High-end rosins

September 19, 2016 at 07:51 PM · I'm interested in high-quality rosins. There have obviously been many threads on this in the past, but I don't think there's one that really covers my interest. (Best one is this old one.)

I've been on the waiting list for Baker's forever, so that's not an option. I'm curious about whether or not Leatherwood is even vaguely worth its completely insane price-point.

I'm also interested if anyone has any comments about Andrea Solo vs. Orchestra vs. a Piacere. I tried Andrea Solo a number of years ago and didn't like it much; I normally use the Millant-Deroux Gold/Silver and Jade.

I don't ordinarily obsess about rosin, but my new bow came rosined with something much better quality than what I've been using, and I have no idea what it is!

Desire: Good grip, no powder, frequent application okay if need be. Strings vary. Currently Passiones. Next set will probably be Olivs. Gut requires a bit more grippiness.

Replies (49)

September 19, 2016 at 08:26 PM · Ask the seller what he used:-)

I'm one of those nutters that spends too much time and money on the pursuit of that last one percent. I have all of the high end rosins. Bakers I am not much bothered by, ok but not that special. Andrea Solo I like, but my new favorite is Evah Pirazzi Gold. A very different formulation to the Olive/ Evah rosin and not to be confused with Pirastro Gold. More grip, and more range of colours.

Have you tried the Evah Pirazzi Gold strings? Currently my favorite on the Amati.

Cheers Carlo

September 19, 2016 at 08:30 PM · Yes, sad to say the rosin racket is another phase of the sometimes, shall I say shady, instrument business. I gave away my Baker's rosin; not worth waiting for! I have been using Tartini Silkier Solo on my cello bows since I got it, with no need for change. If Andrea is the same stuff, I will be happy to help them stay in business forever. Note: Be careful that Olivs fit your bridge's grooves properly.

September 19, 2016 at 09:14 PM · I like Andrea solo, but it took me some time to figure the right amount for best tone. It may not sound as good if too much is applied (Only 1-2 stroke works best for me and would last me probably an hour). If swiping over the finger nail, I only see very light residual. Doing so, I rarely see rosin residue on violin, and build up on string is also kept to minimal (but just gotta re-rosin it every so often). So It seems to fit your description and desire.

The tone can be soften a bit if I mix it with another lighter rosin (like another 1-2 stroke). I mixed it with a Japanese brand called Archet (soprano model), but you could probably get the same result from other type such as Viennabest (according to Warchal's big rosin test).


September 19, 2016 at 09:20 PM · EP Golds are too high-tension for my violin (they were my string of choice on my previous violin). Less open resonance, even though the violin in some ways seems to vibrate more intensely (I can feel my teeth vibrate when my chin is in contact with the chinrest). The lower the tension, the better the violin seems to sound, in my case.

September 19, 2016 at 09:23 PM · Warchal Strings did a rosin test a while ago and the results are posted on their site and it is kind of informative to see where your rosin places on the list. Quite a few people choose Andrea Solo as the best in a blind test.

As far as Baker's rosin, I was on the waiting list a year and when I finally did recieve it I loved it and I think it's freshness is what set it apart from others. This is just my experience with it, but now that it is quite old it is no different than the other brands I use. I would like to order the Andrea Solo based on Warchal Strings test but I have so much rosin already...

September 19, 2016 at 10:47 PM · What is that smell on my street early in the morning?

Is it Andrea?!

Is it Baker?!

It is neither Andrea, nor Baker, but a new park across the street with fresh Wood Chip Mulch spread under the bushes and trees!

A fresh scent of raw resin...


September 19, 2016 at 11:05 PM ·

September 19, 2016 at 11:26 PM · Lydia, A few months ago through a STRAD Magazine email I was able to take advantage of a "2-for-1" offer from Leatherwood rosins and purchased pairs of their violin, viola, and cello rosins.

I love the stuff and am unlikely to seek any additional rosin brands in the future (and at my age this purchase will last longer than I do). I find the packaging a little awkward for portability - but rosining up at home always seems to be sufficient for the day's events.

My preferences are for the darkness of the "supple" styles on viola and cello, but for one of my violins I love the "sparkle" I get from their "crisp" violin rosin - )my digital hearing aids allow me to hear violin sparkle once again!).. These rosins actually have changed the way I order the playing qualities of my bows and changed which ones are in which instrument cases.

(EDIT-Oct. 18, 2016: after another month I find I am really enjoying the extra low-string tone I get from the Leatherwood Viola Crisp for orchestral playing--we viola players need some edge against three times more violinists.)

Regarding the Andrea rosins, I always had a preference for the"Symphony" grades for all 3 of my instrument types (i have both "Andrea" and "Tartini," which to my senses are the same) and I have the old "Tartini Green" which is supposed to be the same as "a Piacere." I never liked the "Green" in the past (it seemed too sticky to me) but now (after owning it all these years) I find it gives a nice grip and good sound for some things - in the right season.

September 20, 2016 at 02:58 AM · I wonder if it would make any sense to use a stickier rosin on the upper half of the bow where you don't get as much grip, and then blend that in with a less sticky rosin at the heel.

September 20, 2016 at 06:34 AM · I like a drier rosin in the humidity of the Summer, so I use Millant-Deroux, (when I lived in Vienna I used it all year round) in the very dry Michigan Winters I like Melos dark. I've had Baker's and Liebenzeller; I wasn't impressed enough to buy more.

September 20, 2016 at 08:06 AM · Solo is my current fallback, and I just reordered the Bakers Original. I may try Leatherwood. The next project, in lieu of actual practicing, will be to see if there is a still better solution for the dry winter air.

September 20, 2016 at 02:15 PM · I recommend Magic Rosin.

Doesn't carry the same gravitas and price tag bragging rights as these others, but I prefer it to the Andrea I have.


September 20, 2016 at 05:30 PM · Andrea a Piacere is great. There was a shop that did a blind test (and I think this was mentioned in passing above too; you can find the webpage in google), and the winner was a combination of Vienna's Best and Andrea Solo, mixed to suit the humidity and your needs. The second best was Andrea a Piacere, which it also said was the best if you only want to use one rosin.

I find it works great when used in conjunction with Nathan Cole's rosining advice (after you get your new hair rosin layer built up, use two swipes daily, applying a great deal of pressure on each swipe, but if you're going to play for several hours don't be afraid to apply a little more after cleaning off your strings).

September 20, 2016 at 11:10 PM · If you like something softer for the violin, you really ought to give D'Addario Kaplan Artcraft Light a try. Most folks I hand it to dismiss it just because it's so inexpensive ($7-$10 at most), but it performs very well!

September 20, 2016 at 11:33 PM · Craig, what about your own invisible brand?

September 20, 2016 at 11:48 PM · Hi Lydia,

I recently ran into my college violin professor and we talked shop a bit. He mentioned that he is using Andrea Orchestra VIOLA rosin for violin. Got a cake, and it's quite good. The "Orchestra"-ness balances out the fact that it's a more aggressive rosin, but the extra stick gives a great grip/bite, if you can control it.

Another good one that I've enjoyed is Sartory -- they market it as a light/dark combo, and it does combine some of the qualities that you would expect from stereotypical dark and light rosins.

On the "high end" I've used Bakers, Andrea Solo, Andrea Orchestra, Andrea a Piecere, Liebenzeller Gold I, Liebenzeller Gold II, and I have tried all the normal less-exepensive (not necessarily low end) stuff as well.

September 20, 2016 at 11:50 PM · Baker's is amazing, but after a year it becomes sort of "normal". Andrea solo can really muck up your bow if you overdo it, too stressful :). Magic is really good budget rosin. But of all of them, I like the Leatherwood the best...hate to say it, but I think it's worth it (however, will have to wait and see if it degrades over time).

September 21, 2016 at 03:26 AM · Rocky, I'm waiting until I grow my biz into a huge global conglomerate before branching out into the rosin hawking end of things...

September 21, 2016 at 12:48 PM · Fiddlerman Premium Rosin should be on this list also. Works well for me.

September 21, 2016 at 02:11 PM · With so much rosin around, we present a fire hazard.

September 21, 2016 at 03:42 PM · I loved Andrea Solo, so much so that I bought another cake when the old one was running thin. But I didn't like that 2nd cake. It just didn't produce the same sound and feel. I went back and fourth between the two cakes comparing them (wiping clean the hair each time before changing rosin) and the difference was quite noticeable. Then it came Baker's and I like it even better! The tone is more focused, and the bow tracks better too. It definitely produces less powder. I have been using it for 9 months now and it is still good. The problem I have with it is that it is not easy to apply the rosin to the bow. I meant, you have to swipe the bow many times to get adequate amount of rosin sticking to the hair. With Andrea Solo, I often swiped only 6 or 8 times .

September 21, 2016 at 08:02 PM · Try the Melos Dark, I think it will answer to all your requirements and more (I am not looking to try anymore after it).

September 22, 2016 at 03:13 PM · Allen, can you comment on Melos dark versus the light version

September 22, 2016 at 04:42 PM · Has anyone tried Old Master Merlot Handcrafted rosin?


October 17, 2016 at 03:32 AM · I thought I'd report back now that I've tried some new rosins.

I bought the Warchal-recommended Vienna's Best and Andrea Solo. Also, a very kind v.commie mailed me a cake of Baker's Citron that they weren't using.

I love the Vienna's Best. It's got a nice smooth grip, it leaves no powder, and I like the sound produced. This is now what I'm using day to day.

The Andrea Solo has a bit too much crunch/edge for me to use it by itself. However, the occasional swipe of it on top of the Vienna's Best creates a sound that has the right blend of the characteristics. (It makes me wonder how I would like the Warchal recommendation of Andrea a Piacere for a good blend.)

The Baker's Citron definitely has too much edge. If I were fiddling, it would be great, though.

Strings: Warchal Amber E, Warchal Avantgarde A, Pirastro Passione D and G. YMMV.

October 18, 2016 at 04:57 AM · Regular Bakers is more pleasing than the Citron.

Also, I just got a delivery of Leatherwood. Still working down to the completely flat surface, but it is already showing great potential.

October 18, 2016 at 07:38 AM · Use a cheap (bad?) rosin and try and improve your sound rather than messing with over the top rosins. Playing the violin does not depend on what rosin you use.

October 18, 2016 at 10:27 AM · Peter - that's ridiculous! The difference between low quality and high quality rosins is enormous, as is the difference between light and dark rosins. Choosing an appropriate rosin can have a profound impact on your production of tone. For example - I find that a dark rosin, used on a hot day, clogs up my bow and makes playing difficult, whilst a light rosin, used on a cold day, does not provide for sufficient grip.

October 18, 2016 at 12:07 PM · Stefan is right.

Rosin is one of those equipment tweaks where a small amount of money spent can help optimize the sound of the instrument and the feel of the bow, and make it a bit easier to care for the instrument (I hate powder getting everywhere).

A cake of Vienna's Best is $14, for instance -- cheaper than many brands of A string, these days! -- and it's probably useable for years.

October 18, 2016 at 01:39 PM · Put up sound files then of cheap rosins against expensive ones ...

October 18, 2016 at 02:28 PM ·

October 18, 2016 at 02:30 PM · Comparrison video of cheapo vs Andrea vs Magic rosin:

October 18, 2016 at 02:48 PM · The Pirastro Evah/Oliv Rosin. $14, very good grip and low dust produced. Can rosin bow as much as you want, but not much is needed to rosin the bow. It is a dark rosin and will last a while. The tone becomes crisp and stronger, almost dark?

October 18, 2016 at 08:59 PM · "Comparison video of cheapo vs Andrea vs Magic rosin:"

Note-- on different bows. Of course, if you think bows don't affect sound, then you're good to go.

October 18, 2016 at 09:57 PM · Well very interesting! The sound from all the rosins was awful because the player had such a bad sound and the violin may or may not have had a good sound.

the first cheap rosin had the same sound but he played it with an unevenly rosined bow and also using less bow.

As I thought, no idea about sound at all!

And yes, different bows too.

October 18, 2016 at 11:28 PM · I'm one who experienced different sounds from different rosins....

But, in the end, i went back to Bernardel rosin, which is much less expensive than many others i used (for months, in some cases for years, for example the Andrea Solo). I simply like it more, and for all seasons.

So, i don't believe that (as in many other aspects of violin playing and life in general) more expensive equates to better....... :)

So, what is the meaning of "high end" ?.......

October 19, 2016 at 12:27 AM · I had a cake of Bakers a couple of years ago and it was a bit too grabby for my taste; it was almost sticky and created a bit of a tubby sound IMO. I gave it to my son and he dropped it on the floor one day. It shattered into a thousand pieces and that was that. I've been on the Bakers waiting list for about 3-4 years now.

I've been using Oliv Evah rosin for several years and it seems to get the job done. Next time we get together Lydia, maybe you will let me try some of your rosins to see if I like them any better than mine.

October 19, 2016 at 08:43 PM · This is modern marketing at it's best right here. Using facebook ads and letting people test it on youtube. For me the more a product, especially a new one, needs advertising, the less I am interested in it. Especially when it comes to a market like rosin market. There are so many rosins around which are proven and affordable. Like mentioned above the Bernadel is for many a gold standard. For people who like it more on the darker side there is Kaplan. I don't need another rosin. Really! Even with the bakers hype i wasn't infected at all. If you have problems with your bow, consider a different bow and/or rehair. Grab a good proven product from the rosin family and play it until you need a new one. I always think about musicians in war times, when people reach that peak of hype: in war you will be lucky to have a dirty old broken rosin and still your music will be more worth than ever.

October 19, 2016 at 10:37 PM · Smiley, sure. :-)

Anyway, I liked Jade and the other Millant-Deroux rosins with my other bow and violin. I felt like I wanted a rosin with a slightly different grip for my current bow and violin, though.

For instance, I do like the sound of Andrea Solo with my current combo. I did not like it on the previous violin; I thought it was too harsh.

Might not just be the violin and bow, too -- might be the strings.

October 20, 2016 at 12:56 AM · I hav tried many rosins, and usually there was just a slight difference in sound. but then on a whim I bought Melos Dark. The change was drastic on my violin. more volume, rounder sound, perfect bite, and best of all, a huge control in dynamics. with Melos I could go from a pppp to a ffff, something that was harder to do before. With other rosins, as I lowered the speed of the bow, there would come a moment that the sound would stop. Melos allows me to play so slow that you can barely see the bow move, and good sound is still produced. I also really liked Salchow, but it lacked that control, and the sound drastically changed after 1 year and several climate changes. for me, there are rosins, and there is Melos. this is just my experience with my violin of course. I have yet to try Sartory or Millant-Deroux, though I have tried just about everything else

October 20, 2016 at 12:57 AM · wow, i didn't realize I was writing such a big post. I also forgot to mention that Melos is more sensitive to the amount you use. no more then 2 or 3 swipes are needed to play for a couple days.

October 20, 2016 at 04:13 PM · So, how much rosin? One or two swipes every day, or just a few times a week?

October 20, 2016 at 06:48 PM · How many roads must a man walk down?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind....

In other words there is no "correct answer". Find out what works best for you.


October 21, 2016 at 04:25 PM · How zen...

November 15, 2016 at 06:09 AM · I got an experimental cake of Melos Dark, and of course, now that I recently ordered 3 rosins, I finally got a notification that the Baker's waiting list, which I've been on for a while, was offering up an order to me, so I got a cake of the Original.

Conclusion: I still like Vienna's Best. The Melos Dark is a fairly similar, very nice rosin, that takes less application but also has a bit more edge. The Baker's is good and grippy but leaves behind more powder; it is particularly useful right at the frog and tip, though (especially the frog where oils from my hand tend to make the hair very slippery very quickly). It's also a good orchestra rosin -- easier to keep good traction while exerting very light pressure. I'm keeping the Vienna's Best and Baker's Original in my case for now (I'm not sure that I feel the need for the extra swipe of Andrea Solo).

December 27, 2016 at 01:02 AM · I got some Vienna's Best for Christmas!

What really stands out about it is the grip: It's tremendous! Actually took some getting used to.

I'll have to use it for a few days to form a proper opinion, but so far I'm not entirely sure I like it.

December 27, 2016 at 04:10 AM · You need to move to Vienna to feel the full effect of it!

No, seriously, I can hear resin producers laughing all the way to the bank .

December 27, 2016 at 05:42 AM · Oh how I would love to move to Vienna! Maybe this was the sign I was waiting for! It's time to do it! ;)

December 27, 2016 at 06:05 AM · The cost of even an expensive resin doesn't seem much compared to the cost of strings. So I guess it depends on what the perceived value is to the person buying it, whether it makes a difference for them or not.

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