Different rosin in winter?

September 1, 2020, 7:02 AM · I've been reading conflicting thoughts here and elsewhere on whether a darker rosin is better for the dryer winter conditions. I currently use Melos light - which I like a lot - and am considering Melos dark for the winter IF it really makes a difference. I know rosin can differ even from the same company as it is a natural product.

Curious to read experiences here - most of what I've read here dated years in the past. Sadly I can't seem to sort search responses by date (that would be awesome).

Replies (15)

September 1, 2020, 8:23 AM · Try not to mix rosins on your current hair, some don't work well with each other, even after you've removed the old rosin. Depending on your location, you may need a different rosin for summer vs. winter. Many people don't. In Michigan, it makes sense. Melos is great, switch to the dark rosin for winter, I'm sure that Melos will actually work fine on the same hair. The light can be a little dusty for Michigan winters.
Edited: September 1, 2020, 8:38 AM · Catherine, if I were you I would ask the luthier from whom you obtained your new violin.

My own rosin journeys over the past 20 years have traversed the following path (as to what I considered the best rosin at the time):
Liebenzeller
Tartini/Andrea
Magic
Leatherwood

Because I play violin, viola and cello my use of each of these brands included the entire gamut of rosins intended for all those instruments. I chose these rosins from among the dozens of others I tried during the journey. Some of the other rosins I encountered were quite good too, Peter Infeld was one example of a rosin with the qualities I really like (good grip with minimum dust).

The rosin on the bow hair grips the string while pulling (or pushing) it from its equilibrium position until the restoring force of the string exceeds the gripping force of the rosin ("static friction"). The magnitude of that force is due to the static friction of the rosin on the bow and the rosin on the string.

When the restoring force of the string exceeds the gripping force of the rosin rhe string returns toward its equilibrium position and then beyond, slipping along the rosined bow hair until the bow hair grabs it again. This slipping is slowed in proportion to the "sliding friction" coefficient of the particular rosin used. The higher the static friction (within limits) and the lower the sliding friction of a rosin the more range of sound and response are available to the player. This grab-slip-grab-slip process occurs very fast, at the frequency of the string vibration rate (i.e., 440 times per second for "concert A" pitch).

EDIT: I see that Anthony beat me in responding to this. I would take his advice, he is a real expert.

September 1, 2020, 9:53 AM · I use Guillaume year-round and can't be bothered to try mixing and matching. I don't notice any issues.
Would you clean your bow with IPA and then apply a new rosin every time you go from an outdoor setting to a climate controlled one as well?
September 2, 2020, 5:18 AM · Anthony has given a great answer -- I would only add that it actually comes down to personal experience. Rosin not being super expensive, you should follow Anthony's advice and get the Melos dark. Then on some days use the dark and on others continue to use the light and see what results you get. You may need to switch to only the dark for the winter, you may find a mixture works great, or you may find that you don't notice a difference and can use either one equally well.
September 2, 2020, 8:35 AM · Thanks for the comments, and I will try the Melos Dark as we slide from fall to winter. Thankfully that's still a few months away - or several levels in this apparent game of Jumanji we're all playing that is masquerading as 2020.
Edited: September 2, 2020, 8:54 AM · I agree with Anthony and David, although, if your practice room doesn't suffer wild changes in climate, I suspect there's no need: but it is not impossible that you will prefer Melos Dark and come to use it all year round instead of the Light. (so I don't disagree with Cotton either)
September 2, 2020, 9:06 AM · Gordon, there is that as well :)
September 2, 2020, 12:22 PM · To add to the mess; I suspect that the optimum grade of rosin will be different for the E- and G - string.
September 2, 2020, 12:59 PM · I don't change rosin because of heat/cold- I change because of humidity. I'm in the South and the summer is really really humid, even in an air conditioned house. And the winters get pretty dry. The dustier rosins(e.g. Jade) tend not to do well for me in winter. When I lived in Florida, switching rosins was a necessity. I'm further north now and it's not as bad as it used to be.

I've been using Andrea Solo year round for a while and have been really happy with it, but I'm not in extreme humidity anymore.

September 2, 2020, 1:22 PM · My apartment gets VERY dry in the winter - even with a humidifier in my practice room. My lutheir as also recommended an in-case humidifier as well for my antique violin.
September 2, 2020, 2:49 PM · Boveda! And a vapor-sealed Musafia case.
Edited: September 2, 2020, 8:28 PM · From what I can tell, the Boveda would actually touch my scroll, I dont like that. My Bobelock case is a very good one, and it came with a humistadt(?)

I will be researching my in-case options, as well as a decent room humidifer. I had one, but it started leaking at the end of the winter so it is no more. I want to get it early while they are still in stock. There were also some good responses last winter when I was pondering this, just reread some of them.

September 2, 2020, 6:02 PM · It may depend also on the particular hair being used by the rehairer. Christos (spelled with an eta - the word means "useful", not "anointed" ("Christ"), and the Roman historian Suetonius thought that it was over someone spelled with an eta that the Jews in Rome were creating the disturbance that led to Claudius expelling them from Rome) sent my named shop free samples, and his light rosin didn't work with my bows. I eventually bought dark from the music shop. In the past, when I had bows rehaired by Arthur Grove, most rosins worked with them.
Edited: September 2, 2020, 9:35 PM · The idea that some rosins "don't work well together" or are somehow incompatible just doesn't ring true to me. I've heard people say their rosin cake is going to be irretrievably contaminated if they lend it to someone who regularly uses another brand, and that's just crapola.

If you have a rosin that's too sticky or one that's not sticky enough, blending them ought to give a good result. Just don't expect the property in question to vary linearly with fractional composition. If you find that four swipes of your clean rosin and one swipe of the sticky stuff is the magic combo for you then what you might legitimately try is melting together a cake of the clean rosin and 1/4 of the cake of the sticky rosin in a mold* and you'll be set for life, considering how much folks around here brag about how little rosin they use in their attempts to be more like Heifetz ("Hill rosin, applied sparingly") or something.

*For the mold I recommend a silicone mini-cupcake tray.

Edited: September 3, 2020, 6:58 AM · Sounds like the voice of experience Paul. I pondered this idea when I had to reheat/mold my Melos Light this spring after breaking it. I'm curious to see what the Melos Dark is like - I've noted my JP bow likes the Melos Light rather more than my Codabow does.


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