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If you play the cello or the violin you know that a lot of effort goes into properly maintaining your instrument, cleaning it after you play, applying the right pressure to get sound, and so on.

But a big part of this is making sure the bow strings interact with the cello or violin strings properly and this is done with rosin.

Rosin helps you apply the right amount of pressure, not too much, just enough to hit the right note and produce a stunning sound.

It is important to appreciate the differences between cello rosin vs. violin rosin so that you can choose the right product for your instrument.

To help you with that we’ve put together some insight on different products and highlighted multiple options that might work well for you if you are a cellist or a violinist.

Understanding rosin

Rosin is the solid form of resin which comes from trees particularly conifers.

Manufacturers remove the liquid resin from the tree, remove any volatile compounds by vaporizing it, and then leave the product to harden once more into the semi-transparent rosin that you use on your cello or violin.

When applied, rosin helps you to create friction between the strings on your instrument and the bow hair by letting the bow hair grip the strings just right.

Rosin comes in light, Amber, or dark versions and can be amended with metallic infusions like gold or silver.

Light rosin is preferable for violins whereas dark rosin is preferable for the cello.

This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule though, you can make a swap depending on where you live and what your climate is or what you prefer.

If you live in an area that’s very cool and dry and you play the violin you can try a dark rosin.

How to use rosin

Rosin can be found in solid cake form, block form, or powder form. No matter the type, the application is very similar. 

To use rosin on a cello bow:

  1. Tighten the bow hairs on your cello bow by turning the tension screw but don’t over tighten.
  2. Place the bow hairs flat on the rosin at your frog, the part you hold in your hand.
  3. Gently rub the bow hairs up and down as though you were scrubbing.
  4. If you are using cake rosin, you will have to rotate the rosin as you apply it so that you don’t develop a groove in the cake.

To use rosin on a violin bow:

  1. Tighten the hairs on your violin bow.
  2. Grip the rosin in your left hand and your violin bow in the right hand.
  3. Stroke the rosin from the Frog of your bow, the part you hold in your hand to the end in a soft, scrubbing motion down the length of it.
  4. If you have cake rosin, each time you stroke you will need to rotate the cake so that you don’t develop a groove.

It is much easier to add more rosin compared to removing excess rosin so it’s always better to err on the side of caution and apply smaller amounts, adding applications if necessary.

If you applied too much you’ll know because you’ll get a lot of dust all over your instrument and that’s fine.

To clean it up just get a soft, cotton rag and remove the dust. Microfiber cloths work very well for this.

Rest assured that after the first few applications you’ll get a better handle on how much to apply and when to stop to avoid such a dusty mess.

How often should you use rosin?

You should apply rosin to your bow for every 3-5 hours you play a violin. As a cellist you should apply it every 4 to 6 hours of practice or play

As a beginning student you probably won’t have to apply rosin more than two or three times per week depending on how much you practice.

It’s easy enough to know by simply keeping track of how many hours of practice you’ve done and then adding rosin to your bow at that hour mark. 

Types of rosin

You will find there are many types of rosin products on the market suitable for cellos and violins alike. Some manufacturers add precious metals to change the quality and range of sound available to you. 

As mentioned, there are some rosins that are lighter in color but firmer in texture, and vice versa. 

There are also variations in the structure and shape of the rosin. 

  • Box — Box rosin can be found in clear or amber colors. It is a more Universal type of rosin that you can use on any stringed instrument including the cello and the violin. This type of rosin tends to last longer and it doesn’t break or crack as easily which makes it better for beginners or student musicians who might not practice as heavily or need to apply rosin as often but want their product to last. It also sticks better to non horsehair, synthetic bow strings so if you have synthetic strings on your violin or cello bow, this might be better for you.
  • Cake — Cake tends to be higher quality and pure and you can find it in colors ranging from Amber to solid black. It won’t last as long which makes it better for advanced players who practice more often and need to rosin their bows more regularly. It is also better suited for horse hair bows because of its higher quality and will stick more effectively.

Cello rosin vs. violin rosin: Options for you

Now that you understand the differences and the similarities between different types of rosin it’s important to examine what’s out there for a cello versus a violin.

To help you with that we’ve put together some information on the top products so that you can find a rosin that works best for your cello or your violin.

It’s important to always consult an industry professional before using any new product with your instrument.

Andrea Solo Cello Half Cake Rosin

For cellos, this is a great cake rosin, something suitable for intermediate and advanced players.

In fact, the recipe used for this cello rosin has received many awards and distinctions around the world.

This particular version is designed specifically for cellos and offer sensitive and sophisticated enhancement as well as an improved overall performance generated by your instruments.

This company makes three versions of the same cello cake rosin designed to meet every type of situation including individual solo performances, duets, and orchestra performances. 

The solo rosin is designed to help you get the most out of your undertones while emphasizing clarity. 

If you are a solo performer this rosin will help you achieve the best possible sound noticeable not just by your ear as you play but by the audience as you perform.

View at Amazon for more information on how this product might work for you.

Pros:

  • The company has three different types of cello cake rosin designed to generate the specific sound you need in three different situations including a solo performance, a duet performance, and a group performance. There are very few other rosin brands out there for cellos or any other instruments that offer this type of granularity.
  • The rosin is high-quality, imported from Italy.
  • The cake design uses higher-quality resin

Cons:

  • Plan ahead with your order because it is in very high demand and typically backordered very quickly as it is produced seasonally.

Holstein Premium Violin, Viola, Cello Rosin

This is a unique violin rosin known for the red color. As mentioned, you can find rosin in many colors ranging from light to dark and on that Spectrum you can find unique manufacturing recipes that produce red rosin.

The design of this recipe is low dust meant for advanced players who have to rosin their violins regularly and don’t want any damage to the exterior varnish caused by too much dust.

This is also suitable for people who have sensitivities or allergies to the dust generated by most rosin.

Suitable for advanced players, you get a high level of grip between your violin strings and your bow hair and a very smooth release as you move the bow across the strings.

The color of the rosin is not the only thing that’s beautiful.

The advanced case design is aesthetically pleasing and comes with a built-in magnetic clasp that securely holds the rosin in place during transit or when you are applying it to your bow.

The rosin fits inside of an extra large case that is quite durable and we’ll keep your product safe as you transport it to and from rehearsals or performances.

View at Amazon for more information on how this product might work for you.

Pros:

  • The design is a low dust product which means it’ll be much easier to clean up even if you do apply too much rosin.
  • The container has a large base that is easy to grip and comfortable enough that you can hold it in one hand while you rosin your bow without any issues.
  • There is a magnetic clasp built onto the large case so that you can easily close and secure the rosin for transport.

Cons:

  • As you start to use more of the product and get down toward the bottom, it can fall apart at the base.
  • When you have used the majority of your rosin, what’s left behind that tends to crumble instead of staying secure to the container.

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