This was mentioned in another thread but didn't want to hijack it, so started a new thread.
I've multiple neck and shoulder issues as I've mentioned in the past, and I also have narrow shoulders. I'm having...problems and am troubleshooting my setup just in case it's something I can actually do something about.
Currently I use the VLM and custom WAVE CR (it's between the medium and tall heights) - both neck and shoulder has voted strongly in favor of a low SR and a high CR. The feet on my VLM isn't far from the edge of my shoulder and this might, possibly, be part of my problem.
Andrew mentioned the AcustaGrip in the other thread - it looks quite interesting but the idea of adhesive on my 18th century instrument is rather scary. It's not a valuable instrument, but it has a lovely rich/resonant sound and I will never outgrow it.
For those who have used it, is there any risk from that adhesive for an old instrument? Any other thoughts?
Edited: There is no adhesive, I didn't read closely enough.
I would think that any polymer material that is designed to be tacky would be bad for varnished surfaces.
I've use it on several of my violins and my viola for a several years with no apparent effect on the instruments' finish. A violinist friend of mine (with whom I played weekly piano trios for 20 years) used it on his Enrico Rocca violin for which he paid Bein & Fushi $100,000 at the end of the 20th century - we were also playing together before he bought that violin.
I have been using a AcoustaGrip shoulder rest for a couple of years. There is no adhesive on this SR. The "theory" is that it is like a bunch of micro-suction-cups.
Good to know Andrew, I figured you were speaking from experience. Bob, that is very interesting information! Between the two of you I may well give it a try. Somehow I thought there was adhesive involved, my mistake.
That's very interesting and good information! I was just surmising from a chemistry point of view.
Ann - I was surmising as well...
Have you tried placing your shoulder rest differently on the violin whereby the shoulder side foot is closer to the left side chinrest leg, thereby bringing it closer to your neck and further from the edge of your shoulder?
I'm giving that a shot Ella, but for some reasons there is more jaw tension. I will see if I can work with it though - it doesn't shift the SR much toward my neck but perhaps...
Yeah, it will take some experimentation, for sure.
I haven’t used the AcoustaGrip, but I did use another rest that had that micro-suction feature, called the GelRest, and I found that it was affecting my varnish such that I was unwilling to continue using it. This is despite the manufacturer’s claim that there would be no reaction. So my vote is no on those.
Thanks Stephen- I've very narrow shoulders and I can't get the rest far from the edge of my shoulder. Now I'm advancing and playing more it's impacting all of the many things wrong with my shoulder (and elbow/hand) I'm a very stubborn woman, which helps.
The AcoustaGrip was unimpressive in my opinion. I did not like the quality, look or comfort. I returned it after a day. I would be skeptical about sticking it onto a 200-300 year old varnish.
Catherine - I would check with SHAR to ask the dimensions of the different versions. They are soft-ish so you would have some flexibility there. I think you should know what height you think you want before you contact them.
Andrew- will do. I appreciate all the comments. I am intrigued, but still nervous about the idea.
Ella - is this the setup you use with your SR by any chance? If so, can you post a picture or a link elsewhere? I tried it last night based on my understanding of your description and I couldn't set my violin in place at all. I must have understood something in your description.
I can try and take a picture later today but I'll just share a few things that describe what I'm talking about.
Ella, thanks, I will check it out tonight after work.
Yeah totally, there's always lots of factors to consider.
Catherine, coming back to your original question. I basically agree that the acoustagrip will *usually* do no harm to your instrument. With a spirit varnish or a really well cured oil varnish there's nothing to worry about.
In 1963 had the opportunity for a few minutes to play on a Stradivarius that had been owned by the great virtuoso Olé Bull. The owner was a touring lecturer (talking about varnishes and finishes) who worked for the Dow chemical company and his violin-collecting hobby, what with upward trades over the years had led to this Strad that was THEN insured for $150,000. What he really wanted to demonstrate was that if you pressed your fingers into the 250 year old varnish you could see that the impression of your fingerprints remained. And then you could watch them slowly vanish.
Andrew, that's an interesting story. In this case, unfortunately it didn't vanish by itself. Actually I allowed it several months to do so, but it just didn't happen... In everyday situations, the varnish is not much more sensible than average.
Ella - very helpful, thank you. I think I had just too severe an angle on my VLM. I used this tonight and I will try it for a bit before I decide to invest in another SR solution.
Yeah totally, it's easy to become tense or use too much force when playing loudly or intensively, and we all struggle with that.
Nuuska, now you see why people buy Strads.
Dmitri, definitely. Well seasoned varnish. The main reason to go antique. Lucky you these arguments don't apply to cases!
Nuuska, You describe what I read elsewhere about this foam leaving marks on varnish. I assumed it is a chemical rather than physical thing but I'm not sure. I don't buy that the little cells in the material are responsible for its stickiness either, as the foam is open cell, the "suction cup" explanation seems inadequate. I'm unwilling to experiment.
I've an antique, and with the mixed results from members, I think I need to pass. Sadly. Will keep experimenting with my VLM and work on the other pieces of this puzzle.
Ann, I don't think it's chemical. Yes, it's open cells, but with an extra layer of something else coupling to the violin.
Nuuska, thanks. I've no idea what the varnish is, but as you said, mine is more than well cured. It WOULD allow a different type of SR experiment...I don't think it would do me any good to try another traditional type of SR, given my narrow shoulders. For now I'm trying Ella's suggestion with tweaking the angle and see if that helps. If not, then will give this a shot. It's not an expensive experiment.
Catherine, if your VLM is either a Diamond, VivaFlex or Original model, I habe no doubt you'll find a solution. At least, if you don't, then there's probably not much sense in buying any other model to solve your problem, because I doubt any of the other brands offer any helpful features (regarding your specific situation) these three don't.
Nuuska, it's a Diamond. I keep tweaking the angle, but the close I get to the suggested angle for my narrow shoulder, the less my jaw likes it. I agree there isn't any point on trying another brand of a traditional SR.
Nuuska and Ella - my teacher really likes the new angle on my VLM Diamond. He DID discover that I've the habit of raising my left shoulder slightly when I raise my violin to playing position - and leave it elevated. So it's consistently and always raised! Thankfully it's not a mechanical thing as I was able to prevent that from happening. I will need to figure out what's going on there. I might need slightly more height on my SR, or a taller CR, will ponder this.
Cool. It's always a work in progress, so never give up!
My jaw seems likes a new angle I'm trying, and so does my teacher. He thinks most everything is due to pure tension that I need to work on. I may try the slightly taller Wave CR - the tall was too tall with my Kun, but the VLM Diamond is lower...
Glad you're making progress Catherine :) Tension is always a huge culprit and something we all struggle with.
Thanks Ella - I can't raise that shoulder rest any higher on the chest side as the leg on my VLM Diamond will come out :-)
Sounds good :)