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You can’t play a cello without cello rosin, but shopping for a good one is a hassle. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Rosin and How Does it Work?
Rosin is made of resin extracted from pine trees, and creates the friction between your string and bow that’s necessary for your instrument to produce resonant, smooth sound. It’s important to select the right rosin for your particular instrument, but sorting through the dozens of varieties, colors, and forms while accounting for variables such as the type of instrument, season of year, and personal allergies can be time-consuming — not to mention confusing.
Fortunately, while professional and serious cellists may go deep into the weeds into the finer points of rosin purity, hobbyists and beginners only need to look out for a few basic features.
What to Consider When Buying Cello Resin
The most important factors to think about are the rosin’s form, color, and texture. Cellos require a different type of rosin than other instruments, so look for products specifically designed for cellists.
Form: Rosins come in cake or box form, each with their own pros and cons. Boxed rosin is often recommended for students, as many find that it sticks to bows better and is more durable than the cake version. However, cake rosin is generally more pure and of higher quality.
Color: The two basic types of rosin are light and dark, which change the tone the instrument produces. Though you can technically use both types for any stringed instrument, the relatively low tone of the cello works best with rosins on the darker end of the spectrum, while lighter versions are better suited to instruments like violins.
Texture: While harder rosins are best for violins, cellists prefer slightly softer rosins for their bows. This makes the rosin slightly stickier, which makes it easier for the cello bow to gain traction with the thicker strings.
1. Kolstein Cello Rosin
Musicians report improved tone when using this Kolstein rosin, and praise the good grip on the strings, which facilitates a quick response and consistent sustain. This rosin is also a good choice for cellists with respiratory difficulties, as the formula was created to minimize powdering and dust.
2. Jade L’Opera JADE Rosin for Violin, Viola, and Cello
This Jade rosin is recommended by some musicians especially for warm weather and higher humidity. Suitable for violin and viola, in addition to the cello, the rosin helps to create beautifully smooth bowing action when using it. The rosin formula also breaks in quickly, meaning you’re not wasting time rubbing it into the strings on the first use.
3. Sound Harbor Rosin for Violin Viola and Cello
This rosin from Sound Harbor is formulated to suit the violin and viola as well as the cello, and helps insure excellent resonance of strings on the instrument. On a practical note, we also appreciate that it comes in a pack of two, giving you one for your cello case and one for your practice room at home.