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Rosin 101:

Getting to know your rosin for violin, viola, cello, and double bass

With so many rosin options for violin, viola, cello, and double bass, how do you choose which rosin is best for you and your instrument?

D'Addario has a variety of options to accommodate any of your needs, no matter your playing style, budget, or current set-up.



  • What’s the difference between rosin and resin?

    Rosin is simply tree resin in solid form. We heat resin under high heat to cause it to harden into rosin.

  • What trees do you use when collecting resin? / Where does D’Addario source its resin?

    The main ingredient of rosin is tree resin from conifers, such as pine or larch trees. Small amounts of additives are then added to change the rosin properties, such as its hardness.

  • Why do I need to use rosin?

    Applying rosin to your bow hairs adds enough stickiness to enable them to grip your strings. Your strings cannot vibrate successfully if the bow hair does not grip the strings properly.

  • How does rosin work?

  • Do I need light or dark rosin?

    First of all, it's important to keep in mind that rosin color can vary from company to company. Don't rely on color alone when choosing rosin!

    At D'Addario, our light rosin is hard, and our dark rosin is soft.


    Players of lower instruments (cello and double bass) generally prefer softer rosin. Soft rosin is sticker and thicker strings require more stickiness to move efficiently.


    Players of violin and viola generally prefer harder rosin. Hard rosin is less sticky and is ideal for faster bow speeds and ease of bow response.

    Therefore, we suggest the following:
    Light or hard rosin for violin and viola

    Dark or soft rosin for cello and bass

  • What qualities should I look for in a rosin?

    Any high-quality rosin will coat the bow hair uniformly without creating a large amount of excess dust.

  • Does rosin expire or go bad?

    Rosin can last anywhere between 6 months to over 2 years depending on how it is maintained and stored. Rosin hardens with age and you should replace your rosin
    if you notice that it drawing your bow across the cake no longer creates a trail of dust.

  • How often and how much rosin should I apply to my bow?

    We suggest 2-3 swipes before every playing session.

  • What else do I need to know about rosin?

    Most players use too much rosin on their bow hair and rosin too often, resulting in a rough, gritty sound, and rosin build-up on their instruments. You can avoid this by applying only a small amount of rosin (2-3 swipes) at the beginning of every playing session. Wipe down your instrument and strings at the end of every playing session to avoid rosin build-up.

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