I was wondering if I was applying a bit too much rosin to my violin bow. I noticed that my violin strings are turning white, with white powder specks on the fingerboard and around the F holes. So I have the following questions:

  1. What signs would show that I have applied too much rosin to a bow?
  2. What signs would show that I have applied too little rosin to a bow?
  3. What is a "normal" frequency for applying rosin to a bow? Every day before practice? Once a week?

1 Answer 1


Well, Rule Number One is to make sure you wipe down your strings and your instrument after every session. Don't let rosin -- or anything else-- cake up on your axe.

What little observation I've done suggests that beginners tend to over-rosin, but you can't really judge by the rate of dust or buildup on the strings. For one thing, different rosins have differing rates of powdering.

My personal method, and please don't take this as the one-and-only way, was to play until the bow clearly was skating on the strings, then rosin up very lightly until I got a good "feel." Then I played until the bow started to skate again, and set my rosining frequency to one day less than that :-) . Basically, it comes down to having played enough to recognize the feel of the bow on the strings and applying just enough rosin to keep that feel going.

  • 2
    As a bowmaker, I'll second all that, especially the part about cleaning the rosin off the violin. Rosin is chemically not all that different from some violin varnishes, and it's very hard to clean off after it's been on the instrument for a while- it melds with the varnish. Keep it clean. May 3, 2016 at 12:45

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