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Has Anyone Tried a Wittner Isny Shoulder Rest
The Wittner Isny shoulder rest is of a rather high tech design that is positioned by a "windshield wiper" type arm. Rather pricey at $60 US.
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Irv
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January 24, 2018 - 1:01 pm
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Hi all.  I am rather pleased with my present shoulder rest, but I am always interested in high tech solutions to mundain problems.  The Wittner Isny shoulder rest certainly appears to meet that requirement.  It uses a "windshield wiper" positioning mechanism that looks interesting (from photos on the Internet) and attaches to the same barrel connectors that hold the chin rest.  Rather pricey at $60 US.

I would push the "buy it now" button but I am somewhat reluctant to persue an uncertain better given that I have a known good.  Has anyone in the community tried one and, if so, how do you like it?

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Fiddlerman
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January 25, 2018 - 3:23 pm
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I have tried it and it's OK but I am scared of pressing too hard. How many reviews have you read?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Irv
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January 25, 2018 - 5:57 pm
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The only reviews I could find were on Youtube and they were speaking German.  I do partake of that language.

I think that it would find use in solid body electric violins that have difficulty anchoring conventional shoulder rests.  This type of violin would also allow the application of significant force on the barrel connectors without sustaining damage.

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Fiddlerman
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January 26, 2018 - 4:53 pm
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One obviously great thing I can see with this shoulder rest is that you free the whole back side for more vibration.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Charles
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January 27, 2018 - 10:14 am
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I see some issues with it. Going through their blurb piece by piece:

This Wittner ISNY Model 280 3/4-4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest is designed to fit and be used with a Wittner chinrest.

That's great for the people already using a Wittner chinrest. It's an added expense for people who don't, and there's no guarantee for any specific person that Wittner will have a chinrest that works for them.  (They don't have any that will work for me, for example.)

It features

a free-floating design,

I think this means it swivels on the center mounting point. Don't really see any downsides to that.

no muting effects,

It probably has less that standard shoulder rests, but they don't impact the vibration of the top or bottom that much to begin with. Things simply don't vibrate up and down appreciably at the edges of the instrument.  I'll admit that there is some effect, but I'm sceptical that it's very noticeable.

central mounting,

Neutral.

universally adjustable,

Well, no.  I mount my shoulder rest pretty far away from my neck, partly because it would be too high otherwise, mostly because of leverage. If it's right on the end of the instrument like this, it's actually going increase the force down at the neck, instead of relieving some of it. That is going to make anything that requires motion of the left hand (changing positions up or down, long slides, vibrato) more difficult, because there's more pressure on the left hand, which means more friction.

all materials are anti-allergic,

Good

super-light construction,

Good

fits absolutely ergonomically,

Maybe. I'd have to try it, and given the variety of human shapes and preferences, I'd be extremely surprised if everyone found it ergonomic.

and stays always in the same position after being mounted.

Which means you can't get the violin in your case.  If it collapses, you might be able to fit it in there. They don't claim it, so that capability may not exist. And unmounting this looks like a much larger ordeal than unmounting a typical shoulder rest.

Either try it in a store (including putting the violin in the case), or make sure they have a good return policy before trying one.

I always admire out-of-the-box thinking, but it doesn't look to me like this will be a game-changer.  Probably very nice for a few people, ok for somewhat more, and not a good answer for a lot.

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Irv
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January 27, 2018 - 11:02 am
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Well Charles, I tend to agree with everything you said except for putting it in a violin case.  It looks like the "windshield wiper" positioning mechanism on the shoulder rest cam locks to the mounting head.  As long as the mounting head can be accommodated on the violin in the case, you should be good to go.  If the cam mechanism is easily done, this might be a benefit for young players since getting a conventional shoulder rest secure is rather trickey.

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Charles
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January 27, 2018 - 7:36 pm
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I saw something in one of the photographs that looked like it might be a locking arm. If the part that sticks out so far detaches for storage and re-attaches quickly and easily, then I'll retract that part.

I'll stick by my advice to have a way to back out of/ back off from the transaction, though.

Thanks for the info.

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Ferenc Simon
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January 27, 2018 - 7:57 pm
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Watch this @charles 😉 

To me it actually looks like something made exactly for you haha. So you might have to take all of it back 😀 

What I mean is that the adjustments presented in the video.. and the way it looks set up there makes me believe this could be one of the lowest shoulder-rests made.. 

So you might actually be able to get away with using this one at the correct position at the rear of the violin and prevent any accidental raising of the scroll when you press down a bit more with your neck.. If it's comfortable enough you will barely feel any pressure, especially if you finally managed to find a chin-rest that works for you. 

And the only reason I see them saying that it's only compatible with a Wittner shoulder rest is to make sure it has a clamp like that and the screw threads match... but given that most modern chin-rests pretty much use the same clamp.. it should be okay.. in fact you can get the wittner clamp separately and use it on your chinrest. 

Also removing it is easier than a standard SR according to that video.. all you do is flip a switch and the bottom arm comes off and you're left with only a pretty thin plastic plate on the bottom of the violin

Maybe try it if you get the chance, could solve a bunch of your headaches 🙂 

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Irv
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January 27, 2018 - 8:47 pm
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I think that if you have a drill press and a couple of metric drills and taps, you could adapt just about any chin rest you wanted to their system.    

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Irv
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January 27, 2018 - 9:00 pm
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I had to go to my iPad to view the above video.  I must admit I am liking this idea more and more.  

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Irv
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January 28, 2018 - 2:10 pm
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I just purchased a "new" violin so I just ordered a set of ebony Knilling perfection pegs and one of these shoulder rests to give it a try.  A review should be coming in a couple of weeks.

It would be nice if they sold the base separately from the "windshield wiper" adjustment mechanism/shoulder rest so that you could have multiple mounts to switch the shoulder rest between instruments.

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Charles
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January 31, 2018 - 1:08 pm
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Ferenc,

I agree that they addressed a lot of my issues, and one of the bigger ones was having to use it with a Wittner chinrest. Since it appears you can use it with almost any kind, I might give it a try.

I haven't had big problems with a shoulder rest, and the one problem that I have had with it is that I couldn't get it high enough.  My problem was with the kind of chinrest where you have to lay your head to the side to connect with it. I can't do that with a bare violin, so it's flatly impossible to make one "low enough" that I could use it.

At the moment, I'm using a Wave chinrest (the 1.25" height). You use your chin, not your cheek, and you press down on it by turning your head to the left, not tilting it either sideways or front/back.  The way it's designed, with the violin tilted like it would normally be, it's higher the further left you go, so it does a good job of preventing the violin from sliding down my chest, and the bulge in the center does a reasonable job of catching my jaw and preventing the violin from sliding away from me.  I actually took one of the two pieces of foam pipe that I had on my shoulder rest off, and I may take the other one off as well.  I'm also getting the higher one, to see if it will work with no shoulder rest at all. (The violin is a lot easier to move around without a shoulder rest, and I want to be able to change the roll (the tilt along the bass/treble direction) if possible.

 

@Irv, I'll be interested in hearing how it works for you - let us know.

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Irv
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January 31, 2018 - 9:40 pm
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Charles (and others).  From the picture of the item I viewed when I ordered it, It looks like Wittner updated the shoulder rest so that it does not use the conventional barrel fasteners any more.  I don't know how the new one marries into the chin rest now.  I will let you know when mine arrives.  

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Irv
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February 3, 2018 - 11:06 pm
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The Wittner Isny shoulder rest that I ordered came in today.  There are three versions of this shoulder rest, and I obtained version 280 111.  There is a 281 version, which is for the viola and has a thicker pad , and a 282 version, which is intended to be used with a non-Wittner chin rest via conventional "barrel" connectors.

I wanted to try the shoulder rest with a Conrad Gotz chin rest that I had in shelf stock, so I milled in sockets to the ebony so that I could mate it to the proprietary Wittner "L" clamping system.  The "L" clamps that came with the Isny shoulder rest were intended to clamp directly on the violin top and are shorter than customarily used with a chin rest (one is to discard the shoulder rest clamps and use the chin rest clamps).  By reducing the thickness of cork material on the clamp, I was able to obtain about of 1/4" thickness of ebony up from the base of the chin rest, which I think is adequate.  A set of chin rest "L" clamps would be needed given the higher rib of a viola.

The shoulder rest assembled with the Wittner "L" clamps is very secure.  I do not think that I would be as confident with conventional barrel connectors.  The shoulder rest came complete with a phelips screwdriver for the clamping system and an allen driver for the "windshield wiper" adjustment arm.  All components were well made and finished, and were reasonably light.  I do not think that a child would have the finger strength to move the latch lever which secures the base and adjustment arm together, which is a disappointment. 

The almost unlimited adjustment potential for the shoulder rest is going to take me some time to sort out.  But I like the system.  I am trying the shoulder rest on a Cecilio solid body electric violin, which is a difficult violin to secure a conventional shoulder rest.

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Irv
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February 5, 2018 - 8:23 pm
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I have been playing with the adjustment potential of the shoulder rest.  The instructions were not too helpful.  The pad is held on with four (4) ball and socket points that have the appearance (and function) of windshield wiper conforming elements.  If you remove the pad, two (2) latches are exposed to restrict a ball and socket pair.  If both latches are left unsecured, the pad is flat.  If one latch is secured, the pad takes the form of a "J," and if both latches are secured the pad takes the form of a "C."

There is a ball joint under the mounting point and another under the pad.  By loosening an allen bolt, the ball joint can rotate a swing arm to any angle desired and can also raise or lower the distance between the shoulder pad and back of the violin.

The shoulder rest pad and adjustment arm can be removed from the violin mount through a cam locking mechanism.  You can also remove the shoulder rest pad area from the adjustment arm through a second cam locking mechanism (although this is plastic and may be a "one time only" means of the factory to secure the cam).

There is a ratcheting element on the swing arm that may be another adjustment.  I can't see a purpose for it yet.  

I am trying the shoulder rest on an electric violin, so I can't tell if there would be an increase in sound because there is no connection with the back of the violin.  I can definitely feel much more vibration on my chin than from my previous shoulder rest.

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MrYikes
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I read all your posts with interest, but I am set with what I now use so can't add anything to your review. I do thank you for taking your time and experience to bring this info to us.

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Irv
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February 6, 2018 - 10:59 am
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I re-read the instructions and Wittner does explain the purpose of the second cam release (the one under the pad).  It is to further reduce the size of the shoulder rest to fit into the violin case.  No mention on the ability of the pad to be configured.

The instructions also indicated that pads come in 4 mm, 6 mm, and 8 mm thick configurations.  The violin shoulder rest came with the 6 mm thickness and I believe that the viola model (281) comes with the 8 mm thickness.

They mention that further information is available at the following site: http://www.wittner-gmh.de/serv.....tze-e.html.

I did not mention in my original post that the shoulder rest is provided with an attractive clothe carrying bag.

I am going to see if it is possible to purchase (and if so, at what price) the shoulder rest base mount so that you could move the shoulder rest to multiple instruments.

I am beginning to really like this shoulder rest, which could well be a marketing problem for Wittner.  It seems that everything that I like is a commercial failure.  Perhaps I should buy some more while still available.

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Irv
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February 7, 2018 - 11:48 pm
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I took a profile shot of the shoulder rest showing how I mounted a non-Wittner chin rest by milling out two slots.  I also wanted to show how the "windshield wiper" pad suspension system can be positioned to lock in a "J" position.  I used a small clamp to show how it fits on the shoulder for clarity.

isny-profile.jpgImage Enlarger

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Irv
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February 7, 2018 - 11:55 pm
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While I am at it, I took a photo of how far back I am positioning the shoulder rest.  isny-violin-back.jpgImage Enlarger_

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Fiddlerman
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February 8, 2018 - 2:01 pm
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Looks like a nice solution. How does it feel?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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