Pirastro Schwarz Rosin
Another rosin thread (it's been awhile, right?), but kind of specific.
I came across the following comment about Pirastro's discontinued gut string and matching "Schwarz" rosin:
"Pirastro has indeed canceled some lines, but thankfully not that many. Black Label ("Schwarz"-a gut string set that may have been as affordable as Gold Label-its rosin survived!)"
So I'm a little curious. The Schwarz is Pirastro's hardest rosin. They recommended it for steel strings (I use Helicores sometimes). Since Pirastro matches rosins so specifically to strings, does it make sense that they would market their hardest rosin for both gut and steel? Or is pairing rosins with string type just (as I suspect) a marketing hook?
Regardless, I recently dropped my Hill Light and broke it in pieces. It's a perfect excuse to try a new rosin. I've read a few good reviews about Pirastro Schwarz but it isn't talked about too much.
Before I plop down some $$ for Guillaume or the new Deja rosin, has anyone here used the Schwarz? How was it?
I have often wondered why Pirastro has so many varieties of rosin, one for each string set: Perhaps to sell more rosin. If we want a perfectly optimized rosin, it would have to be different for the gut G string and the steel E string, which is impossible. If you want something cheaper than Guillaume, try Bernardel. It's only draw-back is that it makes extra dust. I also use Hidersine dark-cello grade, as a violin rosin.
That was my thought, too, Joel. Mixed strings sort of defy the strategy, don't they? I think I tried Bernadel long ago. Didn't like the dust. I'll give the Guillaume a try, and maybe try to re-melt my Hill light together. Thanks!
I endorse melting the old rosin into a reformed cake. I do that all the time* - even though I think I still have almost enough rosins to sustain all the string players in a major orchestra until retirements of the current crew. I did have ENOUGH but I've been giving them away the past couple of years.
I agree with Joel and Andy. Pirastro's "matching rosin to strings" is just marketing rubbish. I've also successfully remolded several rosin cakes. I use a silicone mini-cupcake tray.
I had to retire my Guillaume and buy a fresh cake, as it had lost most of its adherence and was hard to put on. Just placed the new one on the old wooden container. The new one immediately livened up the bow and produced great tone-the old Guillaume rosin I knew. It was a new rehair, so yes, the rosin was "dead", and it wasn't user error (if anyone wants the cadaver so you can attempt any revivings at home, let me know.) It did last several years, but I am surprised at how some players have been able to use the same cake for decades-generally I have to buy more rosin before I am able to use a full cake.
Thanks for the heads-up about Guillaume going stale. My Hill hadn't lost anything in the 8 years I had it, until I dropped it. My viola teacher from a few years ago plays violin professionally in the local symphony. She used an old cake of Hill Light. It had a deep canyon worn down the middle. She told me it was at least 20 years old.
Nothing wrong with Guillaume rosin... it is my favorite. My old one just crystalized a bit so it is no longer fresh or of much practical use. I could theoretically use it, but the new, fresh Guillaume cake is much better. I used it about 4-5 years. Bernardel is good but I had a similar "crystallization" problem in less than a year. I guess I kill rosins?
If it's that good I can afford a new cake every 4-5 years :-)
Bernardel is good but I had a similar "crystallization" problem in less than a year. I guess I kill rosins?
The half cake of Cecilia rosin is the exact same size as the regular cakes of the previously sold Tartini and Andrea rosins (that is until the "two-faced" Andrea Sanctus cakes were marketed).
If Paul's theory about rosins drying out holds water (pun intended!), then perhaps hard rosins such as Hill Light change very little over the years because they start with less water to begin with?
I find it highly unlikely that the reason for rosin changing properties with age is water evaporation. Water is present in the air and the water in rosin would reach an equilibrium with water in the air much faster. And it would go up and down with the seasons. It is much more likely that a volatile component of the rosin is evaporating. Different rosins will have different amounts of volatile components depending on how the rosin is distilled and thus different brands of rosin will age differently.
Received my new rosins. Adalberto is right about the Guillaume. It's terrific! Using Tonicas with a Helicore Heavy C, the contact across the strings feels very smooth but not slick.
After all, it's the rosin that makes the tone: the bow is only there to hold the rosin in a convenient straight line!
My very unscientific findings: rosins do go stale. Maybe not always as quickly as Baker cautions, but it is often worth trying a new cake if you are losing enthusiasm for a brand.
I cannot say the Pirastro Schwarz is a bad rosin without using it-I imagine it sounds a bit edgy? I imagine that with the right match, it could work well.
I wouldn't call it edgy, unless by edgy you mean that scratchy sound I get when I drift too close to the bridge too slowly with the frog end of the bow and it goes SKRITCHHHH... that's what the Pirastro sounded like everywhere. Plus thin tone, no ring, no color, no volume. I was really shocked that a rosin alone could do all that.
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