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I am currently playing an Eastman ful size violin using the ebony chin rest that came with the instrument. Thus far I love the instrument and am very satisfied and am making some nice progress. I am not using a should rest, over the years of playing I never have used one.
Anyway I am practicing jumping from 1st to third position and back to 1st, 1st to second position and back, etc. I am noticing that when i make these jumps, particularly when jumping from higher to lower positions, the violin tends to bobble a bit and messes up the smoothness and fullness of the sound. I sense that this "bobbling (or fumbling)" is due to the fact that the violin is not secured well enough on my chin and shoulder. Yes, I can keep the violin in position with my hands off the instrument but it is still not quite steady and seems rather shaky.
Now here is what I have tried so far. I removed the chin rest and found that I can hold the violin much more securely and steady. However, i prefer using a chin rest so I put the chin rest back but changed its position slightly and that seemed to help a bit. But it is still not as firmly held against the chin and shoulder as I would like it. The other thing I tried was to place a folded towel on my shoulder to act as a kind of shoulder pad/rest. I noticed that this also seemed to help improve the stability of the violin with respect to my shoulder and chin.
So, now I am wondering. Should I try a different chin rest, or just a shoulder rest, or both ? I am thinking of improvising a temporary shoulder rest with a rubber band and a pad or folded cloth to see if the extra shoulder support helps. As far as the chin rest goes, I think the one that came with the violin is too small for me. It feels to me like my chin is sitting uncomfortably on top of the rest and not at all conforming to the shape of the rest rather than fitting comfortably into the rest as it should. Perhaps this chin rest would be better for someone with a narrower or smaller chin. After all we all come in different shapes and sizes and not all chin rests fit everyone equally.
So, just wondering if anyone might have gone through a similar process ? If so, what did you do to resolve it ? Can anyone perhaps recommend a chin rest that is reasonably large or has a better tendency to conform to a wider range of chin sizes ? What about shoulder rests. I see so many different types. Some made of wood, others made of some kind of bendable and adjustable plastic material, and still others that are in the form of inflatable or gel pads. Anyone have any preferences for one type or the other ? Some of the wood shoulder rests look nice but they also seem like they may be uncomfortable if the fit to the shoulder is not good.
I think if I can resolve this issue and get a comfortable fit that provides greater stability it will help my playing considerably, particularly with learning the more advanced techniques such as different finger positions, vibrato, etc.
Otherwise I am happy with the violin and am making good progress. Sorry for such a long draw out posting but I figured the better I can explain the easier it is to get an idea of what is going on as I am not yet set up to make videos.
Hi Crazymotive, I'm sure there are many who would like to share their experiences with chin rests and shoulder rests. But the best thing to do is experiment with different models on yourself, as every person has a different jawline, chin line, neck length, and so forth.
Fiddlerman has a good video regarding Holding the Violin if you have not yet seen it. It is under Tutorials>Beginners>How To Hold the Violin. Also, you can order his chin rest test kit from Fiddlershop.com. (Sorry I am not good at posting links.) Look under Fiddlerman Gear, or it is also under violin chin rests. You can try 7 different models. If you buy one, you only get charged for it plus the shipping for that model. If you don't buy a chin rest, you will be charged 20 dollars for the shipping of the chin rest kit box. I hope I am explaining this correctly, but you can also read the details on Fiddlershop.com.
You can read a thread concerning the kit on the Forum. Go to The Violin>Do You Want to Test 5 different chin rests...(At first FM was going to do 5.)
I recently ordered the chin rest kit, found it well worth my while and ordered a chin rest, though I am still working on getting the right shoulder rest. As I understand it, you first get a comfortable chin rest, and then work on the shoulder rest. I'm sure others will have helpful ideas as well. Good luck, as it is so important to be comfortable.
Very good questions Crazymotive. I just received a chin rest kit today from FM with 7 different models and I am really wondering??? So far I tried 3 of them and not what I like so far. I am trying with a shoulder rest on and off. I am using a Mach One shoulder rest and so far i like that shoulder rest and not using any chin rest but then I wonder how that would effect the sound having my chin right on the violins tail piece. ??? I'm an old school guitar player that doesn't like the idea of tools to pick up your instrument and jam. Just grab it and jam!
I can sure tell you that picking up the violin without a chin rest and shoulder rest doesn't work for me. i'm thinking of not using a shoulder rest and using just a chin rest. I don't know yet?
Unfortunately, Crazymotive, choosing a chin rest and shoulder rest is similar to trying on a pair of shoes and I wish I had an FM kit back when I needed it.
I believe that most players who do NOT use a shoulder rest do have a chin rest they are very happy with. I was able to drop the shoulder rest after I found a good chin rest.
After many years of trials and a small fortune in chin rests, I found the Berber and Teka to be my favorites.
I never liked shoulder rests even after messing with perhaps half dozen and am glad the good chin rests saved me.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
I want to thank everyone who responded for the informative and very helpful suggestion. yes, I tend to agree, the first and foremost should be to focus on the right chin rest. I have experimented with different shoulder support over the last few days and I noticed that chin support and comfort seems to be the larger factor.
So. I will focus on finding the right chin rest for me and worry about the shoulder rest (if any) afterwards. And than;s Fiddlerman. I may try the chin rest trial kit. And the 'strad pad' looks good too. I might order one and give it a try.
I want to thank everyone. This is truly a wonderful site. I only wish the Internet and great sites like this were around back when I was learning as a yougster back in the 1960's.
I found a 5" diameter circular pad that came with turtle wax the best choice for
1. thin shoulder pad that is secured via rubber bands onto the back of the violin
2. the thingy to tape onto a wall to protect the scroll of the violin in those times when you practice with extra support for the left hand to iron out technical difficulties.
If the shoulder pad is not thick enough then use a Wolf Forte Secondo shoulder rest. I believe it is very popular amongst orchestra violinists. Some things to be wary of:
1. Those super thick chinrests that some people advocate are to be avoided like the plague. Yes, you should have a thicker chinrest if needed rather than extending the shoulder rest but not the oddball thicknesses.
2. Watch out with some chinrests like the Berber which are poorly designed that press on the tailpiece.
3. I really hate thick/large foam pads in general.
I use a small pad with rubber bands, which work ok, the main reason I use a small pad is because I have a short fat neck. The other problem I have is that I have a beard and no chinrest so far is comfortable because it is still too high. Like everyone else has said it take a while to get it right.
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