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Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, May 3, 2021 at 11:24 PM.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    notwithstanding that you get what you pay for, and given there are debates that frequently take place on expensive vs cheap..I noticed on the bay several rosins advertised for violin or cello that are considerably cheaper than Pops / Neiman and the like. This said, has anyone had any experience to share? Are rosin for violin and cello that different to those used on DB? And while I have your attention (...) does anyone use a little rosin ON the strings, before bowing?

    Regards to all
  2. MrSidecar

    MrSidecar Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark

    the job for violin rosin or cello rosin on their respective instruments is comparably easy, the string mass to be moved on violin and cello being much less than on bass. Violin and cello rosin, as a result, doesn’t have near as much grip as bass rosin.

    that said, I haven’t tried it myself. But I can imagine it won’t work well.

    As to rosin applied on string- I heard some unwound gut players or velvet Garbo users are doing that- never done it myself.

    Hoyt likes this.
  3. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    There is a significant difference between violin rosin and the rosin most bassists prefer. I remember forgetting my rosin on a tour once; at the time I was still using Pops. One of the horn players had a cake of violin rosin in her case, and gave it to me. I could work the bow on the cake endlessly, and it never seemed to really pick up much of the rosin. I got through the tour but I felt like I really had to finesse the bow more than normal to get the strings to speak cleanly. The fact that I bow Spirocores probably did not help, as they are not the easiest strings to bow.

    Some bassists actually like harder rosin though, and do not like the sound or feel of regular bass rosin. I believe this was sort of inferred in a recent thread: Exercises for controlling bow speed? | Page 2 | TalkBass.com

    The last rosin I used was Carlsson. I had used pops for a few decades, and I was surprised by how much more I like the Carlsson. Seems to provide a more consistent level of grip and last longer. Also Carlson is not overly grippy, like Pops, when you have just rosined the bow. Actually it seems to get a bit more grippy as you play the bow in.

    I still kept my cake of Pops. I figure it might be useful if I have play in an unusually cold hall...or if I forget the Carlsson.
  4. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    Andy, Have you never tried a hard rosin on your bass before? Buy a cake to try, and you will understand the difference better than anyone can explain to you here. It is totally unsuited to orchestra playing on bass in my opinion, but you have to try it, at least once.

    I've applied rosin to my E string in the past, but I was mostly joking. Rosining the bow is probably enough.
  5. Adam Wynter

    Adam Wynter

    May 9, 2005
    +1, the only way to find out is to try for yourself. Pirastro Goldflex is a good middle of the road powder rosin which is cheap enough.

    I would say rosin experiments tend to work best when there’s only very hard or very soft stuff on the bow at any one point. I also find hard rosin to work better on white hair, might be something to do with it being smoother than the darker colours.

    I find the sound and mode of operation of bass rosins to be noticeably different to those used by the rest of the bowed string family. The bass isn’t that different to merit such adhesive deviation from the rest of the group, in my opinion. French bow, white hair, powder rosin (and as many bowing exercises as you can handle) is going to get you the closest sound and input mechanism to every other type of bowed string player you share a stage with.

    There’s a ton of high level resources for cello bow technique on YouTube that translate pretty well to double bass if you approach the right arm technique like they do. The top end of their collective bow technique has arguably been at a higher level for longer than it has amongst double bassists, so why not at least look into how and why they do what they do? You’ll probably find something worth thinking about. Talking cello, CelloBello, the list goes on..
  6. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I ordered, by mistake, a cake of Leatherwood cello rosin a few months ago. It didn't work well and threw more powder than I'd ever seen.
    Hoyt likes this.
  7. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    I can’t recommend violin or cello rosin for bass bows.

    I play violin daily and use Hidersine 3v rosin for the violin bow. It is very hard and pretty much useless for a bass bow. The violin bow hardly needs any rosin to work well. I don’t put rosin on often compared to the bass bow.

    I tried a cello for a month when covid started. The cello rosin did not work well on my bass bow either.

    I do rub a tiny amount of pops on my bass strings ‘if needed’. Some of my bows need a bit of help, and the lower strings I use are not exactly arco friendly. Actually I would say they are the most difficult strings one could find for arco. I give it a light rub 3 or 4 times and can tell when there is enough on by the resistance.

    My preference is to start with Carlsson, if the bow does not respond well I go to Pops, and if really needed then a wipe of Pops on the strings. Plus I may rub the hair with a cloth. Different bows react differently. My best bow hardly ever gets Pops.

    When I played BelCantos I could go sessions without adding rosin, and hard rosin was all that was needed.
    Last edited: May 4, 2021 at 11:01 AM
    AGCurry and Wasnex like this.
  8. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Will let you know what comes out of it...have one coming my way!!
  9. Some soloists like Dan Styffe use violin and cello rosins - I am sure he is using good ones and his basses, bows and playing conditions are first rate. William Parker did years ago as well. In the heat it might work.
    However, even if you buy Leatherwood, rosin is still the cheapest thing you can buy for the double bass. As far as essentials, at least.
  10. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
  11. Eli Brockway

    Eli Brockway

    Oct 1, 2019
    Wait, do you mean I'm not supposed to just rub some of the stuff leaking out of the pine tree in my back yard into my bow hair and call it good? I have to actually spend money? Inconceivable!

    So far I'm enjoying the 60% Leatherwood, although my bow definitely needs rehaired. Liking it a lot more than the cheaper rosins I've used before, and it plays nice with the gut strings I'm using, but I'm used to using harder stuff. Case in point, I got through the last year of my undergrad using some cello rosin I had, because I could never remember to order in some new Carlsson. It was nice for my recital, but got a bit annoying for anything else. I don't know that I'd trust cheap Ebay rosin in general, especially not trying to use cheap Ebay cello rosin for the bass.
  12. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    40% Leatherwood for me. Bel Cantos.
  13. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
  14. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    One more thing guys...This old shop down the road from me is closing down. The fellow had primarily violin/cello rosin but he told me he had a few cakes of old rosin for double bass..Question is, how old is TOO old for rosin??
    Hoyt likes this.
  15. Adam Wynter

    Adam Wynter

    May 9, 2005
    I find that the harder the rosin you use the less it matters. Bass rosin tends to contain ingredients that seem to evaporate or degrade in some way over time, hence the ‘rosin saver’/scheduled replacement trend you see amongst bassists vs. violinists etc keeping hold of a block of it until it gets dropped or smashed or lost.

    The softer it is, the more often people seem to want to replace it.
  16. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    A few years ago I stumbled across an old cake of Petz from my high school days. The rosin with the cool bear.

    About 50 years old, ...it still worked.
  17. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    OK thanks all. Anyone here familiar with Alaska Bass Kolophon resin then please? Thanks again.
  18. Primary

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