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newbie at upright, amount of rosin?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by tbassist4, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. Well ive just picked up an upright after playing electric for a long time and ive been having a bit of trouble trying to figure out how much rosin is enough or too much. Now I know im suppose to get lessons to learn all of the small details that really make the difference and all that but i really cant afford expensive lessons nor could i find a bass teacher to tell me these little things who's in my area, I think im learning fine on my own anyways. But thats beside the point. I can't seem to get the right amount of rosin. My sister has a cello, and when i play it the strings make a wonderful tone and i dont even have to use that much effort, and the rosin catches right away when i change from an upstroke to a downstroke. With my bass I received a brand new bow and started to rosin it, i have to press harder to even make a decent tone and i cant play even 8th or 16th notes simply because the bow seems to slip when I change bowing directions and it takes a second for the rosin on the bow to catch again. I'm assuming I have too little, although I have rosined it quite a bit. It'd be great if someone could help me out here, thanks in advance!
  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    What kind of rosin are you using? I recommend Carlsson or Nymans bass rosin. You know you have enough rosin when you can get a good medium loud tone with nothing but the weight of the bow.
  3. I'm using W.E. Hill and Sons Dark Rosin. And thanks for the input, i guess i have a bit more rosining to do...
  4. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I believe the Hill rosin will be more powdery and less sticky. I could rosin a bow all day with a powdery rosin and still not have it grip the way that I like.
  5. I use pops rosin. I don't use a lot as it is very sticky but it puts out a very nice sound.
  6. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I use Pops and love it. Nobody makes a better rosin container for less money in my book. :bassist:
  7. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    The answer is as much as sounds pleasant. Pops is very soft and sticky, so it doesn't require much "build-up" to start working. By contrast, Carrlson and Nyman (essentially the same rosin) are relatively hard and powdery - it may take a few sessions with the bow on the strings before you get consistent results.

    Also, slow your bow stroke and don't overtighten the hair. Without a teacher, you will need to engage in some trial-and-error with these elements -- as well as the rosin, and bow angle, grip, stance, etc. -- in order to get a good arco tone. Good luck.
  8. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    A few other important things:

    When you start out cold, don't put any rosin on the bow (unless of course it's completely new hair). Try and warm up the rosin that's already on the hair first. You can speed this process up by muting all the strings with your left hand and bowing very quickly and lightly across all the strings using the full length of the bow hair.

    Also, make sure you clean the gunk off your strings and out of the hair every now and then. The need to do this will depend in part on the kind of rosin you are using. Some rosins create more gunk than others. A good rosin will not leave much gunk (or you're using too much). One thing you can do is "flick" the hair to release some of the gunk from the hairs. Although some people don't like to do this because they don't like to touch the hair. Make sure your hands are clean before you do this (I always wash my hands before I play anyway). Some people use a comb and sometimes even some liquid to clean the bow hair.
  9. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    And make sure when you apply the rosin that you do it the "right" way so that you get a good spread across all the hair. If you apply it with some speed it should already be heated somewhat. For beginners, it's easy to think you don't have enough rosin when in fact you may have too much.
  10. okay, well i can see what you mean about it being all powedery and not gripping, I just didnt like the fact that pops melts when you dont even touch it. It made me think of sticky sick running liquid on my strings, i didnt like how it acted even when it wasnt on my bow, although its obviously fine and thats just me being paranoid. I might even just get a new bow, cause i can tell this ones bad. It was completely new hair, but i can tell its poorly made, as is my bass. I might just get a new bow with some rosin already on it to get me started...ah i dunno. I could try pops, but i assume its bad to switch rosin types all of a sudden?
  11. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Nah, switching rosins and playing around...experimenting with them and having fun...there's no crime in it whatsoever IMO. And if I have to get a new rehair after at least 2 years I'd feel I got sold crappy hair that didn't have the elasticity I paid for (or the last rehair was a botch job oh well nobody's perfect).

    But then I'm not sweating a tough orchestra excerpt in front of a jury to nab an opening for a major US orchestra with benefits, retirement, and a 90K salary either. To someone under that kind of pressure, it's possible that being anal retentive about polishing the strings every day and cleaning the bowhair with a toothbrush and some kind of cleaner and so on is both worth the time and important to make a good impression with other pro players.

    Me, I grab what's at hand if I'm out of Pops (which, based on my usage and amount that came in the container, will be maybe 10 years from now). All the bass rosins I know of work great, to be honest, and if you get "feel good" waves up your spine with a darker looking rosin that you have to apply like a kid colors a picture with a crayon because it's so darn hard then more power to you.

    Oh I take it back if I drop my Pops on the carpet repeatedly and get a bunch of dirt and hair imbedded in it...and I can't just shave it off with my knife to clean the cake up...then I might have to buy another cake sooner LOL

    When I saw Edgar Meyer perform, he was using cello rosin and wiping his strings with a rag he had stuffed in his pocket between concerto movements. He sounds great IMO and has prestigious technique...but if there's any superhero bassist out there that gets a nasal-type sound, I'd say he might be the best at it.

    He did lots of artificial harmonics tricks and playing very close to the bridge with his bow to get them speaking clearly. I want to say that the cello rosin lets him bow that close and get a sound he likes better because it's less sticky but I don't really know. It's just a thinking thing and my Pops rosin doesn't complain to me when I try to do the same thing and pretend I'm the guy who did all those killer lines that night...

    More power to him too. :bassist:
  12. well thx for the input, i might just switch back to pops, i like how it applied, but i dunno, it just seemed like i was rosining forever and nothing was helping (I brought my bow to a friends party once a few days after i got it and rosined it during the movie we watched...well maybe rosined for about half the movie) and keep in mind i had a bow with brand new hair. So i dunno, i guess i'll just keep rosining. thx again guys..
  13. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    you can blame the rosin, the bow (rehair or replace ?), the strings, the bass, and your technique (body posture, bow hold, position on string with respect to bridge). A teacher would speed-up the process of identifying the flaws. But since your doing fine on your own..., enjoy !

    I don't think it's the rosin
  14. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    It takes one, two, perhaps three at most swipes of rosin if you do it properly (doing very quick downbows across the cake). Rosining for half a movie sounds like you have WAY too much rosin.
  15. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    It usually takes me 5 down bows across the cake. I find it really important that you only rosin in one direction. Makes the teeth on the hairs stand up.

    As far as Pop's. Not crazy about the stuff. I find it way too sticky. I think it makes it really hard to play at lower volumes. Conversely the junk that most school suppliers send is too powdery. I find Carlsons the be a really good compromise.
  16. haha well now im not really sure what to use, cause ive heard some conflicting comments, ohwell, pops here i come
  17. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    how could you rosin for half of a movie?

    were you using shermans bass rosin?

    or violin/viola/cello rosin?

    or what?
  18. i was using an old batch of pops, it just didnt seem to be taking to the bow. I've also heard that it takes hours of rosining on new hair to get the right amount. I have a bad bow, and new hair, which is also probably made poorly, that probably accounts for a lot of it.
  19. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    Sorry, but you heard wrong. If you get some new Pop's, it will take you about three seconds to get the right amount.

  20. E.O.M.


    Dec 7, 2001
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I dislike Pop's. I'm in the too sticky gang. It seems that I can get too much Pop's on my bow just from being in the same room as the container. :smug:

    I use Carlson right now, and it does the job. I recently tried Clarity summer rosin, and that was also very good.

    Anyone use Kolstein?