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The other shoulder rest project
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DanielB
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May 6, 2012 - 8:04 pm
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This is more of a crude DIY than the fine woodworking of the shoulder rest project I've seen on the forums.  This is not the way most folks here would (or should) do a shoulder rest, but if anyone wanders in with a similarly odd shaped electric, maybe they'll get some ideas from my little one afternoon project. 

My electric violin did not come with a shoulder rest.  There was one in the pictures on amazon, and a caption saying it was "built in", but it didn't come with it.  Amazon said that it didn't matter if it was in the pics and the caption said it was built in.. It wasn't in the text description further down the page.  I didn't want to return the violin though, and so I took a 10$ gift certificate to make up for it (which went towards strings and fine tuners).

I took my oddly shaped violin to the music shop, and as I kinda expected, none of the standard shoulder rests we tried would fit on it right or hold it securely.  Acoustic violins (and apparently most electrics) have a sort of rim along the back edge of the sides that a shoulder rest can clamp to.  Mine doesn't, so the commercial rests I tried at the shop didn't grab it very well.  So it was either go back to using a big sponge with a rubber band, or make something.

I'd found the sponge to be too soft, flexible and bulky (besides looking crappy to me).  So I started with a piece of scrap wood from one of my projects.  Figuredshoulder1.JPGImage Enlargershoulder2.JPGImage Enlarger out about where it would attach to the violin to be able to hold it at what I think is an ok angle with just a little chin pressure.  To hold it up, I cut up a sort of pool toy made out of fairly stiff closed cell foam from the local dollar store.  After fussing and carving on that until it felt like it fit right, I covered the part that rests on the shoulder and collarbone with some neoprene so it doesn't slip on clothes. Some velcro to attach it to the violin and it works. 

As you can see from the first pic, it was maybe functional, but def not "elegant" (to put it kindly).  But when you have a sow's ear, cover it with silk and tell everyone it is a silk purse.  So part of the sleeve of an old ripped sandwashed silk shirt and some snipping and stitching later, and I think it looks at least sorta ok.  It works.  I can hold the violin with just a little chin pressure and let go of the violin and move my left arm around without problems.  It seems compfortable.  I was a bit worried that velcro wouldn't hold it well enough, but I tried turning it upside down and holding it by just the shoulder rest and giving it a shake and nothing bad happened.  I'll call it at least "good enough until I find or think of something better."

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"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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SaraO
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May 6, 2012 - 8:08 pm
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That's crazy cool! afro

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Joe
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May 6, 2012 - 9:18 pm
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curious

But this is my shoulder rest acquired from my wife's kitchen.IMG_1981.JPGImage Enlarger

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ftufc
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May 6, 2012 - 10:33 pm
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Nice job Daniel; I took a similar approach earlier in my search,,, I carved a contoured shoulder rest from a solid piece of open-cell foam similar to yours & attached it using the typical "violin rubber band".  At first it felt so much better than the others I had bought, but my problem was that, only being attached with a band that hooked on the tailpiece peg, the foam kept inching up from the very bottom which then caused the discomfort again.

But in your case, your violin doesn't have the "ridge" to hold a rubber band in place, so the velcro makes perfect sense.  Nice job of finding a solution that works for you!!!  A comfortable rest makes all the difference in the world!thumbs-up

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DanielB
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May 7, 2012 - 4:40 am
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Thanks SaraO!

Joe: That, as well as the make-up pads FM suggests, were what I used for the past couple weeks.  If my electric had beautiful curves like yours that were developed over the centuries or even had something like that shape so there were some reliable places to attach rubber bands where they wouldn't keep popping loose while playing, then it might have worked better for me.

ftufc: Your shoulder rest project was definitely inspirational, and came out beautiful.  My current solution is good enough for right now, to get me back to focusing more on the playing and less on fighting with the gear.  But I think it is basically the "MK I" step towards an eventual solution that is better.  I'll play with it as it is for a few weeks and see if I either get used to it or if some new design ideas or materials that could work better show up.   There are already some points that I think I'll want to improve on. 

Firstly, the current rest is secure enough, but because the velcro connection has some play to it, it just doesn't feel secure to me.  I may get used to that after playing a while, time will tell.

Secondly, it still seems much more bulky than I think it ideally should be.  I thought about cutting away more of the foam, but didn't want to end up weakening the design before giving it a fair bit of play testing.  The wood block has a piece of dowel that comes down inside the foam to help keep it solid, but it is still easier to be cautious in carving bits away, since they are harder to put back then to cut off.

Seeing all the "shoe" remarks in the thread for your shoulder rest, I thought that was kind of amusing, until my daughter saw one of the pics I took of my project but didn't upload, still on my desktop, and asked "is that a picture of a slipper?"  Yeah, actually it kinda did look like one.

But it got me to thinking.  Probably not an actual ladies' shoe, but something close to a stiletto high-heel shoe in terms of the curve for the foot and the spike heel could maybe actually make a pretty decent shoulder rest.  Round it nicely and finish it with black lacquer to get a "black patent leather" sort of appearance, and it could look pretty darned cool.  LOLslipper.JPGImage Enlarger

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"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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Joe
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May 7, 2012 - 4:54 am
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Yeah, Daniel, I understand your needs and purpose....I think you are a very energetic and inventive person...I just thought this would be a neat place for everyone to post a photo of their shoulder rest....if they use one.

When I held an electric to my shoulder I noticed that it was farely uncomfortable.  I had no idea how I might have responded to the need for padding....good work.

thumbs-up

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DanielB
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May 7, 2012 - 6:29 am
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Thanks, Joe.

  I think you have a great idea with people posting pics of shoulder rests, if they use them.  While many of the folks here may be "old hands", some who wander in are sure to be clueless beginners like myself, looking for information on an instrument they just bought and are trying to learn something about.  There is quite a lot of information about violins and fiddles in the Internet, but I had to look a couple of weeks to find this site, where there is so much useful info and instruction.

"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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Joe
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May 7, 2012 - 7:52 am
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You, Sir, are a gentleman....I read your playing-by-ear story on another thread (By Ear). Few posts have held my attention similarly.  Thank you.

May I ask your age?

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DanielB
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May 7, 2012 - 8:10 am
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I turned 51 this year.  Old enough that I "should know better", but still fool enough to see a new instrument and go "Oh yeah!".  So maybe I'm not "too old" yet. blink

"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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Joe
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May 7, 2012 - 8:21 am
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Im happy to make your aquaintance....Im 54...living in the Philippines, and just learning how to play.  I wish I had a neighbor such as yourself. 

I didnt grow up loving music, not like my friends anyway who spend their last pennies on the latest 8 track tapes and albums.  I tried the guitar but never became proficient.  For some reason Im enjoying the challenges of learning fiddle.  And as you pointed out, there is a great deal to learn here on this site; what a wonderful resource.

I hope to learn more about your life of music.

Too Old.....I saw Charlie daniels play fiddle on some morning show.....I think.  Now thats kind of getting up there....he played that devil fiddle in Georgia song.  Just wasnt the same.

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DanielB
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May 7, 2012 - 8:46 am
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Pleased to meet you as well, Joe. 

Maybe guitar just wasn't your instrument.  It sounds like you're getting a good rapport going with your violin, though.  I usually think that if you are enjoying it, then you must be getting it right!  Proficiency is just a skill, and like any skill it comes as you practice.  But it is fun to practice and play when you are enjoying it.  I like to think that is why we usually say we "play music" rather than "work music".

I live in the US, in a small quiet city in the rural part of New York state.  I wish we were neighbors as well.  We could have great fun playing some tunes and annoying all the other neighbors! 1st-place

"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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Joe
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Well, we were almost neighbors once....I spent some time in buffalo working for a satelite installer.  Summer was ok, but you can have those winters. I thought the neatest thing about buffalo was that Curtis built the Jenny army aircorp training plane near there, and of course, one of our presidents was shot in Buffalo.  Maybe Mckinley. Oh yeah, then there is the beautiful Niagra falls.

I grew up in a near suburb of Chicago.  I abandoned the windy city at 17 and sailed a number of the 7 seas.   

Why I chose to start violin now is anyones guess, but the closer I get to the end, the more I realize that I have so much more to learn.  Music is something I've left mostly unattended throughout my life;  my music education taking a back seat until now to other duties and habits.  Ive always enjoyed the classics, now I want to know how it feels to play them.

 

Enough for now...Im ranting in an open forum...Id like to talk to you using PM if you are agreeable. 

take care....going to bed now.

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springer
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May 7, 2012 - 11:41 am
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Hey Joe Is that sholder pad used?claprofl

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DanielB
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May 7, 2012 - 6:50 pm
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Yeah, Joe.  The winters here are somewhat..memorable?  LOL  I live a ways south of Buffalo, but because of Lake Erie, the weather is about the same.  Still, I'm looking forward to playing when the winter winds howl.  I should be sounding a bit better by then. 

I don't know how to do PM through here, but sure.  Give me a shout sometime when you see me on and you are bored.

So far as getting closer to the end, I think on that sometimes too.  But consider any race you've ever seen.  Almost everyone starts out strong.  But it is the ones who can finish strong that are the memorable ones.  May as well see how many things one can learn and do before we hit the finish line.  Even if no extra points are given for that, it still makes it more fun.

"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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