1 February 2024

Used by musicians for 1000s of years, we find out what makes the difference: - Rosin unwrapped

By Lark Music

What is Rosin?

Rosin is a solid, amber-coloured substance that is derived from the resin of pine trees. For musicians. it’s primarily used by string instrument players like violinists, cellists, and double bassists to enhance the performance and sound quality of these instruments. Rosin helps create friction between the bow and the strings, allowing the bow to grip the strings and produce sound. Without rosin, the bow would slip over the strings and produce little or no sound.

Humans have been using rosin for thousands of years, from our hunter gathering days in 13,000 BC to the early 6th and 7th century BC where some of the earliest records of rosin’s use on musical instruments can be found. It’s safe to say we have the art of creating and using rosin “down to a tee.”

What makes the “rosin” difference?

With more than 20 years’ experience, and from what could be described as the home of rosin, we spoke with Christos Sykiotis, in Thessaloniki, Greece. The cellist and composer is the founder of Melos Rosin and he shared with us what makes his product strike a smoother chord.

How did you get started, and what made you create your own rosin?

“While I was studying cello in my early years, I felt that something was missing from all the different rosins I was trying out. Upon settling on a brand that suited me best at the time, I realised that its quality and effect were not consistent. That’s how the idea of Melos Rosin came about. Motivated by a personal quest to make a rosin that  met my needs, I was then able to extend this solution to fellow musicians grappling with similar challenges. Experiments started and we finally established a game-changing  line of Melos Rosin cakes in 2003, that were available for worldwide distribution.”

Have you tried other base resins?

The Mediterranean climate offers a variety of high-quality raw materials and resin is one of them. The vast expanse of pine forests in the region has been used in resin throughout Greece’s history, and therefore it’s contributed to a tradition steeped in experience. At Melos, we craft our cakes, drawing from premium-quality pine-tree resin and colophony, blended with the finest natural ingredients, handpicked by our trusted local suppliers. This careful selection guarantees the creation of a rosin that is not only fresh and pure but attains the highest standard of quality.

How do you ensure that enviable quality?

The constant quality control of our ingredients ensures the highest standards of the final product. In addition, we insist on a handmade process, which uphold the integrity of our “made only upon order” claim. This way we can guarantee that even the most remote and small music shop has freshly made Melos Rosin cakes.

Different instruments have different requirements, how did you nail your recipe(s)?

In the world of bow string instruments, diversity reigns with varying mass, body shapes, and string sizes that defines the unique demands of every instrument. These basic factors play an integral part in crafting different recipes tailored to meet these demands. Our core mission is to offer rosins that provide full and balanced sound, without unexpected noises or dust, regardless of the instrument one plays. We offer an extensive range of rosins, allowing musicians to precisely choose the right fit for them. Moreover, our recipes ensure compatibility between different rosins, providing the flexibility to mix and match to achieve customised results that resonate with their unique playing style and instrument requirements.

How do I avoid it irritating my nose!

Our rosins do not contain any kind of chemical and the ingredients we use are 100 per cent natural. In addition to the production process, the allergic reactions are minimised to almost zero. We receive numerous messages from musicians all over the world who face these kinds of challenges with traditional rosins, stating that with Melos they overcame them completely. Broadly speaking, when it comes to rosin application, we suggest the “less is more” principle.

What are your top tips for applying rosin?

To get the full effect of our cakes, first you need to make sure that the bow hair is clean and that there’s no residue from previous rosins. We guide musicians to apply the rosin with consistent small and gentle movements throughout the bow without pressing too hard. A restrained approach brings optimal results and a harmonious playing experience. So again “less is more”!

How do we choose the right rosin for our instruments?

Our rosins are categorised into three series: Classical, Baroque, and World. The Classical series offers a wide variety of rosins for violin, viola, cello, and bass instruments and comes in two different types – light and dark. The light type is designed for high temperatures, achieving silky and warm qualities, while the dark type grips the string harder and is designed for full tone playing. The Baroque series on the other hand, offers rosins especially made for gut strings, considering the different instrument bodies of baroque and viol instruments. Finally, the World series offers rosins for traditional instruments and is designed to respond to their distinct tone quality and body shape. We’re always available to provide rosin guidance!

As we wrap up our interview with  Christos Sykiotis, it’s clear that rosin production is more than just a process; it’s a meticulous craft shaped by dedication and expertise. Throughout our conversation, we’ve gained valuable insights into the careful selection of raw materials and the precise application of heat and pressure that define the world of rosin.

We’d like to thank Christos and Melos Rosin for providing us with a window into the intricate dance between nature and technology that underlies the products. Their commitment to quality and sustainability reflects a broader trend in the rosin s industry, where producers strive for excellence and environmental responsibility.


Using rosin isn’t the only way you should care for your instrument.

Give it the full protection it deserves. Get an online quote or get in touch with us by completing our enquiry form.

If you’d prefer to speak with one of our experts, please call 020 3846 5271.