Dolfinos chin and shoulder rest system; Yamaha SLB300SK Silent Bass; Bam Supreme polycarbonate violin case
A new approach to chin and shoulder rests for violinists and violists
’The serious technical demands of an instrument like the violin mean players sometimes resign themselves to an uphill struggle,’ says Michael Wiener, founder of Swiss chin and shoulder rest manufacturer Dolfinos. ‘Where fittings are concerned, this can lead people to accept the unacceptable,’ he continues. ‘You have to be able to trust your instrument, of course, but the fittings need to be reliable, too – not liable to fall off at any moment.’
Motivated by this desire for greater security and a belief that existing shoulder rests did not offer optimum ergonomic design, Wiener enlisted the help of designers and scientists from Cambridge University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. ‘The answer was a combined shoulder and chin rest system that attaches around the button of the violin or viola,’ he says. ‘Attaching it here makes for a set-up that is extremely stable and, by reducing pressure against the body of the instrument by up to 50 per cent, allows the sound to travel more freely.’
To prevent it from interfering with the nearby chin rest, the shoulder rest system comes with one built in. As well as the standard shape, the chin rest is available in lower and broader versions, and its position is fully adjustable.
Along with changing the way the rest is fixed to the instrument, Wiener also wanted to take a fresh view of what he calls the ‘interface’ of player and instrument – the point at which the two meet. ‘In simple terms, the shoulder rest is a cushion with legs,’ he explains. ‘The long “bench” cushion of a standard shoulder rest, however, is a fixed shape that will never sit perfectly against a player’s body, because no two bodies are exactly the same. Our innovation here was to split the rest into two cushions, each of them able to move independently of the other. This greatly improves their ability to fit the exact geometry of the player’s shoulder.’
Dolfinos chin and shoulder rest system from €499
For acoustic double bass players looking for a way to match the sound of their instrument with the convenience of an electric model, Yamaha has engineered its new SLB300SK model electric bass to allow musicians to control the mix of its three integrated simulated microphones. Shaped to include all the ‘touch points’ of an acoustic instrument, the bass can be dismantled for easy transport.
Yamaha SLB300SK Silent Bass from $4,495
A light touch
Bam’s newly redesigned and updated Supreme oblong violin case has a shell made entirely from polycarbonate, a material significantly stronger and lighter than traditional ABS plastic. Inside, there’s an accessory pocket alongside space for four bows and the manufacturer’s own tracking device. The case measures 78 x 23 x 12cm and weighs 2.2kg.
Bam Supreme polycarbonate violin case from £850