Which is the best rosin to use when playing without a shoulder rest?

September 27, 2016 at 07:11 PM · This is one for Raphael. He is missing an uncontroversial thread...

Replies (74)

September 27, 2016 at 07:15 PM · lol! I should say a cake that is not too high!

September 27, 2016 at 07:19 PM · OK, but high on what?

September 27, 2016 at 07:35 PM · Not too thick. (I'm already high on rosin dust!) We don't want any more space than necessary between the bow hair and our hand when rosining the bow! ;-)

September 27, 2016 at 07:59 PM · What?!!! Playing with no shoulder rest?


September 27, 2016 at 08:40 PM · www.wonderthumb.com

September 27, 2016 at 09:50 PM · Let's try going -less all the way: Shoulder-restless, chinrestless, and rosinless!

September 27, 2016 at 10:16 PM · Carlo, you forgot to ask the group what piece you should play next with this equipment! You know, you just finished Suzuki Book 2 and you want to know if you should play Zigeunerweisen or the Beethoven concerto for your recital and/or audition 3 months from now.....

September 27, 2016 at 10:18 PM · @Fox.I've heard you get the best viola tone when the bow is hairless too.

@M.L. Scott. After Suzuki Book 2, I always recommend Paganini 1, as this is not too challenging musically.

Cheers Carlo

September 27, 2016 at 10:27 PM · I'm a bit disappointed that no-one is taking this seriously. I need to know, when playing without a SR, whether Andrea Solo or Bakers would be better. Please don't recommend any budget rosins as only the expensive ones could be any good.

In a similar vein does any body know of a high end rosin holder or rosin case maker? I was thinking something bespoke in 18ct gold set with rare gems. It needs to look OK next to my mute carved out of a single, ethically sourced, diamond.

Cheers Carlo

September 27, 2016 at 10:33 PM · I don't know about rosin with rare gems, but I think we once had a thread about mutes with some kind of sparkly gems - but they were probably fake and not high end :)

September 27, 2016 at 10:57 PM · I prefer the block of rosin that comes (free!) with every Chinese violin.

September 27, 2016 at 11:01 PM · @Craig. That's not rosin. It's either glue that needs to be heated to stick the violin back together when it falls apart, or some are sent out with blocks of toffee to chew when the poor sound gets you down.

Cheers Carlo

September 27, 2016 at 11:54 PM · You use what you like, I'll stick with "Most Honorable Pine Sap Brick" as mentioned above.

September 28, 2016 at 01:42 AM · @Craig. Is that what it's called? Photo please.

Cheers Carlo

September 28, 2016 at 03:57 AM · Carlo, your killing me here...

I need you on hire for rainy days. :D

September 28, 2016 at 05:04 AM · Does this rosin also work on Chinese violins off ebay? Can Chinese violins off ebay be played without a shoulder rest, anyway? What happens if this rosin is applied to a violin with a shoulder rest?

September 28, 2016 at 06:31 AM · Rosin should be used with new violins only. For an antique violin amber is much better. And it will last much longer.

September 28, 2016 at 07:12 AM · SOAP? (The gritty sort). When playing restless its best to use a rosin-less rosin, No?

September 28, 2016 at 07:48 AM · Soap, recommended for fidldlers after a barn dance. All that sweat and straw... it can be used to wash the beer off the violin too. Here an eBay Chinese violin is advised because the sprayed on nitrous finish can be water-blasted if necessary.

@Stuart. My people will talk to your people to arrange a price. Happy to pay cash. You do, of course, take Italian Lira?

Cheers Carlo

September 28, 2016 at 11:45 AM · Anything but not Euros!!

September 28, 2016 at 12:24 PM · Once at a party, a friend told me about a very expensive rosin that supposedly had healing and other powers for the player. He took me to a back room, which got me suspicious. The rosin was in powdered form and white. Then it seemed strange that rather than put it on bow hair, he said that you're supposed to inhale it through your nose! That made no sense to me - especially when I thought I heard Paganini laughing in the background. I got nervous and then I sneezed - and blew all this special rosin off the table and into the air. My friend got mad at me and threw me out of the party!

Then I woke up.

September 28, 2016 at 12:42 PM · S'not a good way to inhale rosin, stick to cocaine. (wink)

September 28, 2016 at 01:19 PM · A follow-up question: As a 35-year-old who has been playing violin for three months and has catapulted himself from rank beginner-beginner status to advanced-intermediate-beginner status with the sole assistance of positive thinking, youtube videos and violinist.com, what is the best rosin to use with no shoulder rest to attend Juilliard and become a professional musician? Obviously, I’m not talking about becoming a soloist – that would be unrealistic. I’m aiming for something much more modest, at least to start – perhaps concertmaster in a professional orchestra. P.S. You should know that I’m willing to work really, really hard (when I set my mind to something, I’m really persistent), and people have always told me I have a refined musical sensibility and a highly developed artistic temperament.

September 28, 2016 at 02:02 PM · @ Fox Mitchell "Let's try going -less all the way: Shoulder-restless, chinrestless, and rosinless!"

It's called a classical guitar. I used to play it one time.

September 28, 2016 at 02:25 PM · Should I also apply rosin to my fingerboard tapes?

September 28, 2016 at 02:57 PM · Sean Gillia

We can all live in fantasy land ...

September 28, 2016 at 04:07 PM · Just to clarify, in case it wasn't obvious, it being the internet and all -- my post was facetious, including even my age (fantasy land, indeed). After I posted, it hit me I might have approached too closely the sorts of (utterly serious) queries frequently posted here.

September 28, 2016 at 05:35 PM · @Sean. Loved your original post!

Cheers Carlo

September 28, 2016 at 05:39 PM · I'm the only one allowed to joke on here ...

September 28, 2016 at 06:01 PM · Sean, once you've received from us the best advice as to what to play next, everything else will fall into place! ;-)

September 28, 2016 at 06:05 PM · Sean, first: burn all of your old Suzuki books.

Next: play scales (and ONLY scales) for the next two years.

Report back here for further instructions after completing those tasks. Carnegie Hall awaits!

September 28, 2016 at 06:29 PM · And you have to play fingered tenths for at least six hours a day (or night ...)

September 28, 2016 at 06:50 PM · This is the greatest thread ever.

September 28, 2016 at 07:01 PM · I'll do ALL of those things -- and also six months of long tones exclusively -- as soon as I figure out where on the violin I should put the rosin now that I've removed the shoulder rest.

Look, I'm a realist. I'm not kidding myself it'll be a cakewalk. But the way I see it is, sure, I'm a late starter, but I really love music (I mean, really), I taught myself guitar already (no biggie), and if I BELIEVE hard enough (I have a subliminal affirmations CD), and work hard enough almost every day, there's just no way I won't catch up to those kids who started at 4 years old, have had private lessons for 14 years, countless performances, juries, orchestral and chamber work, summer festivals, master classes, competitions, and theory and ear training classes before even applying to conservatory. Whatever. My feeling is that the Brahms concerto may be somewhat difficult (I'm not deluding myself) but if I learn it a single note at a time (checking intonation with my scroll-mounted electronic tuner -- just think how good Heifetz could have been with today's technology), I'll just eventually string them all together -- Done! It's not rocket science, people. It just seems to me that a lot of people like to make learning the violin seem SO hard, and maybe it is for THEM, so they become jaded and rain on the parade of anyone with a great ear who wakes up one day with a real passion for the violin and a dream -- A BONA FIDE DREAM -- of making it. I just can't see myself doing anything else -- and that has to count for something. I'm glad I found a community of like-minded souls who get it.

September 28, 2016 at 07:12 PM · The Brahms is easy peasy beginners stuff.

September 28, 2016 at 07:32 PM · Sean. Make sure you use the same brand of strings that Heifitz used. Otherwise you won't sound like him.

Cheers Carlo

September 28, 2016 at 08:00 PM · Carlo, I know it's off subject but when trying your invisi-rest, I should have liked some invisi-rosin so I wouldn't have to wipe that supicious white dust off every time.

September 28, 2016 at 08:19 PM · Sean, one thing you forgot to ask:

Do you need to upgrade your violin, now that you are on a Conservatory track?

September 28, 2016 at 08:22 PM · Peter Charles

September 28, 2016 at 07:12 PM · The Brahms is easy peasy beginners stuff. [Flag?]

This is very true! Within a short time of starting private lessons I was playing the Brahms. (OK, it was a simplified arrangement of the Brahms Lullaby - but it was still Brahms!)

September 28, 2016 at 08:43 PM · Thank you for your whole-hearted endorsement of my pursuing the Brahms concerto, Mr. Klayman.

Let's face it, it's all about different arrangements of the same 12 notes at the end of the day. If you can play those 12 notes, then you can play any piece. Obvious. And, yes, I can play those 12 notes. I'll be posting a youtube video of me playing those 12 notes -- every last one of them. But be aware that as I am indeed on a Conservatory track, I do need to upgrade my instrument. But I'm not one of those people who believes that you need to spend thousands of dollars on an instrument -- or, heavens, a bow. I think upgrading from my $200 package (case and bow included) to a master-level deluxe $500 package will more than double the quality of my instrument. Actually, to be exact, it will increase the quality level exactly 2.5x! Wow. And it's a master-level deluxe, so...yeah. In your face, Stradivarius!

September 28, 2016 at 09:40 PM · Stuart, your story of people paying you not to play reminds me of an actual true story my father told me. It seems that when he was in college there was a guy who was a "pinball wizard," who could drop a coin in a machine and keep the game going for hours. As a result, there were several shops in the area who paid that guy a weekly stipend to stay out of their shops. Kind of a pinball extortion racket.

September 28, 2016 at 09:51 PM · I thought those scroll-mounted tuners were made in China....

September 28, 2016 at 10:12 PM · With pool sharks you're supposed to break their thumbs. Didn't you ever see Paul Newman in "The Hustler?"

September 28, 2016 at 11:19 PM · Learn to play Alois Haba's microtone quartets (they use 1/4, 1/5 AND 1/6 tones). It'll polish up your intonation a treat.

September 29, 2016 at 12:38 AM · PLEASE. All I would like is a serious answer to a serious question. I'll let you know when I have a serious question...

Cheers Carlo

September 29, 2016 at 05:42 PM · THANK YOU for not launching part 4 of "that other thread, that shall not be named"

September 29, 2016 at 05:54 PM · Seraphim. Actually I did. I think Laurie, in her wisdom, decided enough was enough. Hats off to her! Upon reflection all that should have been said, had been said, and all that could have been said, would perhaps be better left unsaid. Part 4 RIP.

How about a new topical thread? What kind of viola would Donald Trump play?

Cheers Carlo

September 29, 2016 at 06:18 PM · I do like how she arranged to have the 3 threads all next to each other for the sake of posterity.

September 29, 2016 at 06:42 PM · That reminds me - i think I started a new thread, a serious one, but I can't remember for sure what it was about. I seems to have also died a death, that is, if I did start a new thread!

As I've been looking at very old instruments today in the R Academy of Muzak, here in old London, it may have some relevance to that, but I'm not sure.

September 29, 2016 at 06:46 PM · Was it for the sake of posterity, or maybe it's to rub our noses in our folly?

September 29, 2016 at 06:55 PM · I'm sure it's not the last time the subject will ever come up again around here.

But I think we cleared the air a bit for the time being.

September 29, 2016 at 08:12 PM · Peter. Does the RAM have an exhibition on at the moment? I went to the one on historical British violinmakers some years ago.

Cheers Carlo

October 1, 2016 at 10:34 AM · Maybe it's time to launch some other threads inspired by that nameless one. For example - WHY NOT TO BUY A VIOLIN MADE IN ANTARCTICA? Well, for starters, the body is made from ice, not wood. It will melt in warmer climates. The varnish and strings are made from wale blubber - an endangered species. Penguins are used as slave labor to build them. But what a tone! ;-D

October 1, 2016 at 10:58 AM · I did actually see and examine a violin made of spider silk yesterday. It was an awful yellow colour and looked like plastic. It had a mellow sound but was rather muted. I thought of offering my plastic for it but decided against it - it may have made LT's German antique fiddles sound too good compared to it!

I preferred the Strad (ex Viotti) but they wouldn't take cash ...

October 1, 2016 at 02:02 PM · Maybe because you would have to keep it in the freezer?

October 1, 2016 at 08:48 PM · Nah, it's because it will always have a cold tone.

Now we know why Heifetz sounded like he did. :D

October 2, 2016 at 07:11 AM · Using rosin ON the shoulder rest might be a great idea! Stop it slipping?

October 2, 2016 at 09:08 AM · @Peter. Sorry, but this is a thread on which rosin to use when NOT using a shoulder rest, although to be fair, violins made from ice were not mentioned. Of course, Italian ice would have the best sound, with French ice for the bow...

Were you able to try the Strad?

Cheers Carlo

October 2, 2016 at 10:34 AM · Peter Charles

October 2, 2016 at 07:11 AM · Using rosin ON the shoulder rest might be a great idea! Stop it slipping?

This is the best idea I've heard all day! But I've only been up for about 10 minutes...

October 2, 2016 at 02:41 PM · "Were you able to try the Strad?"

Unfortunately no.

This was because it was avery crowded event in a big hall and it went on for ever. I had to leave as as it was very late and dinner was being cooked.

But next time later in the year if I get there and it's a small gathering, which is what I expected for the one two days ago, but I got it wrong and it was a big event and a long day, lasting about 5 hours.

I did find out though that they still lend instruments like Strad's to some of the professors - but also to some of the STUDENTS! It was not like that in my day, you just got a passable old thing if you were lucky ...

October 2, 2016 at 07:19 PM · Out of seriousness, any suggestions for finding in-between from bernardel to andrea solo? I like them both, but climate and string age determines which one I should use. I would like a nice in between medium.

October 2, 2016 at 07:58 PM · I use the same rosin whatever the weather.

October 2, 2016 at 08:02 PM · The way I can describe,

Anderea Solo on 2 months old strings sounds like trying to bow with sandpaper as the bowhair.

Bernardel on 2 months old string sound nice and smooth.

Bernardel on new set of strings sound too soft, it's missing the "punch", and somewhat empty.

Andrea Solo on a new set of strings sound powerful and beautiful.

Vienna's Best rosin, only has worked out nicely for me on a rainy day, literally.

October 3, 2016 at 05:49 PM · Steven, what about the green Andrea? I use that and it works well. Or, you could mix Vienna's Best and Andrea Solo.

October 4, 2016 at 07:19 AM · @Jason. Is that with or without SR?

Cheers Carlo

October 4, 2016 at 09:41 AM · Cheap Chinese rosin : has anybody tried smoking it yet ?

October 4, 2016 at 12:18 PM · The question is which half?

October 5, 2016 at 12:10 AM · I always wondered how the other half lives...

October 5, 2016 at 06:04 AM · Carlo asked a question a long way back, re the Academy and events.

Yes, they do have a lot of things on all through the year. The Menuhin project is just coming to a close, and I did go to one lecture early on in the year with a friend. (Yes, I do still have the odd friend, believe it or not) (I'm sure Raphael will say "not" in his next post!)

The ongoing thing about Viotti will have some more sessions this month and into November which I hope to get to. Peter Sheppard Skærved has an equal love for both old and new instruments. In other words he has an open mind on this.

There are also free recitals and I might go to one where the programme is Prokofiev and Poulenc violin sonatas.

October 5, 2016 at 01:47 PM · It very much depends weather play left or right handed.

I found myself (being a right handed person), that left handed people should use any kind of rosin, depending on the color of their bow hair, while right handed people should do the opposite.

Except (and this is important) if your bow is silver mounted. Than you can start experimenting with other rosins as well. Also removing the missing shoulder rest can help in changing that. Usually for the better.

October 8, 2016 at 07:58 AM · @Peter. When I lived in London I would try all the major violins at the auction houses. I got to try several Strads this way. You make an appointment and they hand you the violin wearing white gloves. Nice fiddles but I was never tempted to kill the guard and do a runner...

Cheers Carlo

October 8, 2016 at 08:59 AM · Steven

Anderea Solo on 2 months old strings sounds like trying to bow with sandpaper as the bowhair.

Bernardel on 2 months old string sound nice and smooth.

Bernardel on new set of strings sound too soft, it's missing the "punch", and somewhat empty.

Andrea Solo on a new set of strings sound powerful and beautiful.

Two months? How many hours do you play per day? 9 hours? A set of decent strings should last 3 months on 2-3 hours per day.

I find people use too much rosin - I only put the stuff on after about 6 hours of playing. And rosin is rosin. You need better bowing technique if the sound is crap.

October 8, 2016 at 09:04 AM · Carlo - I must try that sometime, but I could face disappointment if these venerable old master fiddles are no better or as good as mine. (Don't tell LT I said that ...)

The silvery sound of a Strad interests me. In the end I might well prefer Guadanini though, and I have tried one of those, which had a great sound.

October 9, 2016 at 11:13 AM · And Steven, did you comletely clean off the old rosin before trying a new one? I not, the comparisons are worthless..

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