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Butter Up Those Bows - Rosin, What is it?

// Rosin in a nutshell. What is it? Where does it come from? How is it made? Why do you need it? Where to buy it? How do you use it? Rosin can be a bit of a mystery for new string players, read on to find out more and learn how to choose the right rosin for you.

It grows on (or in)... Trees! Pine tree's to be exact. You get it out of the tree the same way you get maple syrup, using a tapping process.

How do you make it into rosin?

Once it is out of the tree you have to filter it and then heat it up until it is completely melted then pour it into a mold.

What does rosin do? Rosin makes sound possible! Without it you would hear absolutely zilch, nada, nothing! Rosin is sticky, it creates friction with the string which pulls the string and causes it to vibrate = make sound.

How do I rosin my bow? Tighten your bow hair so it is ready to play, press the bow hair against rosin and drag the hair across the rosin using four or five slow, back-and-forth strokes along the entire length of the hair. If your bow hair is new and has never been rosined before, you may need to do extra strokes, keep checking to see if the bow grips/pulls the string evenly. If it doesn’t you need more.

How often should I apply rosin to my bow? If you feel and hear the bow hair beginning to slip from the instrument's strings while you're playing it is time to rosin up. For students practicing 20-30 mins a day I recommend every two to three days.

How do I clean rosin off my strings and instrument? Use a soft cloth for cleaning the rosin dust off of the strings of your instrument and bow stick after each playing session. Be careful not to spread the rosin over your strings, we don’t want a sticky left hand! To avoid this clean your strings moving your hand away from the fingerboard, towards the bridge.

What types of rosin are there? There are lots of types of rosin out there, it can be tricky to know where to start! My advice is to first ask your teacher whether you need student grade rosin (more sticky) or professional grade rosin (less sticky). You can also ask the person in your local String shop for advice on the best rosin for your climate and the sound you would like to create on your instrument.

Where can i buy rosin? Any String store will stock Rosin, you can also buy online. Expect to pay between $3 - $25

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