From Catherine Johnson
Posted March 25, 2007 at 07:49 PM
Over the last few months I have developed a shoulder pain that may be due to bringing the shoulder around to support the instrument. Maybe I need some kind of harness to keep the shoulder back. None of the various shoulder rests that I've tried seems to help this problem.
Have you tried a higher chinrest? I used shoulder rest for years and tried a number of shoulder rests but none seem to work for me. Kun is probably as low as one can get without going for something like playonair, which muffles the sound and shoots off easily. Recently I tried a higher central mounted chinrest instead and I adjusted the angle of the violin a bit. Immediately I could play shoulder rest free. The best part of this switch is that I don’t clench my jaw down as I used to do. This morning after reading another thread regarding chinrest and its effect on the sound, I took off the chin rest and played for 15 minutes without much difficulty. Although I did put the chinrest back on as I didn’t care for the direct contact of my chin with the tail piece, the fact I can play fine without neither shoulder rest nor chinrest is very telling: how deep the problem of my dependence on using the shoulder rest was! I believe now that the shoulder rest gave me the illusion that my violin is secure under my chin because I’ve got both chin and shoulder rests. This illusion in turn makes me to clench my chin each time the violin moves. Without the shoulder rest, I was instead forced to pay close attention to the balance of the violin: its relation to my shoulder, the position of my chin, the way my left arm holds, and how I stand or sit when I play, etc.
We shouldn't underestimate the importance of the shoulder rest issue and maybe this is why the topic is coming up again and again. You’ve probably seen them all, but I find following sites have helped me a great deal when I was struggling with this issue:
That's interesting. I'm sure you've got good reason believing so but just wondering how could a high chin rest cause the shoulder problem?
have you tried the Mach One? I find that it gets low enough to make me feel comfortable, and the 'slant' or 'curve' of the shoulder rest is more horizontal than vertical so you never feel like there's something digging into your shoulder. it also allows you to move the violin freely, i find.
I'm using that with a guaneri chin rest and it's working quite well. just change the feet if you can- the kun feet fit perfectly on the mach one shoulder rest.
I too have a fairly short neck, but slightly slopping shoulder which forces me to use a rest (if not, I have to lift the shoulder at times - not the best).
I searched for years. At this point, I use a chinrest that I ordered from Charles Beare's shop in London called the Low Flesch (or low TEKA as it is called in North Am). With that, I have a KUN Bravo set to the lowest setting, with the feet in the most left side position, and as far left along the fiddle as possible. This is the best compromise that I have found for being relaxed and effecient and not doing anything unnatural. Plus, I get to the right playing geometry for my body which is primordial.
I think that in the end, you have to experiment for you. It may take a while, but is worth it. Check out the chinrests available on the Beare's website. Though expensive, many are models from the old Hill's catalog and are of very very very high quality. Expensive, but worth it.
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