Shoulder Rest for
Hi fantastic violin community,
I am a professional violinist with a doctorate degree in performance. After many years of changing my set up to fit my body type, I have been experimenting with a much more "slanted" approach to playing, where the violin is raised much higher on the "shoulder side". This works much better for me, as I have hands and thumbs that have an angle relative to the body that are different than the "general population". I will spare you all the details for now, as this is not the main interest of this discussion.
Long story short, what I am wondering is if anyone knows of a shoulder rest model that can measure as high as 4 inches from "violin body" to point of contact with the actual shoulder? The other side of the shoulder rest should be about 1.5 inches.
I have been using a custom made shoulder rest with pieces of foam but it's hard to keep it attached to the violin (see this video of me playing) around the 16:48 minute mark where the foam falls off in a concert:
It's a great custom-made rest, but there has GOT to be a better way to keep it on!
The falling off and slipping and sliding and general nuisance is the reason I ditched the SR for a tall chinrest instead. Try a Kreddle chinrest as an elegant alternative to putting stilts on your violin :)
Cotton, as he's saying, it's about his hands and not his neck, and the whole point is to tilt more, not less.
I agree with Cotton: it's better to rise the chinrest in place of rise the viola (in my case) with a shoulder rest.
I stumbled across a few no-brand shoulder rests on Amazon which actually give the height on either end of the SR which is helpful, and spotted a few which were 3.5-4cm on the shorter end. Though this was in the UK. This was one of them:
I also ditched my shoulder rest, but if the angle is what you seek I would have to agree with Cotton. Get a taller chin rest and then just use a regular shoulder rest to get the angle you want on the shoulder side. The taller chin rest will take care of the rest of the height.
On the Kun S.R. the shoulder side leg is shorter than the other side. You can switch them. For something even longer, they sell an extra-high leg as a replacement part. 4 inches between the back of the fiddle and the shoulder?!. That's a lot. Maybe you can get the desired tilt by lowering the other end of the S.R.?
I’ve noticed Charlie Siem plays his violin on a steep angle, almost vertical at times. I think he uses a Wolf Forte Secondo shoulder rest with a very thin CR.
The Bonmusica comes to mind, since it has almost a "hook" going over the shoulder, which might help keep the instrument in place at that angle. You might have to get some custom parts to achieve the 4" height at the chest point, though.
I agree with those who suggest switching the legs on the shoulder rest around. Most models have a longer leg on the chest side since most people need height on that side, but for some people, raising the shoulder side higher than the chest side is necessary. While a higher chinrest can certainly help, getting an extra long leg onto the shoulder side of, say, a Kun, could be a good starting point.
I do as Ella says, with a 30° tilt on violin, and 45° on viola: I often want a warm vibrato with my stubby pinky on the lowest string!