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Jan 13, 2022 - 9:56:28 AM
51 posts since 12/26/2021

Going through heck trying to get the violin to sit more level, it tends to tip to my right so that bowing the E string the bow is close to vertical, which makes it hop like a bunny and I'm jamming the end into my leg. So far I've adjusted my shoulder rest as low on the shoulder and high on the chest as possible. I've shimmed up the chin rest on the left. I've been *#@ing around for a couple of hours. Finally put a pad of Magic Eraser and duct tape (don't leave home without it!) on the right side of the shoulder rest, took out the shims and moved the chinrest as far to the left as possible. If I hold the fiddle more with the point of my chin than the side of my jaw, I'm almost to the point I want to be. At least the bow doesn't skitter on the E string like a wild thing. I'm thinking about putting the chinrest completely to the left of the tailpiece. My instructor used to make me walk around the room with the fiddle under my chin swinging my arms at my side. I ended up with little cartilage like bumps on the bone of my jaw and collarbone that didn't go away for decades. I don't think shoulder rests existed back then.

Any advice, tips, tricks, or actual solutions appreciated.

Oh, that holding the fiddle against my chest or upper arm? I've tried. Not happening.

Jan 13, 2022 - 10:50:42 AM
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855 posts since 3/1/2020

If you’re finding that you’re tilting a lot, check your left shoulder posture. Are you raising the shoulder too much? Make sure the violin sits on the collarbone and jaw, not on the shoulder.

Also, make sure your left elbow is tucked under the violin. If it’s sticking out it might urge the instrument to tilt more. Pulling the elbow in also naturally draws the shoulder into better position.

What part of your jaw sits in the cup of the chinrest? If you’re turning your head and resting closer to the ear, that may contribute; try resting closer to the chin.

It’s hard to be sure of the exact problem without pictures or video, but these are a few things that come to mind.

Jan 13, 2022 - 12:15:11 PM

51 posts since 12/26/2021

I'd say I'm raising my shoulder a little too much. I get a little knot in the muscles that worlk my left shoulder blade. My left arm is tucked under the violin, more so fingering the E string. I did have my head leaning over too far, strightening it up and the pad on the shoulder rest helped. I've got a long neck and don't have the flexibility I had in my mid teens. I have a Kuhn shoulder rest, I'm thinking about trying to match up the screws at the hardware store and replace them with something an inch longer. I looked at tall chin rests, but it feels like I need a taller shoulder rest.

Jan 13, 2022 - 12:53:23 PM

51 posts since 12/26/2021

I'm looking at the Bon Musica shoulder rest. A bit more money, and a lot more hardware than I had in mind, but it seems like it would do the trick. At my age I need an orthopedic violin!

Jan 13, 2022 - 6:59:18 PM

JonD

USA

104 posts since 2/12/2021

Hi Greg,
Stability and comfort under the chin has been THE hardest challenge for me on fiddle, especially with no-one there in person to observe and gently correct. I've a long neck too, and pain eventually results from any awkward placement. You can check previous threads for various tips, but suffice to say that I agree with Rich that, ideally, the collarbone is the place for the fiddle to make contact, not the shoulder. Happy to share more details of my own personal efforts if you like, but in the end you'll just have to try a lot of things before you eventually land on a solution that works for you. -Jon


 

Jan 14, 2022 - 10:34:48 AM

51 posts since 12/26/2021

Can't argue about the collarbone being ideal. When I take the shoulder rest off the fiddle rests on my collarbone and the angle is perfect, just a slight downward tilt on the right. This eliminates 90% of my skittering, hopping, and screeching on the A&E strings. Problem is I'm good for about five minutes and I'm DONE.

I'm going without the shoulder rest until the Bon Musica gets here next week. It's literally the difference between playing music and making noise.

Well, surprise, surprise! Looking at your pictures made me try something. The further back I could get the Kun the better it worked. Problem is it would fall off. I shortened it up all the way and zip tied it in place. Not perfect but close enough for the time being. This wouldn't work on an accoustic, but with the infamous Cecilio "silent" violin I can just loop it around the cut outs.

What make shoulder rest is that you have? Looks like it would work for me as well if the Bon Musica doesn't do what I hope.

Jan 14, 2022 - 10:44:02 AM

Swing

USA

2171 posts since 6/26/2007

I just read a short thing on violinists regarding what they have for instruments, strings, rosin, etc. These are people who play hours a day so everything has to be perfect for them...especially the shoulder rest....they all varied in what they used but one stuck as being closer to the answer for many fiddlers who can't find a way to get comfortable with shoulder rest...this violinist didn't use a shoulder rest and never had... I cannot remember the foam product, but he placed it under his shirt /over the collar bone and the foam had enough grab to not move. That seemed to be a good solution that would be inexpensive and allow low cost experimentation.

Play Happy

Swing

Jan 14, 2022 - 11:55:19 AM

JonD

USA

104 posts since 2/12/2021

[What make shoulder rest is that you have? ]

It’s a Tanbi Music VSR101, available on Amazon… I have it adjusted to its minimum height and mounted ‘backwards’ to basically follow the fiddle’s lower bout, so the fiddle fits under my long neck. My chin rest is also raised a bit and extends to the left side (Amati style) so the fiddle is thrust forward a bit.

I like David/Swing’s suggestion of a foam pad too— I would love to have a link for that article.

Jan 14, 2022 - 12:31:29 PM
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51 posts since 12/26/2021

What a bunch of sissies! Coach says "No pain, no gain!" What coach doesn't tell you is that after the gains are gone the pains remain. Been there, done that, you can keep the T-shirt.

After almost a half century not touching a violin I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be like riding a bicycle, but I never would have guessed holding the damn thing would be such a problem.

Jan 15, 2022 - 9:32:03 AM
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51 posts since 12/26/2021

Got the Bon Musica today, works like a charm! Almost too many ways to adjust it, I spent half an hour bending, twisting, messing around with it. Now back to working on my chops...

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Jan 15, 2022 - 12:06:52 PM

2274 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by crunchie812

Got the Bon Musica today, works like a charm! Almost too many ways to adjust it, I spent half an hour bending, twisting, messing around with it. Now back to working on my chops...


It's a great idea and I wish other makers would incorporate the hook shape. But personally I couldn't stand the metal erector set fabrication of mine. It looked like a prototype, and too many parts to scratch the fiddle accidentally. I assume they're still made that way.

Jan 15, 2022 - 8:49:25 PM

51 posts since 12/26/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood
quote:
Originally posted by crunchie812

Got the Bon Musica today, works like a charm! Almost too many ways to adjust it, I spent half an hour bending, twisting, messing around with it. Now back to working on my chops...


It's a great idea and I wish other makers would incorporate the hook shape. But personally I couldn't stand the metal erector set fabrication of mine. It looked like a prototype, and too many parts to scratch the fiddle accidentally. I assume they're still made that way.


It's definitely not elegant,  and I'm not in love with it.  There's probably several rests that would work for me for considerably less money. But which one?  I went with what I thought would give  the best chance of working out. I still have to cut a screw on the hook side to get it to sit better. I can hold the fiddle securely in a position that doesn't make my shoulder or neck hurt and lets me bow at a decent angle so its a win, but I'll still look for something better. I think a tall chinrest with just a pad on my collarbone mighht work better, but then, how tall a chin rest?

Jan 15, 2022 - 11:08:13 PM

855 posts since 3/1/2020

Have you looked at the Kreddle?

kreddle.com/

I just put one on for a customer. A number of violists have gotten into them in my area lately. The chinrest comes with three posts so you can pick a base height, then there’s quite a wide range of adjustability (5 different axes). I’m intrigued by the ease of adjustment. There’s a shoulder pad attachment available as well.

SAS makes an adjustable chin rest, but I wouldn’t recommend it, as the mounting hardware never seems to actually fit onto any violin properly. Wittner has an adjustable chinrest. I’ve put one or two of them on and thought they were fairly well designed (look at the Augsburg and Zuerich models).
wittner-gmbh.de/kinnhalter_e.html

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 01/15/2022 23:08:40

Jan 16, 2022 - 8:41:44 AM

51 posts since 12/26/2021

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

Have you looked at the Kreddle?

kreddle.com/

I just put one on for a customer. A number of violists have gotten into them in my area lately. The chinrest comes with three posts so you can pick a base height, then there’s quite a wide range of adjustability (5 different axes). I’m intrigued by the ease of adjustment. There’s a shoulder pad attachment available as well.
 

The Kreddle looks like it would be perfect, especially with the collarbone pad, but it doesn't seem widely available and pricing is?

  With my shoulder down and relaxed the angle of the strings and bow is perfect, my neck just doesn't want to do that any more, so I end up raising my shoulder which ruins the angle and hurts like hell in short order, hence the shoulder rest.  

I'm thinking of getting an NS WAV, but I'd have to get Guitar Center in Miami to stock one so I could try it. It has its own configurable chin and shoulder rest, which may work for me. I bought the Cecilio just to see if I could still play at all, I didn't want to plunk down $900 just to find out. After two weeks things are coming together a lot better than I would have hoped, so it makes more sense now. 

 


Jan 16, 2022 - 9:41:58 AM

855 posts since 3/1/2020

You can purchase the rest directly from the site. Click on the shop link, then build your chinrest. It’s listed at $98. For a bit more you can add titanium hardware or the pad. I’m not sure if they even sell wholesale. My customers have brought their chinrests in after buying them online.

Jan 16, 2022 - 10:01:16 AM

JonD

USA

104 posts since 2/12/2021

For what it’s worth I elevated my ‘stock’ Guarneri style chin rest with several layers of cork sheeting stacked on the existing cork padding. (The cork has a self-adhesive side, meant for use under drink coasters.)

Jan 16, 2022 - 12:33:14 PM

2100 posts since 12/11/2008

Why do I have such little trouble with this?

Three fiddles. Two with Kun shoulder rests. One with an Artino. Three different chin rests, all three put on their fiddles in such a way so that they end almost at the point of my chin and then happily travel up my left jaw. The fiddle is tilted about 45 degrees downward from horizontal and is angled maybe 20 degrees from my shoulder. I can not only comfortably see the entire length of the string from the bridge to the nut, I can also see either the music in front of me or the players I'm playing with.

I put the shoulder rest onto the fiddle. I put the fiddle on my shoulder. I fine-tune the shoulder rest's position until everything is perfect.

Jan 16, 2022 - 1:39:34 PM
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JonD

USA

104 posts since 2/12/2021

[Why do I have such little trouble with this?]
Hi Ed, to turn your question around (perhaps unfairly, apologies if so): "why are these guys having such trouble getting a shoulder rest to work"
Not to speak for Greg, but I'm starting out fiddle in my later sixties -- Greg is apparently re-starting after many years' gap. I assume you started younger and kept playing. Older bodies tend not to adapt as well to new demands on them as younger ones. All I can say is at this age my body jolly well lets me know when I'm doing something that puts things out of balance, and thank heavens for ibuprofen! Fortunately the drive to learn fiddle has been stronger than the pain, so I've persevered to the point of discovering the tools and techniques that work for me.... Here's hoping you can do the same Greg! :-)

Jan 16, 2022 - 3:18:17 PM

gapbob

USA

846 posts since 4/20/2008

Might take a look at this, how Kinnon Beaton holds his fiddle (though he is a lefty, the same applies to right handed fiddlers):
youtube.com/watch?v=VfazypdZhpU

Jan 16, 2022 - 5:48:17 PM

2100 posts since 12/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by JonD

[Why do I have such little trouble with this?]
Hi Ed, to turn your question around (perhaps unfairly, apologies if so): "why are these guys having such trouble getting a shoulder rest to work"
Not to speak for Greg, but I'm starting out fiddle in my later sixties -- Greg is apparently re-starting after many years' gap. I assume you started younger and kept playing. Older bodies tend not to adapt as well to new demands on them as younger ones. All I can say is at this age my body jolly well lets me know when I'm doing something that puts things out of balance, and thank heavens for ibuprofen! Fortunately the drive to learn fiddle has been stronger than the pain, so I've persevered to the point of discovering the tools and techniques that work for me.... Here's hoping you can do the same Greg! :-)


I'm not completely sure how old I was when I finally took up the fiddle but I'd guess I was about fifty. I had to deduce this from looking at the dates of the mp3's I made of my lessons with David Bragger, which began maybe six months after I impulsively went to the music store and bought a fiddle.

Jan 16, 2022 - 6:03:56 PM

2100 posts since 12/11/2008

BTW, I only decided to pick up a fiddle and give it a try after I happened upon a Mark O'Connor solo fiddle performance on PBS. Before that I'd been playing acoustic guitar and piano, but O'Connor's fiddling...whether or not he commands any respect in the fiddling game...totally hit me over the head.

Jan 17, 2022 - 8:52:29 AM

3109 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by JonD

Hi Greg,
Stability and comfort under the chin has been THE hardest challenge for me on fiddle, especially with no-one there in person to observe and gently correct. I've a long neck too, and pain eventually results from any awkward placement. You can check previous threads for various tips, but suffice to say that I agree with Rich that, ideally, the collarbone is the place for the fiddle to make contact, not the shoulder. Happy to share more details of my own personal efforts if you like, but in the end you'll just have to try a lot of things before you eventually land on a solution that works for you. -Jon


That's an interesting placement of SR. Seems like the SR would want to annoyingly pop off fairly easily?  There are lots of ways folks seem to set up/use SR, but for different reasons. 

But, I don't see how that would put the actual back of fiddle resting on the collarbone?

Rather seems to put the SR on the collarbone, thus elevating, pushing the fiddle up to the chin? This is a bit different than the back of the fiddle resting and  balancing on the collarbone... and then placing a something under to solve various problems of slippage; cushioning; (can be just a pad or pillow); and/or fill in space helping angles/tilt or elevate scroll. The size of neck, dealt with by appropriate size chin rest.

Jan 17, 2022 - 10:13:19 AM

3109 posts since 9/13/2009

To the OP issue... without seeing it's kind of difficult to evaluate, and make suggestions.

I don't think finding a comfortable setup, should have much to do with age. Nor about forcing, no pain, no gain idea. Some of the comments beginners make, and their elaborate ideas for solutions/fabrication... make me wonder if more about understanding basic concepts, what need to do. IMO shouldn't be that complex.

Something mentioned, might consider is understanding and experimenting the various angles involved, and the range.

  1.  The angle/degree the scroll points left, vs bit more forward facing angle.
  2. The angle/degree the the scroll points down; or violin neck/body is in relation to parallel to floor on that axis.
  3. The angle/degree the bass/treble are, vs parallel to floor. Which is maybe what the title was after as "level"?
  4. Related is where the chin/jaw sits on fiddle, (and how and what chin rest)... that is more over the tail piece vs more toward the right.

All of these can play a role in finding a comfortable way to support the fiddle. Like Ed mentioned... not uncommon that some fiddlers find works better for them involves either pointing a bit more forward; have scroll slightly more pointing down; and/or with slight tilt... or some combination. Often not as one-fixed set of angles, but they can vary, cover a range and angles. Part of this also relates to and involves comfortable way to bow. (and addresses mentioned issue with frog hitting leg while sitting).

Jan 17, 2022 - 1:31:12 PM

12 posts since 5/18/2019

I think the collarbone is a really common place for the fiddle to rest, whether or not we're dropping our chin on the chin rest to lever up the fiddle with a SR or whether it's just sitting there on the collarbone. Most fiddlers have that "fiddle forward" posture where the fiddle gradually rotates around to "where I can see it"... it's a strain on the left arm, but doable for most... Comfort is paramount for this stuff. FInding a comfortable and tall enough SR is so important.
I'd like to alert you to a nice thing that fiddler Duncan Wickel is making, which is a strap that attaches to the fiddle that goes around neck or back. I'm old enough now not to care a bit if it looks weird. I think this could be a good solution for folks who just can't get comfortable holding something with their neck all the time. www.wickelbuckle.com/

Edited by - darolRanger on 01/17/2022 13:32:40

Jan 17, 2022 - 6:51:24 PM

JonD

USA

104 posts since 2/12/2021

Hi Geo, to your question : [But, I don't see how that would put the actual back of fiddle resting on the collarbone?], You can think of the rest, in this configuration, as just a 1" pad that rests on the collarbone and supports the fiddle that way. But it just also happens to be attached to the fiddle. I also have a chinrest on the other side, and the fiddle nestles in the middle, just right for my long neck. Importantly (for me anyway) nothing touches my actual shoulder -- that is a recipe for tension and pain (for me!).

Hey that buckle looks cool especially with the vintage seat belt hardware! Thanks Darrol!

Jan 17, 2022 - 11:41:28 PM

3109 posts since 9/13/2009

@JonD - I pretty much figured that's what you were doing... I've seem lot's of folks use SR in various ways; including to raise the fiddle up.  (though wasn't really designed purpose)

As I pointed out it's different than when others advocate the back of the fiddle resting on the collarbone. Part of the advocating is about fiddle height, reasoning is that it's not optimal to raise the fiddle up to the chin, (esp how affects bow arm). The space, if needed for long necks, should be filled with a higher chin rest.  Not saying if you shouldn't do it how you want, if that's what  works for you, just pointing out those views.

-----

FWIW, way many folks use it; as it doesn't rest on top of shoulder. Hard to describe in simple text forum, but the SR (forward) bottom of rest is a bit more toward breast plate. Filling up void, and somewhat acts as a shifted fulcrum balance point; back still able to rest on collar bone; chin rest just helps catch opposing weight of scroll rather than push down. The shouldn't prevent the shoulder be free and relaxed. Of course, like the no SR folks, this often includes different left hand concept.

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