I found a totally unknown luthier tucked away in a tiny town ( 2 mi. wide) who is laid back, honest and a magician in his craft and I will never reveal where he is.
He suggested a chin rest for me and it has been easing my shoulder tension for about 3 hours now.
I made a modification to my violin which achieves a sound I have been after for years.
The new modification allows me to use a lighter touch bow and the new luthier has a suggestion about that when I pick up my re-hair bow that he is working on.
He only has about 10 violins in his shop but there is one $400 model which is seducing me even as I sit here.
Last but not least, my son got a letter today that his audition as a tenor was accepted by the Boston Symphony Orch. Tanglewood group.
He said he was glad the audition was not too
long because he was going to faint.
Well, that is a good day!!
We actually had a pretty good day too. My oldest has been playing violin since last fall. Her younger brother just began lessons today, and absolutely loved it. Later on, the youngest (4yrs old) was happily bowing her big brother's violin while carefully counting, "one, two, one, two, one, two…". She was playing He's a Pirate… sort of.
I will only tell you about the chin rest if you really want to know because the idea is radical and you must be open to new ideas
I will tell you that the lady (wife) in the store was watching me play. She also teaches. She was compelled to say, "You use too much bow pressure." After a few hours of practice I found that she was definitely right. Not only for mechanical reasons but tone as well.
At the risk of a riot ……. let me start with the pencil drawings.
Notice in picture #1 that the jaw is shown to create some pull back to the player. This is basically what is desired.
Picture #2 is the popular concept that the chin rest should totally fill the gap. This can create a lot pressure without too much pull. If the player "looses" the violin while playing, there is no way to pull it back.
Picture #3 illustrates that when the space is jammed (chin almost level) there is little fulcrum left to exert force so the neck (spine) try to push the chin down by pushing up (ouch).
The lower chin rest (fig. 1) allows the neck/shoulder muscles to participate in the hold.
That said, there are some photos of the low chin rest vs. my usual high Berber. I could feel the relaxation of the shoulder muscles right away and even more freedom in holding the violin.
The chin rest is not marked and I don't know what kind it is.
I played the low rest for a couple hours. Was great.
My violin looks like a train wreck because I'm always experimenting.
Note: Those who try a lower chin rest almost always don't like it because that group of muscles has been asleep. The discomfort lasts about a day.
(I have to go check out a strange noise. My wife says my computer is making noises like ping-pong. That can't be good!)
Oliver, thank you for sharing your good news of the day! Your drawings are interesting and I studied them well. It certainly is an unexpected conclusion, that the lower chin rest would cause less strain on the back. I am hoping it continues to work well for you. I am still in the process of learning what's best for me regarding chin and shoulder rest and will keep your findings in mind. Thanks so much!
@NV Probably too high.
You should definitely try a lower chin rest. I think you could scout up a plastic version for about $10 so you wouldn't be hurt too bad if it did not work out.
And, a bonus …. your comfort with a chin rest will DEFINITELY impact your dependency on a shoulder rest. I only stopped a shoulder rest AFTER I went to a lower chin rest.
Expect a lower chin rest to feel odd at first and let the violin go where the chin rest points.
NV, it depends on your neck. I like it when the chinrests are high so that I don't feel a need to squeeze. I just rest my jaw there a little, but not much. The connection needs to be enough just so that you won't drop the violin or loose it on a down shift.
Also, a lot depends on whether or not you are using your chin or as in my case the jaw bone way back by my ear for the contact. Having the violin up a bit higher gives you that option. Balance is important.
Yes, your videos are a study in utilizing a chin rest to agree with the different requirements and nature of the music and I have incorporated most of the details.
Your "balance" video had a big influence and rescued my hold from being too much forward (i.e. scroll towards music).
The "wiggle" was so the whole class could see !
(Assuming we're talking about the same video. I think it is the HOLD one.)
Yes, it's the first video and from 2:00 it is a "life defining" lesson (and I believe that, violinistically).
Regarding the "chin wiggling". In some circles, "violin" is taken as a spoken language. This is very common in forums and is a legitimate form of entertainment and education. (real violin not needed)
Indeed I will soon have to fade into my "silent violin" mode and concentrate on music from my "Eternal Hope" church band !!!!!
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