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when to clean rosin off of the strings

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by joe_sorren, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. joe_sorren


    Apr 7, 2005

    I was wondering if anyone can help me out with some advice. I have just started playing with a bow and have what is probably an obvious question. How often do you clean the rosin off of your strings?

    Any input would be very helpful! I am using Carlssons rosin (sparingly).


  2. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Generally I wipe with a rag before and after I play. Residual rosin caked on the strings... I don't think it really does much good. Better to apply new stuff on the bow as needed.

    My new teacher taught me how to get the most out of bass rosin:

    Tighten up your bow and start playing before putting any rosin on. Play long, steady notes REALLY LOUD. Generate as much HEAT in the bow hair as possible, before going to the rosin. Then, once you have the bow really warm, immediately put the rosin on. In order to do this best, dig the hair right next to the frog into the cake of rosin a few times, to create a "groove" in the rosin. Then slide all of the bow hair through that groove. Repeat the same thing but from the tip instead of from the frog. One full swipe in each direction is all.

    I guarantee you will be SHOCKED how much rosin you can get on the bow this way. The key step is heating up the hair before applying rosin -- putting rosin on before anything else does almost no good!

    edit: I forgot to mention one important point. You may NOT need new rosin on the bow every time you play! Another really good reason to warm up the bow before applying rosin, is that you may discover you don't need any more yet. Especially if it's been a few months since you put new hair on the bow, a fair amount of rosin stays in the hair and there is no perfect way to get rid of it. But you won't know how much rosin you need to put on until the bow is warm!
  3. I use a small plastic scraper designed for Teflon pans (Pampered Chef - don't tell my wife I took it) and a hand towel.

    I lightly scrape the rosin off the strings and then wipe the strings and bass down to remove excess rosin, I do this at the beginning of each practice session or rehearsal. This provides some consitancy in the amount of rosin since I'm using only the rosin applied to the bow.

    My teacher recomends using your finger nail to scrape the strings, but I don't like rosin under my finger nails.
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    How often? When I start feeling rosin on the string when I'm playing pizz. (I try to keep my right hand low and when bowing I tend not to go low enough. Consequently a bit of rosin winds up in pizz hand range.) Seeing as though I play a lot more pizz than arco, I don't clean the rosin quite as often as I should. (I dunno who's "should" that is that I feel, but there's definitely a "should" that some people feel allied with.)

    How do I clean? With a little Zippo lighter fluid (naptha) on a cloth rag. The rosin leaps off the string and deposits itself as a black smear on the rag. (Steel strings, of course. Also no dripping naptha on your finish -- if you've got so much in the rag that it's dripping, you've got waaaay too much. I'm talking a couple of squirts creating a wet spot a bit bigger than a quarter. If you're Canadian, make it the size of a toonie. That's enough to do all four strings if you don't take too long and let the naptha evaporate on you.)
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I do the Zippo fluid thing every month or so when snotty, black buildup is visible or the sound starts getting raspy. After I apply rosin, every two or three days, I might swipe the strings with my rag if I put too much gack on the bow.

    I think it's a little more touchy in the summer, when Nyman turns into Pop's on a hot day.
  6. mcnaire2004


    Jan 17, 2006
    I carry a cloth around (old wash cloth) with my rosin and wipe before and after I play every time I play. If you wipe it every time you wont have to worry about it caking up to much.
  7. Copper wool and a hand towel.
  8. joe_sorren


    Apr 7, 2005
    Thank you for your suggestions!
  9. That's interesting. Do you use copper because it's softer than steel wool? And what grade do you use?
  10. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I've used 0000 steel wool before. Worked fine!
  11. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I use a 2" X 2" piece of one of those green plastic scrub pads; like what's on the backs of most dish sponges.
  12. Fred W

    Fred W

    Feb 21, 2002
    Bronx, NY
    I clean rosin off my strings every chance I get. I like the sound and feel of a medium-lite amount of rosin on the hair, played on clean metal string.Like Ray P, I rosin up every 3 or 4 times I play. I try to never leave home for a gig without a hankerchief, at home I have cotton t-shirt rags hanging about. I get minimal rosin dust on my basses by cleaning strings so often. Shirtsleeves sometimes pressed into service.
  13. camCARV03


    Apr 23, 2006
    memphis, TN
    i just wipe it off everytime i see it or can feel the stickiness with my fingers. In other words, I usually wipe it off after I play it. Hope that helps :)
  14. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I give the strings a quick wipe with a clean cloth every time I hang up my bow after a practice.
  15. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    Also make sure you wipe down the body of the bass to get rid of any rosin that may have flaked off; if it accumulates and dries, it will ruin the finish.

    Also, I was told once to only apply rosin in one direction; in other words, starting at the frog, swipe,then start at the frog again, swipe, etc. instead of up and down on the hair.

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