quick tutorial on rosin?

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by cinderjack, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. cinderjack


    Dec 28, 2007
    I got a bow for Christmas. I'm new to bowing (have played bluegrass up until now), so I have a couple questions about rosin:
    1) can I use the rosin that I've been using on my violin bow? Or do I have to use bass rosin?
    2) if violin rosin is bad and I've already put some on the bass bow, do I need to try to remove it somehow? Or can I just put some bass rosin on top?
  2. You probably won't get enough grip to make it work well, at least on a new bow. Violin rosin is much harder than most bass rosins (at least rosin that isn't ancient). It'll be good enough to get you through trying the bow over the holidays at least.

    Some bass players use violin/cello rosin for solo playing, Bernadel seems to be more popular (I use it for violin and sometimes for bass). So i don't think you are doing anything wrong using your violin rosin for now.

    When you need to get the low strings going reliably, it seems that you just need something stickier than violin rosin. For the bass, I usually use Oak medium or Carlson bass rosin (they are harder than Pops, which may be the most popular one).
  3. You can use violin rosin, and that will get you started, but you don't want to use too much of it. There's no reasonable way to get it off, although you can flick all the dust off by running a fingernail crossways over the hair a bit. When you do get some bass rosin, which you should do as soon as you reasonably can, the less violin rosin is left in the bow the sooner the bass rosin will start working properly. You'll understand the difference immediately, there's much more grip. One time a violin player borrowed my rosin, he broke a string almost instantly (and the sound was appalling).
  4. Pops bass rosin is always a good bet. Start with that, then you can experiment with other brands, like Kolstein, Carlssons, or Nymans. the best place to get Pops is www.bassrosin.com, they ship the freshest batches immediately after production.
  5. I made the mistake of letting someone (a violinist of course) put violin rosin on my bass bow once. It wore off in a fairly short time, no big deal for sure, but I really hated that stuff;- loads of powdery stuff and no grip whatsoever on the low notes.

    Oak rosin is my preference now. Pops & Carlsson also worked OK for me. Depending on your strings, bow hair, and even the bow quality, I think you should try a handful of different kinds, just to see what's out there. Among different kinds of bass rosin, there are some pretty big differences. Check out some of the other threads in this section of the forum and you will find almost every kind of rosin discussed.
  6. Yeah, violin rosin won't do much. I advise against Pop's; it's pretty messy stuff. I'd say start with Nymans, and if that's not sticky enough, go to Carlson. Apply with a hefty downstroke, not back and forth like a cello bow. Pretend you're playing Mahler or something. If you want to get serious about it, try different rosins on fresh rehairs of the same batch of hair, but that's pretty serious. You can also try all the different varieties of hairs out there, in combination with various rosins. Have fun! :D
  7. I am using Oak now, which is just great. Pops is the normal bass brand, and works good. I would start with that. it is very common (you can get it anywhere) and grips well, which really helps in the beginning. Try the fancy stuff later if the pops is not working well for you.
  8. BMason


    Oct 1, 2006
    Houston, TX
    After about seven years of Pops, I tried Oak Soft. The grip is almost immeasurably less, making it a better all-purpose cake. It is now my primary rosin. That being said, I just gotta have my Pops for Brahms and Strauss. There's simply no other way.
  9. I am getting more grip than with pops but a much smoother sound, with a lot of Oak soft with just a few swipes of med. every once and a while.
    Pops is great and really grabs, it probably is not worth ordering a two $20 cakes of Oak just to get started. Pops will do fine.