Finding the Right Rosin – Violin Pros

Finding the Right Rosin

What do pancakes and violins have in common? Trees. You see, violin rosin is crafted from resin, a sticky substance that comes from trees, not unlike sap, which makes your everyday pancake syrup. Keep that in mind the next time you're making breakfast.

There are three main types of rosin.

Rosin is what gives the bow hair grip, allowing them to catch the strings and cause a vibration. Without rosin, the hair would glide over the strings, producing little sound. Light rosin is the hardest, making it ideal for warm, humid climates or the summer months. It's commonly used for violin and viola as the lighter grip is ideal for thinner strings. Medium rosin is ideal for moderate climates or year-round use. It's compatible with violin, viola, and cello. Dark rosin is a soft, sticky rosin, used mainly for cello and bass, which require more grip for the thick strings to vibrate. However, some dark rosins are formulated to darken the sound of a bright violin or viola.

Trial and error is key.

The ideal rosin for you will depend on your climate, your instrument, your bow, and, ultimately, your taste. We have several recommendations of our personal favorite rosins but you'll want to explore the different sounds rosins can produce! We often recommend:

  • Pirasto Gold Flex. This light rosin yields a smooth, silky sound for players who need responsive and powerful contact.
  • Gustave Bernadel. Expect a nice, smooth feel and a clean, bright tone.
  • Sartory. Originating in France in 1884, this amber-colored, soft rosin gives the smooth playing characteristics of a light rosin with the articulation of a dark rosin.

Allergens play a role.

Many rosins are enhanced with additives like beeswax, metals, essential oils, and colorings. These produce a unique sound quality but may trigger allergies in some players. To remedy this, some brands use only pure resin, for a hypoallergenic rosin, and a dust-free application. Jade rosin is a great medium rosin compatible with violin, viola, and cello.


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Not in love with your violin? Whether it's difficult to play or not producing the tone it once had, your setup is often the culprit. Setup refers to the fine-adjustments that must happen in order for a violin to play and resonate beautifully. When done correctly on a quality instrument, it brings out the best of an instrument's tone and allows it to be tuned easily. Here's why you'll hear us talk a lot about the importance of a good violin setup. Continue Reading >>

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