The Story of its InventionAlbert Stern, the concert violin soloist who invented the AcoustaGrip most revolutionary and amazing violin and Viola shoulder-rests and CELLO pads, has a charming story behind his patented violin shoulder-rests and CELLO pads.
Albert was a graduate student of Ivan Galamian at Juilliard and in summers he attended Galamian’s Meadowmount summer camp and assisted Dorothy DeLay teaching.
On a visit from his close friend Michael Rabin one night at Meadowmount he had an epiphany. Albert was housed at one of Meadowmount’s dorms located in an old school house adjacent to a large field. At that visit Michael commented about the “traditional gripping,” vice like shoulder-rest Albert was using.
He slyly asked Albert to remove it from his violin so he could examine it to see it better. Michael then took the shoulder rest, ran out of the building and hurled it into the fields. He then said, “No violinist should ever use those type of crutches… they ruin your sound and technique as they do not give you the freedom to move and adjust your position.” Michael added, “just use a small pad or rolled up washcloth.”
Albert was frantic and replied, “How could you do that to me my friend Michael, I have a lesson with Galamian tomorrow morning and I will not be able to play without my shoulder rest I am so used to!” Albert practiced a few hours that night with a wash cloth and by the next day he was able rid himself of “the crutch habit”. He saw the benefits but was annoyed that these cloths would fall off his shoulder at performances etc.
Albert finally found a way of combining “Acoustical Enhancing Materials” and bonding them with a unique layer of micro suction cups, shielded with a thin harmless film. In spite of many difficulties in development and eventual manufacture he created the handcrafted AcoustaGrip violin/viola shoulder rests and more recently the AcoustaGrip CELLO pads.
Through the years Mr. Stern tried many ways to have the pads not fall off the violin or become unruly, even rubber bands etc. but nothing was satisfactory and he was most concerned that glues or adhesives would harm the varnish of his instruments.
(Note: Mr. Stern has always been lent or owned many fine instruments including the Stretton Guarnari del Gesu which he sold to Elmar Olivera, the Molitar/Napoleon 1697 Stradivarious which sold in 2010 by Tarisio, for the highest price ever paid at auction for “any musical instrument” (bought by Ann Akiko Meyers). He owned and performed on another great sounding instrument, the ex DeLay 1778 JB Guadanini (Turin) and perhaps his favorite violin for solo performance now is a brilliant violin in immaculate condition by the Turin master of the 1800s a perfect, ruby red 1727 Pressenda.