Rosin & Response Time

February 18, 2023, 1:58 PM · I was trying the Cecilia "Signature" rosin which I got as a free sample and found that it's response is slower than the Pirastro Gold (not Gold Flex) rosin which I've been using previously. I noticed that highly articulated notes in fast passages become somewhat mushy. I believe my violin's response is already on the slightly slower side. It has great volume and projection, but sometimes fast passages can become mushy. (Maybe it's my skill, but I find that on a faster responding instrument the notes sound clearer)

I currently use Dominant strings and I know Evah Pirazzi will offer more response, but I'm not fond of spending so much money when I'm only an amateur. Plus, I've also heard that Evah Pirazzi's don't last very long - that they become dull very quickly.

Would the Cecilia "Solo" rosin be any better or are there other rosin recommendations that someone can provide me which can improve the overall response of the bow and violin?

Also, are there other methods of improving response time on a violin? I've read that lighter gauge strings will help at the cost of power/projection. What about soundpost adjustment?

Replies (11)

Edited: February 19, 2023, 8:25 AM · Whether a lighter gauge (i.e., lower tension) string will sound weaker on your instrument depends on the instrument. I have some instruments on which such strings sound stronger.

I don't think of the bow hair/rosin/string interaction in terms of the speed of response but instead as the relationship of the static and slip friction of the interaction. High friction in the static phase gets the string motion started in one direction and low slipping friction allows it to release and reverse direction more freely.

My favorite rosins are the Leatherwoods for my violins, violas and cellos. I used many others before and even quite a few since, but I always end up rosining with Leatherwood before leaving home for a rehearsal. I usually swipe once on Crisp and then once or twice on Supple. These never leave home with me. If I need a touch up away from home I will probably use the Cecilia Signature formula violin cake I carry.

I have not found the viola Leatherwood to be right for my violin. However in a string quartet "experiment" once, years ago, I found that the 'MAGIC" rosins seemed to work well for all 4 players; the effect being something everyone could hear on all 4 instruments.

Edited: February 19, 2023, 2:30 AM · Speed of response in fast passages is a factor that's easily overlooked when auditioning and buying a violin. I made this mistake myself a few years ago and more recently one of my quartet partners had a similar experience with a new violin from a respected maker. The maker's diagnosis (that I hope I haven't misremembered) was excess stress on the belly. I believe adjusting and/or shortening the sound post had some beneficial effect. As Andrew suggests, one could also try lower-tension strings. It might also be helpful to use a rosin with less "stiction" but I don't suppose you'll find that information on the label.
February 19, 2023, 3:53 AM · I own and use both Cecilia Solo and Signature rosins.

Where i live, humidity goes tipically 30%~40% in winter and 50%~70% in summer.
I have simply experienced that in winter i need to use the Solo and in summer the Signature (or Bernardel).
Other than that, i never think in terms of "response time". I only think "right grabbing".

February 19, 2023, 10:21 AM · I would think the setup has more impact on response than rosin type.
February 19, 2023, 11:35 AM · I have a violin with slow, recalcitrant response on the E string. Using a light gauge E helped, and it sounds clearer and subjectively louder.
As we travel up into the higher positions the vibrating string length gets shorter and feels stiffer.
February 19, 2023, 11:54 AM · Andrew, Steve & John, I have yet to try lighter gauge. In January of this year, I brought my violin in to Scott Cao's shop (as I live in the Bay Area in California) and had the bridge and soundpost replaced, fingerboard planed and neck adjusted (since my fingerboard was a bit low). Originally, the instrument was somewhat muted and muffled due to poor setup (also after not touching it for 3 years), and I had a similar issue with response being slow. However, after the setup adjustment, the violin projects very well and is very loud, even the clarity and response speed improved a bit. I recall that when I had my violin inspected 8 years ago, a luthier told me that my soundpost was too short.

Does anyone know what adjustments to make to a soundpost would help with faster response? Also, what are the compromises of doing so?

Lastly, wouldn't bow grip on the strings affect the violin's response speed? That was why I was asking about rosin.

Marco, shouldn't harder rosin be used during the summer and softer rosin be used during the winter? I would assume Cecilia's Signature is softer than the Solo.

February 19, 2023, 12:44 PM · I've heard that positioning the SP closer to bridge creates better response. But that may have an unwanted effect on tone. Sometimes a higher tension string will provide better response. I've had good luck with EPs and have not found them to be any less durable than other strings. They are not that expense relative to other premium strings. I'd say they are one of the best synthetics out there. This weekend Johnson String is having a 20% OFF sale on all strings. (use code 20OFFSTRINGS)
February 19, 2023, 3:37 PM · That's also something I'm curious. EPs are supposed to be high tension strings and they're advertised to have a very fast response, but we've also been told that lighter gauge/lower tensions is supposed to improve response as well. Isn't this contradictory?
February 19, 2023, 5:10 PM · Kevin, i always listen and test what others say, but in the end i choose to do what works for me, after "scientific" tests..... :)

For me, Cecilia (Andrea) Solo never worked in summer.
And now i'm seeing that the Signature does not work (as i like) in winter.

February 19, 2023, 5:26 PM · I think it varies. I have one instrument that responds well to higher tension while another prefers low tension. Your playing style may also impact what type of string works best.
February 22, 2023, 10:51 AM · Cecilia Solo is quite different from the A Piacere, I've never use the Signature though. The Solo is brighter and should give better response.

Depending on your violin, higher tensions strings could give even slower response and require more pressure.

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