You may have a great violin, but you won’t get a good sound out of it unless you have high-quality rosin for your bow. This guide will help you pick the best violin rosin for your instrument, so you get a great sound and the tone out of it.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
Why Do Violinists Use Rosin?
Rosin acts as a catalyst between the strings of your instrument and the bow. The rosin helps to create friction, so the horse hairs of the violin bow grab the strings properly. You have to use the right amount of rosin and apply it directly to the bow. With this added friction, it vibrates the strings, and you get an even and a rich tone out of your violin.
If you don’t use any rosin, you’re not going to get any concrete sound out of the strings. You will get a faint whisper, and the bow is going to slip on your strings. If you apply too much rosin, then you get harsh and scratchy tones. The bow will feel like it’s sticking on the strings, and you’ll require more bowing effort to get a good tone. This is why it’s critical that you use the best rosin possible for your bow and instrument. You want to ensure that you’re producing the best tone.
How Rosin is Made
Rosin comes from coniferous trees and the sap that they produce. In the United States, rosin is made from trees that produce paper pulp such as pine trees. The sap from these coniferous trees is boiled, filtered, and then it’s refined and made into rosin. Some manufacturers will make rosin cakes that are free of additives. Other manufacturers will mix their base resin and different ingredients such as kind of metals, or wax. This helps them achieve the right consistency in a rosin and friction level for your bow. When rosin is cooled, it is poured into molds. As it hardens to the desired consistency, then the rosin cake will be packaged up and shipped out to stores for sale.
What Impacts the Tone from Rosin
The instrument, bow, and rosin all work together to produce the tone. Rosin is impacted by several different factors.
Lighter rosin that has an amber hue has a lower density. They are less sticky and dry quickly. The lighter hues are a favorite of many violinists. Medium hue rosin is softer and a bit tacky when you touch it. Dark rosin is the softest type. When you have medium or dark hue rosin, there is more friction between your strings and the bow hair. This type of rosin is often used by bass players and cellists.
Before you pick rosin, you also have to keep in mind the type of strings that you’re using. If you have metal core or steel strings, these work best with hard and dry rosin. If you’re using a synthetic or string or a gut core string, you’ll get the best sound by using softer rosin. Some manufacturers often recommend a rosin type to go with their strings. You can also experiment with different brands and rosin until you find something that works for your individual needs.
Important to check with your string manufacturer before you buy your rosin. Your strings may have a specific type of rosin that works better and other types. For example, if you have D’Addario Strings will probably want to use D’Addario rosin. This isn’t to say that you can’t use other types, but you’ll get the best results if you pair your rosin with your strings.
The application of your rosin is important. You may think that using a different type of rosin is going to improve your sound, but it usually isn’t the case. It has to be put on properly for it to work. Make sure you’re only using a small amount of product. A little can go a long way. You should spend a little bit more on the product to ensure that you’re getting something that is of high quality. The humidity and temperature can impact the texture and consistency of the rosin. For this reason, you may want to use different rosin depending upon where you live. Speak to your violin teacher or a music store to determine the best type of rosin for the conditions that you live in.
Some companies add metals to the rosin recipes. Copper, lead-silver, silver, or gold are added to rosin. These metals are said to improve the friction, so you get better tonal quality. When gold is added to rosin, it’s said to produce a clean and a warm tone. Gold can reduce the harsh sound of some instruments. Silver helps add a bright and concentrated tone. When lead-silver is added, it is said to add clarity and warmth to your playing. Copper is said to help beginners with their bowing, and best for 3/4 and 1/2 instruments. Copper produces a warm tone.
Cake and Box Rosin
Rosin comes a box or a cake form. The box rosin will cost less than the cake rosin, and you can get it in amber as well as clear colors. This is universal rosin and useful for most string instruments except bass. If you’re not using a horsehair bow, box rosin is quite suitable. This type is also quite durable, with less breaking and cracking. You have to be careful when you apply it because you can catch the box on the bow hair. When you purchase cake rosin, this is usually of a higher-quality.
Best Violin Rosin Reviewed
1. Leto 603 Rosin for Violin – Best for Low Budgets
You want to have a great violin tone, but might not have a lot of money to spend on rosin. Leto 603 rosin is a low-cost product that will still give you the tone that you want out of your instrument.
This rosin works for viola, violins, and cellos. It’s easy to apply to your bow and it produces low dust. It won’t soften when the weather is warm out so you can use it year-round. It’s suitable for synthetic hair bows or horsehair bows. It grips the bone easily as it’s made with natural ingredients. If you want to save money and still have a great tone, give Leto 603 rosin a try.
- Low cost
- Easy to apply
- Might not be the best for some instruments
- Some experienced quality control issues
2. MOREYES Violin Rosin – Best Package Deal
If you play the violin all the time you need to use a lot of rosin. Many manufacturers only give you one cake or box which can be a problem. MOREYES Violin Rosin Is an exceptional bargain as you get four boxes of product.
This product is naturally made and contains no harmful chemicals. It has low dust and it will adhere to the bow easily so you get a great tone. The sound produced is clear and pure and it reduces noise so your violin, cello, or Viola will sound great. Make sure you spread it and evenly across the bow for longer playing time. You get four boxes so your rosin is going to last a long time. if you’re looking for a solid to bargain and need a lot of quality rosin, try MOREYES as it helps you save money.
- 4 boxes
- Easy to use
- Some had issues with the rosin cake crumbling too soon
- Some quality control issues
3. The Original Bernardel Rosin – Best Midrange Rosin
For intermediate and advanced viola, cello, and violin students, you might be looking for higher quality rosin than what you were probably working with. You can rely on the Original Bernardel Rosin to give you a great tone.
This product is designed for intermediate to professional players. You’ll get a smooth feel from your bow across the strings. The tone produced is bright and clean. The rosin is lightly colored and it has a medium stickiness. It comes in a round cake that is attached to a protective cloth. You won’t have to worry about getting the product on surfaces. It is easy to carry around with you as it comes with its own pouch.
- Carry pouch
- Cleaning cloth
- Cake is small
- More dust made than expected for some
4. Pirastro Oliv/Evah Rosin – Best for Piastro Strings
For those that use the Pirastro strings, You want to use the rosin. The Pirastro Oliv/Evah Rosin is an exceptional product that you will want to use with your bow.
This rosin is perfect for the viola, cello, and violin. It has been formulated to work the best with Evah Pirazzi and Oliv strings, although it will work with other strings as well. You will get an excellent tone and a good grip with your bow. This is popular rosin that is produced by Piastro. They are the biggest seller of violin and other strings in the world. If you’re looking for an exceptional tone for your strings, try Pirastro Oliv/Evah rosin.
- Good tone
- Compliments Piastro strings
- Rosin cake is small
- Might not be the best for other string brands
5. CECILIA 'Signature Formula' Rosin – Top Handcrafted Rosin
For those looking for handcrafted rosin, you might want to have a look at Cecilia Signature Formula. This is top-quality rosin for your violin.
You’ll get a unique bowling sensation when you apply at this rosin. The sound is crisp and clear. You will have expressive tones that you can work with while playing your violin. You can get this formula for viola, cello, and violin. It com sin both a half cake and a full cake size to meet your needs. For those looking for exceptional performance out of the rosin, Cecilia Signature Formula we’ll have you sounding great.
- Top-quality rosin
- Works with other instruments
- Come sin different cake sizes
- A little expensive
- Cake is a little small
6. Liebenzeller Larica Gold II – Best High-Quality Rosin
For those looking for high-quality rosin, have a look at Liebenzeller Larica Gold II. It is handmade in Switzerland and perfect for today’s players.
This premium rosin we’ll give you a balanced, deep, and a rich tone out of your violin. It works best with violas and violins. You’ll get more grip which makes it easy for you to play. The rosin produces low dust so it’s perfect for those that have allergies. It tolerates changes in weather so you won’t have to worry whether the temperature is warm or humid, your rosin will always perform the way you want. This rosin will give you a wide range of tones out of your violin so it’s perfect for those who want professional sound.
- Great tone
- Low dust
- A bit expensive
- Larger cake would be nice
7. D'Addario Kaplan Premium Rosin – Best for D’Addario Strings
For those that use D’Addario strings on your violin, you might want to look at D’Addario Kaplan Premium as this is top quality rosin.
This product is easy to use is the case is designed so you only need one hand to apply the rosin. It produces low dust so you won’t have to worry how about getting rosin dust all over the place. It’s made with the original Kaplan recipe produces an excellent tone. It’s designed to be used with D’Addario Strings, but you can use this rosin for other string manufacturers as well.
- Nice case for the rosin
- Easy one-handed application
- Might not be ideal products to use with other strings
- Some buyers experienced quality control
8. Petz VP-054V Vienna – Top Rosin to Minimize Dust
When applying rosin, you can run into problems with it as it may produce dust which can make a large mess. if you are looking to minimize that dust, Petz VP-054 rosin is what you are looking for.
It is a Viennese formula and produces a clear sound while minimizing the dust from the rosin which can be a problem with other cakes. It is pressurized under low temperatures using a distillation process that retains the important components so the rosin adheres properly when applied. This is a premium product that is recommended for experienced players.
- Produces less dust
- Superior tone
- Rosin sticks well to the bow
- A little expensive
You have plenty of rosin products on the market to choose from. You might want to go the rosin that matches your string type, but you don’t necessarily have to go this route. Another thing to keep in mind is the temperature that you live in. Make sure that the rosin you buy works at various temperatures. Listen to the sound of your instrument as this will give you a good indication of when it’s time to apply more rosin. Use a little at a time for good results.MOREYES Violin Rosin is a good bargain for the beginner as you get for cakes of rosin which will last you a long time. The Original Bernardel is also a good choice as it comes in its own pouch with a cleaning cloth. The rosin is a bit small so that is a downside to it, but it is a good midrange product. Pirastro Oliv/Evah Rosin is a good choice if you use Piastro strings as it has been formulated to work with those types of strings. CECILIA ‘Signature Formula’ is a good choice for professionals as it has been handcrafted and produces a nice clear sound.
Rosin is something that you can experiment with a great deal. don’t be afraid to try different rosin until you find something that you like. This guide should point you in the right direction so you can get started using rosin.