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Zlata Brouwer

15 Tips to Stop your Shoulder Rest from Slipping

July 19, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Question: “Hi Zlata, I have got a question as a violin teacher!

Why do Kun and Wolf shoulder rests fall off the violin so often?

Which tip could I give my students to solve this problem lots of violinists have?

Love, Suzanne”

Answer: I would love to help you end this frustration for you and your students.

I will not give you 1 tip, but 15 tips to stop your shoulder rest from slipping off your violin!

Grab a pen and a piece of paper... here they come!

  1. Check if the rubber of the feet isn’t dried out... replace the rubber by new ones, don’t replace your entire shoulder rest!

  2. Check if the feet are not bent to the outside, so they don’t hold the violin or viola... the feet should be bent a little to the inside.

  3. Try different kinds of feet in shoulder rests, for example a Menuhin rest that holds the violin in a different way.

  4. Check the rubber band that prevents the feet from turning on a Wolf rest.

  5. Check the parallelity of the feet.

  6. Put a rubber band around the foot and corner of the violin to avoid on side of the shoulder rest from slipping.

  7. Try different shoulder rests before buying one and see which meets your specific needs.

  8. Don’t buy a shoulder rest online if you don’t know for sure wich one is best for you and (the rim of!) your violin or viola.

  9. Put the shoulder rest firmly on the violin or viola by sliding it down a little.

  10. Adjust the shoulder rest in a proper way, so it doesn’t press itself off your violin in a strange corner.

  11. Check if your shoulder rest is not too wide and falls off. Make sure to buy a shoulder rest that you can adjust as narrow as necessary.

  12. Check the combination with your chin rest. Not all problems can be solved by just the shoulder rest. Your chin rest needs fit perfectly as well.

  13. Have a relaxed violin hold with rest that fits well. Don’t play with too much tension, which causes a lot of pressure on the shoulder rest and forces it off the violin.

  14. Make or adjust a shoulder rest yourself or have it made by an expert if the standard shoulder rests don’t meet your needs.

  15. There are alternatives for shoulder rests: for example a shoulder pad (bought or self made) or nothing at all.

Please apply all of them and let me know if it works!

Do you have more tips to stop your shoulder rest for slipping? Please don't keep them for yourself, but share them with other violinists and violists in the comments below!

Thank you for watching Violin Lounge TV!


Violinist and violin teacher at Violin Lounge

PS: Do you have questions for me on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to

From Jim Hastings
Posted on July 19, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Good points -- thank you.

I currently use Kun rests, which work very well for me. The condition of the rubber on the feet is crucial. Fortunately, replacement feet are easy to order and quite economical.

I find also that orientation of the device across the back of the instrument is important, and it varies from one player to the next. I set mine, as you view the back of the instrument, from SW to NE. This fits well with my particular build.

Proper height adjustment helps the feeling of control. I have a fairly short neck; I set my rest at the lowest level on the shoulder side and about midway on the chest side.

Finally, I like to have a shirt with a slightly scratchy texture. This helps to keep the pad from sliding.

From Inna Langerman
Posted on July 20, 2013 at 5:10 AM
Several years ago I stopped using shoulder rest altogether. However, I noticed my left shoulder going up. As an alternative and to fix the problem, I got a high chin rest. If the chinrest is too rough on the collarbone/neck, one can always use a soft cloth or leather together with it. Can be a good alternative and it actually gave me more freedom when it came to playing.
From Eric Rowe
Posted on July 20, 2013 at 5:39 AM
I would put the last four tips first, starting with 12.
From Corwin Slack
Posted on July 20, 2013 at 2:01 PM
Number 15 last clause solves all SR problems.
From Jim Hastings
Posted on July 20, 2013 at 7:51 PM
"Number 15 last clause solves all SR problems."

Maybe for you but not necessarily for all of us. I began restless and continued that way for a number of years -- till my late teens, in fact. I can play either way, but I prefer playing with the device to playing without it. And I'll stand up for anyone who prefers playing without -- like this kid in the UT String Project.

From Paul Deck
Posted on July 20, 2013 at 9:53 PM
There's almost always a way to secure your sr with one or two rubber bands.
From Zlata Brouwer
Posted on July 21, 2013 at 9:29 AM
I think my blog post has unleashed a little shoulder rest discussion on to use it or not to use it...

Everybody and every body is different, so the individual needs are different. Also the playing style is different. Depending on your body, your movement and your playing style, you can experiment and decide wether or not to use a shoulder rest.

I think there is no solution that fits everybody. Some people get very nasty injuries from letting someone else decide what they should use. Everybody needs to try and decide for him/herself.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on July 23, 2013 at 6:49 PM
You can get a Menuhin style rest and never have to worry about the problem again.

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