Applying rosin to the side of right index finger?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Jack Clark, Dec 21, 2012.


  1. Jack Clark

    Jack Clark

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    Idyllwild, California
    I discovered quite by accident that my time improved when I applied a little rosin to the "Ray Brown side" of my right index finger. I've always had trouble with my finger coming off the string inconsistently—sometimes it would slip and come off a fraction early, sometimes it would catch and come off a fraction late, never knew which was going to happen when. But it seems that with a little rosin applied to the meat side of my right index finger I'm getting a grab I can count on now. Is anybody else out there doing this?

    (I play an odd upright bass with nylon-wrapped steel flatwounds, so maybe this applies only to me, I dunno.)
  2. Michael Case

    Michael Case

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Do mean rosin, like what you apply to a bow? Or do you mean resin as in fiberglass resin which is probably not very safe to apply directly to your skin? Either way my answer is no. I actually try to wipe an access rosin from my strings before playing pizz because I feel the stickiness throws off my time.
  3. Jack Clark

    Jack Clark

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    Idyllwild, California
    Hi, Michael-

    No, I just mean a little Pop's. I got some on the side of my finger while pizzing the E string after having bowed it a few times. I found that the rosin on my finger helped with consistent pizz work on the other strings, too, so since then I've been putting just a little on the side of my finger, then warming up on all the strings. Seems to get enough on the strings to help. I'm not talking about visible rosin on the strings here, just a slight tackiness. But like I said above, maybe it's only because I'm using nylon-wrapped steel flatwound strings that this is working for me. (I've never heard of a double bassist doing this on purpose.) And I still wipe my strings down with a microfilament cloth before I put it away.
  4. Marty Forrer

    Marty Forrer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2000
    Location:
    Napier, New Zealand.
    I think it's to do with your nylon-wrapped strings. Any time I've played a nylon string I did find it a bit slippery feeling for my taste. If it works for you.... no problem.
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. Michael Case

    Michael Case

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Ok, but Jack it's rosin not resin.

    Just for extra reference. http://www.lemurmusic.com/Bass-Rosin/products/185/

    If it works for you then keep doing it. Like I said before I find rosin on my fingers or strings is more of a hindrance when playing pizz.
  7. Jack Clark

    Jack Clark

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    Idyllwild, California
    Ah, thanks for the correction, Mike. I'll change it above so as to avoid more confusion.
  8. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Location:
    White Salmon, WA
    I'm more of a french fry grease guy myself, but nose oil and sweat will do in a pinch.

    I got pool cue talc on my hands one night and the stickiness was horrible.

    Lube, never enough lube!
  9. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    Location:
    Oak Park, IL
    If it works for ya, go for it!
  10. Michael Case

    Michael Case

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    I need an adult!
  11. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2001
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I would have to disagree. I don't like the idea of adding a substance to improve your time. How many great players do you know who rosin their fingers? None. It's always fun to watch the creativeness of players looking for "the shortcut". But, even though I'm positive this is just wrong lets look into some possible conclusions to rosining ones finger. Number one, severe drying, cracking and irritation to the skin. I have to believe that once the skin cracks, the human body will not tolerate resin in the cut. Secondly, what about weather? Hot days/ cold days? Rosin changes significantly as the weather changes. How is your time going to be in August? In January? Hands and a bass. It's been working great for nearly a hundred years. Get a metronome and start practicing and put your rosin on the bow and work some long tone exercises.....
  12. Michael Case

    Michael Case

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Now that's just crazy talk!
  13. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2001
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Rosin on your finger for better time...just when I thought I'd heard it all. How about Dixie cups (with the bottoms cut out) on your ears to hear the changes better? Or a sheriffs badge on your shirt to play with more authority.
  14. travshorts

    travshorts

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Victoria, B.C., Canada
    Jason is cranky. hahaha
  15. Michael Case

    Michael Case

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Now yer makin sense.
  16. Jack Clark

    Jack Clark

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    Idyllwild, California
    Frankly, the sheriff's badge for authority sounds ridiculous. . . . But the Dixie cups . . . ? I think I've gotta try that.
  17. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2001
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hey, y'all do what you gotta do ;)
  18. ninnlangel

    ninnlangel

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    France, Switzerland
    George Mraz uses a touch of vaseline on the right hand fingers. I've been doing that too for years, and I find that it really helps. My skin callouses in very strange ways, and can get a little rugged and uneven sometimes, which means the string occasionally gripped and I would come in late on the odd note. By having a touch of vaseline there, I have full confidence that I can cut through the string every time and have a consistent tone and time.

    Give it a shot!

    NL
  19. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Connecticut
    +1. Bravo. Thanks for injecting some straightforward sense here. :) I have also noticed that, after playing arco, the little bit of rosin that ends up on my right index finger yields a more "pointed" pizz. sound. I'd never intentionally put it there though, because my goal is to maintain and refine the sound of my hands on my bass, to borrow from Jason's term.
  20. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I dunno. I used to suffer more from the same issues of the fingers getting caught on the strings or slipping at the wrong time. Over the years as I've gotten better and had a better sense for clarity in what I want to play, the problem kinda fixes itself. Somehow as I have a clearer sense of what I want to play (and not just cram every single note in there), I started getting hung up on the strings less and less. *shrug*
  21. Jack Clark

    Jack Clark

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Location:
    Idyllwild, California
    Yes, years of dedicated experience has to be the real answer. Putting stuff on our fingers might appear to be a quick fix (although it really isn't) for us frustrated amateurs who don't play nearly so much.

Share This Page