kréddle CUSHION on Kickstarter

Edited: March 9, 2018, 9:42 AM · Hello fellow violinists. I thought I'd share the new kickstarter I have running right now for a new collarbone rest. I'm calling it the kréddle CUSHION:

Ever since I realized I could no longer use a shoulder rest--I start to hurt within about 15min at this point if I try to use one--I've been exploring other options. The key is to rest the instrument on the collarbone, but the instrument is both hard and slippery.

Long story short, I got a 3D printer and started trying out different ideas zeroing in on some tool that would round out the edge of the instrument, add friction, and do so without being too soft. The culmination of two years of work and somewhere around 80 prototypes is the kréddle CUSHION. Having had a functional prototype for a few months now, I can confidently say it solves around 90% of the difficulty of playing without a shoulder rest. It goes without saying that resting the instrument on the collarbone will always require some modification of left hand technique, but the CUSHION gets you a long ways. Please take a look at the kickstarter and consider helping us get this out in the world! And let me know if you have any questions.

Replies (33)

March 9, 2018, 10:36 AM · Hey Jordan, the original Kreddle chinrest has solved a lot of issues for my taller students with long necks for both violin and viola. I'm really looking forward to this collarbone rest; have been wanting something like this for quite awhile!
March 9, 2018, 11:50 AM · not my cup of tea, but good luck to you!
March 9, 2018, 1:40 PM · What is the price of one of these?
March 9, 2018, 2:00 PM · The OP's Kréddle Cushion reminds me of a black half-moon cushion, about the size of one's palm, and tied to the tailpiece, that was used in times preceding the advent of the shoulder rest (c. 1950), to rest between the violin and the collar bone. The description I've just given is of one that came with the old violin I inherited from my Mother. She would have used it before WW2, but I never have - although I might give a try sometime.

The Cushion is an interesting update, using modern technology, of a centuries old accessory. Hope it all goes well!

March 9, 2018, 5:32 PM · Jeff- It's on kickstarter for $29.

Trevor- That's really interesting; might you have any pictures or a link to a photo online? I've never seen one before.

March 9, 2018, 7:04 PM · I saw that. It's an interesting idea, though not something that I need. I also see that you have a couple of new chin rest cushion options coming up too to replace the original if it doesn't suit you (I like mine very much though), which has been commented by some in the past as an issue. That's very good.
Edited: March 10, 2018, 3:32 AM · Looks good, I could see my daughter using one of those when shes older, now she has a collar which ive made myself to help the violin stay on the collar one. There is a market im sure.

One thing though. I started looking at gradle chinrest and many who play without shoulder rest have violin up highe so that there chin is just in the middle and not on the left side. How does the kreddle adjust to that position?

March 10, 2018, 3:40 AM · I still offer the "orange-slice" pad to my students as a Collar-Bone-Rest-cum-Tilter. But I put the leather bit behind the tailgut for safety, and the pad is place over the fiddle when in its case.

These pads also come slightly onto the shoulder, but don't tell anyone!

I used one after my "restless" period, but the rigours of 3-hour rehearsals and desk sharing required a "real" SR in my case (broad but sloping shoulders, stubby fingers and a viola..) And I find contact with the collarbone very uncomfortable.

March 10, 2018, 4:50 AM · Maria, it adjusts to just any position you prefer. Also (almost) right above the tailpiece.
March 10, 2018, 9:14 AM · I fail to see how a device requiring direct collarbone contact will work in a tuxedo or a suit.
March 10, 2018, 9:19 AM · I'm all for these thoughtful inventions, although in the video, we hear all the usual criticisms of SR-use parading as facts. None of the supposed drawbacks apply in my case! Surely we can be passionate and creative without being dishonest?
Edited: March 10, 2018, 9:32 AM · Adrian- I may be out of the loop on the discussion of shoulder rests and their drawbacks. What I say in the video is actually my honest and individually arrived at realizations about what shoulder rests do. Can you point me to anything that address the issues I raise?
March 10, 2018, 10:43 AM · Nice, that there is work done on the shoulder-rest-free-front. You have my support in this.
I myself had to come to the conclusion after having tried several different shoulder rest solutions that I just don´t seem to be able to play with one. Regardless of the model muscles are cramping up.
That led me to try playing without shoulder rest. Which pretty much solved the issue with hurting but comes with the downside of having to figure out how to stabilize the violin properly. It took some time getting used to it and it would be a stretch to claim I am totally comfortable this way. So I´m looking forward to see if the cushion will ease the whole process.
Although I am a bit concerned about the fit of the chinrest since the cushion seems to add to the height.
Edited: March 11, 2018, 3:41 AM · Jordan, I welcome your invention, and I shall order one for my restless "remedial" sessions!

But may I just testify that my viola rests fulcrum fashion on a relaxed, mobile shoulder via my long-legged Kun Bravo, balanced by the sole weight of my head on a high and much re-carved chinrest. This will certainly not suit everyone, but at 69yo I have fewer aches and pains than many younger colleagues, and no skin injuries on my neck.

Also, my SR does not lift the viola off my collarbone, although I do find that contact painful, and I prefer to evaluate my tone via my ears rather than my bones.

I should have prefered to hear the word "often" or "maybe", "for those of you who.." when you describe the drawbacks of shoulder rests.

I apologise for the word "dishonest", but it only applied to presenting personal discoveries (or received wisom) as universal facts, not to you personally..

March 10, 2018, 12:07 PM · I ordered one, I really want to see if it works on my violin as the collar Ive made for my daughter, it is sadly too large for her, but I wanted to support you in doing this as the cushion looks so much more professional than what Ive made myself. This is important work for those who want to play restless.
Edited: March 11, 2018, 3:56 AM · A question, this time! Another function of small collarbone pads (and full shoulder rests) is to tilt the violin for better access to the lower strings. With my stubby pinky, I have atilt of 30° on violin, 45° on viola. My customised chin and shoulder rests allow for this.
When playing "restless", or with the SR away from the shoulder, I still need this tilt. So, is the Kreddle cushion adjustable in this sense?
March 11, 2018, 7:09 AM · Is it a (deliberate) function or a (secondary) consequence? Plus doesn't it depend on adjustability of SRs?
Edited: March 11, 2018, 10:36 AM · Adrian- I wouldn't say the kréddle CUSHION is adjustable in the way of tilting the instrument to customize the level of the strings. I haven't however noticed this being an issue in my own playing with a prototype. I think to some degree this angle can be found by moving the instrument up and down the players collarbone along the vertical axis.

Thanks for for the explanation! I am not a 'thou shalt never use a shoulder rest' believer; if it works for you then go for it as far as I'm concerned. I have however become a bit less diplomatic and more direct about my observations of the fairly obvious structural disadvantages of moving point of contact out to the most dynamic joint in the body--a joint so mobile it already has several muscles that must work constantly just to keep it from dislocating.

Edited: March 11, 2018, 11:00 AM · I don't allow the wide end of the SR to rest on the very left tip of the collarbone, where it would hamper the motions of the "ball" of the shoulder, but rather on the bicycle-handlebar bit: in a sense, my Kun is more of a "Collarbone & Chest" rest!

I also like re-adjust the setup periodically to avoid getting into a de-sensitising rut.

Tammuz, I use the "tilt" function deliberately. It is interesting to see how most historic iluustrations show a much greater "tilt" than we see nowadays.

March 11, 2018, 12:02 PM · Isn't "kreddle" somebody's trademark?
Edited: March 11, 2018, 10:49 PM · If shoulder rests works, why change?

But the problem arrises when virtually everybody is taught with shoulder rest nowadays and very often one sees that the shoulder rest really rests on the shoulder and hampers movement. But as kids are taught that way, how are they supposed to know any better? And if they have narrow shoulders they effectively learn to hold the violin with their shoulders.

In my opinion kids should be taught primarily without shoulder rest or even without a thick pad as many use in suzuki as kids have very narrow shoulders usually and then when they grow they could add the shoulder rest if it fits their body well and if they dont have enough flexibility in their left hand to play without, This way kids would develope the necessariy muscle power that is needed when playing without the shoulder rest.

Now it seems that only those violinist that play well with shoulder rest, advance and become great players. Those, who cannot play with shoulder rest, quit because of pain issues and dont become masters, then you hear now and then about some individuals who have ditched the shoulder rest because of pain and play now better. But they have essentially lost years of learning to play without it, so they are marginal. With the exception of Mutter, who was wise and brave enough to ditch the shoulder rest when still young,

March 11, 2018, 4:29 PM · Jordan, I like the idea. I have a little non-slip pad glued to the bottom of my CR clamp to help with slippage. Yours takes that concept to a new level.

Whatever you do, don’t try and tell folks that it takes about 4 Baking Soda Pounds of Force to fully support a violin when using a shoulder rest, and for many, that may be a significant cause of pain when using a SR.

Edited: March 12, 2018, 8:06 AM · Craig, that's naughty! The head weighs around 10 lb, so no muscular force is required.
I even lay down with my head on the bathroom scales (holding a mirror): my head weighed only 6 lb, which doesn't altogether surprise me..

Pain comes from ill-adapted (or superfluous..) rests, not from the rests themselves. The Kreddle CR is a great advance, though it doesn't really suit me.

The Kreddle Cushion interests me beacause I often raise the viola off the shoulder for short periods.

Edited: March 12, 2018, 9:26 AM · Craig- Thanks for the link! I hadn't seen that. I was recently contacted by a researcher at a university in Denmark; they were curious what I thought would be good starting research questions regarding shoulder rest muscle activation. My inclination is to begin by seeing if there are empirically observable differences in shoulder rest vs. non-shoulder rest muscle activation that might be linked to certain types of injuries. If you or anyone else has research requests; I'd be happy to pass them along if I end up being involved in some fashion in the future.

Adrian- I agree that theoretically no extra weight is needed when the weight of the head is considered. However, for me, the most damaging element of shoulder rest mechanics is that the weight applied by the head is off axis from the support structure--creating a seesaw effect. Therefore unless the player has a solid connection to the collarbone, which may effectively negate the seesaw effect, I see no way around the inherent complexity of off axis weight application and management of the resultant instability. All one has to do is look simply at the mechanics: the violin is a lever, the shoulder rest a fulcrum, the weight from the head, balancing weight with the left hand + instrument; it's all really very complicated and unwieldily. And I'm not all that surprised that we have to manage this instability with muscle work. Some players may be lucky enough to find shoulder rests useful in spite of such inherent structural drawbacks, but I'd say if anyone is continuing to experience pain and injury, look to the shoulder rest first; the fix for which I'd say is a properly adjusted chin rest more than anything.

Does anyone know of resources that help one transition from playing with shoulder rests to without shoulder rests? The knowledge of how to play without seems to have been buried under several generations separation from the non-shoulder rest old timers. I'm hoping to start compiling some resources for those of us wanting to move in the no shoulder rest direction.

March 12, 2018, 10:42 AM · Jordan, of particular interest, I think is the part of that thread talking about the differences in type #1 and type #2 levers and how playing with or without a SR affects that dynamic.

OK, Jordan, I'm also going to insert a self-serving plug here in the midst of your thread, since you are asking about possible help for those interested in learning to go SR-less.

Like you, a SR just didn't work for me. Yet playing without comes with certain feelings of insecurity, which can lead to tension. One of which comes at the body end of the violin being slippery and curved, which your Kreddle Cushion is targeted at solving (bravo!).

The other aspect of going SR-less is that the scroll end needs supporting, and yet gravity is always trying to pull the neck of the instrument down the thumb. Trying to prevent that from happening (with or without a SR) can lead to clenching and tension in the left hand.

So, I developed an aid for the left hand to prevent the violin from sliding down. It allows someone to learn to relax the left hand without the associated tension.

The idea isn't necessarily as a replacement for a SR (although I use it as such), but as an aid to learn how to play with a relaxed left hand with or without a SR.

Anyhow, like you, I'm attempting to innovate for a 400 year old instrument, whose practitioners are steeped in TRADITION, so I'm sharing my angle as well.

Edited: March 12, 2018, 1:08 PM · I find that if the setup is fine-tuned, the weight of my head behind the SR perfectly balances the weight of the part of the viola in front of the SR. Then I only have to hold up my left arm; finger pressure is absorbed by the thumb only (I leave The Gap much of the time). No shoulder or neck tension, no hickey, and far more left hand freedom than playing restless. Stability without tension.

But I agree that the chinrest comes first. If I had found the Kreddle earlier, I might have save hours of carving & smoothing on my Teka-style chinrest.

I note that Heifetz, Perlman, Mutter (to name but three!) all use a padded or raised shoulder part of the time. And I supect that the developement of shoulder rests has permitted people with my kind of morphology to play with ease later into life...

With my young students, I start with no SR, sort out the CR's (which often seem to have been designed for monkeys?!) and then see what's missing. Most minature SR's are far too high and just get in the way.

March 13, 2018, 3:27 AM · Adrian, what do you as chinrests with your young ones? I have founf only 2 chinrests for 1/16 violin, are there any more?
Edited: March 13, 2018, 3:30 PM · As with my own Teka rests, on the cheap wooden (or plastic) rests I file down the left half of the ridge to allow the left side of the jawbone to sit confortably, while the the right half of the ridge hooks very slightly unde the chin.
With permission, I even do this on rental violins, and I often see my "patent" CR's returning with new students!
Edited: March 18, 2018, 11:07 AM · Cool idea, Jordan. This sounds like a useful tool for many people. Some people in the world simply are better off without a shoulder rest due to their physique. Here's a few resources that discuss how to hold a violin or viola without a shoulder rest, and to make the transition:

There are a huge selection of playing SR-less-related threads on this site, and elsewhere on the internet.
March 18, 2018, 4:53 PM · Craig, the video would be more effective if it showed what the product looks like off the players hand and maybe a little about how it works. Looked like the player's thumb was wrapped up in painter's tape.
Edited: March 19, 2018, 8:28 AM · Hi Paul,

Thanks for the frank feedback, it is quite helpful.

I'm finding that it's a bit of a challenge to present information in a concise way without ending up prattling on and getting bogged down. I guess that's why Madison Ave ad men get the big bucks: they can convey the essence of a product in a 30 second commercial. Mine is still a work in progress...

It would seem that the majority of posters here on are accomplished players who have been playing for 20,30, 40+ years. And as such, long ago came to grips with how they approach their left hand position/hold, and probably no longer even think about it, it just comes naturally.

As an adult beginner myself, I am coming at the left hand with a blank slate, and very aware of the challenges posed by simply holding the instrument correctly.

The left hand is a conundrum: it is responsible for fingering the notes, it must press the strings down, yet with a only minimum of force necessary. It also has some measure of support duty in holding the scroll end of the instrument up (unless one subscribes to the "only the head and SR support 100% of the weight" via the lever arm see-saw). Yet gravity is constantly pulling the violin down, but the violin isn't supposed to rest at the bottom of the thumb....All of this quite often results in left hand tension.

If you have young students, beginners (of all ages), you can see many common approaches to how newbies usually try to overcome this: the collapsed wrist "pancake hand", or just letting the neck slide all the way down to the bottom of the thumb and forefinger "V", or contorting the hand around so that the neck rests primarily on the first finger base knuckle. All of which are counter-productive.

So, my innovation is a lightweight, flexible device that prevents the instrument from sliding down the thumb. Allowing it to simply rest at an appropriate position in relation to the thumb. I have found that by removing that feeling of slipping also removes a good deal of the anxiety of holding the violin. Allowing for a more relaxed left hand.

Here's another intro video that shows the WonderThumb itself, as per your feedback. I'll have to work at integrating things into a more complete, concise "message" in a future video.

Jordan's Kreddle cushion addresses the issue of the feeling of insecurity at the near end of the instrument. My WT is designed to help with the issues at the far end.

March 21, 2018, 7:01 AM · Paul, Kreddle is indeed somebody's tradmark - Jordan's to be precise.
Edited: March 27, 2018, 5:17 PM · Jordan, looks really interesting to me.
I reckon this will become popular.
I have a broken - and badly mended collar-bone - so not all there for the violin to rest on. I use copy dek or something it is called - wrapped around the chin rest to give great grip. I have taken off the chin-rest brachet because it is heavy and digs into my body. So I hold the chin rest on using 2 elastic bands going round the saddle of the violin (protecting the wood near the tail piece with a small piece of cloth hooked over the tail-piece peg..
I have found a way to enormously improve the stability of the instrument although I use a shoulder rest. I use a piece of cut foam which I place under clothing out towards L arm on shoulder , with a shoulder rest - kuhn imitation. The foam stops drift of shoulder rest as a back- stop in the direction of the scroll ; and no clenching with shoulder or arm is necessary to have stable but not completely immobilised platform. And this also does not restrict movement. When I use a large piece of foam in that place it DOES restrict movement, so I use quite a slender strip of shaped foam. This seems to change the fulcrum properties of the shoulder rest such that at least LESS if not NO weight is needed at the head end of the fulcrum.
Having said all that I would be interested in trying your device, which sounds very interesting. Good luck with it!

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Violin Finder
Yamaha Violin Finder

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Warchal Strings
Warchal Strings

International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
International Violin Competition of Indianapolis

Dimitri Musafia
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Metzler Violin Shop

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pluhar Violins

Potter Violins

Pro-Am Strings Ltd

Violin Lab

Violin Pros

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop