The Violin – Why and How to Put Rosin On Your Bow

The reason why you put rosin on to the bow of your violin is to create friction between the hairs and the strings; it is this friction which makes the sound. I was amazed the other day when I got an E-mail off someone who had been given a violin for a present and was learning how to play. He told me that there was something wrong with his bow, as it did not make any sound on the strings. He was about to give up learning as too difficult when I explained this simple fact about the rosin. If there are any other people out there who are not sure on why or how to rosin a bow; then this article is for you.

To rosin your bow correctly, you need to follow the following easy steps.

1 Tighten your bow until it is taught and ready to use. Remember that when you finish playing, you should always release the tension in the bow, before putting it back in the case. A great way to see if you have tightened the bow enough is to bounce it off the back of your hand. If it does not bounce it is not taught enough.

2 Take out your rosin and with your bow in one hand and the rosin in the other, draw the bow across the surface as if you are playing it. The tip and the frog ends of the bow should be more heavily rosined, but make sure that you go all the way up and down so it is applied evenly. I recommend that you do this about 10 to 15 times if the bow is not completely new. For new bows you need to apply about 3 or 4 times as much, to initially get it to work against the strings.

3 Test the bow to see if you have applied the correct amount. I was taught when I was a boy, that the best way to test the bow is to run it gently over the back of my hand, if it leaves a white residue it is ready, if not you need to put more on.

Please note that rosin is hardened tree sap, and as such needs to be cleaned off your violin every now and again. To do this, and this again is what my old violin teacher told me; use a cloth with a little cooking oil, and this will easily remove the white powder from the instrument.