Invention to Keep Shoulder Rests from Slipping
Hey all, I don't know how much of you remember me, but I was a frequent poster here up until about a year ago! Back in September of 2020, I quit teaching so I could pursue a few different things I'd been putting off. One of those pursuits was trying to finish an invention that I've long felt the violin world needed: a device that would allow you to put your shoulder rest where you wanted, without any fear of it slipping off. I dealt with this problem (and still do!) and many of my students did as well.
In a worst case scenario, the SR slipping when you don't expect it can cause you to drop an instrument. Even if that doesn't happen, knowing that it *could* happen certainly adds some degree of tension to peoples' playing. And, experimenting with different positions becomes pointless, since the only place where the SR stays on with some confidence is in a side-to-side configuration. What if you want to place the SR diagonally? Or close to the endbutton?
And even if you just want it in a typical position, chances are that it moves during long sessions of playing. I was reminded of this once again watching the Menuhin competition and seeing some of the performers adjusting their SR every time there was a long rest in their music. If they're like me, they've found that putting the SR on too tightly affects the violin's tone negatively, but then they have to constantly worry about whether or not it's slipping off.
Yes, we could use rubber bands, but to be honest they just don't work well, and they look bad. Not to mention the sound dampening effects they can have.
To make a long story short, I am now at a crossroads of sorts. I feel I have solved the problem with a device that is simple, very light, durable, nearly invisible, and won't effect the sound of the instrument. It will work with all bridge-style shoulder rests such as Kun, Everest, Bon Musica, etc... so it won't be necessary to change shoulder rests to get the effect.
BUT: as with most inventions, there is a point where substantial money has to be put forward to make it a mass-produced reality. And I find myself questioning at this point: does the violin world REALLY need this invention? Maybe I've over-inflated the problem in my mind, and it's really only a handful of violinists/violists like myself that struggle with the shoulder rest slipping/falling/moving or want to be able to securely put it in unorthodox positions?
And in this fear lies my real question for those who care to answer: is this device something you'd buy (let's say it would be in the region of $15-20)? Is it something you'd recommend to your students or colleagues? Do you feel that there is a real need for this invention (assuming it does what I say it will do)?
Thanks so much for your responses.
Even if the world does need this invention, it doesn't mean that you wouldn't lose your shirt trying to make it - there are more ways for things to go wrong than right.
Probably depends on the shoulder rest? I find the KorfkerRest I'm currently using stays on without any problems. After putting it on, I don't have to adjust it at all, not once even during a 5 or 6 hour practice session or a full concert performance. And it is the least sound dampening shoulder rest among the many, many that I've tried.
Erik, I know what you mean. The reason I finally quit the SR-users party was that I only drew profit from the use of such a device when brought into a position that made it slip inevitably within the next 15 minutes. Although this wasn't so much the case with the VLM Diamond, which only occasionally fell off.
shoulder rests generally come off as a result of player tension- that's the problem to solve!
Hey everyone, thank you for the feedback so far. My internet just went down and doesn't seem to be coming back up, so I'm typing this on my phone. But I promise I will give detailed responses once my internet is working again! I have read all responses so far.
I'm using the KorfkerRest as well, never any problems with slipping at all.
This problem is what made me ditch SRs. If they were comfortable and slip-proof from the factory I may still have used them to this day. I don't think I would bother with buying an extra peripheral device to secure my SR, because SRs are enough of a pain to carry already and that just adds more clutter and more room for error.
Ugh, my internet is still down. Apparently there's a huge outage in my area from a truck hitting an important fiber optic line.
Eric, I use two brown shoelace loops from my Kun's screw "legs" to the viola/violin corners.
I would be interested in a better solution for my viola and for my violin students!
Hi Erik, I commend your innovation and entrepreneurial zeal. I would consider the market potential of a product with such a small sub-set of consumers. Is it really worth investing in patents, molds, manufacturing, and business upstart expenses? Is this device something you can make at home by hand with minimal investment? If so, you could make a few dozen and field test them with local pros. Then outreach to local luthiers, music shops, teachers and schools. This will provide proof of your concept if you can sell a few hundred units with positive consumer feedback. Then maybe think about patents and mass production. But honestly, at that price-point and given the market potential I would not quit my day job. Just sayin'. Best of luck!
I have never had a problem with my shoulder rest falling off as long as it is properly fitted. I even bought a bunch of cheap $5.00 Chinese shoulder rests to give to kids that need them and once they are set up right I have noticed no problem with these either.
It depends on the rest, player, and technique. Pressing down will indeed make it slip away from the instrument.
Alright, my internet's working, so buckle up because I'm going to respond to every single post:
Erik, even if I won't need it anymore from a todays point of view, I'd certainly buy it even out of curiosity and to complete my impressive SR collection
If you're looking for a bigger place to evaluate the market potential, give it a try on Facebook, like "The Violin Guild", "Facebook Violinists" or "Facebook Violists". Tons of people out there to make your poll, and especially TVG is even open for self promotion.
I used the Kun and it slipped. I switched to the Everest and it does not slip. The Everest's feet have better grip. I didn't notice any change in the tone of my instrument.
Nuuska, that's an excellent idea, regarding using facebook as a tool to find market data. I've joined some violin groups now. We'll see how it pans out.
The slipping of my viola rest is indeed very annoying, when I forget my rubber bands. I'm the one you see constantly snugging it up.
Hey Adalberto, thanks for the info so far. Do you position the Voce in a side-to-side (West-to-East) position? Most shoulder rests don't slip a whole lot in this position.
If you're aiming at serious violinists who put in an uninterrupted 1 to 2 hour session every day and also have slipping SR issues, that's like maybe 0.1% of all violinists.
Eva, great info. I definitely noticed with some of my students that they needed a more forward violin position due mainly to their right arm not being long enough to fully utilize the bow otherwise, not to mention the benefits that it can have for some peoples' vibrato. With some of these students, I would recommend the Bon Musica for the exact reason you use it.
Erik, if you really mean it would cost £20 to buy. and it definitely works, buying it would be a no brainer for me.
John, that's great to hear! Thank you for the positive feedback. Seriously, it really means a lot.
I am all for innovation and would absolutely get you "rubber-band-replacer" if there was even a little chance it would help me. I supported the Kreddle chin rest and later on the Kreddle cushion and the updated chin rest when they were on Kickstarter. Even if I ended up not using any of them for long.
Awesome to hear it Bo! I am still working as fast as I can to make the thing a reality. Like I've said before, even if it's not wildly profitable, I would be happy just to see it exist, and to see players benefit from it.