What Are The Types Of Rosin Available In The Market?

Types Of Rosin
Types Of Rosin

The enchanting sound of the violin is produced when the bow starts moving across the strings, but without a magical ingredient that is put in the bow hair, no sound will ever be heard.

This ingredient is the rosin, a small resin cake that looks like a piece of stone and that plays an important role in sound production: by adhering to the hair, it helps create the necessary friction to make the strings move and finally ring.

When it comes to brands, there are many options in the market, and although most contain natural resins extracted from pine trees, some can be made essentially of beeswax.

To help you get to know a bit more about rosins, in this article we describe the different types and characteristics of the most common brands available in the market.

Types Of Rosin

Dark rosin vs. Light rosin

Before deciding which brand is the most suitable for your needs, you should know that there are basically two types of rosin according to their colors: dark and light, and sometimes a third category that sits in between, called amber.

Rosins of darker color are stickier, meaning that they provide a stronger grip and help in sound projection. Many orchestral players or soloists appreciate this extra power given by this type of rosin. Dark rosins, however, can melt more easily and not be so good for hotter environments.

Light-colored rosins, on the other hand, can produce a more soft sound, perfect for performances in smaller rooms or for pieces that require subtle variations of dynamics, especially in the soft range.

There is also a special type of rosin which sits just in between: the amber-colored. Amber share characteristics of both light and dark color and can be more or less sticky depending on each brand.


Rosins are normally made of resins extracted from pine trees from different regions of the world. After going through a special process of heating and drying, the final product is ready to be used by the player.

Rosin From Pine

Because players often have specific needs or tastes – some seek a more soft tone, others a more projected or brilliant sound – companies add certain additives to match the desired sound.

One common additive that can be found in some models is gold, which provides a rich, yet smooth and warm tone. Silver gives the sound a brilliant quality.

Copper can create a more soft sound and the list goes on. Some models do not have additives at all and are suitable for players who suffer from allergies.


Rosin is a fragile item that can break very easily when suffering any kind of shock. Because of this, each brand offers a unique solution in order to prevent accidents

Some models come wrapped and attached to a piece of cloth, some are glued to small wooden, plastic or metal case while some others are detachable.

Many children may not have enough experience in applying rosin to the bow, so it is important to provide them with a cake that will not break so easily, or to avoid giving them expensive rosins with the hope that the these pricier cakes will be more strong or durable.

Personal choice

Each player has a personal choice and usually keeps it for life after experimenting several types of rosin.

For those who have not yet had the chance of experimenting the different types of rosin – and we know most are very expensive – we offer a list containing the characteristics of some of the most popular brands of rosins according to the opinions of experienced players:

  • Pirastro Goldflex

This is one of the most popular brands for rosins and strings produced by Pirastro, a leading company in the violin market, from Germany.

Pirastro Goldflex violin rosin contains small pieces of gold in its composition. Compared to other models, Pirastro Goldflex produces a more soft, roun and smooth sound.

Pirastro Goldflex

  • Pirastro Oliv

Pirastro Oliv produces a big sound with low dust forming. It is a good option for those players who like to apply a greater amount of rosin and not worry about the extra cleaning service needed to remove the layers of dust on the surface of the violin.

  • Hill

Hill rosin is a favorite for many violinists around the world. Similarly to the Pirastro Oliv, it produces very little dust, which is easy to be removed from the surface of the instrument.

Its softness allows for a better adherence to the hair and consequently a more powerful sound. Some players claim it does not be applied as often as rosins of other brands.

  • D’addario Kaplan Premium

They come in two different formulas: dark and light. The most interesting feature of this model is not even the rosin itself, but the special case that protects the rosin very well. There is a kind of dial under the case that helps to turn the position of the rosin so as two use it thoroughly.

  • Bernardel

The French Bernardel model is suitable for violin, viola and cello because of its amber color, providing enough grip for all these instruments. Because it is not too sticky, it is able to deliver a smooth yet bright sound.

  • Jade L’Opera

It is made from natural ingredients and it is a good choice for those who suffer from allergies. It produces a very smooth sound. Some players claim it needs to be applied more often when compared to other brands.

  • Thomastik Dominant 203

Thomastik Infeld designed rosins that match each of its string models, as is the case of the Thomastik Dominant rosin that is supposed to be used with the synthetic set of strings of the same name.

This rosin can, of course, be used in combination with any other set or brand of strings and deliver great results and it is certainly a good upgrade for lower grade rosins.

Thomastik Dominant 203

  • Cecilia Solo

Cecilia rosins are widely used among professional players. Until very recently they were sold under the name Andrea. Cecilia Solo was designed to give the maximum projection and clarity of sound, therefore ideal for soloists or players who perform often in big halls and venues.

And the list goes on. Each type of rosin has unique characteristics and sometimes they come in different versions – usually light and dark. Some manufacturers keep the same formula for many decades, but new models can be found every year and are definitely worth trying.

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