Lilting Fiddle

 ​LEARNING TO PLAY FIDDLE AS AN ADULT BEGINNER

A blog of online resources and experiences in learning to play violin.

Violin Tips I Learned in 2020: Experiment with Shoulder and Chin Rests

Posted on December 31, 2020 

This has been a year of experimentation in gear for me.

I have a shorter neck, so I’ve always thought that I needed a shorter shoulder rest and chinrest combo, too.

I think I’ve found the right chinrest for my needs. I’ve been using the WAVE for several months now, and I still really like the way it feels.

But my adventures with shoulder rests have been a different story. I knew that the standard shoulder rest, even with a little bit of flexibility in how to set it, felt too high. For a while, I tried the Play on Air shoulder rest, thinking the lower I went the better.

I did like the Play on Air, though sometimes I’d have to reinflate it from time to time. It also came off the violin back a bit too easy if I was not careful.

However, after a time, I started to notice that my violin posture wasn’t all that great. The Play on Air had no resistance or support at all, and allowed me to droop my fiddle down – where it was easier for my shorter arms to reach it. But the downside to this was that I felt I was holding it more and more incorrectly and it was effecting my play.

So, I researched shoulder rests yet again, and decided on a Wolf Forte Secondo shoulder rest back in September. I’ve found this to be a very comfortable and very adjustable shoulder rest over all. At first, I was a little taken back by the design, but now that I’ve used it for a while, I appreciate what it has to offer.

It doesn’t feel too rigid, but it does provide the support I need. And I found myself actually making the shoulder rest setting higher than I thought it should be in the beginning, to help support the violin under the E string so I can play better.

I was truly surprised that after a while I didn’t leave it on the lowest height at all! I really appreciate that I can experiment to find a height setting based on issues that have come up in my practice – especially with the E string.

Of course, all of this probably could have been resolved quickly by a teacher (again). But this was a learning experience for me. Don’t let your expectations become your “facts” because it could turn out wrong! Be open to experimentation and find what works best for you!

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