I have been playing for almost 15 years now and have recently been going through options for a comfortable shoulder rest. After trying out a few different types, I have switched to using a cloth. Elk hide to be exact, living in Alaska, this was easy to acquire. It perfect, soft and yet grips the violin.
I have noticed many changes since the switch, which has been very recent. The biggest difference is that my violin is more clear and resonates more beautifully. It is like I swapped it out for a better one. Also my posture has gotten better, and it has become more comfortable to hold.
On the flip side though, my whole left hand is getting some minor retraining with shifting. Playing without a shoulder rest is more of a balancing act between the hand and shoulder as I play, thus making the shifting different.
With the shoulder rest, my left arm is essentially free and I can move around the board with greater ease.
I am going to give the elk hide a few months of trial before making my decision on what I want to stick with.
Which do you use and why? Lets hear your thoughts.
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