John P. – Denton, Texas – February 23, 2013
I just got the Viostrap today and I love it so far; so much so that I’m going to be advertising it all the time with my orchestra/viola studio friends at my college. I wrote this post earlier today that I’m planning to put on Facebook that could sell quite a few straps for you guys; you don’t happen to have a referral-rewards program would you? I could use a bunch of the stretchy strap covers 😛
I was looking for a neck strap support system for violists and violinists and found the ‘VioStrap’ that goes around the base of your neck like a clarinet/saxophone player’s strap and holds the instrument up from the small space at the base of the fingerboard where it just separates from the instrument’s body. They will work with any instrument and any shoulder rest and at $20 each they’re a steal.
I got mine in the mail today and I already love it; it’s a bit crazy looking having a strap on your neck as a violinist/violist and it’ll be one more thing to keep clean from sweat every day, but those are really the only cons I’ve found for using it. Once it’s fitting properly (I’ll find a way to lock mine when I find a comfortable position) it holds your instrument up with minimal neck weight and causes no strain at all on your left shoulder. To describe it in another way your instrument feels as suppported as the first time you pick it up in the morning when you’re not tired, and it still feels like that after 4 hours of practicing earlier today.
As for sound production my viola is resonating a lot more freely with the strap since the instrument’s entire body and shoulder rest are actively being supported by this strap, and the weight lifted off your shoulders (quite literally) has already noticeably improved the direction/flow of the music I’m practicing. My viola is a hefty 16.5″ with thick ribs and playing anything above 6th position is doubly hard due to the instrument’s weight; with the VioStrap I have all the control and ease of a playing a violin on an instrument that’s close to twice a violin’s size. I’m going to go practice more with it, but even if you don’t want to perform with it or are too insecure to use it in public, the Viostrap is a life-saver for personal practice and will help you learn to play without any excess tension!
Thanks for making a great product!
John P. – Denton, Texas -February 25, 2013
Yes, you can use my testimonial on your new website, as well as this following one if you want;
As a full time viola performance major who played violin for twelve years before switching, I brought a lot of the minor, rather insignificant tension I had on the violin over to the viola, which greatly magnified that tension due to the increased size and amount of force required to play the instrument. This excess strain in my neck and shoulders was further increased after I attempted to play without a shoulder rest for a year, but even after I bought a properly fitted shoulder rest and chinrest (also necessary!) I still had the muscle memory of my old tension, especially when I was practicing in the higher positions. I’m happy to say that after two days of using the Viostrap I’ve learned to eliminate the majority of my playing tension in my left shoulder as well as quite a bit of the tension I held in my neck, and I’m playing much more freely both with and without the strap! As someone who learns by vision and demonstration, learning to release tension generally was a difficult concept for me to learn, but the Viostrap is a lot like training-wheels for tensionless playing; now that I’ve learned what it feels like to not forcibly clamp down on my instrument I can play much more freely with or without the strap. I’ll be actively recommending my beginner/intermediate students and university colleagues the Viostrap that have excess tension while playing!