Second chance for shoulder rest.

August 25, 2016 at 09:37 AM · I bought my first shoulder rest (Kun) when they were still a novelty. I was not impressed.

Recently I figured I would give it a fair trial (Forte Primo) to either change my mind or banish the SR forever.

I DID finally rescue the SR. It is great. HOWEVER, it took me 2 INTENSE days to find the right installation angle, etc.

That adjustment I found to be critical to 1/8" and 1/4" was a disaster.

I am also finding that my chin rests are VERY fussy about placement.

Being that the SR won't fit in the case, I have little black dots on the violin to simplify on/off installation.

None of these refinements have made me into a virtuoso as the ads promised.

Replies (33)

August 25, 2016 at 12:25 PM · Yes. SRs can be fussy about placement. But that also somewhat depends on how fussy you are, and it depends on whether your chin rest is the kind with high features that direct your violin toward a specific angle relative to your jaw, or whether it is the kind that allows you to do whatever you want. My daughter has a Berber chin rest and we found it useful to make a little pencil mark on the rib of her violin so that she can line up her SR the same way every time without any fuss. (The value of the violin was decreased from two million dollars to $1,999,990 by doing that, we do realize.)

August 25, 2016 at 12:34 PM · I vary the placement and height a little according to what I am wearing (turtle-neck, tuxedo etc.) If I want a small change in violin angles, pressure points etc, I move the CR and SR together.

August 25, 2016 at 02:41 PM · Darlene, Only 2 intense days to adjust your SR? You were very lucky!

It took me three different shoulder rests and months to get it adjusted right, and I still fiddle around with the height.

August 25, 2016 at 03:42 PM · Erin, I have a secret method to attach anything where it should be. The correct position is where the physical position is most comfortable AND that position coincides with the position where the violin will be during actual playing. The scroll can be used as a good "flag" about what is going on.

Paul, during all my time on Vcom, I have never actually heard someone say "towards a specific angle". I happen to be fanatic about that. My new SR installation is not only seamless and comfortable, it is exactly where it should be

August 25, 2016 at 04:01 PM · The third chance is not to use one, unless there are exceptional circumstances. So, no months of trying out new designs and trying to get the adjustments right, therefore less expensive and stressful (I know, I was there years ago).

Btw, Darlene, your secret method is now no longer secret :)

August 25, 2016 at 06:03 PM · Like Darlene I like the Forte Primo, which I can bend and above all twist to suit my anatomy. But if it slips won't it do,nasty things to the varnish, with all those metal bits?

August 25, 2016 at 06:30 PM · Trevor,

I have not revealed some additional details so the secret is safe. I can add that most modern chin rests are designed (by traditional) for small people but that is all I'll say.

August 25, 2016 at 06:44 PM · Most chinrests are designed for chimpanzees. I have always had to carve mine into obedience.

August 25, 2016 at 07:01 PM · The invisi-rest fits into every violin case. This is guaranteed, or a full refund of DOUBLE the purchase price.

Cheers Carlo

August 25, 2016 at 07:21 PM · @Carlo: I already got one one (for free)...


August 25, 2016 at 07:32 PM · Adrian,

I know we can only generalize, but tell me if your custom chin rests use a lot of hills and valleys to closely match your chin/jaw or would you say they are more in the flatter category?

Do you play with the back of the violin touching your neck?

August 25, 2016 at 07:44 PM · I'll have to say that sometimes my SR falls off of my violin while playing, and often I learned to just keep going without it. I often feel so much "free" playing without one.

However, already soaking up the SR sponge with my sweat, I don't like what it has been doing to the varnish. Also, I feel somewhat insecure. It feels like moving on from Tricycle in a way, except I am quite comfortable with with or without shoulder rest, I just have a terrible reminder of dropping a violin a long time ago.

August 25, 2016 at 08:09 PM · The invisi-rest is also guaranteed to NEVER fall off the violin. I am so sure this will never happen, that I will personally put up my Amati as surety...

Cheers Carlo

August 25, 2016 at 08:15 PM · Frankly, my main reason for considering a SR is to reduce risks of dropping but I also like the increased (for me) freedom for the left hand with the SR.

However, I think I have been able to conceptualize my approach so installation/adjustment of all the hardware has not slowed me down.

Carlo Can you please post a link for me? I never saw your rest? (and it doesn't surf either ?)

August 25, 2016 at 09:10 PM · Carlo, I'm giggling.

August 25, 2016 at 09:20 PM · Darlene, my high, "ex-Teka" (left-mounted) CR is very sculpted:

- much hollowed behind the ridge which then hooks under my chin without any tension;

- the ridge is completely removed further left to alow my delicate jawbone to "escape".

BTW my neck is long, my shoulders slope, my fingers are short, but apart from all that I'm fairly normal..

Apart from playing viola......

August 25, 2016 at 09:36 PM · The problem with the Invisa-rest is that it is always getting lost!

August 25, 2016 at 10:16 PM · SR

Adrian. Thanks for info. I am fascinated by general posts about accessories because of the emotion and the abstract "arguments" but you seem to be in control. My previous general purpose CR has been a Teka at times. Worked pretty well without any modification but I have since decided on a different approach.

August 26, 2016 at 03:18 AM · @Craig. I never loose my invisi-rest as I leave it on the violin when I put it in the case. You could always try this.

@Darlene. It is no good sending a link to the invisi-rest web sight because as the rest is invisible, there is nothing to see...

@Adrian. Definition of an oxymoron... normal but play viola!

Cheers Carlo

August 26, 2016 at 08:12 AM ·

August 26, 2016 at 08:13 AM · Sorry for the multiple posts I was trying to put a picture of the invisi-rest on this post but I wasn't successful.

Cheers Carlo

August 26, 2016 at 08:17 AM · Yes you were successful

I can see it right there!

August 26, 2016 at 08:50 PM · Question Carlo, why does my violin have an invisi-rest? I never subscribed for one!

August 26, 2016 at 10:10 PM · Oh, and Darlene, my violin doesn't necessarily have to touch my neck, or collarbone, for that matter.

August 26, 2016 at 10:24 PM · @Steven. Be careful there are Chinese copies out there. Make sure yours is the original. I don't want to get into a discussion as to whether the Chinese invisi-rests are as good, but I don't think we should be taking advantage of the lowly paid Chinese workers in this way.

Cheers Carlo

August 26, 2016 at 10:37 PM · My invisi-rest was carved for me by a retired forester from a remote woodland in Wales. He was quite happy with a pint of good Welsh beer, which inspired him to pick up and play his crwth (which doesn't need a SR but is tuned to A432).

August 27, 2016 at 12:43 AM · There once was a man from Wales

Who made a living from Invisirest sales

He lost all his stock

Which came as no shock

Now he spends all his time drinking ales

August 27, 2016 at 01:27 AM · Nice one. Da iawn!

August 27, 2016 at 03:17 AM · I've played violin without a shoulder rest for years now, but that just changed today. I purchased a "Belvelin" rest that SHAR has been advertising in pop-up ads on this site, and I'm finding that it's great. I still rest my violin on my collarbone, while the Belvelin rest allows just enough support from my shoulder to provide a gentle supplement. I've had it for one day now, and it's all but disappeared from my senses, which is to say that I don't even notice it being there, but it's proving very effective. I still feel the freedom of violin movement that playing restless yields.

The rest is featherlight, infinitely positionable, and stays in place. It's made from closed cell foam that doesn't compress like similar products. A simple idea someone should have thought of a long time ago.

On their website and in their paper catalog SHAR kind of prods readers to consider the smallest size, regardless of how large you or your violin are. I did that and I'm certain that it was the right choice.

The most important thing for me is that I can still rest my violin on my collarbone, as I think it should be done. The Belvelin is a perfect shoulder rest for people who'd rather not use one. I'd recommend that you try it.

August 27, 2016 at 04:50 AM · @Trevor. I've never tried a Welsh invisi-rest. I prefer old Italian but this is the new golden age of making...

@Mark. With respect, the invisi-rest is the perfect shoulder rest for people who don't want use one. Never falls off, you can't forget it or loose it, no rubber feet or rubber bands, it never wears out, it's completely weightless, doesn't scatch or mark the varnish, doesn't impede vibration, there is an uninterrupted view of the back of the fiddle, the bow is at the right hight, one size fits all, and takes up no space in your case.

Cheers Carlo

August 27, 2016 at 05:05 AM · Thank you Carlo. I just knew you were going to say that, and I have huge respect for your opinion. But for now I'm going to engage in apostasy from restlessness. I hope that I can find redemption at some later date, if/when I learn to see the folly in my path.

August 27, 2016 at 05:46 AM · So, Darlene; does "second chance" mean "last chance"?

That's what happened to me.

Tried SR--gave me bad pain in the neck

Ditched it.

Gave it a second chance a year or so later.

Thought I had "figured it out" with some new adjustments and position on my shoulder. I was in love!

Then I realized that after a little while it felt very restrictive and stiffness was creeping back into my neck and shoulder.

Threw that thing in the garbage so as not to be fooled again, and came up with my own solution.

August 27, 2016 at 12:08 PM · Own solutions may work.

Experience (old age) and curiosity have allowed me to conceptualize the whole SR and CR circus. I have been able to establish tangible guidelines for achieving a really good fit.

I think that SR or not is really a matter of the purpose. Freedom may be more artistic but SR is less likely to launch.

It will take some time to learn to play "uphill" with the SR.

Whatever, now having a game plan, I am much better off.


I did that a few years ago with a few grades of foam. Maybe useful to some but little red cosmetic sponge also useful.

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