This is a violin harness made with a piece of string. I use one because after 30 years of playing violin on stage, I developed bad neck aches every time I played. I would recommend to any fiddler/violinist to have a go at this. Not only will it prevent shoulder and neck problems later on, but it helps developing a left hand technique that doesn't grip the neck.

There is a commercial strap system available but I find it useless because it doesn't position the strap in the right spot.

Click on pictures for enlargement


you can use polyester cord with the center pulled out or 'lacing cord'. It should flatten against the fiddle to avoid damage to the sensitive edges.

The middle of a 1.8 meter (6ft) piece of string is placed under this section of the fiddle.

h2 Wrap it once around the endpin and tail gut. This is the adjustment that allows you to position the next knot to the best spot to match your playing position.

Cross over the two sections at this point of the fiddle.



My favorite knot is a bowline. It is secure but is easy to undo or adjust.

h5 Tie the bowline in the middle so the string has no slack. This is suitable for polyester which stretches. Other materials might need to be slacker. You should be able to shift the position of this knot by moving it where you wrapped it around the tailpin.
Tie the pieces together with another bowline. A couple inches on each end is about right but it will take some adjusting to get it right. Shorten it to bring the fiddle higher. Heavy clothing needs it to be longer than light clothing.
h7 While I am taking photos of my stage fiddle which has survived 25 years of being stepped on etc, I thought I would show the pickup I made by sandwiching a piece piezo ceramic between two pieces of wood and fitting the soundpost on top of it. The metal foil on the back is earthed for noise reduction. There is no bridge pickup that can compare to it. I used it in the studio in preference to a mic. sample The hole in the side of the bout does not damage the tone.

Put the string over your right arm and behind your neck. Make sure it doesn't affect blood flow by not letting it settle too far in the armpit. Try different positions and adjustments with a shoulder rest to get the playing position you want.
Note that the string pulls from the left side of the fiddle and not the middle.

s1 I have recently came up with a variation that I prefer, as the string under the arm only works well with heavy clothing. I use the same amount of string but feed it through a piece of leather (old belt) with 4 holes.
s2 Here I have twisted it, but I could have used a couple of knots. It is just to keep the cord behind the leather.
s3 Now I just put it around my neck and hook it over the corner.