Posted this at FIDDLE-L but thought I’d sic it on y’alls as well. I play fiddle for hours on end now if I’m so inclined - this really turned things around for me. If I only didn’t just suck as a fiddler!
I’d always get a bit of numbness in my left hand after playing for a while. I’d shake my hand out, make a point of not squeezing or pressing, etc. Nothing really helped, so recently I gave a shot at playing with the fiddle down low, which I’d monkeyed around with before - also played it like a cello for a long time. Then I cut out a shoulder strap of soft leather, tied it around the shoulder rest. Haven’t had any twinges in the last two months, and I play a lot, too. I’ve had to put in some practice to play in the upper positions, but it seems like a matter of developing new methods to get up there, more than
an insurmountable limitation. I play in flat keys a lot too, no
Often I’ve wondered if I simply can’t hold the fiddle in the
"standard" manner - my Dad can’t rotate his upper arm much more than 45 degrees; perhaps my family are freaks? Or born cellists? Anyway perhaps this advice will be useful to people who are having trouble playing the fiddle under the chin. Also, did any old timers use straps or other apparatus to hold the fiddle against the body? Some of the dudes in old paintings look to be tucking the fiddle into their coats.