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Shoulder rest effect on tone?


polkat
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Do you think this is related to the motorics involved in the playing or the vibration modes of the violin or both?

 

Maybe the future violins will look like pro arch bows with counterweights on long rods. And to deal with the weight, it may be suspended in a personal TV camera mount?

I was thinking of the value being in it mechanically resisting rotation. I reckon mode changes would be an inevitable artifact though.

 

The outrigger weight sounds like fun. :)

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I think this is conceptually similar to the chinrest mass effect on the violin B1- mode, although it isn't quite this simple.

 

I have found a marked difference when I compared chinrests that clamped to onside of the tailpiece and those that clamped across the lower block, with not much difference in weight of the chinrests (subjective weight, not measured on scales).

 

The side-clamped ones did best for sound across a range of instruments.

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I was thinking of the value being in it mechanically resisting rotation. I reckon mode changes would be an inevitable artifact though.

 

As far as I know, all parts of the violin move in one mode or another to some degree.  So adding mass to prevent rigid-body rotation will have other effects on the frequency and amplitude of some other modes.  It's all a very involved balancing act, which I think has been fairly well worked out over the last few centuries.  However, it would still be nice to know what all the effects of any diddling might be, to fine-tune things.

 

The side-clamped ones did best for sound across a range of instruments.

 

I have generally found this to be true too.  Often the Guarneri-style chinrests I have found to have stronger resonances (not a good thing), due to the diving-board type design, and also more sensitive to clamping pad materials and clamping force, for the same reason.

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 Often the Guarneri-style chinrests I have found to have stronger resonances (not a good thing), due to the diving-board type design, and also more sensitive to clamping pad materials and clamping force, for the same reason.

 

I would also add that the fit of the clamping mechanisms can be very poor without adjustment of the 'off the shelf' generic flat surfaces that come in difference 'widths'.  

 

This is especially obvious when there is a significant dip from the edge into the main arch.  A common reaction is to clamp the chinrest very firmly to improve the contact.  I have found this to be a big mistake vis a vis tonal output and quality.  

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  • 1 year later...

Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I had a shoulder rest experience a few nights ago. 

I am an adult beginner and I find playing without a shoulder rest much more comfortable (I dislike the stiffness in position I seem to adopt when using one.) At the same time, I acknowledge that the extra support obviously makes playing easier. So, I tried to put my shoulder rest back on this week and I could not stand the tone of my violin. I play an regular early 20th century Markneukirchen that projects quite a lot and has a high content of high-frequencies (which is why I tend to gravitate toward warmer strings.) Using the shoulder rest made all these high-frequencies pop out again, as if I had switch to steel strings. :mellow: I assume that the contact of the back with my collarbone dampens them. 

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10 hours ago, RueDeRome96 said:

Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I had a shoulder rest experience a few nights ago. 

I am an adult beginner and I find playing without a shoulder rest much more comfortable (I dislike the stiffness in position I seem to adopt when using one.) At the same time, I acknowledge that the extra support obviously makes playing easier. So, I tried to put my shoulder rest back on this week and I could not stand the tone of my violin. I play an regular early 20th century Markneukirchen that projects quite a lot and has a high content of high-frequencies (which is why I tend to gravitate toward warmer strings.) Using the shoulder rest made all these high-frequencies pop out again, as if I had switch to steel strings. :mellow: I assume that the contact of the back with my collarbone dampens them. 

See if you can borrow a shoulder rest from someone to try different types and perhaps try some different positions of the shoulder rest. It is possible to have placement that causes you a problem, although it's not common. Usually players just kind of slip it on anywhere and it doesn't stand out as being any different tonally. In particular I'd suggest setting it so the feet are not perpendicular to the centerline of the instrument and see if that makes any difference for you. Also try the shoulder rest in general a bit closer to the end block. You could also try tucking a foam pad under the shoulder rest so it makes contact with the back. Perhaps you could also try holding it differently, clamp down with your jaw less, don't put the shoulder rest on too tight. These things won't necessarily have a big impact, but it should be pretty easy to play around and see what you notice.

In general I'd be more inclined to think that the tonal effect that you're describing is the result of a stiffening of the structure rather than damping effectively taking a way a sound that could be described as the difference between steel strings and synthetic. The vibrations that effect high frequencies don't seem to travel around to the back all that much, but a stiffening of the structure can bring them out as they radiate from the top and bridge. I would expect a stiffer rib structure and/or top to effect these frequencies the most, and only one of those two would be directly effected by the shoulder rest.

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