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"Permanent" shoulder rest
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Svento
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February 13, 2012 - 3:00 pm
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The fiddle I'm working with has extremely high ribs...

I attached the chinrest and and the instrument barely fits between chin and shoulder. I tried a shoulder rest set to minimum height and it does work, but it's not 100 % comfortable. Now I'm thinking about an idea of a permanent shoulder rest, made from wood and glued at two points in the bottom. The points would be somewhere at the edge of the bottom on the bass side and somewhere close to the middle.

The obvious argument against this is of course, that nothing should touch the soundboard or the bottom. But I wonder how vibrant the bottom is... Some fiddlers don't use a shoulder rest and, then the bottom is dampened by the shoulder - without any hearable effect.

Of course, this problem could also be fixed by taking off the bottom an lower the ribs closer to normal height, but that sounds like a more radical solution.

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Sofia Leo
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February 13, 2012 - 3:29 pm
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Maybe a taller chinrest is the answer - then you wouldn't need a shoulder rest at all. Or try a sponge hooked on with a rubber band...

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Gail
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February 13, 2012 - 3:32 pm
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Are you sure it isn't a 14" viola?  Maybe they have deeper ribs...  Just a thought. 

I've learned so much from my mistakes that I've decided to make some more.

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Oliver
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February 13, 2012 - 3:54 pm
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Fiddlers do what fiddlers do but not contacting the middle of the lower plate.

coffee2

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Gail
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February 13, 2012 - 4:08 pm
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I don't think I'd glue anything to the fiddle.  Fiddlerman uses a make-up remover sponge with a rubberband.  Maybe you need a lower chinrest? 

I've learned so much from my mistakes that I've decided to make some more.

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Svento
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February 13, 2012 - 5:06 pm
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Gail said

Are you sure it isn't a 14" viola?  Maybe they have deeper ribs...  Just a thought. 

It's a 16" fivestring fiddle. I'm sure violas have deeper ribs than violins but nothing like this monster. But - why...? Does it matter if it's a violin or a viola? The problem is that the ribs are too deep and that the instrument doesn't fit between chin and shoulder when a shoulder rest is attatched.

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Svento
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February 13, 2012 - 5:10 pm
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CatMcCall said

Maybe a taller chinrest is the answer - then you wouldn't need a shoulder rest at all. Or try a sponge hooked on with a rubber band...

The need for a shoulder rest has nothing to do with the height. If that was the problem, the instrument has perfect height now, the problem is that the instrument is too high.

The shoulder rest is there to keep the instrument steady. When playing doublestops and shifting positions while singing, it's hard to keep the instrument in place. A shoulder rest makes it a little bit easier.

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Svento
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February 13, 2012 - 5:45 pm
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Oliver said

Fiddlers do what fiddlers do but not contacting the middle of the lower plate.

Yes, but why? Does the bottom affect the sound that much. It's hardwood and not supposed to be vibrant. The soundboard vibrates while bottom and ribs are supposed to be stiff and contain the air that's amplifying the soundboard. An object glued to the bottom would add mass and make the bottom even stiffer. Theorethically it might as well make the instrument louder.

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Oliver
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February 13, 2012 - 5:59 pm
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Is then the sound post only a structural element or is there also a role as a transmitter of vibration to the lower plate?

coffee2

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Svento
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February 13, 2012 - 6:12 pm
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You're right but it doesn't necessarilly mean that the bottom is meant to vibrate. I think of it as some kind of mechanical grounding.

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Kevin M.
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February 13, 2012 - 6:12 pm
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The sound post transmits the vibration to the back.  This is why backs are made much the same as the top, with different graduations.  At 16" and wider ribs this would be a 5 string viola with a C, G, D, A and E string.

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Sofia Leo
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February 13, 2012 - 10:10 pm
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Svento said

The need for a shoulder rest has nothing to do with the height. If that was the problem, the instrument has perfect height now, the problem is that the instrument is too high.
The shoulder rest is there to keep the instrument steady. When playing double-stops and shifting positions while singing, it's hard to keep the instrument in place. A shoulder rest makes it a little bit easier.

Well, you're opening a very large can of worms right there, Svento. There is a large body of violinists who believe that putting a shoulder rest between player and instrument is against the rules of nature and they advocate using a chinrest that fits the player and learning Proper Technique to play as the original Master Builders intended the violin to be played.

The question that no one has yet asked is this - if it's to be an electric violin (or have I mixed up my threads?) you will be relying on the electronics more than the qualities of the wood. The finishes that you are using are not conducive to sound transmission, either, so if you are going strictly electric your questions don't matter. amuse

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Oliver
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February 13, 2012 - 10:23 pm
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I don't think I saw "electric" in this thread but you are certainly correct, Cat.

I can abuse my electric in several ways but I can always revive it somehow.  It's great to solve any problem by tweaking a knob or two !

coffee2

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Svento
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February 14, 2012 - 2:11 am
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It will be electrified but fully acoustic - if it was a solidbody I wouldn't have made it that big...

The other issue about electric tonewoods: The material has great influence on the sound on a solidbody electric too. However, such stiff construction wouldn't be sensitive to things like a permanent shoulder rest.

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Fiddlerman
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February 14, 2012 - 10:21 am
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I believe that a violins resonance is affected by dampening the vibrations on the bottom. I can tell the difference if I just squeeze on it. The sponge is maybe not the best solution for sound but I don't hold too hard. Many shoulder rest makers design their shoulder-rests to not touch the back and only touch the ribs or sides. Sometimes even just the back corner block area.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Kevin M.
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February 14, 2012 - 11:18 am
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Have you thought of filling the body with foam since this will be electric.

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Svento
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February 14, 2012 - 11:58 am
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Kevin M. said

Have you thought of filling the body with foam since this will be electric.

No. In that case it wouldn't work acoustically. Besides, there's no reason for an electric to be that big. Besides I have doubts regarding the tonal qualities of foam.

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