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 Post subject: Bow rosin
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:05 am 
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Hi, what is it with folk fiddlers and bow rosin ?
Many photographs of fiddlers often show deposits of rosin around the bridge area and often beyond. It's almost as if they are displaying some sort of badge and is hardly ever seen with classical players.
Do these (often large) rosin dust build ups enhance the tone in some way ?
Must stop now and rosin up my bow !!!

Cheers......Allen


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:09 am 
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I think we're just lazier about cleaning it off.

I do wipe down my fiddle occasionally, but it usually has a reasonable dusting of rosin.

I think fiddlers use more and dustier rosin, too.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:52 am 
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Some regard it as a kind of badge of honor or somethng. Personally, I just see it as poor and sloppy maintenance. It means nothing as a badge, as any first year player will have that build up after a week of scales and Mary's Little Lamb. You can even replicate it in about five minutes by loading up an old bow and sawing like mad. Then again, I knew a guy who purposely scuffed the head of his banjo to make it look like years of pick wear. Didn't fool anybody once he started playing. :lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:07 pm 
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Tim2723 wrote:
Some regard it as a kind of badge of honor or somethng.


Have fiddle players actually told you that? I have a hard time believing that somebody would flaunt their laziness. If they did, I would consider them a hack. I can't imagine that there are many folks like that regardless. None of the fiddle players I know with rosin build-up flaunt it. Its a matter of laziness, like Martin said, in the vast majority of cases. Most of the fiddlers I know in my area keep pretty clean instruments. A violin is generally considered an elegant instrument and should be treated accordingly.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:02 pm 
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Yeah, I agree completely. I keep my fiddle dusted and clean too, but there are guys who will do it, just as there are guys who will buy those brand new electric guitars that have been artificially worn in a 'custom shop' to look like they're old, road-worn instruments. Even Gibson offers one of their top of the line mandolins that's been scuffed and worn to look old and 'time honored', and it sells for thousands.

To each his own I suppose. :-?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:05 pm 
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If you look at *most* classical violinist's instruments, even if not cleaned often, you will not notice the rosin build up at the end of the fingerboard. When rosin builds up there, it is a sign of playing far from the bridge. When the bow hair contacts the strings closer to the bridge, you get a louder, more powerful sound; and when the bow is in closer contact to the fingerboard, the sound is softer, and more sweet. This sound and the response in this area is usually better suited to fiddling, and 'pro' violinists usually bow nearer to the center of the strings (between bridge and fingerboard end) to get the best balance between volume and tone. Expirament with this, you'll notice a difference! My viola (used almost exclusivley for classical) has little/no rosin build up after a concert, where my violin(s) become sheet white.

Something to munch on... :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:59 pm 
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awildman wrote:
Most of the fiddlers I know in my area keep pretty clean instruments. A violin is generally considered an elegant instrument and should be treated accordingly.


If you read Packie Manus Byrne's memoir (ably ghosted by the chap&nipple's own SteveJ/Brother Steve, I might add) he says that the Donegal folk of his childhood were convinced that a fiddle could 'lose its tone' by being kept in a case. The proper place to stow a fiddle was hanging from a hook above the hearth.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:17 pm 
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I hear that in "the old days," whatever that means, fiddlers were being frugal - saving that rosin there so they could reuse it by passing the bow across it under the strings.

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