Rosin, Polish and cleaner, and bow maintence.

January 24, 2006 at 07:18 AM · I have been told that after each time you use your bow you should wipe the bow hairs with a cloth. Is that right? It doesen't sound right but mabey I am wrong.

Also, in the Shar catalog I see a 1oz violin cleaner and polish. It is the Shar cleaner and polish kit. How long do those last? Does anyone use them and do they work?

Last thing, what kind of rosin do you use and why do you like it? I am using Pirastro Olive rosin. Is that a really good kind? It is ok but my brother does not think it sticks to the strings well. Is there a better kind?

Thank you to all who put up with my stupid questions.

Replies (21)

January 24, 2006 at 11:07 PM · I never wipe my bow hairs off, though I do wipe the stick sometimes if rosin dust has started to accumulate.

Right now I'm using Bernadel rosin. It's fine. I haven't noticed that much difference between rosins I've tried.

I have the Shar cleaner and polish kit. I'd be careful with the polish. I used to think it made the top of my viola look greasy. And then recently I tried using it again, and the color started to come off of the top of my instrument! I don't know whether it gets more potent with time, or what.

January 24, 2006 at 11:38 PM · You probably misunderstood that for having to wipe of the stick, not the hair. I use motrya rosin. My teacher recommended it to me and it is so far the best rosin I have tried. It grips really well but not overly and makes a smooth and rich sound.

January 25, 2006 at 03:12 AM · According to what I've heard, polish "eats" away at the varnish - giving it that nice, freshly varnished gloss. So, while its ok to use, iots something you want to use sparingly.

Also, its a good idea to whip the rosin dust off the bow stick, strings, and body of the violin (undedr the strings) - the rosin will build up and be a nightmare when you try to clean it.


January 25, 2006 at 05:04 PM · Thanks, I am really looking for a rosin that does not give off so much rosin dust.

Is it bad to use alot of rosin? My brother thinks I use too much, but I just tell him I like to make sure I have enough rosin. Does too much rosin affect your playing?

My bow tends to slide around so I always use plenty of rosin.

Thank you for your imput everyone.

January 25, 2006 at 05:23 PM · Does anyone use the Royal Oak String Cleaner? I see it in the Shar catalog. Is that any good? Do I even need it?

January 25, 2006 at 05:33 PM · No & No. Just wipe your strings off with a chamois or a cloth after you play.

I use royal oak rosin, though :^)

Too much rosin is as bad or even worse than too little.

Try letting your rosin wear away and see how long you can go.

The bow sliding arund could be a sign that you are not articulating your bow-arm correctly. You should be able to keep your contact point fixed even with *no* rosin.

A question for you: who tunes your instrument?

January 25, 2006 at 07:43 PM · You shouldn't put too much rosin. I usually don't even rosin on every day. You shouldn't see huge clouds of rosin dust. Too much rosin makes the sound very acidic and surfacy, as opposed to smooth, and causes crunching. What really helps to keep a good grip on the strings is to lower the knuckle and curl the fingers. Gives a lot more control, especially on fast detaches or just whenever. I always say this.. to watch Zukerman because he has really good right hand technique and posture. Basically if you curl the fingers more and lower and flatten the wrist you won't slide as much. Also about the rosin thing, you might think you need so much rosin because it's not good (never tried it, just saying) so another rosin might grip better without putting so much. Again, I recommend motrya.

January 25, 2006 at 08:31 PM · I usedd to use the Bernardel rosin, but I tried the Pirastro Olive one day..and I feel better sound and entonation suddenly!!This happened many years ago, its sounds "two much", but it was my feeling and I still using the Pirastro Olive.I put a few, and I never clean the hairs!

I tried the shar polish yand cleaner for violin, I liked a lot!!!!!!!

January 25, 2006 at 11:28 PM · Bill, I tune my own violin, why?

January 27, 2006 at 04:20 AM · Kimberley: Your strings may be impacted with rosin. Get a box of alcohol swabs from your druggist and use them to clean off you strings about once a week. You will only need to rosin your bow after about every six hours of playing. When using the alcohol be sure to protect your violin with a number of layers of paper or cardboard. william Swackhamer

January 27, 2006 at 07:03 PM · Be careful with any polish, as they typically include alcohol -- which will dissolve the varnish on the violin. For the same reason, don't spill wine on your violin!

October 8, 2006 at 06:09 AM · Hello, I'm a new member of I'm currently using Motrya and I rosin every 2-3 days. I heard that a thin-sounding instrument sounds well with a heavier bow, and a lighter bow with a dark sounding instrument. I have the former situation and my new bow is slightly heavier than my other one. And, the Motrya seems to produce an unclear, grainy, and muffled sound. Does anyone have suggestions on a different rosin?

October 8, 2006 at 06:18 AM · If I get serious build up I clean my strings with a little tequila on a cloth, but I make sure it does not get on the violin itself. Smells nice for a few minutes, too.

October 8, 2006 at 10:43 AM · I'm not sure how safe it is to rub a cloth on the HAIRS of your bow...but the cleaner can be applied to thestickfor a nice change. I have a bow cleaning kit, but I'm not convniced it si a good idea. I also have the Shar violin cleaning soloution and polish. So far, so good! I also have the string cleaner from them. It comes with no instructions, so I am not sure how often it si meant to be used...

Ahh. Just got up for a night time snack. Back to bed.


October 9, 2006 at 02:57 AM · Oh, it IS the royal Oak String Cleaner from Shar. I used to use an alcohol swab (I'm diabetic, so I just use the ones in my sugar testing bag). I heard that alcohol can wear down your strings, though. I wonder about this String Cleaner. It doesn't have a list of ingredients on it. It cleans well, but my strings sound a bit fuzzy now. Perhaps I used it too much, or perhaps it is a completely different issue. Humidity...strings were dying anyway...rosin...anyway.

As for the polish...I once found an old bottle of polish in a parts room at the college and used it without thinking. It really started to eat my varnish...burning it actually. I freaked out and took it to my teacher. He said that the polish was really old and the chemicals, over time, get much stronger. Then he chuckled and said my violin looks older now. YEa. Well that was years ago. I figure it is o.k. to use the polish and cleaner if it is not old. I do wonder...I use the cleaner, and then directly afterwards the polish. More dirt comes off onto my cloth when I use the polish as opposed to the cleaner. Why is THAT?


March 17, 2010 at 03:15 AM ·

I've used Endust to clean my violins first.  Do not apply it directly on your violin, only on a paper towel.  Then I use Old English furniture polish.  Works best for hand-oiled violins but I have used it on my varnished violins too.  I use the polish only once a year or as needed (2-3 years).  I live in MI, USA and it gets very dry in the house during the winter months.

First wipe down your violin with a soft cloth to remove any rosin, etc.   Put just a dab of polish on a paper towel and clean either the front, back or sides of the violin at a time.  Then use good paper towel or a soft cloth to buff and remove the polish within a few minutes (1-2 mins. tops depending on how dry it's in your house).  Let it completely dry (over night is best) before touching.  If you see fingerprints, you didn't remove the majority of the polish or you put it on too thick.   They look as good as new.

March 17, 2010 at 03:30 AM ·

FYI - Any violin store or luthier will tell you to just wipe everything down (not the horsehair) with a soft cloth before putting your violin and bow away.  I just gently tap my bow to remove any excess rosin.  Don't forget to loosen the horsehair on your bow before storing it.

March 17, 2010 at 02:58 PM ·

I don't think it's necessary to use any kind of liquid or paste on your instrument. I just wipe everything with a dry cloth. As long as your violin has a decent varnish, it should look nice just by removing the rosin dust. I also do not use cleaner on my strings. I have cleaned them the same way, just wiping them with a cloth, ever since I started playing and I've always gotten good results. One time I even had a set of Dominants on my violin for over a year, and after the strings were that old my teacher once played my violin and complimented me on the brilliant sound of my strings, he even asked if they were new! I have this theory that the heat generated when I wipe the strings helps in part to keep them in good shape, it may kill any sort of nasty stuff that could make the strings slowly decay. Any thoughts on this?

March 19, 2010 at 04:18 PM ·

Pirastro made these rosins so that they match the strings that they're played basically, Oliv rosin was made to match Oliv strings -- so, according to Pirastro, to achieve the best sound, you would have them match.

I like the Andrea Rosin and Larica...they sell them at for a good price, I think.

I really hope that was helpful :)

March 20, 2010 at 11:37 PM ·


No chemicals!!! Makes for disasters. I wipe mine down with a clean chamois and use  Bakers Original. Great grip, low dust, and it lasts.

Cheers, Carol

March 21, 2010 at 01:47 PM ·

A microfiber cloth takes the excess rosin, dirt, off quite well when used regularly. They are also very inexpensive. The best polish is no polish. A luthier will touch up and clean your instrument if needs more than just wiping. It will save your repair costs in the future. You do want to have your bow rehaired at least once or twice a year for average players. Uneven wear on the hair can cause the bow to warp. Avoid touching the hair, but wipe the stick.

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