This was one of the very first questions I asked myself when I bought my first violin.
As a former cellist who had rosin, but didn’t really understand there were different types (I was young…) I knew I had to get some. I didn’t want to buy the cheapest going but I also didn’t want to get the crème de la crème (well, not until I could play a Paganini Caprice or two); I wanted the best for a beginner, or at least someone who could bash out a tune or two.
There are many different brands and types, ranging in colour from very light to very dark; the general rule of thumb is the lighter the less sticky, and therefore smoother to play with. The darker colours produce a ‘bigger’ sound as the bow sticks more to the string, so creating a louder note.
However, there are several other points worth noting:
- Humidity - the more humid the environment, the stickier the rosin becomes. Therefore if you live in a dry environment, dark rosins may be more suitable, whereas light rosins may be considered if you live in a humid climate.
- Dust Production - some rosins produce more dust than others, meaning more time spent cleaning the instrument. Whilst not a major problem for most, it can be a bit of a pain.
- Allergies - related to dust production, some people are allergic to rosin and so one that produces little dust would be advisable; you can even buy hypoallergenic rosins if you are affected by the dust.
Different players swear by different rosins, depending not only on the points above, but also on the style of music being played; on the way they play the instrument; on the types of strings being used; on the violin itself; on the bow being used; or a combination of all of the above.
As beginner rosins tend to be relatively inexpensive, it perhaps is best to try a few different brands and rosins and see what you prefer. Rosin won’t dramatically improve your playing, but it will improve how you hear and feel yourself play and therefore your love of the instrument.
Below you’ll find several popular rosins aimed directly at the entry level violinist, a brief description and where you might buy them from.
Hidersine 3V Rosin
Many novices (certainly in this country) begin with Hidersine 3V Rosin. Made in England it is described by Hidersine as “an excellent light rosin for bows of student quality”. Light in colour it comes in a tin, very useful for those bumps and bashes it can take.
A very cheap rosin aimed directly at the absolute beginner and/or young children is Theodore Rosin. It is a very light, hard rosin with a “slightly sticky interior” as described by the manufacturer. It comes in a plastic pot to prevent chips and breakages.
A cheap, dark rosin also manufactured in China, is Dadi Rosin made by the Daling Musical Instrument Company in Guangzhou. Aimed at the entry level player, it has received good reviews and can be applied directly from the plastic tub it comes in.
AB No.1 Rosin