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my soulder rest keeps falling off, is there any special way to keep it on?

Also where on the shoulder is the houlder rest actually supposed to lay? because sometimes I cannot play long due to my chin/jaw being so uncomfortable.

I figured that maybe the shoulder rest is in the wrong place. I am not sure.

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A shoulder-rest can be placed anywhere from the shoulder to the chest, depending on your need.

Spend some time experimenting with different settings and positions so that:

1) the bow is naturally perpendicular to the bridge.

2) both shoulders are relaxed.

3) you can hold the instrument with minimum strain on the jaw and left arm.

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The whole point of a shoulder rest is comfort, so if you're uncomfortable, you need to either find a comfortable position for the one you have, get a different one that is comfortable, or discover that you don't need one.

It may be different for you, but I use either a Kun original or a Viva la Musica. I have the wide end positioned just under the G-string side C inner bout, and the narrow end diagonally across the lower part of the violin. I have a rubber band around the rest and twisted and hooked over the E-string side lower corner. The reason for the rubber band is that the rest "wants to be" in a different position -- it would be more stable horizontally across the widest parts of both lower bouts, but that isn't where I like it. Without the rubber band, the rest walks away from the C bout, and then falls off.

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Due to the many anti-shoulder rest posts on this board, I did something crazy last night, I practiced my viola without a shoulder rest - not too bad. The viola position was a bit lower and out to the side, but I liked the feel of the instrumet vibrating against my shoulder. I did not find less control in shifts as I expected, and my shoulder positon only came up a little bit, not significant increase in tension. Not sure if I'll go this route permanently, but I'm going to give it a try.

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Originally posted by todles:

Get rid of the shoulder rest and take lessons from a performing violinist who doesn't use one. Best thing I ever did!! No shoulder rest, no pain, no faliing off, no discomfort, no loss of sound etc.

Hi. I'm 6'3 with broad shoulders and a long neck and arms. I've been playing without a shoulder rest for 2 years now but, while the benefits are apparent, I cannot say that it's been easy. However whenever I try going back now I can't, it feels too constricting. Thus it's really encouraging to hear that it can indeed be done.

However, have you heard of Kato Havas? Whatever you might think of her, I found the item below interesting and rather disconcerting. cheers, john

from www.katahavas.com bulletin board:

Re: Long neck

Posted by Kato Havas on Thursday, 2 December 1999, at 11:23 a.m., in response to Long neck, posted by Rodrigo Vasquez on Wednesday, 3 November 1999, at 10:27 a.m.

Dear Rodrigo In my experience the biggest and most common problem of violinists is the violin hold. In my many years of teaching I have hardly met anyone who does not need a shoulder pad. I am sure that the players on this bulletin board who advocate playing without a shoulder pad are the rare exceptions. Though the drawings in the Stage Fright book don't actually show a shoulder pad, there is certainly one attached underneath. my best wishes KH

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Day 5 update, shoulder restless on my viola. I'm quite sure that I will not go back for solo work, but may use it for orchestra and gigging as it is more stable and a bit less tiring with the rest. But I really like the feel of the instrument integrating with my body without it. I had used one unquestioned for at least 25 years.

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There is no good reason not to use a shoulder rest. I believe that if you have to put your head and neck into any position (even if it's not particularly uncomfortable) that during a half-century of playing will stress your muscles, cartilage, bones, nerves, etc., you should look for a shoulder rest that relieves it.

A violin's mass is only about 550 grams (1.2 pounds weight). So it's not the weight you are protecting yourself against but trying to position the instrument properly for fingering, shifts, and vibrato by your own "body parts."

The right combination of chinrest and shoulder rest can keep the important violinistic parts of your body working better.

The right chin and shoulder rests are extremely personal (individual) choices, and the right one for "you" may actually have to be tailor made.

Although I can recall some shoulder rests in my possession when I was a kid, I had enough short-necked, dictatorial, middle-European teachers that I ended up playing without any shoulder rest into my mid-30s.

Then I began to feel the strain, and, still intimidated by teachers (probably long dead) searched for a higher chinrest (instead of a [forbidden] shoulder rest). That need was satisfied for me by the Stuber-style, as it was produced up until about the 1970s. After a few years of the higher, contoured chinrest, which definitely helped a lot, I started experimenting with shoulder rests.

I still have most of the ones I tried, and if I combine those with the others that I remember (either worn out, given away, or destroyed in disgust) it looks much like all those on any good mail-order catalog page.

How you set up the shoulder rest also makes a big difference. I set mine up to assist in moving the scroll of my violin toward the left, allowing me to open my left hand (wrt the violin neck), without strain and get both a better low-position vibrato and easier access to the highest positions on the lowest strings.

For me, the Wolf Secondo model (their standard model, that does not allow for height adjustment, rather than the "Forte" model, that does) now does that best, with the most comfort, but that's just me. I will say, that I have noticed that a number of others I have seen, use the same shoulder rest for that effect.

I will say, that if I should drop the choulder rest during a performance, I am usually not perticularly nindered by its absence, in fact with the padding built into a tux, I have sometimes not noticed that it was gone.


[This message has been edited by Andrew Victor (edited 08-11-2000).]

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While we're on the subject, can anyone expound on the differences between KUN and Kadenza (which appears to be a KUN wannabe)? I have a Kadenza which fit my Knilling (wow, my alliteration meter just went up a couple of notches) fine. The Lupot copy that I have has bouts that are a fraction of an inch narrower and it is just enough that, even at minimal setting, I cannot get the Kadenza to stay securely on the instrument. I may have to resort to small shards of that kitchen non-slip rubber matting to keep it in place.

[This message has been edited by Tony Wilson (edited 08-11-2000).]

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Funny, I have both a Kun and a Kadenza, and it's the Kun that won't stay on my instrument. I've been thinking of trying a Playonair when I reclaim my viola. I've been trying to analyze the combination of shoulder tension/pain and thumb and wrist tension/pain, and I'm wondering if the Playonair might make better connection to my bad shoulder. With violin, the Kadenza is perfectly comfortable. Update, talked to my luthier yesterday and he thinks all of my suggestions sound good. Not sure when the work is going to start.

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I haven't been playing that long, but I never started out with a shoulder rest, and when I tried one, even on the Yamaha electric I bought, I had to take it off.

However, there is a chin rest that is substantially higher, on the market. I think it's called Viva La Musica or something like that. I'd be quite interested in trying this out.

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