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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.
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
Yes 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.
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.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
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.
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
Avoid bow ties.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
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