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How much rosin to use?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by jazzcomposer, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. jazzcomposer


    Nov 27, 2012
    I am relatively new to classical bass playing, after a few years of jazz (both upright and electric). One problem I've encountered is how much rosin to use. I believe I may have been using too much recently, as there is a "screechy" undertone to my sound, and the bow often seems to glide too freely across the strings. (and I'm positive that too little probably isn't the issue)
    Exactly how much rosin is correct, and how can I go about fixing my current problem of too much rosin on the bow?
    Thank you!
  2. I'm a noob, but "gliding too freely" and sounds like too little rosin to me.

    I've only been playing about 5 months and I think I've just found the amount of rosin that I feel comfortable with (for now) and it's more than I assumed at first.

  3. Rosin can be a little lubricating sometimes, but depending on how much you've played arco, it's hard to judge. Many new players with new, previously un-rosined bows, tend to apply to little in the beginning, getting a scratchy effect from the bow not really grabbing the strings.

    I would say too much is when the bow stops dead in its tracks and start sticking to the strings if you use your arm weight. try reaching this point, play away (the rosing will dissapear, after some playing, and don't apply rosin until it's gripping poorly (might take a few days depending on how much you play).

  4. I was afraid of ruining my bow for months and applied rosin very sparingly. One day I was getting really aggravated with sliding and squeaking, so I rosined the hell out of it. Since then I've found my happy medium.

    So I think I did what you suggested without really realizing it :p

  5. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I use 3 solid swipes but experiment! If you get too much on use an old comb and toothbrush to remove excess rosin from the hair.
  6. If your bow "glides too freely across the strings", you have to question the quality and condition of the bow hair. Bow hair made of synthetics is utterly useless. If it's horse hair, remember that as an animal fiber, it, too, can die from old age as well as excessive use.
    No one can advise you on what brand, how many strokes, etc. of rosin to use. Your conditions - bow hair, temperature, humidity, bass strings, etc. are your conditions, not theirs.
    Ultimately, "how much" rosin can only be determined by you after alot of experimentation. There's no quick and easy here.
  7. just to be sure, the "3-4 swipes" many recommend is on a bow that's already "rosined in", so to say. If the hair is more or less unused, more will be required the first time(s).
  8. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The advice I follow I got from my teacher, apply until the resistance you feel pulling down bow across the rosin feels like you're pulling a down bow against a string.
  10. Well gee, Ed, how many swipes is that?
  11. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    A One... A.two-HOO...A three... CRUNCH!
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    One less than one too much.
  13. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Dec 13, 2009
    Where did that quote come from, I think it was re: Paul Chambers use of rosin? Could have been somebody else though....
    But it was said that when he didn't use his bow he just left it on the strings.:D
  14. i usually go with 'as little as possible', as i have a bad tendency of using more rosin as a replacement for proper arm weight.
    I would recommend 'starting over' in a sense by washing the hair and applying rosin very sparingly after that.
    I wash my bow hair over a sink. I disconnect the frog and lay the hair over the sink with the stick dangling over the edge/lying on the counter. then I wet the hair and comb through it with a toothbrush that has a bit of dish soap on it. Then I rinse, still combing, until it's no longer sudsy. Now, don't put the bow back together just yet! lay the hair on a towel or some paper towel until it's completely dry. At this point it will probably look wavy and totally freak you out because you'll be convinced you've broken it or damaged the hair or something but NEVER FEAR. Re-assmble and tighten the hair and it will be just fine, so long as you made sure to keep it from getting twisted through the washing and drying process. Hope that helps!
  15. How new is your rosin? If it's really new, rough it up with a key. Once the rosin is worked in, 3 swipes should do it.