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My journey on playing more freely
Setup, hardware, etc.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (3 votes) 
January 26, 2022 - 1:42 pm
Member Since: July 15, 2017
Forum Posts: 30
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I have slowly been practicing without a shoulder rest, here and there, until I found myself barely using my shoulder rest.  I do put it on for lessons because I'm not ready to "put myself out there" without out, but I will soon do so.  I like the feeling of freedom, of connection to the instrument.  I had to develop a new vibrato but shifting oddly enough was pretty fluid from the start.  

The Holstein comfort chinrest was a huge help in comfort.  I can't let go of the instrument without it drooping but that's not a problem.  At the same time I've worked on a bow hold with the thumb more toward the tip, rather than nestled in the frog.  The result is that I feel much more connected to everything, and I "feel" the give of the string as I bow.  I know it's psychological, but how much more of music is the same?  

I believe that everyone is built differently and I am not advocating for restless playing as the only way.  I will likely swap between the two, because now when I have the SR on I am supporting the violin with the left hand 99% of the time anyway.  

The odd side benefit is that I had a Guarneri chinrest, which has the side cup but is center mounted.  Going to the side mounted Holstein chinrest really opened up my instrument's sound.

January 27, 2022 - 4:53 am
Member Since: August 12, 2021
Forum Posts: 49
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I loved my everest when I first got it but then found I was ending up with pain. I have had a tmj problem for years and years and it felt like it was forcing my jaw upwards. I started playing with a thin sponge instead for a bit of grip and I enjoy playing that way. 

November 12, 2022 - 9:27 am
Member Since: October 4, 2021
Forum Posts: 52
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I too enjoy the freedom of playing without a shoulder rest. I find the shoulder rest to be clunky and restricting. And also have found that the Holstein comfort chinrest works well.

I do notice that the chinrest bracket digs into my collarbone after a while (I don’t have much padding myself, haha). I’m looking for some sort of small pad to put on the bottom of my fiddle that will make everything more comfortable. Static cling would be best as I don’t want the hassle of rubber bands and I certainly do not want to risk the finish of my 100-year old fiddle with any sort of adhesive. I haven’t found the ideal solution yet, but someday I’ll find something that works!

November 12, 2022 - 10:22 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 4506
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@Strabo Have you tried using a soft thick microfiber cloth? I have some microfiber washcloths that are soft and cushy. In looking at them, it seems that that might work for your cushioning. You could use them single layer, or fold as many times as needed. And, easily washed.


The Bumblebee Flies!

November 12, 2022 - 11:32 am
Member Since: October 4, 2021
Forum Posts: 52
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Good idea, Mouse. I have tried similar fabrics and they do make a nice cushion between fiddle and collarbone. I not fond of adding extra pieces of gear, but your idea may well be the most practical solution. I’ll look around and see if I can find something that doesn’t look like I stole it from my Grandma’s kitchen!


November 12, 2022 - 3:47 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 6206
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I've been shoulder-restless since the beginning of July with Edgar (viola). I just took out Mortimer (violin) last week - 1st time since Feb/Mar & I couldn't find a reason to use a shoulder rest.

I get pinched & sore collar bone - so I usually need to wear a shirt with some kind of collar. 


Helpful tips here if anyone else wants to try going 'restless', even vibrato & shifting without one - Take a Plunge Into the Baroque World - Where Chinrests & Shoulder Rests DON'T EXIST! Thread

- Emily

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