What’s the difference between dark and light rosin?

Updated on August 6, 2022

I’m getting some for my violin and was wondering what the difference is? Which one is better?

4 Answers

  • Light rosin is normally used by violinists, violists and cellist. Dark rosin in normally used by string bassists. When I was in college many years ago, I was told (although I am not sure that I believe them) that the violin, viola and cello belong to ‘the violin family’ which is why they do things so differently from string bassists because technically the modern string bass belongs to ‘the viol family’. I know that the modern string bass is derived from the viol but there have been some significant modifications during the past two hundred years which may (or may not) have changed some of the superstitious stuff related to the string bass being so different from the other modern, bowed string instruments. I have played the violin for many years and took a semester of string bass but I am not sure that I really believe it is important to use different kinds of rosin for different instruments

  • Hill Dark Rosin

  • The different types of rosin have different levels of “stickiness”. The type of rosin you use can make a huge difference to your sound so experiment a bit and find what is best for you.

    The light rosin is collected from the trees in winter and spring and is harder. It is best for violins and violas.

    The dark rosin is collected in summer and autumn and is softer. It is best for cellos and double basses.

    P.S. some people refer to the dark rosin as winter rosin and light rosin as summer rosin because the dark rosin is very soft and is no good in very hot and sticky conditions. They are not referring to when it was collected. (just to confuse you…LOL)

    I would get a light rosin but get a good quality one such as Hill Brothers. Cheap rosins can make your violin sound awful.

  • which one you get depends on how you bow …. if you are a digger or someone who really saws at your violin a light rosin would be best if your touch tends to be light a dark rosin is better …. I play the Cello and dabble in violin and viola because I am a heavy handed on the bow arm I use light rosin for both my violin and viola

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