30+ prototypes, thousands of hours, and 2 years after starting this project, I'm actually getting very close to a finished design and in the near future I hope to put a video out demonstrating the invention.
As part of this video, I intend on showing that it will work on pretty much any shoulder rest, but I'm hoping to limit that to the 5-10 most common SRs.
So, what are the SRs you tend to see most often?
The ones that spring to my mind are Kun Original, Everest, Bon Musica, Wolf Secondo, and Viva La Musica.
I've also seen VLM Diamond, VLM Professional, Wolf Primo, Playonair, and one homemade shoulder pad in my viola sections in that time.
I wonder if there are regional preferences, because I hadn't heard of Wolf until 2017, and I've still only ever seen one person using a Wolf shoulder rest in my life.
John, I'm glad someone is excited! Admittedly, you'll probably be underwhelmed upon it's unveiling, but that's kind of the point; I worked very hard to make it very low-profile so that even high-level players can use it without feeling self conscious.
But it's definitely cheaper than continuing to buy different shoulder rests in the hope that they won't slip!
And even in the case of something like the korfker that typically doesn't slip in a traditional position (3:00-9:00), it will still be useful as it will allow it to be safely placed in positions that would have been previously unsafe, such as close to the collarbone (4:30-7:30).
I guess it will all come down to perceived value. People know how to value something that they're used to seeing. For example, most know that a $10 SR is cheap and junky, a $30 SR is decent, $70 is premium, and $250+ is luxury. Same idea with cars. But how does a customer value something they haven't seen before, or that they didn't know they needed?
In a world where tons of companies are making crappy products for $5 and then selling them for $50, perceived vs actual value has gotten weird. And it seems that perceived value is driven primarily by marketing, as opposed to how much effort/money went into a product.
As for shoulder rests, I come back to the good old Kun, on both my violin and my viola.
However, at least IME, most feet slippage occurs with the Kun feet, then Wolf. I have never have had a slipping VLM Diamond or Bonmusica rest. The now defunct Kun Voce also never slipped due to the special, broad feet design-the new regular Kun feet are supposedly more resistant to slipping off the instrument, but it still can happen.
I have never used some others mentioned in this thread, so can't comment on every model.
Mr. Dalton, when I first saw the first
ever Bonmusica rest in my life, I shared a similar view as yours. It could also be potentially dangerous if misused. But after adjusting it to my own body shape and playing needs, I found my younger self's misgivings about the Bonmusica misplaced-it can work very well while keeping your playing quite free despite the cumbersome appearance. Personal adjustment is key, and I would not blindly recommend it in its stock form, even though it's supposed to be "standard" (I greatly flattened its signature hook, though it still is there.) The feet also never slip off the instrument, as aforementioned. It is not the cheapest, though definitely far from the most expensive nowadays.
But the main issue comes when players want to place the SR in different positions, particularly closer to the collarbone, OR if they're fine with their current 3:00-9:00 but want to be able to put it on loosely to minimize the clamping action's effect on acoustics. In either of those situations, I have found most shoulder rests to be lacking in security. 99% of the time they're fine, but that 1% is what scares me. It's also annoying that over time, most SRs will slip more because the rubber wears out.
It's worth noting that if I stay in 1st-3rd position, security is of much less concern to me. Not only is the SR less likely to slip there, but if it does, I can catch the violin. But once I start jumping around in positions and using aggressive vibrato (especially sul G), suddenly I am very aware of the potential for my SR to slip. If it does so at the wrong time, it could be very bad, and knowing this changes the way I play. I am much more likely to attempt to always keep my thumb under the neck and curled, as opposed to letting it slide up the side of the fingerboard. In addition, a part of my brain is dedicated to feeling if there's any slippage, and being ready for the possibility that something might move at the wrong time.
Meanwhile, let's compare this to our chinrest: it's basically just part of our violin. It never slips, or does anything that requires us to even think about its existence. It just is there, doing its job. I think SRs should be the same.
I am curious (although I may have asked you these questions before):
1) With your Bon Musica, what position are the feet in?
2) How how tightly do you push it on the violin?
3) Have you ever had to replace the material on the feet (that's usually a good indication of how tightly you push it on)?
4) Is most of the music you play in 1st-3rd position, or do you play a fair amount of more advanced material that requires big jumps in shifting and aggressive vibrato?
I will check more specifically later-pardon, not at home right now, and missed your reply.
Please do not take my comment as a challenge to your product. Just wanted to note that most of the slippage situations have indeed been Kun/Wolf in my experience (note also that I am not bashing these products! I do not adhere to the notion that I must know what works for others based on personal taste/opinion. I have all my old shoulder rests somewhere-rarely get rid of them.)
(Very sorry the VLM Diamond slipped for you! Especially because those steel parts at the bottom should have hurt your violin a little. I frankly had it never happen to me.)
Without being home to double check (I do it by instinct now):
1)Facing back of violin: between 4 to 5, depending on SR, 9 or 9.5, dpending on rest. I do not use the standard central position usually recommended, as then for my body and bowing technique it ends up too much over the shoulder. I like to bring the violin in, rather than out, use low Teka chinrest.
2)Just tight enough-not forced in. Not loose.
3)I used to get feet worn much more often as a younger violinist (probably poor posture and tension, regarless SR placement). They last a while now.
4)I play all over, sul G too. Bonmusica does not slip off for me, but my old Kun Bravo has a few times. Often it falls as one rests the violin "after" playing, which may not damage the violin but is super annoying, especially if it would happen live.
In short, I tend to hold the violin rather lightly, never clamping it (or avoiding it as much as possible) and my violin position is such that it may alleviate the issue-not certain. Neck, medium, not short, which probably helps. Prefer low position at the chin, but not too low-basically want it to be as unobtrusive as possible, minimizing or even eliminating the common complaints against shoulder rests (stiffness, lack of freedom, etc.)
On the Bonmusica issue, I have not made an scientific test, but it is likely that the tone may be impacted a little by the "grabby" foam in the legs-but the audience may not notice, even if the violinist himself/herself could, so it's not too bad. I would not use a SR just for the "sound"-fit, comfort, freedom of playing all sort of repertoire with ease and without thinking is what motivates me to use a SR. If you have the best sounding SR in the world but it makes you overthink what you are doing or you are just plain uncomfortable, it misses the point. Freedom of playing sounds "better" than a badly fitting SR that should theoretically sound better. I still think the bulky Bonmusica is not for everyone-and should be used with care-but does work for me; definitely not a blind recommendation on my part.
Steve, regarding the modern equivalent, I believe you're referring to a Mach One :)
I think less advanced players may be more likely to have slipping shoulder-rests because they hold the violin less stably. My son has issues with his tiny Kun slipping in orchestra, so it's held on by rubber bands as well as the feet.
I hope that this will also allow me to acquire a greater market share, since pretty much everyone wants a better sound out of their violin, even if they don't normally suffer from slippage.
Also, regarding younger players, I think the main thing is that their shoulders are very small, which often requires an SR position closer to the end button of the violin. I often use rubber bands with my young students for this reason, because that is an inherently insecure position for most SRs. (Rubber bands work ok, but need frequent replacement, don't allow *all* positions, are ugly, and don't offer maximum security....but they are significantly better than nothing).
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Then you see a lot of Korfkers in the top orchestras and performers.
The others in the middle use mostly Viva La Musica or Kun, but these two brands have so many different models that none of them has a chance to be the most common.