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Scylding
12-25-2010, 06:10 AM
Two questions, actually.

1) How long will it take someone who is playing every day to go through a new cake of rosin?

2) I get the impression from a little googling that you don't need to apply rosin every time you play. Does this jibe with your personal experiences?

- Joe

PrincessofPersia
12-25-2010, 06:32 AM
Rosin can last a long time. In fact, most luthiers recommend switching to new rosin well before the old one would wear out. As you should not be applying rosin every day (rosin build up can change the intonation and damage the strings and bow), it can last up to two years sometimes. Most luthiers recommend changing every 6-12 months, though I know people who simply use it until it runs out with no real ill effect. Even playing daily, you should only have to rosin your bow once a week, maybe twice if necessary. When applying, four or five light strokes is all that is necessary. It is a common error to think that the bow should be caked in rosin. All that does it make the fiddle sound tinny and risk damage to the instrument.

Scylding
12-25-2010, 06:49 AM
Thank you! It's a good thing it lasts a while; I have a character who takes her fiddle through a war zone. I was afraid I was going to get someone saying it only lasted a week or something, and I have no idea where she would find more in the midst of all that chaos.

- Joe

Rufus Coppertop
12-25-2010, 12:31 PM
It is a common error to think that the bow should be caked in rosin.

You end up with a layer of rosin dust in front of the bridge. Not good.

Nivarion
12-26-2010, 09:54 PM
I used the same cake of rosin for three years. It was just your standard cheap brick of it. The next one I had my grandpa got for me, it was black and really really hard compared to the other. I've had it for the last four.

Strings however, are what I would worry about replacing. I've gone through 20 strings in the time I've played. Not counting my violin that busted 10 of them at the shop. you had to wind it backwards or it would break the string every time, and the guy wouldn't believe me.

Basic rosin can be picked off a lot of tree branches. It wouldn't be great rosin but it'll do the job. It would be strings and the bridge I'd worry about most in a war zone. I was in a vehicular accident which caused my violin's face to break and the sound post to fall down. A few weeks after that rather expensive repair, the bridge snapped, part of it hit the girl in front of me and my sound post fell again.

The accident was only about 30 mph. These parts are all small and can be sent in an envelope, but standing a sound post requires a special tool.

PrincessofPersia
12-26-2010, 10:32 PM
Yeah, I would just use my rosin until it was just about gone too. I didn't know you weren't supposed to do that until not that long ago.

Canotila
12-29-2010, 11:38 AM
Rosin can last years like folks have said. Nivarion, that is a lot of strings to be going through. My first violin was like that, I couldn't use the pegs for tuning or they'd end up breaking. It turned out my cheapy starter violin had a poorly sanded nut and when I played the strings buzzing against the sharp edge cut right through them to where they would snap. Sometimes even while sitting in the case doing nothing. The violin shop guy sanded the nut down and we didn't have problems after that.

My current violin has had the same set of strings for, sheesh, almost eleven years now. They're one of the highest quality brands though. Three of those years saw heavy use in a chamber orchestra. After that was pretty sporadic since I was in a car accident that prevents me from playing for very long in one sitting. I suspect they'd need to be replaced in the near future if someone wanted to do a lot of heavy playing on it again.

If you're worried about the believability of them not breaking, she can always carry a spare set. It's not uncommon for pros especially to keep at least a spare E string in their case.

Michael Wolfe
12-29-2010, 06:47 PM
I've had the same rosin for a couple of years now, I think. It's not anywhere near worn down. But I know different violinists have different preferences for how much rosin to use. I use more than PrincessofPersia from the sound of it, and I always considered myself a fairly light user.

As others have said, the strings would be the first thing to go. But the character could easily be carrying spares. In fact, it would be unusual not to have spares.

And though I've never been in an active war zone, I've sometimes been surprised by where rosin and other supplies are available. I once walked into a tiny music shop in Kenya and unexpectedly found a rather impressive selection of imported rosin.

Nivarion
01-02-2011, 05:20 AM
Rosin can last years like folks have said. Nivarion, that is a lot of strings to be going through. My first violin was like that, I couldn't use the pegs for tuning or they'd end up breaking. It turned out my cheapy starter violin had a poorly sanded nut and when I played the strings buzzing against the sharp edge cut right through them to where they would snap. Sometimes even while sitting in the case doing nothing. The violin shop guy sanded the nut down and we didn't have problems after that.


The violin I play now has needed one string replaced in four years. Most of those were that one that snapped them if you wound it the right way. So I'm gonna guess there was something wrong up in the box, which was about where it happened too.

skylark
01-02-2011, 07:20 PM
A block of rosin lasts absolutely ages. I think I only ever bought two, even when I was playing almost every day.

I can't imagine a remotely serious violinist not having a complete set of spare strings, because it's such a showstopper if you break one. Especially if you are playing in a group. They don't take up any extra room - expensive brands often have to be kept straight, but you keep them in a tube in the case which is tucked up alongside the bow. A serious violinist would certainly also have a spare bow. When I say "serious", I mean "good amateur" - I'm sure a pro would have multiple spare sets of strings of their favourite brand and several bows. My teacher had four bows in his case, and also carried a soundpost replacing tool (it's a teaspoon-sized piece of metal) and a couple of spare bridges - they're all small and light, there's no reason not to. As a 15-18 year old in the county schools orchestra (i.e. nowhere near pro level or ever going to be), I had one spare set of strings and two bows, though one of them was the less good one I'd replaced with a better one.

I always rosined my bow (lightly) every time I played, rather than putting a lot on less often, and wiped it off the strings, fingerboard etc. when I put the violin away. You shouldn't be letting it build up.

branchwag
01-03-2011, 06:08 AM
I agree. Spares of everything really help instead of having to run to the music store at the last minute instead of being able to shop around. As for me and rosin, I don't like to use it often, but I replace it usually about every 6 months. I never use black rosin (you know, the kind that comes in the wooden rectangle) because it just sounds dreadful in my opinion and I really hate the stuff. I use a gold circular rosin (I'm not brand-faithful, so I'm not naming any), which really brings out a clear tone instead of the muddy one the black rosin gives me. If you're having an experienced violinist perform in your book, make sure that he/she cleans off the strings, the wooden part of the bow, and the surface of the violin before putting it back in the case.