A Question to Non-SR users

July 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM · Hey guys!

For you non-shoulder rest users out there, I'm curious as to what you use between your violin and your shoulder. I have tried using nothing, a silk cloth advertised as being for violins (http://www.ebay.com/itm/SILK-VIOLIN-CLOTH-Superb-Neck-Protector-Free-Shipping-/251289486472?pt=String_Instrument_Parts_Accessories&hash=item3a82054488) and a run-of-the-mill washcloth, but all have succeeded on "sticking" to the violin varnish, and either leaving imprints or lint on the surface. Are there any materials out there that won't get sticky after a bit of playing?

Also, would any of you ever use an Acousta-grip on a more valuable instrument? They seem safe, but maybe some have horror stories...


Replies (33)

July 15, 2014 at 01:59 PM · Fairly new to non-sr playing but I am conscious of the need to protect the violin (especially if you wear a top with, say a button near the shoulder!!) .

I use chamois - the real stuff not the synthetic (that gets sticky too fast). I cut a sheet 12x12 inch sheet in half and then put one end over the chinrest and secure it there with an elastic band. The other then trails under the instrument. [I react to the CR wood so need to cover it and don't like the stradpad.]

If you feel any slippage it really helps to put a long elastic band from the left CR clamp to the opposite corner on the violin. That really helps grip.

July 15, 2014 at 03:25 PM · As I've advocated before...the red cosmetic sponges work best for me...available from Shar's (never could find them locally...and the ones I could find locally just didn't work)...

July 15, 2014 at 04:16 PM · You can order the red cosmetic sponges from Sally Beauty Supply. They also carry them in their retail stores.

Red cosmetic sponge

July 15, 2014 at 04:19 PM · Next time I plan on heading out to look at cosmetic aids...I will take Smiley with me...

July 15, 2014 at 04:58 PM · So how come Sally hasn't started a 'La Parisian Violon' accoutrements line?

[Smiley: do you do nail colour consults too?]

July 15, 2014 at 05:43 PM · I recently broke my shoulder with the assistance of 3 very strong dogs and underwent a complete, reverse shoulder replacement. Previous to this I did not use a shoulder rest. However, at this point 4 months after the incident, I can play using a Wolff shoulder rest. In a few more months I may be able to go without, but may not. To illustrate my level of playing you can simply go to you tube and put in bruce berg violin.

My point is that if you play better with a shoulder rest, use it. If you want to try without, then try and give it a long enough chance, about 3 months, but please do not be dogmatic about it.

According to several of his students, Joseph Fuchs refingered all his music to eliminate 4th fingers because it stopped working for a while. An operation fixed the problem. He performed into his 90's.

I bet that Itzhak Perlman could be playing with similar artistry if his fingers had been shortened surgically.

July 15, 2014 at 06:14 PM · A wedge. Use search engine here to find my posts.

July 15, 2014 at 06:34 PM · Bruce: "I bet that Itzhak Perlman could be playing with similar artistry if his fingers had been shortened surgically"

Hahaha! er, Ha, er? ???... surely you jest? Nah...

July 15, 2014 at 06:55 PM · Another vote for red cosmetic sponge.

However. I am working with some of the small rubberized sheets that are used as shelf liners in kitchen cabinets.

I fashion the material to act as violin pad AND a cushion to stop the chin rest hardware from gouging my neck!

July 15, 2014 at 07:13 PM · [Darlene - see chamois post above - I find it much more comfortable than the synthetics for long playing.]

July 15, 2014 at 09:09 PM · elise

Sounds good. (I was distracted from the thread by one of our nasty T-storms.)

I thought that chamois would have less grip but I'm anxious to try anything that works. The shelf lining little diamond pattern does get irritating after playing a while.

July 15, 2014 at 09:59 PM · "Next time I plan on heading out to look at cosmetic aids...I will take Smiley with me... "

No need N.A., I'm an Avon representative so I'll come to you.

July 15, 2014 at 10:00 PM · BTW, I think you will like my pink Cadillac. xoxo

July 15, 2014 at 11:07 PM · Wait! Are you the Mary Kay lady??? Er...laddie?

July 15, 2014 at 11:50 PM · On one of my violins I wrap the foot of the CR (the part that contacts the collar bone) with a strip of chamois leather. Whether or not I'm using a SR the violin is still supported by the collar bone, and that permanent chamois wrapping ensures that the contact with the collar bone is always comfortable.

It is relevant to note that some CRs have nickel components, and some people have an allergy to the metal (I don't).

July 16, 2014 at 02:40 AM · one magic pad with a red cosmetic pad on top for a small amount of height and extra stability with a rubber band on one side, and a red cosmetic pad and rubber band on the other.

July 16, 2014 at 04:18 AM · Sometime red sponge pad, sometime skin to skin...........

July 16, 2014 at 08:01 AM · A 100% cotton cloth.

July 16, 2014 at 09:03 AM · Gene - you don't find that slippery? You must be an SR-free master!

Skylar - dontcha love that... I'm with Ann-Sophie too. Just wish I had her gorgeous shoulders :-\

July 16, 2014 at 01:07 PM · I used to buy season tickets to a well known string quartet series and saw performers from all over the world. The hall was original. Somewhat cramped and NO air conditioning.

This caused extreme perspiration (under the lights no less). So, frequently, one or more of the quartet played with a small hand towel stuffed under the chin/neck and I think that sometimes I saw no usual hardware. Just violin(?)

Sometimes I could not identify what it was stuffed under the chin.

I like to think that these quartets had generally better conditions on the tour.

Unfortunately I moved and that same year (in my honor:) they put in AC !

July 17, 2014 at 10:51 PM · To the chamois users- how do you get the odor out of it? I ordered one, and it smells like it just came off the animal

July 18, 2014 at 12:21 AM · Usually a basic white handkerchief folded a couple times. If it is really hot and I think I will sweat I will use a basic white cotton wash rag folded in half.

I also use a product under the violin called acoustifoam, but I place it on the 'wrong' side (not under the chin rest). I don't know why, but it just works for me.

July 18, 2014 at 12:27 AM · PS... I just google searched AcoustaGrip, that is not the same thing as what I use (acoustifoam). I have used it (acoustifoam) for years as do colleagues of mine that perform on very expensive instruments and have never heard anything bad about it from them.

I can't tell you if the AcoustaGrip is good or bad, I have never heard of it before.

July 18, 2014 at 03:00 AM · Ben - I guess mine are pre-washed. Its obviously safe to wash them in soap and water - after all, that's what they use them for!

However, after you need to flatten it out to dry so that it retains shape and thickness. I wonder if there is some sort of treatment to keep it supple...

July 19, 2014 at 12:02 AM · I remember when I started my "restlessness". My mom was rather mad at the fact that she spent $20 on an SR that was not used for no more than 3 months. Granted, when I first started the violin at 7, I was introduced to it WITH an SR. And then movies and old timer legend playing creeps up on me and I started to go SR-less gradually. I actually started with no "grip-support" at all, lasted for a full month before finally stopping by Target to buy those 2 precioussssss red sponges. I wanted to go with Chamois, but at someone above mentioned, I was turned off by the smell. So support didn't come early enough. Thank god that it was summer so I mainly dress in tank top so the shoulder(skin) (and sweat!yikes!) was my grip support before the precioussss red sponges. :D

@elise- the feelings of a vibrating instrument on one's body is absolutely Ah-May-Zing! It's like you can feel its singing( granted, horribly due to my lack of skill;P)

September 29, 2014 at 02:28 AM · I am a beginner, and used a SR for 6 months, but just recently found that the violin no longer causes any collarbone pain. So I got rId of the SR. I use a synthetic chamois folded once. And in addition, I always have a shirt covering my collarbone.

September 29, 2014 at 02:33 AM · I just make sure to have a tall enough chin rest.

Nothing on the bottom, aside from the collar on my shirt.

September 29, 2014 at 08:05 AM · Another vote for chamois leather. You can buy it in an auto shop.

September 29, 2014 at 08:41 AM · I use the shammy also....But I roll it up like a fat sausage and sling over my shoulder under my shirt, and my shirt prevents it from slipping away. Recently I put it into a black sock ( yes, a clean one..! ) because it looks odd, the cream shammy poking out of my shirt. I don't seem to need the grip factor, just the extra height it achieves because I have along neck...

September 29, 2014 at 12:20 PM · Uh, nothing. Well in actuality my shirt.

I actually do use a little piece of cloth but I abandoned because I have no clue where did I last put them.

September 29, 2014 at 03:57 PM · I use a shammy on the car, ot at least I should do ...

But the problem is that everyone wants perfect comfort, and the violin is an instrument where you will never have perfect comfort, because its an instrument that is unatural.

The best we can do is play it where the least discomfort, fatigue, and damage can occur.

A lot of pianists can do 10 hours a day, whereas fiddlers can barely manage four. Most solo violin players with a few exceptions stop playing after about age 65, or at least cut right back.

However, if your fiddle is slipping it's because you are not holding it up with the left hand. Simple.

September 29, 2014 at 06:20 PM · that's really not true Peter. it greatly depends which clothes you are wearing. if you wear a shirt made from a rather slippery fabric, say, you really need that chamois or something equivalent. Milstein even used the knot of his tie to keep the violin from slipping to the right. and he is constantly shifting his violin back to the left, it is very striking when you watch him.

September 29, 2014 at 07:03 PM · from an old thread...

From Raphael Klayman

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Here's a situation where 1 picture would be worth 1,000 words. My little invention, which I've dubbed my "concert shmatta" (Yiddish for "rag"!) is a piece of suede about 15" long and about 10" wide. Used like a hankie, it simultaneously goes over the chinrest and under the back of the violin. But here's the clever part. It's in 3 segments. The middle segment as an open pocket or sleeve, where you can insert just a bit of foam or anything else. I use 1/4" of foam. When you put it over the chin rest and under the back, that middle segment lands comfortably on the collar bone.

I keep it loose, rather than trying to attach it anywhere with a rubber band. The outer segments are intercahgeable. One will always cover the chinrest; one will always goe under the back of the fiddle, while the middle one always rests on the collar bone. That way, if I perspire, I can turn it around and over, giving me actually 4 surfaces to work with and alternate as necessary over the course of a gig.

Also, say in an orchestra gig, where the conductor is giving a long talk to the audience, and I want to put my fiddle on my lap. I put my "concert Shmatta" on my lap, under the fiddle, and it resists slipping off my lap. It's even good for adjusting a hot stand light - so it doubles as a pot holder!

Coming to think of it, you can see me using it in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD3Em3YH7Uo&feature=player_detailpage

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