Viola Rosin recommendations?

February 20, 2019, 11:35 AM · Hello!

I am looking for a new brand of viola rosin to try (having never purchased viola rosin I am not sure what to do). Is there much difference between violin and viola rosin?

I currently Rosin my viola bow with Kaplan rosin that I have had for years, but it just isn't what I like.

With my violin, I use Pops bass rosin followed by Evah Pirazzi Gold Rosin, and this combination is a dream for my violin bow. Just doesn't work for my viola bow. (To add, my violin bow is Coruss bow hair/Vegan bow).

I am intrigued to see what other people may have tried for their viola bows?
Any suggestions? Leatherwood is out of the question price wise for the time being.

Thanks in advanced!


Replies (22)

Edited: February 20, 2019, 2:09 PM · I use Bernardel for both violin and viola. Not expensive. Works fine for me, but I have no idea if you would like it.
February 20, 2019, 3:09 PM · I currently use L'Opera Jade, and I love it.

I used Hill Dark for years, and it worked fine, but I switched to Jade in October and found that my playing ability seemed to go up a notch overnight. The Jade plays smoother, making articulation easier, especially on the low strings. It's also a low-dust rosin. The one down side to Jade is that I have to rosin my bow more frequently than before.

February 20, 2019, 4:19 PM · I'm a geezer who started over 40 years ago with Hills dark green. Still love it.
Edited: February 20, 2019, 4:49 PM · I use pirastro oliv evah on both violin and viola. Good for both
Edited: February 20, 2019, 4:56 PM · Rosin brands that have worked well for me on viola include:

Leatherwood (viola there are 2 types) - most expensive rosin I have seen.
Andrea (viola - there are 2 types)
Magic (three types, ultra is grippier than regular), X may be too much for viola)
Thomastik Peter Infeld (violin - nice grip though)

I suggest looking these up on line and decide, perhaps even email them. Also check out different sellers for best price.

February 20, 2019, 5:01 PM · Mary - unfortunately, the question you ask is similar to the question of what are the best strings. As you can see, as with the string question, you are getting and will probably continue to get at least one recommendation for a bunch of well-known rosins. In a word, you will end up where you were before you started. Rosin is a very personal thing for a lot of musicians. However, given your level of playing, it probably does not matter a whole lot what you choose to try. Probably any one of the recommendations is a good place to start.

Your best bet might be just go to your luthier and ask for a recommendation, if you have not done so already. Your luthier can hear what you sound like with your current rosin, listen to your complaints and make a guess as to what might work. Try what s/he suggests and see what you think.

February 20, 2019, 5:36 PM · What Tom said. (Both posts.)
February 20, 2019, 10:52 PM · I always end up matching the rosin to the strings I’m using. I’ve got a drawer full of em and what works for one brand or core or type of string rarely works as well on others.
February 21, 2019, 7:34 AM · I personally think that Guillaume is fantastic rosin for all instruments including viola, but the Melos viola rosin is very good as well. I've written an article not too long ago about rosin, you may find it use here:
Edited: February 21, 2019, 7:54 AM · I've changed strings a few times on my violin and viola, and I've never needed to change rosin. Somehow Bernardel works on all of them. And I can save my money for more important things like snack chips.
February 21, 2019, 8:17 AM · @Tom H. I know this is a very open ended question, it is purely so I can see what else is out there. My local violin shop stocks a limited amount of brands, so being able to look up favoured brands that have worked for other people is something I like to do.

I have an Eastman strings viola, strung with Warchal Amber C and G, Larsen D and A (I do not like the A, so yet to find a brand that works on this instrument, but that is another adventure all together!)

Thank you everyone for your recommendations, I have lots to look at!

February 21, 2019, 9:36 AM · Timothy - basically there is no difference. The Bernardel rosin I use works on both instruments.
February 21, 2019, 11:57 AM · My violist teacher uses Hidersine 6V. I'm not sure there's much of that about in the USA, so it may be new to you. I use it too, on my violin, but I like Hills a lot as well and it lasts a long time.
February 21, 2019, 12:05 PM · I love the Andrea it is expensive but it does a spectacular job its just about the smoothest thing on the market.
February 21, 2019, 2:54 PM · Probably the main thing is not to spend too much on the rosin. There are plenty of good choices that don't cost a fortune and will work well for most people. Remember that there is no choice of rosin that will make most of us sound like Oistrakh on either his violin or his viola.
Edited: February 21, 2019, 3:20 PM · Tom wrote "Probably the main thing is not to spend too much on the rosin."
Here is one area where I disagree. It's pretty rare to spend more on a cake of rosin, which will last you some years, than you would spend on one violin lesson. Rosin seems to be one place where you can truly splurge!
February 22, 2019, 3:11 AM · My teacher thinks she's on her third cake of rosin in 30 years of professional playing, so we can afford Leatherwood if we really want to.
February 22, 2019, 4:43 AM · I'm on my second cake of rosin in the 13 years I've had my current viola, and I only bought it last October. (Before my current viola, I had a viola on loan, and used the Hill Dark rosin that was already in the case.) And I had to buy the second cake not because I ran out of rosin but because I dropped my rosin on a concrete floor.

To me, the real worry in buying an expensive rosin is that it becomes a complete waste of money if it doesn't work well.

Edited: February 22, 2019, 7:25 AM · AndrewH, as you know, there's another forum where absolute beginners are worried that they need an exact match of string and rosin and bow, and that they need all 4 strings to be from different sets, and the E string has to wound with a unicorn's nasal hair. I'm tempted to be rude, but it's nice to have a forum where no-one is rude, so I'm keeping out of it. I refuse to blame anything but myself before I have been playing for a few more years. My fiddle is more comfortable in 7th position than I am, so I'm not going to upgrade it yet! My Leatherwood comment was probably better suited to the other forum.
February 22, 2019, 7:36 AM · Paul - your point is well-taken in the sense you make it. What I was trying to say was that you can get a good rosin to try without going to high cost ones, so try one of the decent ones that are not the most expensive.

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