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powdered rosin on new hair?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by iona bass, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. iona bass

    iona bass Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2012
    Los Angeles/Burbank, CA
    (this topic extracted from the "New Finale Bow" thread).

    My first teacher ( back in the early 70's), used to advise me to request "NO POWDERED ROSIN" when getting a rehair. I was told that rehaired violin bows received a dusting of "powdered rosin"(?), but that he felt it was not appropriate for a Bass Bow.

    I wonder if applying "powder" is a widespread practice? Or, is it an optional step in a rehair or newhair? I've always assumed that NO rosin was applied and I've usually been reassured that NO rosin, of any kind, would be applied as part of the rehair/new hair process, when inquiring as to the procedure.
  2. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    It really depends on the preferences and training of the shop/maker, and their interaction with customers.

    It is far more common on upper strings' bows, as the harder rosin doesn't start as easily as bass rosin. Where a fresh cake of something like Kolstein/Oak Soft, Pops etc. can get things going quickly, violin rosin can be countless passes before it actually starts getting on the hair. A lot of shops/makers will ask upper string players if they want it, and a lot of them do. Usually this is a very modest amount of rosin, but it makes getting your preferred amount of rosin on the bow a lot easier.

    As for bass bows, it is a bit of a mixed bag. It is a lot easier/faster to start bass rosin, so a lot of players do not see this as a necessary step. The "rosin box" that most shops use tends to be filled with violin/upper string rosin because bass rosin doesn't powder as easily; it has a lot more wax/soft additives in it. Some bass players like the feel of this rosin, some hate it. Some bass players feel if their bow gets a single swipe of a particular rosin they do not like that rehair is ruined, some borrow whatever their section mates have, and I swear never buy their own rosin. Because of all of these factors, most shops I have encountered decide to not put any rosin on bass rehairs, or they ask if you would like it.

    So, what happens in my shop? I ask what the player prefers. I am asking about their preferred colour of hair anyway, so one more question isn't too much hassle. Instead of using a powder box like upper string bows, I have a rosin blend I use if bass players request rosin on their bow. It is a "secret" combination of a few rosins, and it keeps Pops players and Oak players and Carlsson players etc. happy. I apply just enough to get sound out of the bow, and from there, the bassists can add their preferred rosin and be in business for a gig that night instead of struggling to get things going. I highly recommend it, but respect players wishes regardless.
  3. Hector Wolff

    Hector Wolff

    Jun 7, 2003
    East Norwich, Long Island, NY
    I get my bow rehaired at Kolstein, and he keeps a box of powdered rosin that he applies if you ask for it.

    I have had them rehair my bow several times, with and without the powdered rosin priming. It is certainly faster and easier to get the bow pulling as I like it, when it has been primed.

    I however prefer the Kolstein All Weather rosin - not too soft and sticky. If I were a sticky rosin user, perhaps the whole process would be faster, even without priming.
  4. iona bass

    iona bass Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2012
    Los Angeles/Burbank, CA
    Mike and Hector,

    Thanks for your responses.
    I've never had an issue with getting new (unpowdered) hair to function properly, using Nyman or Carlsson for the past 20yrs or so.
    I have recently been using an Xacto knife to remove high spots between "grooves/ruts" to ensure a flat surface to evenly contact the full width of the hair. I also apply from frog-to-tip and tip-to-frog to ensure an even application, esp. at/toward the tip. I've found this makes a noticeable difference in ensuring complete/consistent coverage.
    Different Strokes/Different Folks.
    Thanks, again, for your interest and expertise.
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