I've been going back and forth on SR use for the past year.
I had normally played without one, as everytime I did use one it gave me a terrific pain in the neck.
But, I did enjoy the added stability of the violin and a additional left finger freedom. So, what to do?
I perused my copy of Simon Fischer's "The Violin Lesson" (I'm assuming you own a copy of this fabulous book don't you? If not, go get a copy, it's fantastic), and he has a section on proper fitting of the violin to your body. Of special note was a comment about having the SR as far from the shoulder as possible, so that it didn't lock up the shoulder and thus still allowed freedom of movement.
OK, that was worth a shot.
Previously I had pretty much just strapped the SR to the middle of my lower bout and called it good.
I'm 6'2", and my shoulders slope down, so my previous setup had my violin still too low, and forced my neck to bend down thus causing pain. I had already also added some height to my chinrest (proper chinrest height is also key in all of this).
So, I tried Mr Fischer's advice and moved the SR inboard, closer to my neck, and lower on the bout.
I then had to fuss about with dialing the SR height up or down a few turns to get the height and tilt juuuust right.
Hot diggity! Much more secure hold for the violin. No clamping needed from my neck, much better.
So, if you've tried a shoulder rest, and didn't like it, well that's all well and good. But did you really try and get it setup and dialed in just the way it should be? Go ahead and give it another shot.
Move the SR closer to your neck, further from your shoulder.
Adjust the height to avoid bring too low or too high.
Adjust the tilt of the violin to your preference (This affects the height adjustment as well...)
And give it a try
Then be sure to come post some vitriol and bombast here in yet another shoulder rest thread!
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