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Stop that fiddle from slipping
Shirtless fiddling leads to improvement: non-slip carpet pad.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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RosinedUp
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September 15, 2012 - 1:52 am
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One hot day a month or two after I started playing violin, I was shirtless and picked up my violin and started playing.

I had been having trouble with the instrument sliding down my chest, so I was tending to support it with my left hand, which of course was causing problems without end. I was trying different chin rests and shoulder rests and various modifications of them.  I could not get a good body grip on the fiddle.

But when I happened to play shirtless I found it markedly easier to play.  After a while I realized that it was easier because the fiddle was not slipping down---because the shoulder rest was now gripping directly against my skin.

I had already known enough to put rubber bands around the shoulder pad so that it would grip against my shoulder.  But I had not realized that my shirt had been slipping against my skin, the net effect being that same feeling---and the harsh reality---that the fiddle was falling.

I knew that there was a kind of rubberized mesh that people put between a carpet and a hard floor to prevent the carpet slipping.  Being a creative individual, I supposed that I might use something like that to stop my shirt from slipping against my skin.

Here is how I use the mesh: I wrap a piece twice around the pad of the shoulder rest and hold it in place with a rubber band.  Then I put another piece of the mesh between my shirt and my skin.  If I am wearing two layers of clothing on my shoulder, I put yet another piece of mesh between the two layers. The piece that goes against my skin gets folded over double on one end.  That doubled end goes between the fiddle and my collarbone, which had been a sore spot.  The rubber seems to conduct sound pretty well, so the mesh is better than a plain-cloth collarbone pad if you want to feel the music in your belly.

If you shop around like I did, you might not have to buy a great big piece or pay more than a dollar per square foot: I found a packaged 2' x 4' piece of such a mesh at a local carpet store for just $5. 

I don't know why, but this rubberized mesh is sold as a non-slip carpet "pad".  It would be better to call it a mat. The terms "rug underlay", "safety cushion", and "floor grip" may also be applied. There are different styles, but the kind I got is brownish tan, 3/64" thick, with a tight wavy pattern.  It is supposed to be hand washable and odor-proof. I find that Sears and Walmart sell that style online under the Safavieh brand, although those places only sell bigger packages.  Maybe other styles would work just as well.  There is a somewhat different product, which I didn't try, that is used to stop slipping of a rug on top of a carpet.

If your fiddle is sliding down your shoulder, maybe you should try putting a piece of this floor-grip mesh under your shirt.

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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September 15, 2012 - 2:49 am
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I wear cotton polo style shirts and have no slippage issues. Im glad you found a solution for yours but, perhaps silk shirts shouldnt be part of your fiddlin attire. just sayin.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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DanielB
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September 15, 2012 - 2:58 am
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Yeah.  I ran into a similar situation as weather has been getting cooler and I'm not wearing t-shirts as much.  My acoustic violin usually rests on my collarbone.  But going to wearing sweaters or heavier shirts, it started slipping a bit. 

I just rubber banded a cosmetic sponge on the back, like Pierre does, but the thinnest one I could find.  I don't need padding from it, just a bit of traction.  LOL

Not real fond of it, since it doesn't look as nice as the bare wood.  But it works. 

I'm thinking of maybe getting a bit of some thin soft leather like chamois and making something like a little triangle that could hook over the tail pin that might have enough friction between violin back and shirt to work. 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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September 15, 2012 - 7:32 am
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The modified FM.

The small white cosmetic pad is grabbier than the red one alone and adds height but only if used that way.  The smaller pad reduces the area of the force and therefore increases the pressure.   The white pad is softer, more compliant.

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Fiddlestix
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September 15, 2012 - 9:45 am
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Picture-037-1.jpgImage EnlargerI made my own shoulder rest from material and padding I had laying around and then added the "loop" part of velcro strip's.

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Oliver
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September 15, 2012 - 10:09 am
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Did you not like/try any of the commercial shoulder rests ?

If so, how do you think that your design offers an advantage(s) ?

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlestix
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September 15, 2012 - 10:54 am
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Picture-015.jpgImage EnlargerYes Oliver, I did try one commercial rest from the violin shop. It seemed ok while I was fitting it at the v-shop but when I got it home, I didn't like it so I returned it. The commercial rest's just don't seem comfortable to me. When I was a little boy and learing to play, I had a pad under for a shoulder rest, I think my mom made it from some blue corduroy material. It wasn't very big as I recall, about the size of the pad on your's.

I made that one a couple month's ago and just this morning added the velcro strip's. I've been going to do that but haven't until now. I also removed the chin rest and the violin stay's there resonably well.  That may change though, it's a very small chin rest that was on my 130 year old family fiddle. It only fit's in one place.

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Oliver
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September 15, 2012 - 1:34 pm
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Incidentally, I am fascinated by those real tiny old chin rests.  They were invented to prevent wear on the violin, not to be the "anchor" class we know today as means of holding the violin.

I've tried maybe half dozen shoulder rests and some of them did (almost) work but I did not like the fact that they elevated the violin.

I guess the bottom line is to find whatever is comfortable.

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Barry
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September 15, 2012 - 1:43 pm
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Ive been playing without a shoulder rest lately when I fiddle. The only time I pop it on is when I take a crack at a classical piece and have to shift

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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Oliver
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September 15, 2012 - 2:16 pm
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What is your chin rest ?

Ever use the FM foam pad ?

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Barry
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September 15, 2012 - 4:08 pm
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Oliver said
What is your chin rest ?

Ever use the FM foam pad ?

I have a wooden chin rest which you'll see soon as I plan to post a video of my fiddle since Ive completed it.

I tried a foam pad thing the first month I started playing, didnt care for them

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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Oliver
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September 15, 2012 - 4:28 pm
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OK

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 16, 2012 - 9:05 am
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I like that you all experiment and find what is right just for you.
My little red rubber round pad is good for me for the exact purpose that RosinedUp is using his carpet friction fabric. The red rubber pad just keeps the violin where I put it for me. I don't need any pad what so ever because of my high chin-rest.
If you have a dampening padding resting on the back of your violin try real hard not to squeeze to avoid dampening the instrument too much.

@Oliver - So you are improving on my fantastic red rubber pad.... Good for you. ;-)

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

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RosinedUp
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September 17, 2012 - 12:27 pm
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Everybody notice that the hard problem for me was my shirt slipping against my skin rather than the shoulder rest or fiddle slipping against my shirt.

picklefish: point taken regarding slippery shirts. I usually wear 60% cotton oxford shirts.  I expect that a higher cotton content would reduce slipping somewhat.

One big contributor to the problem is that my fiddle weighs about a ton. The violin without strings, bridge, tailpiece, or chin rest weighs 510 grams.  This clunker will have to do for now though, and besides, I can bludgeon a burglar with it if need be.

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Oliver
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September 17, 2012 - 12:32 pm
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Problem       Shirt moves around.  Violin wanders. 

Female fix    Wear an open neck gown ( they mostly do!)

Male fix        Only wear shirts that button up to the neck and button that top button.

                   (Even my 16" viola behaves.)  OR ..... wear T shirts that permit skin

                    contact.

           Avoid bow ties.

 

           

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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fishnrodds
northwest minnesota
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September 17, 2012 - 6:53 pm
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my mom uses a rubber mesh type dish sink gripper thing under her dobro and it seems to work real good, its about the size of a sink bottom..

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