Shoulder rests and cushions
When I first got my fiddle, I bought a cheap shoulder rest, which I found very useful, but now I prefer just the naked violin. But I've seen good players attach a little cushion underneath with a rubber band. Should I try this - are there hidden advantages, or is it purely personal taste?
For years I’ve used a little leather pad which attaches with a rubber band and is only about 1/2 inch thick. The leather is fairly coarse and helps keep the violin from slipping off my collar bone. If it becomes slippery from wear I go over it with some coarse sandpaper to restore the texture. It’s called a Sostenuto and appears to have been discontinued by the manufacturer in Europe. I’m thinking about making my own when my present one wears out.
So it's just about friction, yes, I forgot to add that into the question.
The little cushion helps with sliding and even a little padding is nice. It's only a few dollars, why not try it!? Some players also just use a folded cloth, this is good to protect the finish on the violin.
Welcome to Violinist.com Andrew,
Hi Andrew, does the stuff 'little cushion with a rubber band' you mention before is called magic pad/shoulder pad? I really want to try that stuff too! Have you buy it?
Glenn says it's called a "sostenuto". I'll look into getting one of those, but in the meantime, as I'm reckless, I ordered a piece of chamoix leather I saw cheap on Amazon, and I dare say I'll find some use for it! And I can try cloths too.
This is a very personal decision. Everyone is different, so it's up to you to find what is best for you. Shoulder pads and cushions come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, ranging from cleaning sponges to commercial products to home-made and customized shoulder pads.
You can take a thin sponge or whatever height you want and a leather chamois. Stitch the leather around the sponge in the shape you like and take a microsuction tape to stick it without rubber bands. I did that and the case "shoulder rest" is closed...