Yet, Another Shoulder Rest - Glued On

May 26, 2021, 3:01 PM · Now you can find Ray Chen's glued on SR on Giora Schmidt's site. Can it sound better than the korfker? Markov resonant?

Replies (32)

May 26, 2021, 3:08 PM · Dear god, why...
Edited: May 26, 2021, 3:25 PM · I thought it was suction cups.
May 26, 2021, 3:34 PM · Is something wrong with my calendar? Is today April 1st?

A shoulder rest you *glue* on??

How does it fit in the case?

I predict zero sales for this item

World's dumbest product ever

May 26, 2021, 3:52 PM · you can peel off the sr after playing
May 26, 2021, 3:52 PM · Ray Chen is very convinced about it on his strad. And, well, it's definitely in need of a custom made case. I personally can't imagine how it wouldn't damage the varnish when removed, but what do I know...
May 26, 2021, 3:55 PM · I'm surprise Nippon foundation allow R Chen use that glued sr on their Stads
May 26, 2021, 4:21 PM · Publicity hype or hoax?
May 26, 2021, 5:13 PM · Recommended glue?
May 26, 2021, 7:11 PM · Or you can just buy my invention and your current shoulder rest won't move. No glue needed :D

In all seriousness, this makes my idea feel a whole lot more logical.

I have the same problem with this device as I do with the "micro suction" devices. Anything that sticks to varnish is also mechanically separating the varnish when moved, even if it takes a long time to notice the effect. This is also a problem with very stick rubbers used in shoulder rest construction. That's just physics/chemistry. Even with hide glue, if a violin is taken apart enough times, the wood will start to need repair. You can't indefinitely glue and then unglue something and have zero effect.

And surely the feet directly touching the vibrating back plate of the violin would affect the sound?

However, contrary point here: anyone who plays without a shoulder rest and lets the violin occasionally "rest" on their shoulder is probably going to eventually cause just as much wear to the varnish as this device would. You can see plenty of old violins with significantly worn varnish
on the back exactly where it would touch the shoulder. I would guess that it's potentially quite a bit more harmful. Perhaps the folks over at Nippon recognized this.

Edited: May 26, 2021, 7:43 PM · "Included is a bottle of the special glue as well as a custom elastic band with non-slip silicone rings to attach to the back corners if you prefer not to use the adhesive."
May 26, 2021, 7:42 PM · Somehow I doubt players who just bought a $130 shoulder rest will want to have elastic bands on their violin.
May 27, 2021, 7:29 AM · Is this glue similar to the adhesive you see on the artino shoulder pad things?
May 27, 2021, 9:47 AM · A glued-on shoulder rest! For me, that is on a par with something I once saw in an Irish music session - a soundpost that was secured on a screw through the back of a violin. The owner, apparently pleased with his handiwork - a neatly done job I must admit - said he had got fed up with his soundpost forever slipping or falling over, so he had devised his own solution. If it was a valuable instrument, which in this case it clearly wasn't, I guess such damage to the back might be easier to deal with than glue damage to the varnish of a high-end violin.

Another enterprising solution to a violin problem, that of persuading a recalcitrant A string to go into a hole in the A peg located in a dark and difficult to access region of the pegbox, was devised by a good session friend of mine. His solution is to wind the E string onto the A peg, and the A onto the E peg. For him, this works well because the A is now easy to replace, and because the E is infrequently replaced a new replacement steel E is easier to insert in the peg in that remote part of the pegbox. "There's always an engineering solution", my friend, an engineer, says. For a fairly obvious reason, he NEVER allows anyone else to play his violin!

May 27, 2021, 10:34 AM · Erik wrote, "Somehow I doubt players who just bought a $130 shoulder rest will want to have elastic bands on their violin."

I see rubber bands all the time on violins worth $20,000 and more. People spend $130 on a shoulder rest because it fits their physique, not because it doesn't slip.

Erik, many of us will happily try your device. If you want to send me one, I'll be happy to sign an NDA and try it out and give you a testimonial if I think it works well. But until we can buy it (or at least see it or read a description of it), there's nothing we can do to support your efforts except to say "good luck with that."

SHAR gives this disclaimer for the Artino Magic Pad: "Fresh, soft, or brittle varnish can be removed by contact with any gripping surface. If you use an antique instrument, recently had your instrument refinished, or are concerned that your instrument's varnish is soft, you should use this accessory with caution. To avoid possible varnish removal, choose a clip-on shoulder rest, or one that attaches with elastic or rubber bands only."

I know someone who uses these stick-on SR devices (similar to Artino but it's a little cube, not sure what it's called), and "his" violin is a priceless Italian antique owned by a private foundation.

May 27, 2021, 1:10 PM · I had to look it up; I fail to see how four feet glued to the back plate can have less influence on the vibrations of that plate than feet attached to the rim of the plate. Even if it is "Precision laser cut" it is claimed to be completely hand made. And this is a bit of a snake-oil warning: "designed according to Fibonacci’s Golden Ratio" - it must be good then. The feet - "custom cut Portuguese cork" - look like sawn-off wine corks.
I would never glue anything to the varnish on a violin.
@ Trevor: I don't get it with swopping position of A and E strings on the pegs - I change the E twice for each change of the A.
May 27, 2021, 1:20 PM · I definitely feel like there's a lot of marketing hype here, but who can blame them? I've actually wondered for years when Ray Chen's SR would finally be sold, but had always assumed it used suction cups.
May 27, 2021, 1:38 PM · A bit more info - 16:10 into the "Ray Chen: Question and Answer Session" video -
May 27, 2021, 2:05 PM · Reminds me a bit of the Markov SR that is also a flat piece of wood with feet that sit on the back of the instrument. I fail to see how either would be comfortable for any body-type or more resonant than the traditional clip-on style. I would never in a million years consider gluing something onto my violins.
May 27, 2021, 3:07 PM · The point of a pressure-sensitive adhesive is that it is chemically non-reactive with the surface. The degree of stickiness or tack can be adjusted through rational variation in the chemistry of the adhesive. This is how we get things like Post-It notes, and there are countless applications for which adhesives have been carefully optimized.

For the proposed application it would be essential that the PSA is a polymer that does not contain any small-molecule component such as a plasticizer or residual solvent that could diffuse into the varnish of the violin. But adhesion science solved these problems eons ago. The "bond" that is formed is best thought of as a surface-wetting phenomenon rather than a chemical reaction or interpenetration of the adhesive and the surface molecular structure.

Suction cups would be worse because they convey a continuous mechanical stress.

Edited: May 27, 2021, 4:15 PM · Thanks Paul. Now I got it.
May 27, 2021, 3:51 PM · One would hope, Paul. How are we to know what the components of the glue are, though? I think they're assuming that because Ray Chen uses it on his strad, then people are automatically going to trust it.

Idk, I think a better solution -- if someone is looking for something like this -- would be to buy the Phantom SR (which I can't recommend because it immediately fell off my violin when I bought it years ago, but I've heard that they improved the design since then).

May 27, 2021, 5:23 PM · Bo, my session friend who swaps the pegs is a folk musician and apparently rarely needs to change the E, which is probably why his system works for him. Anyway, the point is that he finds it easier to install a new A, and installing a new E isn't a problem when on the A peg.
May 27, 2021, 11:35 PM · In addition to the chemical properties of the adhesive (which will determine if a chemical reaction between it and the varnish occurs), I would also suggest that one should consider the mechanical force required to remove the rest.

The rest will be in contact with the varnish and if it requires more force to separate rest from varnish than is required to separate varnish from the body, then removing the rest may result in the varnish separating from the instrument and adhering to the feet instead.

I also suspect that the effects of this are cumulative. That the stress of removal might eventually weaken the bond between the varnish and the body over time.

Edited: May 29, 2021, 6:42 PM · The untold secret behind this shoulder rest is, that it comes together with a special customized instrument case. Of course the case-design also follows the rule of Fibonacci’s Golden Ratio.
The following link allows a glimpse to an early stage of the development:

For internal use only!

Maybe this gives some inspiration to Mr.Musafia for a new model line of violin cases: "exclusively for owners of this precious shoulder rest".
With respect to the name of that new model line of cases, how about "Ray Chen's Golden Fibonacci Case"?

I wish a very nice day to all of you!

May 30, 2021, 12:08 AM · Guys it's not glued with Elmer's....

May 30, 2021, 3:56 AM · One of the problems that this product suffers from is that the textual description of it on the sales page I linked to above, does not state anywhere that the glue is low tack and can be peeled off. Further, unless you scroll down, you don't see the video - and it's several minutes into the video before it becomes clear. Initially, I didn't see the video and worked off the text I read - which is why I concluded that the seller was really advocating glueing the SR to the violin. The mention of the elastic band actually reinforced in my head the idea that the recommended installation method was glue.

This is perhaps the worst example of a product page I have seen - and I build product pages for a living and have seen some pretty awful ones.

May 30, 2021, 3:59 PM · The fact that he showed that there were "no marks" on the back of his violin after one application means nothing to me. Maybe there were no marks after one use, but what about after years of doing the same thing every day? I'm not saying he's wrong necessarily, but I'd need WAY more data to be convinced, as well as the endorsement of a reputable luthier...and even then the idea of gluing and then peeling something off the back of my violin would give me the shivers.
May 30, 2021, 7:21 PM · The "glue" is not even necessarily an additional substance that is added to apply the SR to the violin. It can simply be the surface chemistry and intrinsic tack of the material itself.

As far as the "force needed to peel it off" is concerned, obviously this needs to be higher than the gravitational force, otherwise it will not be secure.

Remember that there is also a time factor when an adhesive is debonded. This is because of the viscoelastic behavior of the surface molecular structure. Everyone has had the experience that a sticker can be peeled from a surface slowly, but if one tries to peel too quickly the adhesive will leave a residue or the substrate material (often paper) will tear. This means that the designer of the new "glued-on" (self-adhering) SR needs to be assured that the device is not likely to be torn from the violin faster than the surface molecular structure can accommodate. Very likely they have a couple of orders of magnitude to spare. Consider the child's toy called "silly putty." I've seen a demonstration in which force was applied to this material so fast that it shattered. But you simply can't apply force nearly that quickly with your hands.

Edited: May 31, 2021, 6:37 PM · However it is attached, the bond can't be too strong, or they'd never allow it on the strad. So I can just imagine it tilting on its legs during a particularly impassioned moment, hitting the back table with a SMACK like an axe...

The whole idea seems so superfluous to me.

May 31, 2021, 4:27 PM · I think this idea is a prime example of why marketing is so important for products to succeed. If they had gone into long, technical detail about the precise chemistry involved and why it has no long term effects on varnish (along with a video showing a repeated-use situation), then it would have a much higher chance of succeeding.
Edited: May 31, 2021, 11:49 PM · The problem with explaining the surface chemistry is that in the process of simplifying it for a lay audience, inaccuracies creep into to the description. And then it's not "truth in advertising" any more. Two things to remember about all synthetic materials such as polymers and adhesives is that (1) they're never perfectly pure, and (2) they're never indefinitely stable.

I have a pair of Nikon binoculars. They're very nice and I've had them for about 25 years. But after about 15 years, I noticed that the surface finish was starting to feel grubby. Some kind of coating was degrading and turning into a sticky mess. It took me a good two hours going over that surface with rubbing alcohol to remove whatever that stuff was. I was disappointed, but as a chemist with some knowledge about polymers, not surprised.

Ever buy a plastic container, open it up for the first time, and the inside smells weird? That's not supposed to happen but I'll bet everyone here has experienced this.

June 14, 2021, 7:41 AM · @Trevor Jennings, What did the screwed together fiddle sound like?

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