I just bought a violin. It comes with the yellow color rosin that doesn't seem to apply well to the bow hair. I've been applying it like for 30 minutes but it doesn't seems to improve at all. What could have gone wrong?

I saw some tutorials that say I should use some sand paper or something on the rosin. Is this true?

3 Answers 3


Yes - new rosin is shiny and so won't get applied to the bow hair (it simply slides along the bow).

You'll need to scratch the the rosin, either with sandpaper or, (as my teacher used to do) with a penknife, until there's a layer of white dust on the rosin. You should then be able to apply it to the bow.

  • so, I just use some knife to scratch it? I will try that one, coz I don't have sand paper now :)
    – Sufendy
    Commented Oct 9, 2011 at 14:43
  • With a brand-new bow, you may have to repeat the process several times. Eventually, you'll be able to feel a sticky resistance on the entire length of the "hair".
    – M. Werner
    Commented Oct 9, 2011 at 17:18
  • I agree with the above, but as an add... I seem to remember the darker amber colored rosins being a bit "grippier" (is that a word?) than the lighter yellower type, but yes you need to abrade the surface before application. (I'd be interested to know others opinions on that.) Commented May 30, 2012 at 20:51

Many violinists have some powdered rosin somewhere which is great for "starting off" a new bow with rosin - like you've observed, it's quite a tedious process otherwise. I'd stress that it does bed in eventually, and will work, but you need to keep at it for a fair while (I've done it this way on many occasions.) As mentioned above, you can also use sandpaper to "shave off" some powdered rosin from the block, essentially mimicking the behaviour of the above.

Powdered rosin does get a bit messy though - for a long time I actually used cello rosin with my violin - the difference is it's a bit softer, and again this can help it grip much better to fresh hair. So if you plan to try out many new bows, that may be a good investment for all it costs (not much.) Double bass rosin would be softer still, though in my experience this is so soft that it can get way too sticky in warm weather, which tends to make it go everywhere.


My orchestra teacher taught us to use the metal end of the bow to "loosen" the resin

  • Welcome to Music.SE. This is certainly a practical way to prepare the surface of the rosin, however it's hardly an answer by itself, rather a comment to whostolemyhat's answer. You will be allowed to post comments when you have gathered some reputation on the site, but you can also edit your answer to make it self-contained. Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 10:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.