Many of you will have followed the making of my pochette fiddle, or backpacker fiddle and I have had a number of questions about how I might use a shoulder rest with it. This post is about my solution to that problem. As I built it, I had made no real provision for a shoulder rest, figuring I could get away with a small cushion or bean bag. But having traveled with it I found that I really needed a decent shoulder rest to avoid fatigue in my left hand.

So I thought about it and decided a simple solution would be best. I had some pine left over from making the ribs, and I figured that if I attached a rectangular plate with a small bolt and wing nut it would be able to swivel out of the way for traveling, but be quick to deploy for playing – and at the same time provide a really secure method of holding the instrument.

I also considered different people playing the instrument, so I wanted it easily adjustable.

I cut a piece of timber 200mm x 45mm x 5mm and rounded the corners with a sander. Then I selected a 3/8″ bolt and found a washer, a rubber washer, a spring washer and a wing nut and put them aside.

I held the wooden slat with a shoulder rest attached up beneath the pochette in playing position and marked a central location 55mm from the end of the fiddle and drilled a 3/8″ hole in the back of the pochette ready to receive the bolt.

I put the rubber washer on the bolt and carefully inserted it through a sound hole and into the drilled hole in the back, so that the head of the bolt was inside the fiddle.

I then drilled two 3/8″ holes in the slat at 60mm and 90mm from one end and used a fret saw to join the two holes so there was now a 30mm slot in the slat.

pochette - shoulder rest

I then attached it to the fiddle by gently holding the bolt, inserting the wooden slat and then fitting a plain washer and then the spring washer then the wing nut and tightened the slat in place. I then tried the shoulder rest. It was a big improvement, but I wanted more adjustment, so I ran a second slot perpendicular to one end of the slot to provide some lateral adjustment.

pochette - shoulder rest

The principle is simple enough to see from the photos that I felt it didn’t require detailed construction photos.

pochette - shoulder rest

At some later point I may replace the wing nut with a brass knurled finger nut. Let me know what you think of this modification