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So, just started playing on my Cecilio Left Handed EV and already run into a small problem - my jawline is sore & bruised!! I have been looking at different chin rests and am a bit confused about what I should be looking at for a left handed instrument. I don't have a well defined jaw (am of a certain age and face is slowly heading south!)and a shortish neck, so don't want a rest with too much of a hump. I have also seen a stradpad and like the look of it...
Does anyone have any advice on the sort of set up I could get to make playing more comfortable?
Ta in advance
What are you using at the moment? A sore jawline could be an indication of improper chinrest-violin-shoulderest/pad height (usually less than what it should be) or (usually as a consequence of the first) that you press too hard with your jaw downwards
Unfortunately, it's a matter of personal convenience and yourself feeling comfortable (and that you violin is secure). So you have to experiment...However before investing on a new one, I would try to add some height with cloths etc to get some idea of whether you need something taller or shorter. I would also experiment with shoulder rests, and shoulder pads. It's a whole system over there, we have to find the right combo for each one of us so as not to hurt or press too hard.
I would vote for a cloth-of-your-preference placed on the chinrest any time. Not only it absorbs body fluids that may damage the varnish, but also you can make it as much cushiony as you like, just by folding again and again. Plus you can wash it and replace it easier than special made pads
I saw a guy on you tube with a towel wrapped around his violin! Tried my shoulder rest but even at it's lowest that combined with the chin rest was way too high.
I think I will give the cloth a try as I've only just started out and am a bit reluctant to throw loads of money at it until I'm a lot better and have a better idea of what I need. I also have very narrow shoulders and I know if I let go of the violin it would be the end of it!!
HI, Looby. Welcome to the forum. I have the same problem with chin rests. Still haven't found one that works well for me. I can't seem to use both a chin and shoulder rest. It has to be one or the other. So I use a shoulder rest, but for my chin, I cut a small circle of rubber from one of those shoe inserts and use a rubberband to hold it in place. And honestly, the only reason I use it is to keep my makeup from ruining the finish on my instrument. I find I'm quite comfortable that way. Good luck finding the right setup for you.
Let the bow flow.
Fiddlechick, do you put the rubber rest on the left or right of the tailpiece? And great idea!! I saw that there is also a double thickness of those foot inserts. I tried going chin rest less and loved it but had to put a wood block on the right side so my chin could grab onto it. I was having trouble shifting down without my chin holding onto the violin. Then I also found that I was having trouble getting the g string which I thought was weird. I bought some cheap center chin rests and filed them down so they are very low and feel comfortable.
I have a shortish neck, and as a newbie (I've only been playing for a week, lol) kept thinking that my shoulder rest made the violin way too high... Until I realized I was putting it on wrong, now it feels good, lol. Chin rest is still too high, but I have a new short one to try. I still prefer the feeling of no shoulder rest, though.
I saw in the Fiddlershop a chin rest accessory called the Impressionist which looks like something that could make the chin rest more comfortable.
World's Okayest Fiddler
Hmmmm... I "came into playing fiddle" a year or so back. Initially, I always felt like it was "slipping" and gravity was winning - and I was never comfortable about this (relatively) expensive instrument wanting to head floor-wards ( !!!! ) - so I tended to have a "death-grip" on the neck... And that was even while NOT playing anything.... just standing/walking around... Yup - many of you will know what I mean by that.....
However, there should NEVER be tension in "just holding" the violin in playing position whilst not actually playing.... ( and indeed there should never be tension WHILST playing, and that's another story entirely....)
You should, without playing, be able to hold the violin with a light downward chin pressure and a "relaxed" (not pushing upwards) shoulder, with no hands involved, and walk around the room. Jump about (OK, just a little a bit), sing, dance, no hands on the devil's instrument - YOU own it - it does NOT own you ! LOL Seriously - this is good practice... no kidding... get to "feel at home" with this new appendage, it is a part of you...
I know, that sounds a bit "trite" and somewhat silly - and yes - I'm only a year and a bit into this - but it really does "suddenly become easier" - and - well - I analyse a LOT of things - but that is one of them that I just don't fully understand yet - although - for me - it has started to become "automatic" - I have 3 violins - the EV is the "worst" for holding on to because it is so much slimmer-bodied than my other two acoustics - and I use a Kun shoulder-rest on that one. Although I love playing my EV, I am NOT comfortable with it at all, but I can deal with it and often reposition-it slightly whilst playing... ( and it tends to slip while I do my "prancing around the room hands-free" while not playing - LOL - I'll maybe video that - should be a laugh !!! )
I have the same shoulder rest on my FiddlerMan Concert - and it is 100% fine - fits like a glove ( thicker body on the acoustic ). I can wander around, "hands-off" with a very slight "nod" to the left to get my chin down ( it is often NOT in contact with the chin rest whilst playing - depends what I'm doing is what I have found - doesn't need to be "clamped down" on the chin-rest ALL the time... like the "death-grip on the neck" - it's not necessary once you have the confidence that nothing bad is gonna happen)
My third fiddle is an "old Chinese" fiddle ( LOL "old" - I mean like 1960's or a bit later before they started shipping REALLY good instruments from the modern workshops ) - anyway - that one has no shoulder-rest - and - you know - I can live without it... OK - it takes a bit more care than the FM Concert with the rest - but still, I feel "fairly happy" about it...
I know this is not helpful really - I was just trying to describe my own experience with, and without shoulder-rests on the three violins I use...
I "know" I need "something" on the slim-body EV. But I can also feel that I could get-away WITHOUT the shoulder rest on the FM Concert ( I may still want something like a cloth etc just to give more grip - depends if I am wearing my cotton jacket whilst playing, or my fine silk-shirt ( VERY slippy ! LOL ) ... hehehe - anyways - not much help, I know....
I was just sharing what I've found as a beginner and what these issues "feel and mean" to me a year or so on - quite different from my initial days - honestly - it is quite different.... I have no "death grip on the neck", and no "gotta keep that chin/neck/fiddle interface" completely "locked solid" kinda thing... I am so MUCH more relaxed about it these days...
SO that's just where *I* came from, to where I feel now about the overall "grip and feel" of holding/playing fiddle.
My chin-rest(s) has/have never really come into the equation - all three are different, and I'm *almost* unaware of them ( the one on my EV has a "bump" on it which makes me want to swivel it outwards ( further forward ) when I need extra "chin-down" but most of the time, I'm unaware of it.... LOL ... whatever...
Oh heck - just ignore me... just trying to describe how the feeling has changed over time, as I slowly become more and more at home with the instrument...
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
@MrYikes and @Looby
Mine isn't an electric, but I put the rubber pad to the left of the tailpiece. My chin just rests comfortably on that spot. No squeezing or clamping down needed. I like the rubber because it tends to grab and not slip across my violin. Whenever I try to use a chin rest, I literally have to point my chin upwards just to get it on there. I just don't have enough clearance between my shoulder and chin, even with the lowest setting on both rests. So I ditched the chin rest and use the rubber pad.
Let the bow flow.
So you don't have a chin rest at all? Because mine is an electric violin, it isn't solid so I have wrapped a long strip of fleece around the chin rest which is a little more comfortable. I also definitely cannot use both at the same time - short neck problems!!
Then you shouldn't. Many people don't use shoulder rests. However, what about wrapping this fleece around the chin rest and the part of the istrument that contacts your shoulder as well? Or install some pad with an elastic band?
getting a proper setup is not only going to make things feel softer, it's going to make you feel less stressed (which is vital for a string instrument) and more secure
After all, @BillyG is right, you should get used to moving along with your violin in place, and feel that this is natural. It indeed takes some time, but then all of a sudden you've got it forever and ever.
I have switched from the default Guarneri chin rest to this Wittner side-mounted chin rest. It feels better for my squarish face.
Here's the video of me using my old chin rest: https://fiddlerman.com/forum/critique-corner/its-been-a-year/
I saw that Wittner also offers centre-mounted chin rest. So rare to see players using this e.g. Joshua Bell. I wonder if anyone is using it and how it may benefit?
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