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Shoulder rests and cushions
Topic Rating: 1 Topic Rating: 1 Topic Rating: 1 Topic Rating: 1 Topic Rating: 1 Topic Rating: 1 (1 votes) 
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Andrew Fryer
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September 16, 2018 - 3:03 am
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When I first got my fiddle, I bought a cheap shoulder rest, which I found very useful at the time, but now I prefer just the naked violin. But I see that Pierre has a little cushion underneath held on with a rubber band. Is that like a shoulder rest but subtler, or does it have a slightly different function? Should I try it? Are there hidden (e.g. long-term physiotherapeutic) advantages, or is it purely personal taste and temporary comfort? And does fiddlershop sell the cushions? (Back in the day you could buy pincushions like that, but no-one sews any more, lol! My mother still has one, but it's about 60 years old)

Are the rubber bands safe on a violin's varnish? (I ask that, as they are not safe on silver woodwind keys - the sulphur in the rubber reacts with the silver to create silver sulphide or something, and guitarists are wary of rubberised guitar stands)

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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Ripton
Vermont, Massachusetts or somewhere in between
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September 16, 2018 - 8:28 am
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I just bought the small round pad that adheres with micro suction cups .Will be trying out later today. Will let you know. (I had same concern about elastic band, plus they have very short lifespan). 

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Andrew Fryer
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September 16, 2018 - 9:19 am
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I forgot to ask if friction was one of the reasons for using one (stop the fiddle sliding off your shoulder - sometimes I don't apply enough cheek pressure when I'm shifting down positions, lol)

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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damfino
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September 16, 2018 - 2:11 pm
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I believe the sponge Pierre uses is just to keep the fiddle from sliding, since some shirt fabrics can be quite slippery against the violin. It would prevent you from applying too much pressure (help avoid injury), but not raise up the fiddle like a shoulder rest would. 

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AndrewH
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September 16, 2018 - 4:18 pm
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Friction is one reason. Many of those who play without a shoulder rest use a cosmetic sponge to provide friction; others put some kind of pad on their shoulder. A violinist in one of my orchestras plays without a shoulder rest and drapes a piece of shelf liner over her shoulder to keep her violin from slipping.

I need a shoulder rest myself because of sloped shoulders and small hands, but I've found some use for cosmetic pads as well. I use a Mach One wooden shoulder rest, which is designed for resonance and minimum weight. It has a thin leather pad which is enough to cushion my viola, but doesn't provide much friction. I now use rubber bands to attach cosmetic sponges to the shoulder rest, not as much for padding as to provide friction.

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Andrew Fryer
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September 16, 2018 - 4:27 pm
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You can get thin rubber anti-slip mat underlay - maybe that's the best option.

Unless it's bad for the varnish.

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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AndrewH
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September 17, 2018 - 3:46 am
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Andrew said
You can get thin rubber anti-slip mat underlay - maybe that's the best option.

Unless it's bad for the varnish.  

That's basically the same thing as the shelf liner that I was referring to. Make sure you get a non-adhesive one. The violinist I mentioned has a rectangular piece of it, about 30cm x 15 cm, that she drapes over her shoulder and collarbone before playing. She's done that for 17 years as a professional violinist. (She's principal 2nd violin in my semi-pro orchestra.) I believe this may be the product she uses: https://www.amazon.com/Duck-Select-Drawer-12-Inch-20-Feet/dp/B002AS9NB2/

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Andrew Fryer
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September 17, 2018 - 3:54 am
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AndrewH said

Andrew said
You can get thin rubber anti-slip mat underlay - maybe that's the best option.

Unless it's bad for the varnish.  

That's basically the same thing as the shelf liner that I was referring to. Make sure you get a non-adhesive one. The violinist I mentioned has a rectangular piece of it, about 30cm x 15 cm, that she drapes over her shoulder and collarbone before playing. She's done that for 17 years as a professional violinist. (She's principal 2nd violin in my semi-pro orchestra.) I believe this may be the product she uses: https://www.amazon.com/Duck-Select-Drawer-12-Inch-20-Feet/dp/B002AS9NB2/  

Just posting this to say thanks for the very useful reply. I've only just noticed it. I find this forum very difficult to use - the hosting is in a style I've never seen before and I don't know where to look for anything.

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 24, 2018 - 2:38 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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damfino said
I believe the sponge Pierre uses is just to keep the fiddle from sliding, since some shirt fabrics can be quite slippery against the violin. It would prevent you from applying too much pressure (help avoid injury), but not raise up the fiddle like a shoulder rest would.   

Mandy is 100% correct.

Lately, I don't even bother with the rubber padding but the key is to be relaxed. If you have a long neck you need to fill the void. I don't think that rubber bands do much damage but perhaps they affect the varnish a bit. Depends on the type and quality of the varnish.

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Mimi Aysha
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September 25, 2018 - 1:14 am
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I kinda thought about looking for a padded something for my chin, not the shoulder, part, because I think I grip it to death. Although I've had no shoulder pain, I've found that if I'm concentrating intensely I start grinding/clenching my teeth - is that normal? ugh - I thought about chewing gum...but I thought I saw somewhere a padded thing that goes on the chin part? Maybe that would help...

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AndrewH
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September 25, 2018 - 2:13 am
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I think there's a product called the Strad Pad that goes over a chinrest.

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
September 25, 2018 - 2:22 am
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Hia @Mimi Aysha - is this the type of thing you were thinking about for the chin-rest ?

https://fiddlershop.com/products/the-impressionist-chinrest-comforter

In relation to the entire thread - I guess everyone is different - not just physically different, but also simply a quest for "comfort".   As for shoulder rests - tried a few with varying heights and positions - and although I finally found a reasonably stable setup, I was never overly happy with any of them, and now play without a shoulder rest.  [ Yes, it can slip - particularly on a silk shirt, but then I just sling a woven bar-mat over my shoulder, which gives just enough friction to steady  the instrument.]

And as for chin rests - I have ended up using a center mounted over-the-tailpiece style on one of my fiddles, and I'm now planning to change all the other ones over.

It really can take quite a while to find what is most comfortable for you

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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damfino
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September 25, 2018 - 10:09 am
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@Mimi Aysha I started using a StradPad recently, and I like it so far. I also have trouble with clenching my teeth when I'm concentrating on something I'm learning, and I didn't want that tension to carry out into my shoulders and jaw. I also was just looking for anything that might help relax my elbow to my wrist/hand, and with the fiddle, that always starts at the shoulder and chin rest. So far I'm really happy with it. I had to put my shoulder rest at its lowest possible setting to use it, and put it on a lower style chin rest (not sure what kind, it came with my little old fiddle, I think). There is one kind that has elastic and wraps over the chin rest, but I just got the kind that goes on with velcro.

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Andrew Fryer
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September 25, 2018 - 10:13 am
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Is it possible that a sheet of chamois (assuming you are not vegan) could not only go between your shoulder and the fiddle, but also provide a barrier between jaw and chinrest that is sufficiently comfortable?

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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Mimi Aysha
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September 25, 2018 - 12:11 pm
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I thought it might just be me...my facial expressions are kinda funky when playing, frowning and clenching....wow, not my best look!

OMG - thanks Billy - thats it!!! I thought I had dreamed it....I'm getting one for sure on my trip to FS (although might not be able to wait that long!)

I actually had to run to my dentist a couple weeks ago as I had a little bonding chip off, (I had a chip repaired in one of my front teeth since I was a kid, fell off my bike or something, I can't even remember) he asked how, and I told him about the violin, he laughed so hard and made me a night guard mouthpiece for when I am playing, and told me to use at night if I wanted! He thought it was hilarious. 

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