Rosin. Such a simple little thing, pretty cakes in various shades, shiny when new, dull in texture as they are used. Rosin up your bow and let’s play!

The choices seem to be endless, with each brand and type having its devoted followers. I think rosin is a bit like fancy knitting tools – they don’t cost very much and each one seems fresh and new so we tend to indulge even when we don’t really need anything new.

So, here’s what I’ve learned about rosin, just scraping the tip of the iceberg:

Starting from the far left – anonymous rosin that was in the case with my cheap Chinese fiddle. Most everyone I’ve talked to says to just toss it as it’s total crap, but I found a use for it – a brand new bow that has never had rosin on the hair is very smooth and difficult to put rosin onto. These cheapo rosins are quite dusty and brittle, falling apart easily and consequently putting just enough rosin onto the bow hairs that running the bow over a better cake of rosin will work much more smoothly. Waste not, want not 🙂

Next is a dark rosin from Kaplan called Art Craft Dark No. 7 that I like very much. Some people recommend using a darker rosin when the humidity is high. Or is that when the humidity is low? Depends on who you ask, so I thought it worth a trial.

Next up is a green rosin called Jade made by L’Opera in France that is gorgeous to look at, but the jury is still out on how well it works with my fiddle.

Last in my personal rosin arsenal is a light rosin called Hidersine which is made in England. I use this rosin more than any of the others as it seems to work well here on the Oregon Coast where the humidity is quite high all year ’round. It gives me the most consistent sound with the fewest squeaks and squawks.

You wouldn’t think that such a simple thing would matter so much, but the rosin changes how the violin sounds to a great degree. Different strings like different rosins, too, so it’s an experiment to figure out what rosin works best for a particular fiddle.

So many things to learn, so little time…

Want to make your own?

* Bear in mind that yours truly is a beginner, experimenting to find the tools that work best for me. Your mileage may vary…

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