Do you really need to remove rosin from bow and strings daily?

February 24, 2017 at 12:21 AM · Hi,

I yesterday went to a bow maker conference and he said that you really need to remove thoroughly the rosin from bow hair and also from the strings after you finished practicing, everyday.

Do any of you do this?

None of my violin teachers have ever done so, at all.

Also, is it good to rosin the bow EVERY day before practicing, just like 4-5 wipes all along the bow hair?

Until 1 week ago, I never rosined the bow until I noticed I needed to, and also read here that someone said that you shouldn't get used to the first 5 minutes of fresh rosin cause the grip is "better" but it only last those 5 minutes. You should get used to the normal grip and practice under that condition. That encouraged me even more not to put rosin unless I really felt like it was needed.

But this week I've been rosining the bow every day before practice, 4-5 wipes and that longs 3-5h sessions, and I feel the sound is better and I have more control.

PD: what I've done always is cleaning the rosin from the violin body, fingerboard and bow stick.

Replies (23)

February 24, 2017 at 12:35 AM · "you really need to remove thoroughly the rosin from bow hair and also from the strings after you finished practicing, everyday."

Tim, did they explain why and how? That bit of information from bow makers can be helpful. I wipe off rosin from strings with cloth after each practice session and wipe with alcohol at the end of the day. I never wipe rosin off from the bow hair, but I do dust off after putting on the rosin to make sure no extra rosin comes off on my instrument.

February 24, 2017 at 02:38 AM · Oh no...don't let some ( well one in particular) forum members hear you use alcohol!


February 24, 2017 at 02:39 AM · As it was a kind of short conference, he said, or I understood, that you only need a cloth and remove it with it, no extra things. But as I've never seen any of my teachers do this or tell me this, I wanna know if actually anyone here do it.

February 24, 2017 at 02:50 AM · At least weekly clean the stick, and bi-daily the body.

I remember neglecting the stick for a full year, and when I finally got to remove the rosin, it was very sticky, and some varnish came off when I wiped it.

Also, haven't had that happened with my violin yet, but I HATE, HATE, HATE rosin build up that takes hours to remove on the end of the fingerboard and surroundings of the bridge. Often fiddlers love keeping rosin left there, but I hate sticky fingers, literally.

I almost always use alcohol to wipe the strings, fingerboard, neck, and chinrest. Anything that touches skin or the bow hair. I haven't had any mishaps yet, but I've been told by many here that one mishap means losing a lot of varnish(.

February 24, 2017 at 05:50 AM · I clean rosin off the strings after each playing session and sometimes in the middle. I think this is for tonal and durability reasons, as it was suggested by my teacher at the very beginning. I do clean the front of the violin body between the bridge and fingerboard and under the fingerboard as far as I can because I don't like rosin caking there for silly personal reasons. I've never heard the need to clean bow hair unless it made a hissing noise due to aged rosin. I've never heard of the necessity to clean the bowstick. I personally don't really do that.

February 24, 2017 at 09:59 AM · Every time I put away my violin I wipe the rosin from the belly under the strings, clean the strings, fingerboard, and neck. The bow stick is also wiped down as is the frog. I use a microfibre cloth only. When this gets dirty I throw it in the wash. Comes out like new.

Cheers Carlo

February 24, 2017 at 10:49 AM · I do like Carlo does.

But of course I only rosin my bow every six or seven years ...

February 24, 2017 at 03:30 PM · I was advised to wipe rosin off the violin top, strings, and bow stick after every practice; I was told that if rosin stays on wood too long, it may become permanently bonded to the varnish.

February 24, 2017 at 05:00 PM · Rosin, a.k.a. tree sap, is really un-dissolved lacker! Add alcohol, and you get varnish. Leaving rosin on the instrument is akin to adding varnish in a way. Never heard of cleaning bow hair every day though, that's a bit excessive perhaps. Cleaning the stick, yes, but the hairs?

February 24, 2017 at 05:09 PM · I think there's confusion here about whether one needs to clean the STICK or the HAIR.

Clean the stick, not the hair.

February 24, 2017 at 06:04 PM · Well, if I heard correctly, it's the hair what you need to clean, besides the stick.

February 24, 2017 at 06:25 PM · Do you brush your teeth every day?

February 24, 2017 at 06:29 PM · I only brush my teeth on days when I practice violin ;)

February 24, 2017 at 06:35 PM · You do not need to clean the hair; that is a different special process. The only person I know of who cleans his bow hair is Andrew Victor; he can give you the details but I don't worry about that at all.

February 25, 2017 at 02:09 PM · If you don't clean the area of the instrument after you play you rosin won't become permenatly bonded, but it is quite the hassle to remove. My violin has been in my family for year, but whoever used it before me was not so keen on rosin removal. It took me about 2-3hrs to de-rosin everything. Please never let your violin get to that state, always wipe your stings, fingerboard and area underneath the strings off when you're done playing

February 25, 2017 at 03:35 PM · "Do you brush your teeth every day?"

Bows are not teeth.

February 25, 2017 at 04:58 PM · When my main violin (late 18th c) came into my possession it hadn't been played for about 60 years (put away in its case because of the outbreak of WW2 and effectively forgotten during a series of house moves) and clearly needed some serious restorative attention. It had been in my family since 1850 and during that period someone had never bothered to clean off the rosin dust. The varnish was therefore caked black between the bridge and up under the finger board.

The luthier who repaired and restored the instrument removed the rosin-blackened varnish and revarnished the area. Money well spent, because since then the violin has regained over the years what had evidently been its original attractive tone and projection.

After every playing of that or any other violin I wipe the rosin dust off the strings, the top table, the end of the fingerboard, and the bow stick. While I'm doing that I inspect the violin for anything that shouldn't be (leaning bridge, damaged strings, etc). It's the only way, and it takes very little time.

February 25, 2017 at 06:19 PM · Ten seconds of casual daily maintenance -- swipe the rosin off the strings, any part of the violin that's gotten dusted with rosin, and the stick, with a clean dry cloth -- and you won't have to do anything more drastic later on. The key is to make sure the rosin doesn't have a chance to get caked on.

I've discovered that my current chinrest (which came with the violin, and is rather old), attracts grime like nothing I've ever experienced before, and I'm still trying to figure out how to clean its surface. (Most recently, I resorted, very carefully, to a water-based wet wipe.)

February 25, 2017 at 11:09 PM · "Bows are not teeth"

Do you not clean off the rosin on your violin everyday?

February 26, 2017 at 02:39 AM · Removing rosin completely from bow hair is a major job, not to be undertaken lightly and without good reason. I wonder if what was actually said, or meant, at the bow maker conference was that it is a good idea to shake loose rosin off the bow hair. I usually do that after applying rosin - just a quick swipe of the bow through the air. I've often seen it done in orchestras.

February 26, 2017 at 03:35 AM · "Do you brush your teeth every day?"

"Bows are not teeth"

Sorry I can't help myself: Is changing strings in a similar category as changing your toothbrush?! (smiley face)

You know how some people are really careful to replace them every month, while others drag it on for a year...

February 26, 2017 at 04:05 AM ·

February 27, 2017 at 09:30 PM · What about those of us who have to change their teeth?

Lydia, I would hand-sand that chinrest, smooth it with fine wire-wool, and then wipe it with sweet almond oil (nice smell!)

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