Every violinist needs good rosin.
It drastically improves the sound your bow makes when it runs over the strings.
Ideally, it should also be easy to apply and not make too much of a mess.
But how do you know which rosin is best for you?
In general, you just need to try a bunch to see which one sounds best to your ears and which one feels right going on the strings.
In this article, we detail the 6 best rosins for the violin. This list includes all different types and all are excellent.
You’ll probably still want to try several of them to see which works best for you, but at least you now only have 6 to try, not hundreds. Basically, we’ve weeded out all of the bad ones.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Rosin For Violin Compared
- 2 Best Violin Rosin Reviewed
- 2.1 Best Overall: The Original Bernardel Rosin For Violin
- 2.2 Highest Quality: Pirastro Obligato/Violino Rosin
- 2.3 Best For Electric Violins: Hidersine VP-036V Series VI Bow Rosin
- 2.4 Best For All Climates: Hill Dark Rosin
- 2.5 Best Budget Rosin: D’Addario Kaplan Premium Rosin
- 2.6 Best All-Natural Rosin: D’Addario Natural Rosin
- 3 Viollin Rosin Buying Guide
- 4 Best Violin Rosin: Final Thoughts
Best Rosin For Violin Compared
Best Violin Rosin Reviewed
The following are the best rosin cakes available for the violin. We included options for all budget, but even the highest quality one is not overly expensive, although it does cost more than 4 times the cheapest one.
Best Overall: The Original Bernardel Rosin For Violin
- Medium-light rosin of top quality
- Inexpensive for such quality
- Includes pouch and cloth for better application
- Lasts long
- Amazing sound
- Sticky and makes a bit of a mess
When it comes to our “best overall” selection, we paid equal attention to the usability, quality, and price. In the end, the Gustave Bernardel rosin comes in as the first choice based on all criteria.
This company has been around for a hundred years and the quality of rosin they produce has always been on top. Naturally, many professional musicians have opted to go with this rosin.
You can buy the Gustave Bernardel rosin almost anywhere for less than $15 (usually). You can use it for the viola and cello, as well as the violin.
It is incredibly powerful and will amplify the sound of your instrument. Of course, it lasts for quite a while and comes with a cloth for easier application. The only problem with it is that it’s quite sticky and can make a mess after a long playing time.
Highest Quality: Pirastro Obligato/Violino Rosin
- Reputable and experienced manufacturer
- Goes well with various strings
- Perfect grip and perfect sound
- Makes little to no mess
- A bit more expensive than the others
Pirastro is a well-known company that deals with musical instruments, primarily violins. It has existed for around 200 years and its palette of products is incredible. It might be the best violin rosin brand, thought that is obviously debatable.
This rosin is even more incredible. Pirastro also produces violin strings. If you happen to match their strings with this rosin, the result will be divine.
This is a hard blond rosin that provides a perfect grip. And it doesn’t create much dust while playing. The tone is therefore much warmer and pleasing, just like a violin tone should be.
Apart from steel strings, it can be used on synthetic ones as well. Also, it is suitable for the viola and the cello. What’s more, it makes little to no mess. In other words: the perfect rosin for your violin.
Best For Electric Violins: Hidersine VP-036V Series VI Bow Rosin
- The best rosin you can buy for steel strings
- Softens the sound of steel strings, making it mellow and pleasant
- No screeching sounds
For those who love steel strings or play the electric violin, this rosin is a match made in heaven.
The result is incredible. Although steel strings are considered harsher than gut and synthetic ones, when this rosin is applied, the sound is warm and nice.
This rosin does not amplify sound like the previous two models. On the contrary, it seems like the sound becomes a bit mellower. Also, there won’t be any unpleasant screech sounds (at least not from the technical part).
The only downside is that this rosin creates a fair amount of dust, which is tolerable but can be messy if you sit a lot while performing.
Best For All Climates: Hill Dark Rosin
Many don’t know this, but climate can have a detrimental impact on the quality of rosin. Some rosins work better in cold conditions, while others work better where it’s warm.
Hill Dark Rosin works perfectly everywhere.
If you travel a lot and need one good rosin for all conditions, or you simply don’t want to research which rosin is the best for each condition, this is an all-around rosin that will satisfy all your needs.
It comes in a protective cloth that helps out when applying it. The trick with the first application is to sand the surface (if it won’t stick correctly). After the first layer is off, it will work like a charm.
Best Budget Rosin: D’Addario Kaplan Premium Rosin
- Great rosin from a reputable manufacturer
- Comes in a hard protective case
- Dark rosin – sticky but light
- Mellow and pleasant sound
- Small in size
- Easy to break
For those who don’t want to spend big on rosins, but still want high quality that will surpass the standard cheap rosins, the D’Addario Kaplan Premium is the best choice.
It’s not just good cheap rosin, it’s great but affordable rosin! It’s perfect for high quality bows as well as the best cheap violin bow you can find.
D’Addario is yet another well-known company that produces violin accessories. This rosin comes in a hard protective case and will not make a mess while being applied.
Also, since it can be applied while in the case, a one-handed application is possible (great for in-show application, if needed).
The rosin will provide great sound – soft and nice. The only drawbacks to this rosin are its size (small) and lightness (easy to break).
Best All-Natural Rosin: D’Addario Natural Rosin
- Incredibly affordable
- Good price-to-quality ratio
- All-natural ingredients
- Compatible with many different types of strings and bow hair
- Does not improve the sound all that much
Some violinists only use all-natural rosins (made out of natural ingredients). This is fine and understandable, since natural rosins barely make any mess (especially light rosins), but they do have one drawback.
They just don’t deliver in the sound department. Don’t get me wrong. Natural rosins are good and many people use them.
But in comparison with other rosins on this list, the D’Addario Natural light rosin falls a bit short in the sound quality department, despite being far better than most natural rosins.
Nevertheless, the rosin is very good and incredibly affordable (only $4), comes in a case, and is easy to apply. It’s also suitable with many different types of bow hair and strings.
Viollin Rosin Buying Guide
There are a few features and characteristics you want to take into account when choosing rosin for your violin, because not every rosin will be great with any bow hair or type of string.
Light Or dark
The rosin is, along with the bow, one of the most important accessories when starting to play the violin, because it provides the ideal friction to produce the sound of the instrument.
Violin rosin can have a light, yellowish tone, which is typical of French and North American pure rosin. Or it can have a brown tone, which is more typical of German rosin.
The texture also influences the sturdiness of the rosin, making it soft or hard, depending on the instrument.
Violinists and violists generally share the same types of rosin: hard and dry. Meanwhile, cellists use a more intermediate one, and double bassists use lighter and softer ones.
This is due to the grip that each one of them needs. It is difficult for the double bass to make its thick strings vibrate, which is why it requires softer rosin, which grips the bow bristles more.
This material hardens with the cold and softens with heat. As a result, which type is best depends, to a large extent, on where you live and the climatic changes to which the product is exposed.
If you normally use very soft or hard rosin, you must take into account that its consistency may change due to adverse temperatures. In general, when it is hotter, it is more convenient to use harder rosin and when it is cold, it is better to use a softer one.
It is often said that the darker a rosin is, the harder it is. But that is not entirely true. What determines the hardness are the materials with which it is manufactured. For that reason, it is difficult to determine hardness at first glance.
But, brands like Pirastro give you a little help when choosing your rosin. This brand has a whole range of rosins suitable for its different strings. Regardless of the strings you use, they have a rosin for you. You just need to be clear about the following:
- Steel strings are easier to play, if you use harder and drier rosin
- Gut strings usually go better with something softer for greater adherence
- If you use mid-range strings or synthetic strings like “Dominant”, for example, rosin like “Pirastro Tonica” can work well, due to its intermediate hardness.
Resin is the main component of rosins, but not all people tolerate it. If you are allergic to this material, there are hypoallergenic powder resins that replace the usual ones.
The choice of your rosin will depend on your learning as well. If you are just starting and using a simpler violin or viola with more basic strings for study, it is likely that you will not need to invest much in rosin at first.
As you progress with your instrument, you’ll want to start trying rosins that can offer you a better sound. Just remember that everything influences your playing.
Best Violin Rosin: Final Thoughts
The best rosin for violins is a personal thing. The best rosin for me is probably not going to be the best one for you.
That’s why we gave you six different options above, all of which are great. Try some, or all, of them and see which one suits you best.
The good thing is you know that none of the rosins listed here are bad. They all work great. It’s just a matter of finding the one that works best for you.