Painfull Vibrato - No shoulder rest

Edited: November 11, 2018, 11:59 AM · So, I ditched the shoulder rest some months ago and I am happy with the resulting changes (mainly my left hand frame is much more effective, and my sound has improved because of it.) Shifting was a challenge but I am overcoming it, slowly but surely.

The one issue I have is with vibrato. My fingers don't really bend when doing vibrato, it's more of a wrist action. The base of my left hand index touches the violin even when vibrating. This over time has created a callus there, and now after about one hour of playing it begins to hurt. I obviously must be doing something wrong, maybe I have been gripping the neck too hard? Any ideas?

Replies (4)

Edited: November 13, 2018, 9:52 AM · When I play "restless" (just to show I can..) the violin neck rests on the thumb, but only against the base of the index, allowing it to slide up & down the neck.
No gripping.

But I find the same difficulty as you, which is why I use a shoulder rest!

November 11, 2018, 4:40 PM · Whether you choose to play restless or not, there are ways of making it work. However without being able to see what you're doing it would be really hard to assess what could be done to play with greater comfort. Have you been to a teacher or colleague about this?
November 11, 2018, 8:08 PM · "maybe I have been gripping the neck too hard?"

Yep, you're squeezing too hard :)

November 11, 2018, 11:30 PM · Ray, if you are using arm vibrato, you might find it useful to develop a wrist vibrato for 1st and 2nd positions - works great and easily for 3rd and above and might help reduce the need for shoulder rest in lower positions.

I did not play with a shoulder rest for my first 30+ years but when I tried one - also with the "perfect" chinrest for me it greatly improved the arm vibrato back in the day. I had to develop wrist vibrato after a dose of left arm paralysis in my mid 50s - still developing it 30 years later!


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