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If you play the cello, no doubt you work hard to learn how to run your bow across the strings with the right amount of force and tension to generate the music you want.
You learn how to hold the cello upright, how to transport it safely, but what about rosin?
Rosin is a particularly element when it comes to cello performance and finding the best cello rosin for your bow is key.
We know that there are plenty of options out there, some marketed as suitable for all stringed instruments, others just for cellos.
So how do you make the right choice?
To help you in that endeavor we’ve put together some tips to help you better understand how rosin is used and highlighted several suitable options for the best cello rosin that might work well for your cello.
What is rosin?
Rosin is the hardened byproduct left behind when resin or tree sap is purified to remove any imperfections and volatile compounds.
This process quite literally distills the tree sap out of conifers or pine trees and once it is purified it is left to harden, the result of which is a physical box or cake of rosin used for stringed instruments.
Sticks of resin have historically been used on horsehair bow strings, allowing the bow to grab the strings just enough to generate the right amount of vibration.
There are different types of rosin just the same as there are different conifers. Different trees produce various textures and colors.
This is why you might find rosin that is a rich amber, red, honey yellow, even black.
When you hold it in your hand, it might be slightly softer or incredibly firm.
The best rosin is going to be something medium in color and firmness.
The color scheme and texture stretch from clear to black and soft to hard.
Smaller stringed instruments like violins tend to remain at the top to middle part of that spectrum, the cello hovers in the middle, and the bass hangs out at the opposite end.
Why is rosin useful for cellos?
When you apply rosin to the horse hair on your cello bow it helps modify the sound you get out of your cello.
Rosin literally makes the hair on your cello bow stickier and this ensures there is enough friction for the string to vibrate when your bow Glides across it.
Without enough rosin, the instrument will still work but you won’t produce a lot of sound and the sound you do achieve won’t be as clear and vibrant as it could be.
Rosin helps to clarify the tone of your cello by changing the amount of static friction between the strings and the bow as well.
How often should you use it?
How often you apply the rosin is based on how often you play your cello.
As a general rule you should rosin your bow once for every 5 hours on average that you play the cello or when you notice that the hair on your bow is slipping off the strings when you play.
If you are a beginner and you only play your rosin a few hours per week, once during 30 minute a weekly lesson and then practice at home, you can reapply the rosin every 4-5 sessions.
By comparison, if you play the cello everyday for a few hours you will likely have to rosin the bow before every daily session.
Types of rosin
As a cellist, there are several forms of rosin available, taken from different conifers and mixed with additives like metal flakes.
Bear in mind that the type of strings you have will influence the interaction with the rosin.
If you have synthetic or gut strings, softer rosin is better.
If you have metal cored strings or steel strings, harder, drier rosin is better.
For cellists, medium strength rosin in darker colors are better.
The hard, black rosins might be too hard for your cello strings and the soft, light might be too soft.
However, you should be cognizant of your climate too:
- If you are in a humid climate, a harder rosin is better because the softer rosin will turn into a sticky mess all over your instrument.
- If you are in a dry climate, a softer rosin is better for its practicality.
Note: If your area has severe seasonal changes, you might even switch rosins throughout the year, keeping a soft and hard option on hand.
Best cello rosin
While quality strings make a big impact on the tone of your instrument, quality rosin can help bring out the best in your strings.
So, we’ve put together a list of some great rosins for cellos to help you find a suitable product. It’s important to always consult an industry professional before using any new product.
Pirastro Goldflex Rosin For Violin – Viola – Cello
Pirastro is a top cello string manufacturer, one of the largest in the world. They are also a great rosin manufacturer.
What’s more, they have a handful of varieties specifically for cellos.
The Goldflex rosin is aptly named for the flecks of gold it contains which add friction to the bow strings, aiding the overall sound produced.
The result is a brighter, clear tone and a faster, smoother grip between the bow strings and the cello strings.
This variety is their most popular for cellos in large parts to this improvement in play and performance.
This particular product is one that produces an excellent response once applied and will produce a very powerful projection from your cello. The audience will hear you all the way in the back of the room.
This rosin is on the hard end of the spectrum, but the company makes gold infused options on the soft end too.
View at Amazon for more information on how this product might work for you.
- The quality stipulates that you use less than you would with other rosin, so you get more use out of the same amount.
- There is minor dust formed by the application of rosin, and no residue on the bow hair when it comes into contact with the strings.
- The flecks of gold make a very slight, but important difference for advanced players but isn’t something beginning players necessarily need to invest in.
Andrea Solo Cello Half Cake Rosin
The recipient of numerous awards, originally called Tartini Rosin, this is a very distinct type of rosin for string players and is in great demand all over the world.
There is a special version for cellos called the Andrea Rosin.
This is a very sophisticated and sensitive enhancement for your cello and will give you an improved performance.
There are three different versions of the cake rosin for your cello design for individual solo performances, duets, and Orchestra participation.
This solo rosin will bring out all of the most powerful undertones to your instrument while you play and emphasized Clarity with every note.
This is a much higher quality rosin and worth every moments you invest.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this product could work for you.
- There are three different types broken down based on the very specific sound you need to generate in three situations being a solo performer, duet performer, or participant in an orchestra. Very few rosin brands offer this level of granularity.
- High-quality rosin imported from Italy.
- Long lasting and easy-to-use.
- In such high demand that it is often on back order.
Liebenzeller Larica Gold III, Cello Rosin Hard
With cello rosin, different metals can change the frequency and interaction between the strings on your bow and your cello.
That is why you can find an assortment of rosins with metal flecks inside.
This is one such example. Larica is a high-quality rosin company and every rosin you purchase from the company will have metal infused in it.
They offer different metals to bring out different qualities in the sounds your cello produces.
Many performers prefer gold flakes in their rosin because gold often brings out warmer, more complex tone.
This product does just that. This is a harder rosin designed specifically for the cello and it will give you a very clear attack with a brilliant sound that is full of warmth and richness as a result of the slightly extra friction generated by the gold.
You can test the gold flakes in the rosin against your cello bow and diminish or increase the application of the rosin to control the level of friction and subsequently the sound.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this product could work for you.
- Gold flecks are better for complex, warm tones.
- Suitable for gut or synthetic strings.
- Being a hard rosin it is suitable for all climates and seasons even humid, warm climates were soft rosin would otherwise melt.
- The company does not manufacture without metal flecks in the rosin.
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