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Soft shoulder rest
Something to make your fiddle even snugglier
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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April 8, 2020 - 2:48 pm
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I needed a shoulder rest, and I didn't have time to test-run the usual suspects in a fiddle shop so I decided to make one. My teacher strongly suggested I use a shoulder rest, and so I looked at the commercial designs and saw nothing I liked from either a technical or comfort point of view. This may sound a little arrogant coming from an ungraded student with just a few months with a bow-in-hand, but it's all part of the self-reliant me.

I wanted to make a rest which didn't raise the violin very much, as I was happy playing without one. I also wanted safety and comfort for both me and my fiddle, so I designed a soft shoulder rest. It is essentially an old Royal Navy issue heavy black sock with a polyester wadding filler, attached to the violin with a piece of stout round elastic salvaged from an old windcheater.

I cut the foot section from the sock, and discarded the calf section. I could have made a second rest from the scrap part. I cut the polyester wadding to shape and made slits halfway through to guide the elastic. The elastic was looped through the assembly in a narrow triangle, arranged to loop around the chin-rest and the opposite middle bout corner (see photos). Stout thread was used through the sock and stuffing to secure the elastic within.

In use, the rest is very comfortable, and held securely without threat to the integrity of the violin. As can be seen, it can be stored in my case on top of the lower bout; oddly, it won't fit the case when mounted as in use. The shoulder rest now affords a little extra protection for the fiddle in the case. Your own violin / case combination may not allow this convenience.

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Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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Irv
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April 8, 2020 - 3:06 pm
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Well, @Peter and others, I used a similar commercial product for a year before I discovered the Wittner isny shoulder rest.  I provided a few photos for potential reverse engineering opportunities.E374CBE6-7C67-431E-AF8A-1C0138287598.jpegImage EnlargerD6C8C8BD-501E-4EE6-B0A3-D575A1C5B2B3.jpegImage EnlargerD4BBF4B8-3D8C-48A0-A1D1-D035109A450C.jpegImage Enlarger

Man has no special rights because he belongs to a particular race.  The soul emanates equal and eternal from bodies different in shape and color.  It is sufficient to say ‘Man’ to comprehend therein all rights.                                                    — Jose Marti 

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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April 8, 2020 - 3:49 pm
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How is the chin-rest part held to the violin body? A little thought-experiment has that fiddle being ungrippable by my jaw; I may be overthinking this, as I've just noticed the witness of a centre-held, conventional chinrest under it.

Still, it's neatly made and hopefully comes in other colours (I have a similar dislike of tan shoes).

Is it comfortable to use?

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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Irv
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April 8, 2020 - 5:43 pm
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A pocket is formed from an upper and lower piece of leather which shrouds the chin rest.  An attached piece spans the rib area.  A stuffed leather cushion has two stout rubber bands which attach to the projections on the lower bout (the same attachment point used in your creation).  

The salient feature of this device is the ease of installation.  I have no clue why it is not made in fractional sizes for young students.  

Man has no special rights because he belongs to a particular race.  The soul emanates equal and eternal from bodies different in shape and color.  It is sufficient to say ‘Man’ to comprehend therein all rights.                                                    — Jose Marti 

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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April 10, 2020 - 3:06 pm
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Two soft options for shoulder rests (there may be others out there).

I have a conceptual dislike of the hard-frame rests, and I wonder what the history of the shoulder rest would reveal. Surely, if Stradivari et cie saw the shoulder rest as a thing, the design of the violin would be more accommodating of them?

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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Irv
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April 10, 2020 - 3:23 pm
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@Peter .  I think the time line would mainly show folded towels until about 1940.  I like the stability and adjustability of the Wittner Isny.  They are marketed to be used with a Wittner chin rest, but if you have access to machine tools there are work arounds for that (less so for the viola).  They are also expensive if you partake more than one instrument.  Customer service at Wittner is top knotch (I generally speak with the owner’s daughter) and they have provided me with free mounting plates every time I ask them for one.  

Man has no special rights because he belongs to a particular race.  The soul emanates equal and eternal from bodies different in shape and color.  It is sufficient to say ‘Man’ to comprehend therein all rights.                                                    — Jose Marti 

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

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Peter
West Sussex, England UK
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April 10, 2020 - 3:45 pm
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I like the idea of folded towels, it has simplicity and individuality.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

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