Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

New Rosin – Squeaky “E” Fix?

Posted on October 17, 2019

After getting my new Fiddlerman Master violin, I began to wonder if I needed a different sort of rosin for the different kind of strings it came with. I did a bit of research, and saw that the Holstein Premium rosin is sold by Fiddlershop (even on Amazon), and has really good reviews. Many folks say it works well with the Fiddlerman carbon fiber bow, which I have.

I saw that it had Prime shipping and would reach me in a day if I ordered on Tuesday. Since it wasn’t that pricey, and I was pleased with Fiddershop’s support this week, I decided to go ahead and give it a try.

A Short History of My Rosin

When I first started playing in January, I was using Kaplan Premium Light Rosin. I’d done research and it had lots of great reviews. I’m sure it’s a fine rosin, but over time, especially in the summer months, I noticed that it was a bit too sticky.

I tried using less rosin. I tried using more rosin. Nothing I did balanced the rosin out, and it just piled up on the strings and caused a good deal of drag and squawking.

Interestingly enough, now that I look back at it, the one thing I didn’t have problems with was things like Squeaky E. Of course, I also wasn’t playing much on the E string back then since the EEI method doesn’t introduce playing on that string until far later.

I eventually switched over to the cheaper rosin that came with… something I bought. It might have been the Bunnel outfit? Ah, yes, here it is –Antonio Giuliani for $3.99. At first, I kinda liked it because it wasn’t as sticky as the more expensive rosin. But now, I wonder if it was part of the cause of the Squeaky E. 

I got my new Holstein rosin yesterday, and did my best to clean my bow and apply the new. It was quite lovely — a deep red that falls somewhere between dark and light, kept in a neat little magnetized case.

While I was impressed by the looks, I knew the real test was to hear how it sounded. I’m still too new at all this to be able to pick out differences in depth and tone, but I can say that I felt like the bow slid over the strings much more smoothly using this rosin – and that’s to keep in mind that the strings are only a few days old at this point.

There was a little bit of build up I had to clean from time to time during practice, but that could also be leftover from previous rosin. But the biggest surprise I had was the distinct lack of Squeaky E.

I won’t say it was perfect, and I still feel like I need to test it again with today’s practice. But playing Angelina Baker yesterday, there was hardly a Squeaky E to be heard! I really, really doubt that I can attribute this to me suddenly playing most of my string crossings perfect overnight. I still had some sloppy crossings with Cripple Creek, but the issue with the E string in particular was just so much better.

Discovering this was extremely exciting, like a light at the end of the tunnel! If a rosin change could really be the solution to the squeak, I’m going to be very relieved. I drilled so hard all last month, and simply couldn’t get that squeak to go away. It think there was even one point where I started to question if it was my strings or my bow.

I’d pulled out my other carbon fiber bow at that point – which came with my Bunnel – but it made the same squeak (so I surmised it was operator error). No surprise. That bow had come pre-rosined, likely with the Antonio Giuliani brand. It never once crossed my mind it could have been a rosin issue.

This has bolstered my confidence and enthusiasm quite a bit. I’m trying not to be too excited until I try it again today to see if I have a similar experience, though. I’ll write again tomorrow to update.

If rosin was my issue, this is a prime example of why higher quality components are important even for beginners. I lost a lot of time struggling with a string squeak that I might not have been able to fully resolve on my own because it was due to the quality of tools I was using.

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Archived Comments

Jim Guinn - Thursday, October 17, 2019

I started with the Fiddlerman rosin that came with my Concert Outfit back in February, a darker rosin. When I purchased a few accessories a couple of months ago, I purchased the Holstein Premium Rosin, a lighter rosin. I like it better. I did find out that dark rosin is softer and is usually too sticky for hot and humid weather—it is better suited to cool, dry climates. I will have to see how the Holstein premium is now that the weather is changing. Luckily, my CF bow is already rosined with the darker, and my Pernambuco bow is rosined with the lighter, so it should be an easy comparison.

Aywren - Thursday, October 17, 2019

Rosin is just another thing to experiment with, it seems. So far, I really like the Holstein, too. My verdict is that it's not the only thing that helped with the squeak, but it certainly did help.