The topic of violin shoulder rests has generated lots of controversy amongst teachers and violinists. Since they weren’t used until fairly recently and in addition because they may impact the sound, you can still find some teachers who recommend against with them at all. Certainly, there are several violinists that do fine without a shoulder rest. Often, these individuals have short necks.
For example, David Oistrakh, one among my personal favorite recording artists, fits this mold. For the rest of us, a shoulder rest can make playing the violin much more comfortable. It frees the left hand from needing to offer the instrument and may allow the violinist to learn without raising the left shoulder. Selecting shoulder rest is dependent upon the physiology of each student.
There are two major kinds of shoulder rests. The initial are may be the gang of “soft” rests (like curved foam pieces, sponges –even a kitchen sponge which has a rubber band will do– along with the Play-on-Air, that is formed of your “bladder” filled up with air which can be adjusted by varying the amount of air included in the bladder.
Some teachers prefer rests that aren’t rigid. Their logic is the fact that a rigid rest locks the player in one position and will add tension. However, the sound may be afflicted with the stress from the soft pad against the back in the violin. Often, the contact of the soft rest will muffle or create fuzz inside the sound.
The other major class of shoulder rests are comprised of the “rigid rests.” There rigid models are dependant on the same principal: feet that attach to the perimeters with the violin plus a curved, rigid, shaped bar that connects your toes. Each make of rigid rest is formed slightly differently, which provides a great variety to match various shapes of violinist’s chest muscles, neck height, collar bone prominence, and slope and width of shoulders.
To help you with selection, I have assembled a list of the harder popular brands of rigid rests with descriptions of every and recommendations on which model will best fit confirmed violinist’s unique physiology. To begin, the Everest is manufactured in America which is relatively cheap. The padding is thick and also the rest appears to fit well for medium to long necks. One model offers collapsible, folding feet.
The Bonmusica is made from flexible metal which has a “hook” that may be molded to fit over the shoulder. It is a heavy rest made up of aluminum that will modify the sound more than some but sometimes are very effective for violinists who may have not found any of the other rests to get comfortable as a result of it’s high amount of flexibility and skill to curve throughout the back in the shoulder.
Kun may be the original inventor of the rigid rest with feet. There are lots of different types. They have a tendency to suit a lot of people fairly well. One model carries a bar connecting your toes that will tilt towards and outside the player. Though potentially an incredibly valuable feature, this bar can’t be kept in the chosen ideal position and therefore should be adjusted sometimes many times in a playing session.
The Mach One is very light generating of nice quality solid maple. Some people still find it very comfortable however it is rather short and the padding can feel slippery which is quite thin.
The Wolf is a wonderful rest for very tall necks, but tend to feel totally rigid. Although it appears to have no curve, it may be bent to suit the gamer. Those that have “A-Frame” (highly sloped) shoulders sometimes find this can be their only viable option as it is the tallest rest.
The viva la musica rest also comes in many colors and adjusts by 50 % planes. This extra capability to adjust allows it to support certain violinists who’ve had difficulty obtaining a comfortable rest. However, the bar is rather flat, with little curve, and can rub up against the backside from the instrument. In addition, this rest comprises plastic having a tendency of breaking sooner than other rests.
To sum it up, my recommendation for selecting a shoulder rest is usually to try several to see a snug fit. In the matter of the rigid models with feet, the information presented should rest securely upon your shoulder and collar bone with no gaps between you and the rest. To regulate the others on the violin, test out different placements for your feet. Normally, your feet underneath the chin rest fill the area between your shoulder and the back from the violin. The closer feet sit to the chin rest, the harder the violin will have a tendency to rest from the end from the shoulder and much more for the neck. The peak should be set to fill the space between the jaw along with the the top of shoulder. Around the opposite side of the instrument, a placement for the feet closer to the scroll side will squeeze instrument more toward the center of the chest and away from the shoulder. More height tends to flatten the instrument, and much less height is likely to create more slope.
A shoulder rest that’s too much will tilt the neck and chin upward, and this can be really irritating, along with raising the violin thereby your entire playing posture, which can place more force on the shoulder as it stretches upward towards a higher violin. In case your rest is positioned lacking, the player must bend the neck excessively to achieve the chin rest, which especially deleterious for the health from the neck.
The value of the shoulder rest can easily be underestimated, which is often necessary to ask your teacher that will help you assess fit.