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Neck Pain
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Composer
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March 30, 2012 - 7:17 pm
Member Since: July 12, 2011
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Is it normal to have non-lingering neck pain at the beginners stage even if your posture, setup is good?  Does it take weeks or months to go away?  The initial uncomfortable arm feeling playing on the G string, or the pads of fingers toughening up is nothing compared to that damn neck pain. 

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
March 30, 2012 - 8:21 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
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I just started playing about a month and a half ago and sometimes have pain on the right side of my neck. My arms get tired, too, and my right hand cramps up. I hope it all goes away after a while after I build up the muscles that I've never used in this way before. 🙂 I don't have to worry about building up finger callouses, though, as I already had significant callouses from playing the guitar. I've wondered whether they might actually get in the way, preventing me from feeling the strings. Guess I'll adapt, as I'm sure every other guitar/violin player before me has.

jimi-hendrix

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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NoirVelours
Quebec
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March 30, 2012 - 9:40 pm
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Just started tonight haha. So far, after an hour my left arm grows tired, my fingers are fine though but my thumb hurts because I was pinching all the time 🙁 (was correcting the position every 5 min) and even if I played a lot with my shoulder rest, trying to find a comfortable position, I'm still not sure I found it! I feel like plumping that left arm on a thick cushion when I play haha.

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 30, 2012 - 11:48 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

I guess you can say that it is normal but definitely not necessary or good.
The reason for it being normal is that it takes time to get the optimal hold. You need to make sure that you are as relaxed and comfortable as possible. I don't get neck pains. See the pain as a warning that you are tensing up or squeezing or perhaps simply holding the violin the wrong way. Maybe you are twisting or something. How about having a picture or video of you playing. I could advise you better that way.

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

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Composer
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March 31, 2012 - 3:47 am
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Yeah, I'm going to stop with questions and post a video next month after some additional practice. 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 31, 2012 - 8:15 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

This issue is a serious one and I'm glad yo brought it up. It might save a beginner violinist a lot of pain by taking the first step of finding the right and relaxed hold very seriously.
Look forward to that video.

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

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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March 31, 2012 - 8:59 am
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Composer,

I think sometimes either the chin rest or shoulder rest are not high enough and a person with a long neck has to play with their head bent over and it causes pain.  Even if you don't want to send a picture or a video right now, look at yourself in the mirror and watch how you head is bent or twisted. You can always add a sponge between the chin rest and your chin or between the shoulder rest and your shoulder.  Holding the violin shouldn't be uncomfortable and when you get the right setup it just sort of fits there nicely.

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Dee Major
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March 31, 2012 - 9:17 am
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Agree with the advice from Fiddlerman and Kevin. It is a serious issue and one that I never addressed until several months into learning to play, though I wasn't comfortable.

Fiddlerman's video on How to Hold the Violin is a good place to start if you haven't yet watched it.

Your goal is the right chin rest and shoulder rest combination for your particular jawline and shoulder build.  The chin rest kit from Fiddlershop helped me find a comfortable chin rest. Presently I'm using either a Berber or a Teka.

Apparently some don't need a shoulder rest and use only a sponge between the violin and the shoulder, but I definitely need a shoulder rest, and am still making a decision on that. Wish I could focus more on my violin practice and not so much on comfort. It's the neck thing with me as well.

There are also several threads on the Forum with discussions of this problem, so it is a common one. They're under the topic The Violin.  Hope all the new violinists find a comfortable fit and position soon.coffee

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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March 31, 2012 - 10:36 am
Member Since: January 21, 2012
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I noticed that FM's chinrest is very thick and high and the pad on his shoulder is kinda thin which lower's the violin down to his shoulder as opposed to having a thick/high shoulder rest and a standard chin rest.

What is the correct way, the violin higher off your shoulder closer to your chin or closer to your shoulder with a thicker chin rest?

I tried rolling a wash cloth attached with rubber bands to use as a shoulder rest but I still find the fiddle slipping down and away. Therefore, I have to grip the thing tighter with my left hand which makes vibrato next to impossibe. I'm trying to hold it in place by squeezing with my chin so tight that my bottom jaw ends up around my nose. I know I need to fill the gap.

Should the violin be closer to your chin or closer to your shoulder? Is it a matter of personal preference and comfort, or is there a rule of thumb.thumbs-up

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
March 31, 2012 - 10:51 am
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1651
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I recently bought a better shoulder rest (Resonan brand) that puts the violin higher off my shoulder and has a nice velvet padding and rubberized brackets that make it feel secure. I also just got a chinrest Strad Pad from fiddlershop.com, which not only cushions my chin but also adds to a more secure hold. Now I'm finally starting to feel more comfortable holding the violin and can even hold it between my chin and shoulder without using my left hand (briefly, of course).

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 31, 2012 - 11:20 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717
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True, that strad pad gives a sense of security so that you don't feel the need to grip so hard.
I am not sure if there is a RIGHT between a higher chinrest or shoulder-rest. Each and every person must discover what works best for them. Lot's of people feel as though a shoulder rest limits your mobility. I kind of agree and prefer having a high chinrest and to feel the body of the instrument against mine. However, I don't squeeze the violin, just let it rest there and I feel secure that it won't slip either.
That being said. Many feel that the contact from the back of the violin on your body can damper the sound.

There are advantages to both and great soloists doing both as well. The choice is yours smile

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

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NoirVelours
Quebec
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March 31, 2012 - 12:24 pm
Member Since: March 28, 2012
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I can hold the violin with chin and shoulder without stress so I might have found the correct height for my shoulder rest, but it's the inclination of the violin I'm struggling with. I'm trying to have it strings up and not diagonal. I'm watching Pierre's video on holding the violin then check myself in the mirror to correct my position. I never felt any neck pain even after 1 hour practice this morning. I would take a guess and say that you are forcing your neck to hold that violin or you are too twisted on the side.

Try to relax when you play, everything should be relaxed from fingers to neck.

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 31, 2012 - 3:23 pm
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That is a real good way to start Noir Velours 🙂
Keep up the good work.

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

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