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Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by VegasGutPlucker, Nov 27, 2015.
Anyone heard of this stuff before? They claim to be endorsed by Gary Karr
I've given it a few days hoping that someone who has played it before would chime in and give their two cents. Since I'm not seeing that, I'm going to point out a few things that seem obvious to me, but might not be.
There are a LOT of gimmicks going on here. Long lost recipes, gold dust, organic wine, etc. While those things don't appear to be in the bass rosin, the "without excess additives or waxes" claim seems positive, but might not be. There are violin rosins that are just resin from trees that have the impurities (bark, bugs, etc.) taken out, and those can work very well. The additives and waxes that are put in bass rosins are a big part of why a lot of people feel bass rosin has a shelf life where others don't, because they add moisture and make it a softer texture than violin rosin. Without those things, you would have a cake of rosin that is quite hard like violin rosin, instead of some of the bass rosins that are comparatively very soft. So either they've made a hard bass rosin, or they've added fewer than "excess" additives to get it a little closer to the consistency many bass players desire. And at $34.95, you could buy two or three of your current favourite for that price.
I am very skeptical. It could be a good rosin, but I'm not expecting it to be as life changing as that website wants me to think it will be.
That pretty much echos how I'm feeling about it. I couldn't find anything about their products that wasn't on their own websites, bit of a red flag OR just a brand new company. So I reached out to them stating my skepticism and asked about a sample or at least a smaller size, but I'm not holding my breath. Instead I placed an order for a new cake of Kolstein's.
The entire music business is a tough market, but rosin has some unique challenges. If you go into a shop and there is a bass or a bow from a maker you haven't heard of before, you can try it out in the shop. If you like it and are serious about purchasing it, you can often take it for a trial period of a week or two. It gives you a chance to really get to know it before you make a purchase. While rosin is a significantly cheaper purchase, you rarely get to try it before you buy it. Depending on the bow you are using you might already have rosin, or two or three different ones on there, so you aren't really getting a sense of how you feel about that rosin, but more a sense of how you like the current blend on your bow. If you start fresh from a rehair, you also have to consider how much of what you like/don't like about the rosin is the new hair. It's also not very exciting stuff to market, considering it's basically tree goop.
It's no surprise that a lot of rosins are "shop" brands. Kolstein's, Salchow & Sons are two I use, but there's Hill too that was either connected to or drawing on the Hill shop. The idea being "I like this shop and their other products, so I should give their rosin a try" as well as there being some weight behind the name. Similarly there are a lot of string companies that make rosins, some of which are branded the same as the strings. Pirastro makes Obligato, Eudoxa, Oliv, Tonica, and Evah Pirazzi, (among others) for example, all of which correspond to strings they make.
Some do little promotional/mini/sample size cakes. A fiddler I know was busking at a festival years ago and someone tossed a little rosin sampler in her case, and she said it was the best tip she got all day. She lost her rosin a day or two earlier and desperately needed some. The problem here is that rosin is very labour intensive and you can't really cut much of the labour or packaging cost to create a smaller size, so the little rosin cakes aren't that cheap for the company or the customer. Some rosins are around $10 for a full size cake anyway, so how do you convince someone to pay about the same for a mini one?
That turns a lot of brands to gimmicks. Gold, Silver, and other types of sparkles are not new. Some intentionally make air bubbles in their cakes because they look cool, while most companies work very hard not to have air bubbles. All sorts of interesting packaging ideas are out there, you can buy rosin that has been dyed purple if you want to, and I even saw a company that is doing clear rosin with pictures and stuff printed on the bottom you can see through the cake. The first time you use it the scratches are going to hide that, but it's a neat marketing idea. The other one that you see a lot is additives. The sparkles and organic wines mentioned above made me laugh, but there are plenty of others that have something interesting put in there. I've never said to myself "I like organic Merlot, so I'm sure my bow would like rosin with organic Merlot" but I'm guessing it sells or they wouldn't be using it.
Ultimately it comes down to if you like what you're using now, or you don't. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it is, There are plenty of people here who love to talk about different rosins, how they compare to each other, and make suggestions. Keep in mind that everyone's bow, bow hair, bass, strings, technique, genre, and tastes are all a unique set of variables. Another thing that rarely gets mentioned but has a significant impact on rosin is climate. In Ontario when we go from a very cold and dry winter to a very hot and humid summer, the same rosin performs significantly differently.
Well, I got curious and ordered a mi i cake. It's not bad. Gets a nice warm, mellow tone, but not very grippy, but doesn't shed a lot of powder, either. I'd say it's more of a solo rosin than an orchestra rosin. Just for reference my favorites are Petz Premium, Nyman/Carlson and Jade (in no particular order) depending 0n bass, bow and music
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