1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to post, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Using Clarity hypo-allergenic rosin

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by napabass, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. New UB player here. I bought some Clarity hypo-allergenic rosin (summer) for bowing. Wondering if I should apply it to the bow the same way as using regular rosin. I'm being open minded about this. My motivation for using this brand was to avoid cleaning up rosin dust. Comments are welcome on using Clarity versus regular rosin.
  2. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I'd just treat it like regular rosin except if I sneezed while putting it on I'd feel like I did something wrong
  3. there's still going to be dust. it just won't irritate the sinuses of those who are allergic to regular rosin. I get a lot of goo on my bass with Clarity Summer.
  4. I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong (or maybe right). I've used 3 different rosins, Pops, Hidersine, and Carlsson;- and I just don't seem to get this goo or powder build up or any of those commonly reported side effects. There must be some static charge or something that repels the rosin dust because I just don't ever see any, except on the strings if I really put way too much on the bow. Anyway, there was an old thread on Clarity and I think other than being made from a "non-piney" rosin it is like any other rosin. Whether it makes powder like other rosins I couldn't say because I'm not seeing too much powder from other rosins. I have some violin rosin that is powdery and some cello rosin that is kind of that way, but what I use for bass doesn't seem to powder like that. If you aren't allergic to pine trees, you might want to try some of the other rosins also. The oak rosin (see that thread) is something that would not excite an allergy to pine. It gets some favorable reviews and will most likely be my next rosin trial.
  5. it's entirely synthetic. no organic chemicals in it.
  6. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Synthetic organic chemistry is my day gig and I have a hard time when people find that the terms synthetic and organic are mutually exclusive. They are right according to Merriam-Webster definition 3 a , and wrong according to definition 3 b. IMHO, Clarity synthetic rosins are still organic since they are likely made of carbon containing compounds. I agree that they prolly have a different allergenic profile compared to yer regular rosins. But synthetic ain't no guaranty against allergies: a lot of people (but still a very low fraction of the population) develop allergies to the synthetic materials used in the manufacturing of snickers, for instance. I also would like to point out that (hypo-)allergenicity tests usually involve animal testing, the rabbit or ginea-pig eye test (how red does it get...). Finally, another concept that's often missused is purity, but I'll let you think about this one on your own. Cases of allergies that were previously discussed on TalkBass.com concerned chromium containing strings. So if your fingers get red and swollen when you play the bass, it could come from the strings themselves or the rosin you apply to them. I hope this post is usefull... enough rant, back to the bench.
  7. Thanks for weighing in on this one Olivier. There's so many times when I've heard the synthetic vs. "organic" arguments that I've bitten my toungue. When I studied synthetic chemistry it was all "organic" :- meaning carbon chain molecules. One point that really needs to be made is that there can be distinctions between naturally occurring substances and completely man-made ones, but it is far from absolute. Since there really are no un-natural precursors at the beginning, anything synthetic is derived from natural beginnings. It seems that the beginnings of Clarity could be petroleum (originally animal fat?) and oak, pine and other "natural" rosins were originally tree fat.

    Another problem lies in the use of synthetic to describe man-made. Synthetic really just means put together. A transfer RNA template is what living cells use to synthesize specific molecules whereas a chemist might use test tubes, controlled heat and pressure, etc. to do "organic" synthesis. The man-made processes are a result of artifice and results are therefore "artificial" regardless of the similarity to nature's product. So it is more about the process than the actual chemical structure. For instance quinine can be extracted from tree bark or built in a lab from precursor molecules. In general, substances produced on a TRNA template are more accurately formed and have very little chemical structure diversity, each molecule being built on a template. These substances are "pure" in a true chemical structure sense of the word. There will be no optical isomers, no structural variance of any sort. In that way, extracting materials from plant matter will yield (usually) a more consistent product. Using "controlled" (this description is one of the most oxymoronic since what happens in a test tube is about as orgainized as a drunken hormone driven rave orgy) conditions to build molecules means you get a bunch of useless isomers in the process that have to be taken out by various strategies (just like a drunken rave orgy), so purification takes on a different meaning.

    By the way, I'm one of those poor souls who suffered through the 70's with a polyester allergy. You know disco really did suck!!

    I think the plants have the better idea, generally. (Does he mean chemical plants, or green plants?) ;)
  8. I'm pretty sure we're all saying the same thing. My response to Silversorcerer was a result of my reading an implication in his prior post that Clarity was nothing more than "non-pine" based rosin.

    I think most people learn Merriam-Webster 3b in high school. I (not so obviously) was referring to 3a in my reply. I admit to knowing next to nothing about chemicals and can not know if Clarity meets the 3b definition of organic.

    I was just trying to convey that this is more than just some other kind of rosin. It took SuperSensitive quite some time to get it right (I was involved in the testing) and I have one student for whom Clarity is the only rosin which does not cause an allergic reaction.
  9. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    It's a tough job to formulate a rosin, certainly. Especially with non-traditional, synthetic (and clear-transluscent as I understand) hypo-allergenic ingredients. Stability, shelf-life, etc, all this work for just the potential allergic customers ? To the rest of us it's another rosin, except that it has a distinct marketing positioning... good job. They should send me a free sample :D caugh caugh
  10. What I meant in that first quote, Matthew, was that it probably is no different in the production of dust, and other characteristics of bass rosin. How it is synthesized, by a green plant, or by a chemical plant, it is still going to be mostly organic (carbon chain) substances, like other rosins. Otherwise it would need some new descriptive name.

    The reason I suggested Napabass try something other than Clarity, say Pops, Carlsson, Oak, Hidersine, etc. was because the original poster here doesn't have an allergy. Napabass just seems to want less dust.

    For the record, we aren't saying the same thing. We might mean the same thing (don't think so), but if we do, your choice of vocabulary tends to confuse the chemical reality. All rosins contain mostly organic compounds. While I couldn't guess the exact structural difference in the Clarity rosin molecules and say, Pops, I can be 100% certain that both are organic.

    "Synthetic" and "man-made" are not the same thing. "Organic" and "man-made" are not mutually exclusive. Most of the synthetic products that man makes are organic. I think what you were meaning is that Clarity has no naturally occurring tree rosin in its formulation, that the formulation is completely man-made (which it really can't be, because the men have to start with a natural resource). My statement that it contains no piney rosins, the usual allergen wasn't mean to imply anything beyond that, because I don't know where they are getting their precursors.

    Short chemistry lesson: Organic chemicals are generally carbon based substances, alcohols, acetic acid, methane, are some of the simpler ones, cellulose, polyester, and parafin are some of the longer chain ones. Inorganic (non-organic) chemicals are usually salts like baking powder, table salt, silver nitrate, etc. These are generally composed of metals (which include some things you might not think of as metal) and a non-metal bound together. For instance, water is an inorganic compound. Hydrogen is considered a metal, chemically. Carbon is one of those elements that can behave as a metal or non-metal. This allows for a great diversification in carbon-based (organic) chemicals. Hence a whole division of chemistry;- organic chemistry.

    "Organic" in the general use like you used the word should be reserved for differentiating produce. Unfortunately the word is rapidly losing its' meaning to the extent that I try not to use it for fear of being misunderstood. What Olivier and I are trying to make clear is that man-made or nature made, one can still be allergic to a substance, and that there are no separate chemical classifications for man-made chemicals. Nature and man are bound to the same rules. However, I generally think Nature has the more elegant synthetic method.

    I think that I should never see a refinery as beautiful as a tree.
  11. I see how my initial post was unclear and understand where I misread silver's post.

    I am probably over-reading because I was wrong and am a bit embarassed, but it feels as though the responses to my post were a bit strong. I apologize if the brevity of the post implied some "know-it-all-ism." That was not meant to be the case. It does feel, however, like the "professors" are trying to educate the lost cause. Like I said, I understand that "organic" compounds contain carbon and, from SS's website, Clarity clearly is "organic." I also understand that, because no matter can be created or destroyed, there is nothing truly "man-made" in the universe. You never know who your audience is.....

    To the topic:
    SS claims Clarity has more going for it than being "hypo-allergenic."

  12. If I came on a little heavy, please don't take it personally. Sometimes I get touchy when the jargon gets mushy. I'm trying to watch that tendency, but still keep to the path. Thanks for giving us more details on the Clarity. You know, so many, many things start with petroleum.

    Anyway, I re-read this whole thread and wanted to ask you something else: Have any of your allergic students tried the Oak rosin? I don't think it has been available until very recently, so it could be that some of those allergies are conifer specific. Just a thought.