Metal Rosins- Can They Actually Hurt Varnish?

December 14, 2015 at 06:20 AM · Hello everybody!

It was recently recommended that I try using Liebenzeller rosin, specifically Gold II. As I was reading up on it, however, I noticed that some have said that metal-infused rosin can hurt the varnish of your violin. Before I spend $30 on rosin, I'm curious to know if this actually has happened to anybody, if it's just "theoretically" possible (perhaps only if you use enough to give you violin a good dusting haha), or even just plain impossible.

Also, has anybody compared the new Liebenzeller to Larica? Which most closely follows the original formula everybody raves about?

Replies (20)

December 14, 2015 at 10:04 AM · Gold is chemically inert and mechanically very soft so it is probably less dangerous to your instrument than the other ingredients in rosin.

(I have never actually noticed a difference between rosins in my tone, but this may be down to me rather than them!)

December 14, 2015 at 01:32 PM · For many years I've had a sneaky suspicion that some rosin marketing and advertising is infused with a good dose of snake-oil. For my violin bows I've been using the same cello rosin cakes that I bought some time in the previous century. I purchased a more modern violin rosin recently to replace one of the cello rosin cakes which was becoming a little too thin for comfort, but I couldn't tell the difference.

December 14, 2015 at 02:29 PM · You should be wiping rosin dust off the instrument every time you play. As long as you don't let it accumulate you should be fine.

December 14, 2015 at 02:37 PM · "Instrument" includes the bow in this instance.

December 14, 2015 at 03:05 PM · Perhaps Ben is concerned with the possible abrasive factor of constantly wiping the dust off of our bow and violin top and whether it will wear the varnish faster than plain rosin over the years. This idea has never occurred to me and I have been using Liebenzeller with meteorite iron for about seven years and it is my third favorite rosin. I do wash my cleaning cloth once a week, maybe I should adapt a lighter touch in the wiping process.

December 14, 2015 at 03:05 PM · Trevor, snake-oil or not, it still can be good rosin!

Lydia, of course I always wipe things down after playing. The issue is perhaps even the small amount of dust from that is hurting things.

December 14, 2015 at 03:46 PM · I've been using a gold infused rosin for over a decade. I see no effect on the varnish. Lydia is correct. The key thing is to thoroughly wipe the violin clean after every playing/practice session. The acidity of any rosin is chemically much more damaging to varnish than the tiny amounts of additives in the rosin.

December 14, 2015 at 04:42 PM · Trevor, finally. Your the first person that I have heard of that actually used up a cake of rosin. I'm sure there are others. Anyway the amount of gold that could be added to a rosin for say $10. deposited and wiped off over the span of a decade or more seems to me like a relative low risk.

December 15, 2015 at 06:09 PM · I'm wondering whether the gold in the rosin can alloy itself with the silver in the string windings.

Mike, if you use gold-infused rosin with silver-wound strings, next time you change strings, send me the old ones and I'll analyze them for gold on the surface.

December 15, 2015 at 07:45 PM · I use the Liebenzeller rosin with meteorites in the mix. I would think meteorites would be rarer and costlier to add to the rosin than gold and am somewhat dubious if it is actually included in a significant quantity or one part per trillion. Can it aactually be measured? I do like this product and have been using it for seven or so years and it is kind of fun to think that chunks of space matter millions of years old has been pulverized and stuck to my bow hair.

December 16, 2015 at 05:26 AM · Meteorites are not all that rare. I would like to have depleted uranium in my rosin. Maybe then it would not break when dropped ...

December 16, 2015 at 12:52 PM · What about Cobalt-57 rosin? When it's turned to nickel, time for a new cake! (It guarantees freshness!)

The tingling in your fingers is an added benefit!

December 16, 2015 at 02:00 PM · I hope the makers of Baker's rosin do not see Paul and Ben's brilliant ideas for new rosin additives because instead of being on a two year waiting list supply and demand might create a four to five year wait.

December 17, 2015 at 12:46 AM · How about a Pheromone-laced rosin, the dust of which will instantly attract members of your preferred sex? If they can do it with hair gel...

December 17, 2015 at 01:11 AM · How about Sodium-22? For all the positron goodness?

December 18, 2015 at 09:14 AM · I'm using Larica Gold II. I've recently heard that It does not mix well with other rosins. Is this correct? I've also got some Larica Gold I.

December 18, 2015 at 12:45 PM · Some people say it is taboo to switch from one rosin to another and some have even said here on this site that you should give your hair an alcohol bath before changing brands. I switch between Liebenzeller meteorite , Salchow and Baker's rosin. When one does not work as good as I think it should I try the other variety for a while. I have encountered no problems mixing various rosins on the same bow. I notice that weather changes affect my bow bite and so am always tweaking and modifying for optimum results.

I have read that Warchal Strings did a blind rosin test and Andrea Solo was the top favorite; my next coveted magical sound elixir to produce beautiful music.

December 18, 2015 at 12:50 PM · The idea that you can't mix rosin on your bow seems ridiculous to me.

December 19, 2015 at 08:50 PM · I thought that Pirastro Goldflex was just a sales gimmick. Gold powder? HA!

I lent my violin to a person; it came back with two rosins as gifts: Jade l'Opera and Goldflex.

I used them on my cello: Jade was ok, but meh; idk, I seem to really notice rosins; I have a sensitive right hand when it comes to contact with strings. Jade was a bit too fuzzy; that being said, on really "jagged" cellos, it is splendid; and is great in really high humidity.

Then I decided to try the Goldflex as a joke. I expected it to either do nothing or add a little bit of a metallic sound to the instrument.

It did neither. I love that stuff. I have tried many rosins, but it is my new favorite. And I thought it was just a gimmick. Maybe it is; but it's a good gimmick.

That being said: I never washed my bow hair in any of that process. And a quick wipe down after playing is usually enough. I also reapply a fresh coat every time I play, to kinda start fresh.

December 27, 2015 at 01:56 PM · No worry - of course there is no metal in the rosin.

Liebenzeller is produced under anthroposphic principles, that means technically speaking there's magic being applied.

Here is an answer I gave some years ago, and it's still true:

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