All about rosin

rosinSo you’ve got your violin/viola. Got your case, music stand, got a teacher, books etc. What about your tree sap?

The what now? Yeah, your lump of tree sap to rub over the bow? Otherwise known as rosin. Yes, it seems an odd accoutrement to a musical instrument but it is essential if you want to make your violin sing and sound beautiful. In fact, without rosin it won’t make much of a sound at all, and it is vital to have good rosin and know how and when to apply it.

First, let’s understand what rosin is and what it does and then you will grasp why it is so important.

Rosin starts as resin, a sticky and viscous substance from trees that is not unlike sap but harder. Rosin is resin in its solid state, produced by heating and mixing a carefully selected blend of ingredients and allowing them to set.

Think of rosin as a bit like an adhesive that helps your bow stay in contact with the strings. When a rosined bow is drawn across strings, the stickiness creates enough friction to create a grip on the string, pulling it further away from its resting position until it snaps back into place (vibration) only to be pulled once again thanks to the continuous bowing motion.

You don’t, however, need to apply it every time you play. A single application should be enough for several hours playing time.

Applying rosin for the first time

Applying rosin to your brand spanking new bow for the first time, you might see a lot of rosin dust go over your violin when you first start to play. Not a problem. You can simply wipe it off with a soft cloth after you’re finished applying.

Next you need to just play the violin for a little while to work the rosin into the bow hair. Once you’ve done this, apply a little bit more (perhaps three to six passes up and down the bow) and play a bit more. If you do it right, you’ll have a new bow that plays without creating excessive rosin dust.

So how do you know when to apply more rosin?

When you get to the point where you have to put more force on the bow than you normally do to get the same sound, then it is time to apply more rosin.

After the initial application you’ll probably only need to go up and down the bow three or four times to get the correct amount.

rosinmanufactureWhich rosin is best to use? 

You will not be surprised to learn that Hidersine offers a complete range of rosins for violins, violas, cellos and double-basses. There are varying sizes, from the smallest Junior models to the larger deluxe cakes such as 1V, 1C, 6V and 6C. Plus, in 2021 the Hidersine Reserve21 rosins were launched. These revolutionary rosins produce very little dust, and their unique formulation offers an excellent grip profile whether for Violin or Cello. 

Rosins labelled as 'Light' are generally a little harder in their consistency, and those labelled 'Dark rosin' are a little softer. In broad terms, a lighter rosin will perform better in warmer environments and the darker rosins will perform better in colder envronments. However, it's all about finding the perfect partner for your personal playing style, strings and local climate. You will also find that rosins designed for cello or bass will naturally be a little softer than those designed for violin or viola. This is because the diameter of the larger strings require a differing level of grip and slip. 


Our world famous Hidersine rosin is made in the UK from a carefully selected blend of waxes and resins. We still use the same hand-pouring manufacturing processes and many of the recipes that were first developed by Francis Hider, almost 100 years ago. In doing so, we maintain a handmade, authentic and artisan connection to our product and to the musicians who use it.



The Hidersine Company, United Kingdom
C/o Barnes & Mullins Ltd, Grays Inn House, Unit 14, Mile Oak Industrial Estate, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 8GA