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powdered rosin on new hair?

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

  1. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    (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. 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. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    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.