Is the shoulder rest meant to also touch one's chest?

August 18, 2017, 10:00 PM · I currently use a Kun rest for stability and comfort so that I only have to lightly support the violin with my left hand. However, I see many people setting the right end of the shoulder rest high so that the right end touches their chest below the collarbone, presumably allowing them to fully support the violin without the use of the left hand. Any thoughts?

Replies (12)

Edited: August 19, 2017, 12:22 AM · Yes. The left end somwhere on the shoulder to keep the violin up, and the right end on the chest to stop it swivelling to the right.

But we are all different, unlike the violin itself.

August 19, 2017, 4:35 AM · Depends on the rest and the chest in question.

My Kun is more of a chestrest - the only part that is actually touching my shoulder is the left 1/4th, but that's on Viola and it's a tiny bit different.

What it comes down to is what is comfortable for you, what gives you good form, and what your teacher thinks. Like Adrian said, anatomy varies between people to a significant degree.

August 20, 2017, 10:07 AM · But Heifetz didn't use one hehehehehe..
August 20, 2017, 1:35 PM · Watch out Bryce - soon the rest-less people will come out and preach the gospel of the Invisi-Rest. It does not touch the chest or the shoulder. It does not even touch the violin!
August 20, 2017, 8:59 PM · BLASPHEMY lol jokes.
August 21, 2017, 1:44 PM · My shoulder rest sits similarly to what Adrian and Michael described. I used to use it differently, but my teacher had me change the setup/height/etc and it's made a positive difference in my playing form.
August 22, 2017, 6:30 AM · When I first started, I threw the violin on my shoulder without a rest and found a position that was comfortable and natural for left and right arms, and had the bow move parallel to the bridge when playing in the middle of the bow.

I then adjusted a shoulder rest to put the violin in that general position. The lower part of the should rest does rest on my chest a few inches below the collar bone. Your mileage may vary.

August 22, 2017, 2:12 PM · I think the idea behind the Kun type SR design is to keep the violin securely in essentially once place and to hold it a little more horizontal. Depending on your physique and how much security you need, what you feel might be a little different. But you're right, what you see is very common.
Edited: August 22, 2017, 4:27 PM · I bought one of these:

https://www.sharmusic.com/Accessories/Shoulder-Rests/AcoustaGrip-Concert-Master-Shoulder-Rest---for-Violin-or-Viola---fits-4-4-1-2-Violin-or-Med-Large-Viola.axd

a couple of years ago, but did not have much use for it - so it is not everyone's "cup of tea" - until yesterday, when I refitted a new "sticky pad" to it and tried it again. It is so adjustable that you can have it touch you anywhere you want. I will carry it in my double (violin/viola) case and use it on either instrument with no size adjustment.

An added bonus I noted this time is that it actually seems to enhance the tone - not just when under my mandible, but also when I play the instruments in cello position.

Even when using a shoulder rest I think it is important to hold the violin between the mandible and the collar bone - so the design, position, and height of the chinrest one uses is of great importance. I don't think someone should expect a shoulder rest to compensate for the "wrong" chin rest.

I learned to support my violin between my collarbone and mandible when I was a little kid - because I saw adults do it - decades before I ever saw shoulder rest. I think it depends on how your body is built and how comfortable you are with the required contortions.

August 22, 2017, 4:49 PM · I plan on getting an AcoustaGrip next month. It just looks so darn comfy, I've got to try it.
August 22, 2017, 4:51 PM · Comfort is one thing, but squishy is to be avoided.
Edited: August 23, 2017, 6:25 AM · I suggest removing both rests, going to a mirror and see what's missing.

With my short fingers, to vibrate freely with my pinky on the lowest string, I play with a "tilt" of 45° on viola, and 30° on violin.

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