DEJA rosin - a shameless promotion or helpful advice?

Edited: August 24, 2019, 9:36 AM · I purchased a cake of "DEJA 'soloist' rosin" from Etsy.com last week. I did this in response to a query on Maestronet.com about the stuff and since no one else responded I decided to buy a cake of the stuff and try it.

I have no commercial connection with this product and no connection with any one involved with it. Because of its current position in the market it is unlikely to attract attention from those who might find it useful.

Thus the following:

Apparently I was the first purchaser of Deja “Soloist” rosin (a week ago) and I thought it fair to provide a review. Deja is a neat cylindrical cake, of 3/4" thickness and 1.5" diameter - a substantial size. It is nicely packaged in an aluminum can that holds the rosin and its attached cloth. I find this case particularly nice because the top is threaded: a much better idea (in my experience) than the friction fit aluminum cases that come with several other rosin brands.

(1) The threading makes the cylinder less likely to deform and
(2) Treaded tops go on and off more easily than the friction-fit ones.

The rosin itself is not too soft or too hard (may tend toward the harder end of the usual range). I tested it on 8 bows, 1-violin, 4-viola, and 3-cello (after removing what residual rosin I could with a microfiber cloth) and played on the appropriate instruments. In my initial short trials I did not get enough rosin on the bow hairs and the resulting sound had a bit too much high end. So before starting the subsequent trials I lightly scored** the top of the rosin cake in a square grid. This provided sufficient rosin to get a good idea of what this rosin will do. It provided good, rich tone on violin and viola. It gave me a bit more overtone sound on cello than I am used to but without losing the rich lower quality. On the other hand it also gave a richer and firmer tone from the higher octaves of the C string than I get with my usual rosins. I double-checked this with a second, heavier cello bow that has even more trouble in that “high-C” string cello range – it was improved too. The bows I used were decent, if not spectacular, ranging in retail market value from about $500 up to about $5,000 each.

**(Scoring the surface of a new rosin cake is not something I usually (if ever) do.)

The Deja rosin seems to have “staying power,” keeping its tonal character long enough for a concert and produces very little dust. I think it is a very good deal at its price ($9) both for quality and quantity/size and competes well with rosins that retail for many times its price. (The rosins I have used and favored for the past few years are the costly Leatherwood brands. I have tested several dozen different rosin brands over the past 20 years.)

I have long felt that an ideal rosin would create static friction (that distorts the string and thus initiates the vibration that causes the sound - the bigger the displacement the louder the sound) in proportion to the pressure applied to the string by downward force as well as by the speed of the bow and would have sliding friction (that damps the string vibration during the slip phase) of zero over a wide range of pressure (which would eliminate friction damping). I feel this rosin comes closer to that ideal than any I have tried in the past 20 years (maybe 70 years) - it's not something I am equipped to measure quantitatively.

I think Deja will bring out overtones from any instrument very well and this should promote "projection," but I have not tried it in a large hall. On my cellos (and with the 3 bows I tried) it brings out the upper octaves of the C string like no other rosin I have tried.

I have also tested the DEJA playing qualities for a typical "set" duration of say 2 hours by playing viola in a string trio with the result that DEJA ROSIN seems to be a good deal, especially for the price and size of the cake. It has gotten very hot here in northern CA for a few days (~100°F) during this testing period and we also had days that were in the 70s - so it's had a pretty good test of a temperature range behavior.

Replies (24)

August 24, 2019, 10:17 AM · Rosin thread! Great to know about this product, Andrew.
August 24, 2019, 11:09 AM · I have found it helpful to remove the DEJA rosin cake from its cloth and glue it to the lid of the Al can in the fashion of Baker's, Magic, and Andrea rosins.
Edited: August 24, 2019, 11:45 AM · Do they have a sticky version? I'd like to try it with gut strings. I ruined my Pop's rosin recently by trying to melt it back into a usable cake...

Turns you can actually make bass rosin even softer.

Edited: August 24, 2019, 12:10 PM · Well, if it is almost as good as Baker's and has no 2 year waiting list, I'll give it a try for $12.03. (8.99 plus shipping)
I like the idea of a threaded top, sometime the friction lids get sticky and are hard to get off. I have no connection with this product.
Thanks Andrew.
Edited: August 24, 2019, 11:53 PM · Cotton your remolded Pops rosin may harden with time. Don't throw it away.

DEJA needs a waiting list. Then they can double the price. The waiting list need not be real. It can be manufactured. I strongly suspect this the case with Baker's Rosin. We're talking about a natural resource that is NOT in short supply.

August 26, 2019, 2:28 PM · Deja Vu?
August 26, 2019, 2:44 PM · Where do you find this stuff anyways? I've used a vpn to search as both a Canadian and US user and can't find any trace of it—except your posts about it here and on maestronet.
August 26, 2019, 4:12 PM · https://www.etsy.com/listing/720474501/deja-soloist-rosin-natural-pine-rosin?gpla=1&gao=1&utm_campaign=shopping_us_IntelligentCo_sfc_osa&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_custom1=0&utm_content=20628209&gclid=Cj0KCQjwho7rBRDxARIsAJ5nhFqzaSoMlQYeTW2oIX9w1YfeIBVENT7F6fwn0b7kqzS5my2Bar4Vsd0aAsOxEALw_wcB
Edited: August 26, 2019, 6:00 PM · Ah... Well, shipping to Canada costs more than the rosin itself.
35 Canadian pesos? No thanks! Maybe I'll just make my own rosin.
August 29, 2019, 11:21 AM · I just bought some Guillaume. I'm not buying any more rosin for 10 years.
Edited: August 30, 2019, 6:08 PM · Ok, all of you have me curious so I just ordered this as an experiment. The edge of my Piastro Oliv rosin keeps chipping, and I'm careful not to allow my frog to hit it. Probably not careful enough as I can't think of why else this would happen. It's perfectly usable, this thread just has me curious so that's a good excuse to have a second cake... Very curious to see how this rosin might differ.
Edited: August 30, 2019, 7:05 PM · What I do to prevent the metal ferrule of my bows hit the rosin is have my thumb there and extending 1/8" or less toward the hair. That way my thumb hits the rosin instead of the metal.

Works whether I move the bow or the rosin!
(Is there a limerick in there somewhere?)

Voila! No more chipped rosin!!

August 30, 2019, 7:11 PM · I just received cake number 2 yesterday. I like it. So far, so good. I am reluctant compare it yet to my two personal favorites, Baker's & Tartini. What I like may not work for you, or your music.
August 30, 2019, 7:22 PM · Thanks for the tip Andrew!
September 2, 2019, 11:07 PM · I'm the fourth purchaser--and my initial experience with it on violin and viola has been excellent. It has a good "bite" and goes onto the bow hair relatively easily. The feeling it has when drawing a sound with the bow lasts for several hours, and for some of my private students who tried it, the sound is distinctly fuller compared to Kaplan Artcraft Light which is their regular "inexpensive" rosin choice. I would like to see them secure the cake to the cloth though, I almost dropped the first cake when I opened the container!

Certainly for the price, it is very competitive with Guillaume and Melos, the rosins I regularly use. I tried it with a couple orchestra students and they were shocked at how much difference a decent rosin could make- they are playing on stuff that is of questionable quality to begin with so of course the results were dramatic. ;)

Hooray for another excellent rosin on the market at a VERY reasonable price per cake. Sign me up for more!

Edited: September 3, 2019, 1:25 AM · I'm organizing a competition to think up the best advertising slogan for a rosin. My own entry would be "Get a grip!", but of course that wouldn't be fair. Friends and relatives of the organizer aren't eligible either. The prize is a real Stradivarius-label violin as advertised on ebay. Entries on a postcard please.

My Mum once won a washing machine for her detergent slogan! I'm not suggesting any similarity there of course

September 11, 2019, 11:48 AM · A cake in the mail for me-- and this time I may invest in some sandpaper to get to the good part quickly, rather than waiting a few months of careful rosining to get a flat surface on the top. We shall see.

Andy's idea of glueing it to the top is also very attractive. Is there any glue that is particularly (in)effective?

Edited: September 11, 2019, 12:22 PM · The only time I've ever felt the need to roughen up the surface of a rosin was my first ever hard as glass, paler than straw, Chinese summer rectangle, free with every VSO and binnable together with the wrapping. Yet I've seen Youtube videos where they can't use the softest rosin without sandpapering it first. A good soft rosin cake with a hollow in the middle doesn't need flattening out - that's wasting money.
Edited: September 11, 2019, 12:31 PM · I simply gently scored the top of the cake in a 4x4 or 5x5 square grid with the tip of a knife and it produced enough loose rosin to start the hair. Actually almost anything with enough edge to scratch the rosin should do the job.

I used super glue to attach the rosin cake to the top of the container. Be sure to glue the flat side of the cake to the top, not the smoother but slightly irregular side.

The cake comes packed in a cloth all within the Al container. My first cake was actually glued to the cloth, but subsequent cakes were just wrapped in it (I bought some more Deja for family members). Good idea to prevent breakage before it gets to the buyer.

September 11, 2019, 3:49 PM · Why not glue it with rosin? Heat the rosin and it will stick to anything.
September 11, 2019, 4:54 PM · I've been wondering the best way to attach my Deja rosin. I didn't think about heating it.

I do like it quite a bit - though I've not much experience in different rosins. Compared with my Piastro Oliv rosin the notes seem much cleaner with less squeaking or other odd sounds from my bow. It may simply be that I do need a much lighter rosin in the warmer months but there was a decided difference in my playing with the Deja rosin. The difference was too immediate to ascribe it to some miraculous improvement in my playing :-)

September 11, 2019, 7:58 PM · You could heat rosin to make it stick to something, but I never had a lot of luck with that. I use GORILLA Super Glue for almost everything that does not have "rock-climbing risks."**

**I would not use it for gluing violin or bow things.

September 11, 2019, 8:36 PM · No violin or bow things? Shame-- it really helps tone when playing deep in the string.
Edited: September 22, 2019, 8:03 AM · I got mine today. I am the 21st customer!

Packaging needs a re-think. The cloth makes it hard to remove from the can, and is not attached to the cake. So, if cloth is required, glue it to the cake and use a cardboard box, a la Salchow. If the can takes priority, glue the rosin to the lid and get rid of the cloth. I bought 99c worth of super-glue and stuck it to the lid with no difficulty (so far).

The actual rosin seems remarkably good. I didn't do all combinations of bow and violin, the climate is changing, and I was in a room that I don't usually practice in, etc. So this is very preliminary. But first impression was that it is like the Rondo strings. Slightly bright, vibrant, and going loud with not much extra effort. I shall take it across the pond to see how it handles constant humidity and then cool weather.

As to whether it is better than anything else... ???. Leatherwood struck me as very fine sounding. A few years later, I wonder if it is still as good. Age doesn't necessarily help the very best stuff improve, so maybe a new order would outdo the original one. Anyway, the new cake of Deja made an obvious improvement to bows that had previously been given Solo or Leatherwood. But time enough to test all of this. In the meantime, it is not expensive, it has a lovely can once you glue the rosin to the lid, and it makes nice noises.

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