Which of these rosin is best for hot climates?

August 31, 2020, 8:28 AM · Hi, so I live in the Philippines where there are very few sellers for strings accessories and I really need new rosin right now. I was eyeing Gustave Bernardel but all shops say they’re out of stock and it might take a long time for them to restock because of the virus.

These are what they have now:
Pirastro Oliv
Pirastro Schwarz
Pirastro Goldflex
D’Addario Light and Dark
P. Guillaume
Dominant Rosin
Peter Infeld Rosin

Are any of these worth considering or a good substitute to the Bernardel? It is also my understanding that I should opt for lighter rosins since I am in a very hot and humid country.

Replies (15)

Edited: August 31, 2020, 9:49 AM · Guillaume is a little on the soft and grainy side. Can be lovely, but perhaps not your first choice right now if humidity is the main driver.

Your best bet might be to look in the Pirastro lineup and ask them which is the lightest and hardest of that group. Could be Goldflex, but I am not a user so couldn't say.

Edited: August 31, 2020, 9:17 AM · I have found Peter Infeld rosin to be superior to my ears. When I gave a cake to a friend who was unhappy with her violin's sound she was overjoyed by the result.

My own personal favorite is Leatherwood but it's really too expensive to recommend unless they are having a 1/2 price sale (which they were when I bought mine).

Pirastro Goldflex has always irritated my eyes when using it for violin or viola but not when using it for cello.

August 31, 2020, 8:47 AM · I found a reseller that sells the Bernardel for the same price as the Guillaume. Should I still consider that or just go for the Guillaume? The prices for these aren’t that far off from the Pirastro choices.
Edited: August 31, 2020, 9:37 AM · Bernardel is really good, all purpose, but the Guillaume is excellent. One can-and should-sound good with most any choice, but experienced rosin users know the difference is obvious under the ear, as well as how playability feels. So it ultimately can affect how confident you feel, even if the audience cannot tell super sensitive vs Guillaume rosin.

In my experience, the Guillaume is not very "dusty" at all, and I have read that it does not trigger allergies, though it is not part of the marketing.

I have only used Millant-Deroux, a well-known dark one (forgot right now), Bernardel, Oliv, Andrea Solo ("biggest", though edgiest tone), and Guillaume. All decent to good rosins can be used to great effect, but my favorite still is the Guillaume, which is why I stopped experimenting some years ago, and why I have not tried as many as some.

Hoping it does not get discontinued, even if the wooden case is no longer for sale.

The Bernardel has a "classic", big, and "bright" tone, though it is a bit more dusty and "grainy". The tone is not bad at all, to be sure. I just prefer the fullness of tone with the Guillaume, with a nice, but not overly emphasized edge on top-I also use it year-round in NYC, through humid summers and dry winters.

(I am sure some will disagree-that's fine.)

August 31, 2020, 10:09 AM · The Bernardel is gonna be the best for your climate. I'm a huge fan of the Guillaume, but with super high heat and humidity Bernardel is gonna be perfect. Learn more here: https://adbowsllc.com/2018/09/25/all-things-rosin/
August 31, 2020, 10:13 AM · Who would have guessed there would be a global shortage of Bernardel Violin Rosin? I should have been buying that instead of filling my laundry room shelves with rice and toilet paper.
Edited: September 1, 2020, 2:14 PM · I also see more dust with the Bernardel Rosin, so I don't recommend it for young students. I like the Melos a little better, but it is not cheap. From recommendations on this forum I tried the Guillaume, but it is not any different or better for me. For the heat and humidity, you might even try the cheap Hidersine. I read somewhere that Heifetz used it.
August 31, 2020, 11:39 AM · I see so a lot of people love Guillaume, but Bernardel would be better for me due to my climate. I would ask what would happen if I use a rosin not fit for hot climates (like Guillaume) in hot climates?
August 31, 2020, 1:23 PM · The best predictor of how different rosins compare at high temperatures is to compare their relative “melt points” which in the case of amorphous materials like this is called the “Glass Transition Temperature” (Tg). The Tg is the temperature at which the material changes from glassy to fluid.

A few years ago I ran the Tg’s on a couple dozen commercial rosins and found they break down into three groups of low, medium, and high Tg’s. Here’s a partial list:

Low Tg’s (46 – 50C) - Jade, Goldflex, D’Addario Natural Dark, Piastro Gold

Medium Tg’s (54 – 56C) – Dominant, Hill Dark, Andrea Solo, Goldflex!, D’Addario Natrural Light, Bernardel

High Tg’s (60 – 69C) – Hill Dark!, Piastro Oliv, Magic, Kaplan Art, Tartini Silkier

Rosins with low Tg’s will be softer with less dust. Rosins with high Tg’s will conversely be harder and dustier.

HERE IS A KEY POINT: Notice that Goldflex and Hill appear in two categories. These are simply different samples from different shops. I have found over and over that the variation from sample to sample in the SAME brand is often as great as the variation between brands. In other words, rosin manufacturers don’t have much control over their raw materials, nor do they have the means to usefully measure the properties of their batches to maintain consistency.

My take away after looking at this for years that unless you are comparing one extreme to another, Jade versus Magic for example, there isn’t enough difference to make a difference.

August 31, 2020, 2:22 PM · Thank you for the responses so far! They have been very informative. So the resellers apparently don’t have any Bernardel as well. So its just Goldflex vs. Guillaume right now. How bad will it be if I use Guillaume in our climate? Does anybody know what tone Goldflex produces and how much dust?
August 31, 2020, 2:53 PM · For what it's worth, Pirastro Schwarz, in spite of being black, is actually Pirastro's hardest rosin. If you're wanting a hard rosin for your heat and humidity, that one would probably be the hardest of the ones you listed.

HTH!

August 31, 2020, 9:16 PM · And to complicate things, I just tried Guillaume again. Admittedly, not a very hot summer day, and RH more like 50% than 90%. But it is nice stuff. Depending on your other gear, it might be just the thing.

Get that and a really hard one-- you may have an interesting story for all of us.

August 31, 2020, 11:21 PM · I use the Guillaume and haven't had any problems with it. I think the grainy sound at least in my experience since every violin/bow is different came from trying to use too much rosin. I found that with the Guillaume less is often more. I also live in Texas which has a hot and humid climate as well, but you may have a different experience since you are in the Philippines.

I also have a cake of Melos light that I love. I'll have to do more testing, but I think I prefer the Guillaume to the Melos on my violin so long as I don't use too much. I've found it to be good stuff, but the Melos is also really nice.

September 1, 2020, 9:55 AM · I think Guillaume is just the perfect rosin. It works in every season.
September 1, 2020, 2:15 PM · Thank you, Tom Q., for that list. jq


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