prefer the harder type but it was out of stock so settled for the medium. It is a decent product and have no complaints with it.

I love rosin. Tons of rosin. Clouds of rosin.

July 12, 2015 at 12:00 PM · Petz-Vienna's Best: OMG a rosin I never tried!

Andy

July 12, 2015 at 12:00 PM · This reminds me on a violinist who refused to ever clean the rosin deposit in front of the bridge. He would simply reply: "this is my emergency rosin supply!"

July 12, 2015 at 04:05 PM · I have to admit, Veinna's best is the latest collection that I've tried. It also my favorite.

It doesn't give you as much control as Andrea Solo, but it sure makes the overall sound warmer and that I really like. I've been mixing the two.

5 strokes of Andrea Solo then 3 Vienna's Best on top. This gives me good control and moderate warm sound. Bernaldel is reserved for my practice bow(to be played with the mute on, or anytime I take the violin outside).

July 12, 2015 at 09:26 PM · *What* is a "Viennese sound"?

July 12, 2015 at 09:54 PM · Kreisler sound? Or a sound that is syrupy.

July 13, 2015 at 06:16 AM · Steven - rather than messing around and wasting time with rosin, would it not be better to work on your bowing technique, and then it would not matter what rosin you used?

July 13, 2015 at 02:12 PM · I what whichever rosin will enable me to bounce around like Lindsey Stirling or Mairead Nesbitt.

July 13, 2015 at 02:22 PM · In my experience:

i love the Andrea Solo rosin. I like it the best.

Anyway, in the humid and hot climate we have in summer in north-east of Italy i'm always in trouble getting some serious grip (in summer only).

(i play mostly folk/balfolk types of music, and i need a sort of soloistic soundspread).

After struggling for several summers, and after having tried many types of rosin, strangely returning to a new cake of Bernardel, 1 month ago, solved all of my summer gripping problems..... :)

July 13, 2015 at 02:23 PM · Mr Charles, I agree with you, and hopefully within the next decade it will become the case. I practice everyday for 2~4 hours but this will be reduced maybe 2~4 hours per week as soon as the summer is over. In other words, It is a long way for me to go until then, I just wanted to experiment while I have relatively more time.

August 5, 2015 at 06:07 PM · Vienna's Best is an interesting product. Light, very silky -- maybe not grippy/sticky enough for off the string playing or sharp attacks. Maybe because it has beeswax mixed in? But this could be a virtue playing in hot/humid environments.

I have tried the combination cited by the Warchal Test -- a few strokes of Andrea solo, a few strokes of Vienna's Best -- and I like the result. But it is so subjective - not sure if it's any better than my old standby, Salchow dark.

August 7, 2015 at 01:40 PM · I agree with Peter.....

August 7, 2015 at 03:07 PM · It sounds to me like you're using way too much rosin. I use less than most people, but a swipe to the tip and back of andrea solo generally lasts me 5-6 hours;I can't imagine how you're getting any sound at all using 10 swipes every hour and a half. The sheer amount of rosin is probably choking the strings - I'm surprised you can tell any difference between them.

August 7, 2015 at 04:51 PM · I am also with Peter. My suspicion is that choice of rosin only matters for really good professionals, and that for most of us, there is no specific brand that will compensate for problems with bowing technique. Any decent rosin will due.

August 7, 2015 at 05:58 PM · This makes me wonder... I read that few decades ago, people didn't understand much about radiation safety and used Radium for just about anything, watch dials, paint, etc.

I wonder if anyone ever made radium rosins. If you find one, I strongly recommend NOT using it.

August 7, 2015 at 10:04 PM · I bought a cake of cello rosin some 25-30 years ago, and have been using it on my violin bows for the last 14 years. It's been only in the last few months that I invested in a new cake of Pirasto violin rosin because the cake of cello rosin is getting too thin and fragile.

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