Which rosin? Bakers or Larica gold?

October 23, 2015 at 01:33 PM · I know that there are many posts regarding this subject but I wanted to be more specific here. I use Evan gold violin strings and a PI platinum E string. I started using the Andrea rosin, both the solo and the a piacere and I was not a fan. From there I moved to Bakers rosin, both formulas, which were amaz8ng. They still are amazing, but I feel like it lost some magic or that the feel is not exactly right.

Has anyone tried the Larica gold rosins for violin. How do you like it? How does it compareally to Andrea or bakers? Thank you so much!


October 23, 2015 at 01:47 PM · Rosin thread!!

Now I know my weekend will not be completely devoid of entertainment and enlightenment.

I think your rosin lost its magic because you got used to it. Don't believe any of the nonsense about it spoiling or expiring. I think when you get to a certain point in your playing, you develop such a close relationship with the response of your instrument that any change made in a hopeful frame of mind, such as trying a new rosin or different strings, will give you an immediate burst of inspiration. But it wears off when you realize you can't put your finger on why it's better or worse than what you had before.

So either just stick with a rosin you know works, and focus on other aspects of your playing that you can actually control, or buy enough different rosins that you can change them out weekly and thereby continually enjoy that temporary lift.

October 23, 2015 at 02:45 PM · Lol rosin threads really are entertaining...but rosin is also about the feel and not just the sound and different rosins do have different sounds and textures? I see where you are getting at as rosin is rosin and in the end you just get what works.

October 23, 2015 at 04:38 PM · I think Paul nailed it.

Go ahead and try a new rosin. Not because it's any better or worse, but just because it's fun to try new stuff.

I will also put in s plug for the Magic Rosin. It seems just as good as any other high quality pine sap block out there, and is cheap enough to give it an impulse buy.

October 23, 2015 at 11:08 PM · I think Baker's might add something extra as well. I am not sure.

October 23, 2015 at 11:54 PM · I'm thinking that metal added to rosin would have to be extremely finely divided (colloidal or nanoscale particles) to have any effect on the performance of the product. Putting gold in rosin sounds like putting gold in chicken soup. Looks pretty, probably harmless, and a colossal waste of both money and a non-renewable mineral resource.

October 24, 2015 at 12:50 AM · Paul,

Gold is about $40/gm; the rosin is about 30/bar. Thus, if it was solid gold and they made 66% profit there would be less than 250 mg gold. Which is, of course, both too small for a bar and rather non-functional as rosin!

So I am going to guess that its really not a colossal waste of a natural resource - especially since most gold is held indefinitely in vaults and not available as a natural resource anyway!

October 24, 2015 at 01:01 AM · Has anyone tried the Larica rosins? Do the metals make a difference?

October 24, 2015 at 01:40 AM · As a kid I named one of my turtles "Rosin" - that should count for something! ;-)

Never tried Larica, but have tried so many - Hill, AB, Pirastro "Goldflex", Kolstien, Slachow, Milant, Bernadel,Tartini, Baker, Motriya, Liebenzeller - and probably a few others I don't recall. For more than the past year, my favorite has been the humble "Hidersine Deluxe". I briefly tried another Hidersine formula and liked it too. It gives good grip with breadth and good sound and feel - and it's cheap. Good and cheap, with a generous, sizeable cake. You can't beat that combination!

I feel that some rosins are absurdly over-priced. I think it's psychological and business hype - like what I've heard about ladies perfume - as though it can't be much good if it's inexpensive.

October 24, 2015 at 09:37 AM · Oh, looking it up, I see now that "Larica" is an outgrowth of Liebenzeller - the old gold formula of which I'd put second among all the rosins I've tried. However, I was told by a major distributor that I know personally that the woman who originally made Lieb. and sold the recipe, was disappointed that her successor did not follow the original process exactly and that it is not as good.

October 24, 2015 at 10:09 AM · For me the Baker's is the very best. Even the way it adheres to the hair when you rosin is reassuring and different from other rosins.

The big plus is that it is guaranteed fresh which is the first thing for rosin.

I received my two cakes of the Baker's earlier this month and without breaking the seal from the second one I put it in the fridge to keep it fresh until my first one runs out. This advise I received from none other than Tom Baker himself.

October 24, 2015 at 10:30 AM · I have done in depth rosin comparisons over the past 30 years during which I have tried almost every brand of rosin ever made. My conclusion: they are all the same. Let the rosin debate continue.

October 24, 2015 at 10:36 AM · I have yet to use up a cake of rosin, they seem to last forever and I use tons of it. My newest brand is LaPellaGold and after six months of intermittent use looks like it just arrived and never touched.

I do like these rosin threads and find them interesting and informative from peoples opinions and experience, from around the globe.

October 24, 2015 at 02:57 PM · Smiley - they are not all the same!

Some cost 1$ while others cost $50


Actually, there are subtle differences I think. Most of all how much dust they create! Second their tendency to stick to the strings and third, how often you have to re-coat the bow.

But beyond that is metaphysics,,,

October 24, 2015 at 09:45 PM · But Elise, without metaphysics we would not have rosin threads. Think how much enjoyment we would lose then.

October 25, 2015 at 02:40 AM · My own experiences of more than 50 years - OMG!! - of studying and professional playing and experimenting with different rosins tell me that there most definitely ARE differences among rosins, not unlike the fact that there are differences among strings. And like strings, I may have a favorite but I'm not saying that it is the best for everyone, since different players have different tastes and playing styles.

This was brought home to me a couple of weeks ago at no less a venue than Carnegie Hall. I currently keep 4 violins and 7 bows active in my permanent collection with 3 other violins and a bow currently for sale. I trade off their usage depending on repertoire, circumstances, etc. I also keep a few different cases in use with different old rosins and other needed materials etc. kept in each case. I tend to keep my current favorite rosin handy on one of my side tables in my living room. At that Carnegie Hall gig, where I was a member of an orchestra, I brought my overall favorite violin and bow. But early on at the dress rehearsal I felt a problem with my bow. It just wasn't adhering well to the strings. I don't tend to rosin my bow too much, preferring to rosin the bow a moderate amount more frequently rather than a whole lot at once. But I found myself needing to re-rosin more frequently than usual at the breaks. I thought that maybe it was time to re-hair the bow, even though I had it only about 6-8 months, didn't use it all the time and it seemed newly re-haired when I got it. I hadn't paid attention in a while to which rosin I had kept in that case but at the long lunch break it occurred to me to look. I actually had 2 rosins in the case. The one I had been using was an old Motriya. I decided to try the other one - an old Leibenzeller gold. Well the difference was like night and day! The Lieb. gave me so much more adhesion with less rosining.

At home the next day I compared my newly re-appreciated Lieb. with my current favorite, the Hidersine Deluxe. These were much closer, though I found a bit more breadth and depth with the Hidersine. BTW, my method of comparing is this: I wipe the strings and bow as much as I can. I then apply rosin A, play very briefly, wipe off the bow and strings and apply rosin B and play the same brief excerpts. I go back and forth like that 2-4 times and clear differences emerge.

Speaking of metaphysics, the original formulater of Leibenzeller was into astrology and believed that just when she did this or that in the process made a big difference. Others may contend that when it comes to rosin, to paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault lies not with our stardust but in ourselves.

So, will we ever get tired of talking about and trying different rosins? Well, it's a sticky subject!

October 25, 2015 at 02:03 PM · There definitely are differences! I am really curious about Larica rosin. Just how strings have their differences, rosins also have their differences on the sound, texture, and feel.

October 25, 2015 at 07:26 PM · Elise,

But of course the $50 rosin works better than the $1 rosin; otherwise, you would feel pretty silly paying $50 for a $1 item. In medicine, they call it the placebo effect -- same reason brand name meds work better than generic. And if you have to get on a waiting list and wait 2 years to get it, it works even better ;-)

October 25, 2015 at 10:39 PM · I'm with Smiley. The price is one thing, but the waiting list? Pure marketing genius.

October 26, 2015 at 12:59 AM · Yup.

OTOH I put a bit of Baker's on my bow the other day - wow, did it play well!

And we had sunshine all afternoon.

October 26, 2015 at 02:39 AM · Paul,

as Tom Baker himself said, they have access to a finite number of trees so the pine resin they collect is not enough to satisfy the entire demand.

If they wanted more resin I guess they could collect more often than just twice a year, but the quality is not the same. To me this spells quality and respect for the customer.

If they wanted to satisfy the entire demand, they could outsource resin from other producers, drop the price a little and sell a million cakes every year. They don't do it to maintain the quality of their rosin. As such, there must be a priority list if they want to be fair to all prospective buyers.

Some very few people don't like it, but most who have used it prefer it to any other rosin on the market. I don't think this is only just the power of suggestion thinking they get something special.

October 26, 2015 at 03:28 AM · I'm don't believe there's a shortage of pine trees. It's a matter of having access to more of them in a larger area, the number of trained people out there to do the work, and the greater costs involved to process, produce, store, and transport the product. If a business doesn't want to expand, that's their choice...if they are happy with their product, their profits, and where they are in the market, there is no need to change. Growth for the sake of growth is not needed here. However, it does not correlate with a scarcity of the actual resources themselves.

There are many excellent rosins on the market, I'd suggest checking out Christos Sykiotis' Melos, which is also made fresh.

Also, one that performs surprisingly well despite the low cost is D'Addario's Kaplan Artcraft Light. I bought a few cakes for my K-12 students to use in orchestra class (since the cheap ones they get with their rentals are downright awful) and the improvement in performance is quite dramatic. :)

October 26, 2015 at 09:45 AM · I think I'm going to put everyone on my waiting list for my next post here! ;-)

October 26, 2015 at 09:49 AM · Gene,

from the little I know, the Baker's rosin company is a family of musicians run business, with not absolute profit maximization on their agenda. Maybe the reason for not expanding is that they want to supervise themselves, every step of the making process, from the picking of the resin to the final pouring into the metal containers. As such they might not be interested in producing more cakes, but instead to serve the discriminating musician with a great quality rosin. This might be the reason they do not want to outsource pine resin. They don't sell to stores as they cannot guarantee freshness when it changes hands over the counter. This alone should be telling us something. If a rosin producer insist we get their rosin no more than 15 days old, then they do care about the quality of their product and what we get at the end of the day.

October 26, 2015 at 10:26 AM · My Baker's is 3 years old and works just as well as when I bought it.

Baker's rosin - in the oven!

Is the 'freshness' perhaps something to do with its scent?

October 26, 2015 at 10:33 AM · Elise.

my last cake was 2 years old when I was invited to buy again and I have to also say that it did not deteriorate after the first year.

About the smell, I'm of the opinion that fresh rosin will smell of pine resin but if it smells of anything else I consider it suspect.

October 26, 2015 at 10:39 AM · Bakers does work well. That is until your 12 year old drops it on the floor and it shatters into a gazillion pieces. Then you wish you had bought the $1 rosin which shatters just as well as Bakers. As for the playing characteristics, no discernable difference.

But I have to agree with Elise, when you use Bakers, it does make the sun shine brighter.

October 26, 2015 at 10:45 AM · Since he put us on a waiting list, it seems that Raphael's next post will somehow seem more relevant -- waiting in anticipation. What will come first, my invitation to purchase Bakers or Raphael's next post. The suspense is killing me.

October 26, 2015 at 11:58 AM · Interesting thoughts, Kypros. Does the rosin come with Kool-Aid? Next they'll say that the pine tree for your rosin has to grow up next to the tree for your Carpathian tone-woods to achieve the best "match" of your rosin with your instrument. Maybe Brazilian pernambuco rosin would be better. You said lots of people like it and it's not the power of suggestion. I think you're underestimating the latter.

Raphael's waiting list is only the first step. Pretty soon he's going to charge us $50 to view his posts, and then they'll seem even MORE witty and insightful than they are now.

If your rosin drops on the floor, you can gather up the pieces, melt them on your stove, and remold them into a new rosin cake. I have done this a few times and it works just fine. The mold that I use is a silicone mini-cupcake tray. When the rosin hardens, the silicone just peels off. No mold-release agent is needed. Turns out the mini-cupcakes are heart-shaped, so I have a few heart-shaped rosins. I call them "Rosins of Love" (my inspiration for that term was "Violins of Hope"). I have a PDF containing detailed instructions with color pictures, anyone may request that of me by email. But you'll have to wait 2 years ...

October 26, 2015 at 01:21 PM · When I got my first cello in 1948, there was a used double-cake of Thomastik "soft/hard"cello rosin ( http://www.swstrings.com/product/accessories/violin/183R ) - the stuff is still made - in a pocket of the cello bag. Now, the cello had been made in Mittenwald in 1877, had a 1929 Baltimore repair label inside - and since the cello came from storage in someone's attic, there is every reason to believe the rosin was 19 years old when I started to use it - I continued to use that rosin for at least another 20 years. Later, in 2001 I found that cake of rosin again and gave it to a granddaughter when she started to play the violin - it still worked, even though it was probably 72 years old and one side had less than 1/8 inch thickness of rosin left.

I started experimenting with rosins around 1996 and some companies sent me free samples so I eventually accumulated about 6 dozen cakes of various rosins. I tried many of the Liebenzeller rosins and definitely found differences between the different metal types as well as the different roman-numerical grades. I liked the gold and metieorizen best. The silver was a bit too "treble" for me and the copper too smooth - but good for beginners who can't bow straight. I liked the Liebenzeller rosins, but found I needed to add a swipe after about 90 minutes of intense playing - sometimes an inconvenient time. I got good results with Tartini/Andrea that carried me well past that 90-minuite barrier. Melos gave me comparable results.

I found BAKERS capable of responding to subtle use of a bow (something my 81 year old right arm can't really do on a violin or viola any more). It produces lot of dust, as do the MAGIC rosins. But that doesn't stop me from using them when I want what they deliver.

You have to be sure your bow is not holding a lot of old rosin (clean the hair with a toothbrush) and be sure to clean your strings after playing (a nylon "scrubbie" does a pretty good job, but sometimes you have to use a solvent to clean the old melted rosin from between the string windings - but be sure to wipe all the solvent off with a dry cloth before it evaporates or dries, or you will just deposit the rosin residue between the string windings again). Ambient temperature affects the performance of different rosins differently, so if you are having troubles at times, that can be why.

And you can combine rosins on your bow - try it, see if it works for you. Realize that rosin coats the hair AND the strings and it is the attraction (friction) between the rosin on both surfaces that grabs the string. But, excess rosin accumulation on the strings spoils the uniformity and purity of sound.

EDIT: After submitting the above I tried a number of different rosins during 2 separate practice sessions today each on a violin, a viola, and a cello, with 6 different bows. I will add this: different rosins may give you different sound quality (frequency spectrum "balance") and you may have your "ear set" on specific sound quality from your instrument that some rosins and bows may give you more easily. Also, different people's ears have different frequency response spectra - so that has something to do with it. (I added a digital hearing aid to my right ear last spring and it makes a big difference in my hearing compared to the previous 20 years. I think those who really love BAKERS (and I also tried SARTORY rosin today) probably have good high frequency hearing and these 2 rosins would work well for those lucky people, as they worked well for me today.)


October 26, 2015 at 01:47 PM · Paul,

you can do the same with Bakers if it breaks, a little paper cup is provided to melt it in.

I don't know if it's the power of suggestion for other people, but for me it surely is not, as I have experimented with rosins including Larica among a lot of others and I found the Bakers to be by far the best. But if my opinion doesn't count,(and I'm really not offended if it doesn't)

to put your mind at ease with the power of suggestion idea, I lent it to a lot of colleagues without them knowing what it is, or about the waiting list and invariably they loved it. They thought they could buy it from internet sources. They didn't of-course like the idea of waiting 2 years for it when I told them, but they registered nevertheless because it's better to wait for it than not having it at all.

I suspect that people who rosin their bows very sparingly, (Heifetz I read was one of them) maybe actual rosin quality does not play as an important role to their technique as to others who rosin more often.

October 27, 2015 at 12:46 AM · Baker's is amazing. Getting Larica Gold I and II tomorrow. Time to try them out!

October 27, 2015 at 01:42 AM · Kypros, you mean your violinist friends used a rosin that you loaned them without asking you what it was? That surprises me.

October 27, 2015 at 03:48 AM · Yes they asked and I said the name which nobody heard before,they tried it, loved it on the spot and then asked further questions, I don't see the odd bit comes in the equation. People love to try new things.

October 27, 2015 at 03:51 AM · Kypros - don't you see some irony in a product that is marketed as better because 'it is fresh' but that you have to wait 2+ years to replace?

If it has to be fresh what are you supposed to do in the meantime?

October 27, 2015 at 04:44 AM · Elise,

is it better to go without?

One is allowed to order 2 cakes which for the average violinist will last them a year each. What I do to keep the second cake fresh and after the advise of Tom Baker, I put it in the fridge without breaking the factory seal and this helps to keep it fresh. I guess if the list was not growing it would be a better idea for the Baker's to allocate only one cake per year and invite us to buy every year to ensure we always have a fresh cake of rosin to work with.

October 27, 2015 at 10:15 AM · I thought you get invited to buy every year! That's why I haven't gotten mine yet. Next time I will try keeping it in the fridge. Any positive or negative experiences with larica?

October 27, 2015 at 11:37 AM · How similar is Larica to Liebienzellar? How do people like that?

October 27, 2015 at 02:09 PM · Kamalakiran,

If you registered twice at any time, your name was deleted by their computer automatically.

October 27, 2015 at 02:16 PM · I never registered twice. Only once. It will be one year in three days, so I am expecting a invitation soon!

October 27, 2015 at 02:54 PM · Kamalakiran,

the waiting list is(i think)two years I'm afraid.

October 27, 2015 at 03:39 PM · It lasts forever because, from what I've read on here, if you're a really good violinist you don't use hardly any rosin, maybe a couple of swipes every few months. I blame Heifetz. He said that he used his (Hill) rosin "sparingly" and ever since then there's been some kind of competition among violinists to see who can claim to use less.

October 27, 2015 at 08:48 PM · Honestly, I feel like I use more rosin than the average person, but I think for my style of bowing, being Carnatic Music, I need more rosin.

October 27, 2015 at 10:32 PM · David - as said above, if it last for (at least) 2 years (I'm going to guess that the time is 20+ years_ why is it so important that it is delivered fresh? And whats this need to 'refridgerate'. I am going to guess that moisture is probably a far worse enemy than room temperature. But there again, it took eons for rosin to go so hard you could not use it - eons.

Come to think of it, why hasn't some enterprising rosin-maker put insects in it? More hum? Get the one with the bee. Piercing sound? The hornet rosin. Big, big dark, cavern sound ? How about a cockroach ... Beautiful fluttering sound? Hey, a butterfly... the possibilities are endless.

Maybe I shouldn't even suggest this, there are enough nuts selling Magic Rosin already. Oops, there already IS a Magic Rosin. :P

October 28, 2015 at 12:29 AM · A hint for dealing with rosin (This came from a podcast by Rachel Barton Pine and her guest: the head of the department that makes all the strings at Dominant, etc.) Have a zip lock baggy in your violin case with a wad of 0000 steel wool. Whenever you think you need to rosin your bow, just take out the steel wool and (with the violin inverted, so none of the droppings of rosin or steel wool end up on the violin) gently run it over the strings several times (where the rosin collects) to free the strings from the compacted rosin that has collected. The instrument will sound better, and you will find that the bow does NOT need to be re-rosined yet. You can do this several times before you actually need to re-rosin the bow.

October 28, 2015 at 05:01 AM · David,

it all depends how many hours you put in. The Baker's is big enough to last a working professional violinist for about a year. That is what Tom Baker says. It's not that if you use it after the year it's going to behave differently and mine didn't, but when Tom Baker talks rosin, I listen.

October 28, 2015 at 11:04 AM · If its not going to behave differently why did you write that:

"The big plus is that it is guaranteed fresh which is the first thing for rosin."

Sorry, but whats the 'freshness' all about when it works fine after 2 years?

October 28, 2015 at 11:54 AM · Joel, I learned that 0000 steel wool trick a LONG time ago (probably 1977 or so) from a fellow community-theater pit-orchestra musician. I was 12, she was in her 60s, I guess, and I got a lot of good advice from her. She kind of took me under her wing and taught me correct pit-orchestra protocol. I still remember her name -- Winifred Reel. Winnie is the one who started to clue me in that my teacher was not teaching me the stuff I was supposed to be learning. I wish I had taken her comments more seriously, but when you're 12 you don't always listen as well as you should.

October 28, 2015 at 03:54 PM · Elise,

If you start with a known fresh rosin, its fresh qualities will certainly last longer than a rosin you buy off the shelf of unknown date of manufacture. I have bought rosins in the past that I had to throw out after I opened them as it was impossible to rosin the bow with them. I live in Cyprus and before the internet era I had to buy rosin locally which was on the shelf for years. When I went to the U.S and tried the first relatively fresh cake of rosin I saw the tremendous difference between fresh and old (other individual rosin qualities not taken into consideration)

October 28, 2015 at 04:55 PM · No, I think your playing just improved because you were in the US. *grin*

October 28, 2015 at 05:00 PM · I am using Oliv Evah that I got 5 years ago. It still works fine and it is not even close to running out. I would guess it has at least another 10 years left. I wonder if I will get a chance to purchase Bakers by then. Maybe not. I've been on the waiting list for 3 years now. The longer I wait, the better it is going to work.

Speaking of waiting, was Raphael serious about putting us on a waiting list to read his posts. I don't know about you but next time he posts, I am going to savor every word.

October 28, 2015 at 06:24 PM · OK, OK, I'll suspend the waiting list for this terrible alert I just came across from The Strad:

China customs officials confiscate string players’ rosin

Three separate incidents have been reported recently in connection with Shanghai International Airport

October 28, 2015

It has been reported on the Klassikom website that three string players have had their rosin confiscated when travelling to and from China in recent months.

Anther thing to worry about when travelling. What did they think it was - some kind of drug?

And now that I've posted again, you're all on the honor system of paying my paypal account $50. Thank you for your support.

October 28, 2015 at 06:31 PM · I have it from a reliable source that the confiscated rosin was in fact Bakers. The airport security person that confiscated the rosin was a violinist and he has been on the Bakers waiting list for nearly 5 years. His wait became a lot shorter when he encountered the traveling violinist. Oh happy day!

October 28, 2015 at 06:49 PM · Lol! But really, rosin? It was bad enough to worry about keeping nail clippers in the case. Now I'm on the waiting list for a very nice pair of clippers!

October 28, 2015 at 08:23 PM · The article says that unnamed officials believe that rosin is an explosive. Some music would be much more interesting if it were.

October 29, 2015 at 12:00 AM · I'm going to hire a bunch of guys to get on the Bakers waiting list so that I can resell the rosin on eBay at a huge profit.

Rosin scalping: It's come to that.

October 29, 2015 at 01:11 AM · Just tried Bakers from a borrowed cake.

If you want a more baroque sound, you might try it

(my violin got more mellow and not as bright, and the open G sounds somewhat more like a plain gut G!). :) Very cool...

October 29, 2015 at 03:32 PM · I’ve written about this before in previous rosin threads, which go into more detail, but I’ve been trying to measure various properties of bow rosins to see what may best distinguish one from another. How a rosin performs during the stick-slip process as a bow is drawn across a string relates to its viscoelasticity and temperature/frequency response. All of these can be quantified and in testing about twenty commercial rosins (and several experimental formulations) it looks to me like the biggest distinguishing property is the glass transition temperature (Tg). This is the temperature at which glassy materials like rosin change from being brittle to becoming elastic and liquid. You can think of Tg as a measurement of the rosins hardness, with low Tg rosin being softer than high Tg.

The rosins I’ve measured range widely, from a low of 46 degC (soft) to a high of 69 degC (hard) with about a third of them all being 56 degC.

The only reason I’m repeating previous posts is that I’ve finally been able to purchase a sample of “Baker’s Original” and compare it to the others. There’s a lot of hype around Baker’s and I wanted to see if was truly different from the others. It turns out that Baker’s has a Tg of 49 degC, which makes it one of the softer rosins on the market. People that like Baker’s obviously prefer soft, more fluid rosins, and I don’t believe there is anything more to it than that. It’s very similar to D’Addario Natural Rosin Light (Tg=48C), D’Addario Natural Rosin Dark (Tg=46C) and Kaplan Art Craft Light #6 (Tg=50).

People who prefer hard and more brittle rosins might look at Magic Rosin (Tg=61) or Tartini Silkier (Tg=65). The middle of the road rosins, all with Tg=56 include Hill Dark, Goldflex, Piastro Gold, and Sherman’s.

I think it would be useful to be able to select rosins using a meaningful rating system. One could use a 55 Tg rosin for general use, switch to a 50 Tg rosin when playing in a cold auditorium and switch to a 60 Tg on a hot summer day. Presumably, this would result in consistency regardless of conditions.

October 29, 2015 at 04:08 PM · I wonder if this Tg rating is the only meaningful determinant of a good rosin. Without being a scientist, I would assume that this rating determines how the bow feels while it's drawn on the string or how grippy it is, It does not determine though how the specific ingredients and additives of every rosin will affect the sound one makes on a specific instrument.

October 29, 2015 at 10:57 PM · Kypros, the ONLY effect of any ingredient in a mixture is to change the physical properties of the material. There is no special or magical effect on sound separate from the physical properties of the rosin. The effect caused by all the ingredients can be quantized simply by changing the ingredients, measuring the resultant physical properties, and building a model. It's done all the time with perfumes, cosmetics, paints, adhesives, foods, etc. All that is required is the ability to reproducibly measure the physical property(s).

There are no doubt many other physical properties of rosin that affect sound and performance. I'm only saying that Tg is the biggest one I've found so far and it logically makes sense.

It's not so hard measuring the physical properties of rosin. What's neigh on the impossible is to map these properties to playing performance since performance is so objective and every violinist has their own opinions.

I think with the 20 or so rosins I've looked at people might generally be able to tell the difference between the most soft and the most hard, the extremes, but I seriously doubt there would be much agreement on the rest.

October 29, 2015 at 11:09 PM · I use Tg measurements quite a bit in my work, and I think Tom Quinn has provided some extremely useful information here and has likely drawn the right conclusion. The previous post about waking up the G string is consistent with a softer rosin.

Amorphous and semicrystalline polymers (many plastics) exhibit thermal glass transitions as well. A good way to think about Tg on the microscopic level is the temperature above which there is local, segmental motion of the polymer molecules. A common way to adjust the Tg is to add a small amount of an ingredient that tends to facilitate these local molecular motions. These ingredients are called plasticizers. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a good example of a substance that exhibits a huge range of properties based on plasticizers in the formulation. When PVC weathers, the plasticizer can diffuse out of the material (from your dashboard to your windshield, for example) and eventually the remaining material becomes brittle (less plastic) and cracks will start to appear.

I'm not sure what the plasticizer(s) in rosins might be although I would not be surprised if water was on the list. Water plasticizes certain polymers too. Rosin is not principally a polymer, it is mostly abietic acid which is a (relatively) small molecule. But the same principles apply to glassy substances generally.

October 30, 2015 at 10:12 AM · So the plasticizers evaporate over time,the rosin loses some of its former qualities. The question now being, how long will that take.

October 31, 2015 at 02:37 AM · Rosin isn't water soluble so it wouldn't be used to plasticize and soften, but there are plenty of rosin derivatives that have very low Tg's and are viscous liquids at room temperature.

This stuff, for example

These aren't very volatile and the rosin itself would oxidize and deteriorate long before you'd notice the loss of the plasticizer.

Other rosin derivatives can be used to raise and harden the Tg. Blending these components is really all that's needed to formulate whatever hardness/softness desired. Then, to clinch the sale, you can add gold and devil's blood and attribute the recipe to a sorcerer.

October 31, 2015 at 06:11 AM · Tom,

it used to happen to me that when receiving a new rosin it would adhere well on to the hair first time, but after a while it would become very difficult to apply as it would not stick to the hair any more. Why was this happening? I would put it down to plasticizer evaporation, but I'm open to a better scientific explanation.

October 31, 2015 at 06:25 AM · Perhaps because rosin sticks to horsehair well, but not to rosin itself? I.e.-Too much rosin buildup on bow hair?

October 31, 2015 at 10:47 AM · What might be useful would be for Tom to run another set of thermograms on the same sample in a couple of years. The other thing he could do is show us a representative thermogram so that we can see whether the Tg is a sharp, well-defined transition or whether it is one of those barely-there features that suggest a fair amount of error in the Tg determination. A substance does not need to be soluble in water in order for water to serve as a plasticizer for that substance.

October 31, 2015 at 11:08 AM · Seraphim,

my rosin application being the same, why some rosins will not stick to the rosin on the hair and the Baker's does?

October 31, 2015 at 11:09 AM · I'm not conversant with the science of rosin but will speak from personal experience.

I have had rosins that have worked well for years. If a rosin stops adhering well, try "key-ing" it again, as many people do at first - that is scratch the surface of the cake a number of times. See if this helps.

Here's an odd thing I've noticed re rosining technique: everybody has their own way, granted. What I do is to use short strokes, gradually making my way up and down the length of the bow to include all areas, sometimes - especially for orchestral playing - putting a little more on the "sweet spot", that area above the middle and below the point. Then I even it out with a few long strokes with the rosin along the whole length of the hair. I am totally comfortable playing at any and every part of the bow, as the music demands. But the fact is that most playing takes place in the 75% or so of the hair from a bit above the frog to a bit below the tip. Yet, so many players have this odd practice of using short, fast, vigorous rosining strokes at the frog, quickly skipping to the tip, where they do the same thing, quickly back to the frog, etc.! WHY?? What about the rest of the hair? I've seen this again and again with many otherwise fine and well-informed players.

BTW, my Paypal account is still inexplicably dormant. I may have to go back and put everyone on a waiting list before I share any more precious words of wisdom! After all, my posts can't be expected to remain fresh for very long! ;-D

October 31, 2015 at 03:52 PM · But I mean furiously and vigorously at one end, a quick light sweep to the other end and back and forth. As the King of Siam said, it's a puzzlement.

October 31, 2015 at 05:18 PM · Keying doesn't describe it Raphael. Only yesterday I used the belt sander to make the rosin stick to the hair and it only improved adhesion marginally. This is a well known up-market brand of rosin that I bought from the source being reassured it was fresh. It was fine in the beginning (about 6 months).

I do rosin the way you do as well, but I've see good violinists rosin only at the frog and head end expecting the bowing action to carry the rosin over the whole length of hair. These people I admit are among those who don't like too much rosin on the hair and rosin only sparingly.

October 31, 2015 at 11:14 PM · Actually, I had a long talk with a very knowledgeable former teacher of mine who I still keep in touch with. The talk was about many things but it touched on rosin at one point and he's had similar experience of a rosin just not adhering anymore. So maybe it depends on the rosin. I spoke some posts ago re the 2 rosins I had with me on the Carnegie Hall gig and how the Motriya that I once liked wasn't doing it at all for me whereas the old Liebenzeller was. I didn't think to key the Mot. but I will soon and see if it helps. What brand was that which stopped adhering for you, Krypos?

In the past I'd used Pirastro Goldflex for years and it remained just fine. I've been very pleased with the Hidersine Deluxe since June of '14. We'll see...

PS If the letter s or word s in my pos ts stop ad hering, somebod y le tm e kn o w....

November 1, 2015 at 09:22 PM · The old Motriya that wasn't making it for me at the recent Carnegie Hall gig, where I had my overall favorite violin and bow, seemed quite OK today with a more modest Chinese violin and bow. I compared it to an old Bernadel, with a slight preference for the latter. But for good measure I decided to re-key them both - and I think that it did add a bit of texture to their adhesion.

Now I'm inspired by this experiment to try to key this post, to keep it fresh a little longer. Let's see...

lll ---- ///// \\\\ ***** There, that should do it!

November 1, 2015 at 10:05 PM · Anybody uses the Laubach?

November 5, 2015 at 07:48 PM · Larica is a good back up but bakers is still the absolute best. Compared for the past week :)

May 1, 2016 at 04:26 PM · I am using Laubach gold rosin and I am extremly happy with it.

I used to play on Liebenzeller. I didnt know about Laubach rosin until I have been to a Leonidas Kavakos concert and saw that he was using it.

I can only recommend it buying it from Europe since its cheaper than buying it in the states.

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