I need a comfortable shoulder rest!

May 19, 2007 at 08:34 PM · I use a Kun colapsable shoulder rest. But lately i've been having problems with it. it pierces into my chest [that's where i have my violin hickey] so sometimes i get ache attaks in my chest,[when not playing] and it's uncomfortable while playing. i have been using the same rest for about one year now. And now my puppy tried to chew it so i'm definetly looking for a new rest. do you have any suggestions on a good and comfortable shoulder rest.

Replies (28)

May 19, 2007 at 08:51 PM · Have you tried a Bonmusica or a Comford Cradle? Those are my favorites and very comfortable!

May 20, 2007 at 03:40 AM · I tried the Bonmusica on a friend's viola...it felt great, but I didn't play with it very long.

I found switching to a Wolf to be a nice and much more comfortable change from Kun. I used to love Kun, but then I began noticing the discomfort, pain, and lack of stability. I'm just too bony-shouldered to be able to deal with a rigid rest like a Kun.

May 20, 2007 at 07:22 AM · Sarah,

That's the same problem I had with shoulder rests. Mach one is interesting because the right side (the one that sticks into your chest) is rounded. It's got a rather unique shape though, so definitely try one out and see if it suits you before you buy.

May 20, 2007 at 12:08 PM · I use a Mach One and love it. My actual reason for switching was because the inside of the Kun feet were digging into my instrument's back. The Mach One really opens up the sound, probably because of the feet style (they clamp around the thickness of the back plate, not he side, so theres no horizonal pressure on the plate, i think this allows for more true vibrations), and also because its made of wood. Definately try one out.


May 20, 2007 at 05:59 PM · I just got back from the music store - tried out the Mach One for about half an hour but was indecisive so I didn't get it. The Mach One felt harder on my shoulder than my current Kun and I'm concerned that after 2 or 3 hours of playing I'll be sore from the Mach One. Any Mach One users have any words of wisdom?



May 20, 2007 at 06:35 PM · I have been using the wood Mach (with Kun feet for height) for awhile. The edge on the chinrest side is cut at a sharp angle, so I rubberbanded one of those round pink makeup sponges on it. No problems now.

If any shoulder rest is digging into you, maybe it is time to check and make sure that you are not squeezing...

Good luck!

May 20, 2007 at 06:59 PM · Anne, I've got a similar solution right now - some of that insulation foam that goes under the carpet does the same trick. I'm planning to stop by a hardware store and pick up something more appropriate, but the padding does solve the problem.

May 20, 2007 at 07:57 PM · bonmusica is god

May 22, 2007 at 11:33 AM · I ordered a Mach one shoulder rest, because i loved the design, ha ha... i hope it was a wise choise.

May 23, 2007 at 03:42 PM · I got rid of mine completely so now I rest the violin on my collarbone (not the shoulder) and balance it with my left thumb and it's the best thing I did. I've no intention of going back. I believe it's the way violinists played before the shoulder rest was invented. I have a long neck, but it works fine although it does take time and patience to get used to. Not having a shoulder rest is just one less thing to have to adjust. At first it's rather wobbly but you get used to it. :-)

May 23, 2007 at 07:34 PM · I've always advocated for a shoulder rest until I started challenging myself with Paganini's bloomin' stretches--they're cruel and unusual punishment and the KUN just gave me too much violin to reach around. I took a kitchen sponge and put it under my shirt. Voila--my clavicle doesn't hurt and I can hold the fiddle without being compromised by pain or slippage. just my 2 cents.

Mu teacher Bill Wolcott told me that his teacher Fodor used to point to the huge callous he had developed on his collarbone as a sign of pride--look what I suffered through. I've heard of suffering for your art but that's a bit too 18th century for me!

May 23, 2007 at 08:02 PM · I tried my friends Comford Shoulder Cradle a couple years ago, completely dissatisfied with my Kun, and I absolutely loved it. I bought the Gold Comford the next day and have had it since. It is a little on the heavier side, but it provides INCREDIBLE comfort. Playing with it the first time was a little awkward, because it is so high (i have a big neck), i was playing at an angle I wasn't used to. But thankfully, once I did feel comfortable, after about two days, I noticed I began shifting with more ease and relaxation. I really really love it. It has been one of my best investments. Also, it doesn't at all dampen my sound, I know some people have that worry because of its weight - but I assure you - it is remarkable in terms of comfortability.

May 24, 2007 at 05:05 AM · i actually had the same trouble - i've had a kun all my life and always struggled with neck, shoulder and even back pain which has gotten worse as i've grown older. a few months ago i switched to a wolf forte secundo and i love it - it's really helped the pain a lot. i've heard great things about the mach one but if it's too hard i'd go with the wolf - it's extremely comfortable, especially on the shoulder.

May 24, 2007 at 05:14 PM · " I believe it's the way violinists played before the shoulder rest was invented. "

Not a good reason: the modern violinist must do things never imagined by musicians 500+ years ago, and they were held differently anyway.

The real problem here is her puppy.

May 24, 2007 at 07:08 PM · Find a teacher like me, who has a collection you can try out (and borrow). Pay attention to your chinrest,too. The two really are a set as far as support and comfort. Sue

May 24, 2007 at 07:41 PM · I think that in most cases rigid shoulder rests are just not the answer. Everyone is trying to fine tune what is the wrong solution in the first place.

I think the first issue is to learn how to properly hold the instrument. The second concern is a proper and well fitting chin rest. The last concern is some padding or perhaps a rigid rest depending on the player.

May 24, 2007 at 10:14 PM · "I use a Kun colapsable shoulder rest. But lately i've been having problems with it. it pierces into my chest [that's where i have my violin hickey] so sometimes i get ache attaks in my chest,[when not playing] and it's uncomfortable while playing. i have been using the same rest for about one year now. And now my puppy tried to chew it so i'm definetly looking for a new rest. do you have any suggestions on a good and comfortable shoulder rest. "

Did you ever try playing without a rest? That way you can give your pup something to chew on :) In all seriousness it might be an interesting experiment, the overtones are great without a rest, you won't have a violin mark on your neck either. I don't have one, everyone that uses a rest has one.

May 26, 2007 at 04:54 PM · bonmusica! the initial problem I had with it was that i had a bit of pain in the left shoulder/arm. that was gone soon enough and I play using this rest for the last 2 years and many of my friends switched to it after i let them try it. main point it keeps the fiddle more or less in one place. it allows you to relax the left thumb totally. strongly advise in favour of this gadget.

May 27, 2007 at 01:22 PM · Nate, i used to play without a shoulder rest when i first started, but it was more difficult. sometimes i try but it's a struggle. the rest doesn't give me a mark on the neck only on the collar bone, eh, but it's a mark.

I just got the mach one, it feels nice to hold, it's so small and weightless. but i need to check the setting a bit cus my shoulder started hurting after a while and i also managed to press the rest off the violin twice yesterday during a performance, and that really shouldn't happen while you play.

May 27, 2007 at 02:01 PM · Patient: "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."

Doctor: "Don't do that!"

It's a very old, corny joke, but relevant here. I have an approach to playing w.o. a stiff shoulder rest attachment. Maybe it will work for you. Visit my website - http://rkviolin.com

Click on "writings", then "fundamentals of holding the violin". Good luck!

P.S. Do take lessons!

May 27, 2007 at 03:11 PM · Raphael - I am sure I am not reading it right. I read your writing a few times in an effort to help my daughter go restless. She learned to play violin without a rest, she did well with shifting, but her vibrato and posture was a constant problem. She is now using a rest and her posture looks great and vibrato passable but her sound is suffering. Do you have any specific suggestion what to try to go restless without affecting vibrato? Her teacher uses a rest and can't help her there. Her posture is now good with or without a rest. Thanks.


May 27, 2007 at 06:28 PM · Thanks for trying! Of course, there is no substitute for a demonstration in person, and subsequent coaching. Also, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I hope to add a few photos eventually. My approach in this regard, is closely based on what Aaron Rosand taught me (and so many others). There are a number of interlocking aspects to this approach, including having the elbow well under the violin, and the hand well over the fingerboard. This ought to free-up the vibrato, rather than hinder it. Now when you talk of poor posture - in what way was your daughter's posture poor? Was she slouching? Was she jutting her shoulder up? None of these things ought to happen, with or without a shoulder rest. But anyway, you say it got better.

The body of the sound comes from the bow. To me, sound from the bow is like the body of the violin, and the vibrato is like the varnish. You may have noticed that I have a whole section on the bow. Here, too, I feel that you get a better and more natural contact of the bow to the violin when you don't use the type of big, stiff rest that pretty much locks you into one angle. You also get a much more intimate connection with the violin that way. The violin feels like it's almost floating, yet it's secure. It's almost like the difference between riding a bike with or w.o. training wheels. Both the training-less and rest-less approach need the right direction and practice. But it's very freeing when you get it.

May 30, 2007 at 09:31 PM · Can the Comfort Cradle fit into the end compartment on a standard oblong case? It looks awfully big; does it fold up at all?

May 31, 2007 at 01:26 AM · No the conford rest does not fold up. I wish it did.I have one and love it. I put it in the music compartment, it is quite heavy though but you get over that in a short time. But it holds my violin nicely on my shoulder. I never have a slipping problem. I had a Kun and it also gave me a sore spot and slide off while playing.



June 6, 2007 at 02:06 PM · Probably you should use a Wolf shoulder rest (they are the best) and to not press to much the violin on your chest.

June 6, 2007 at 05:51 PM · I don't wish for a "shoulder rest vs no shoulder rest" war redux, but I strongly urge at least trying to play restless. It is a more natural setup and allows the violinist to position his left elbow correctly (far under the violin).



June 6, 2007 at 06:26 PM · I have broad shoulders and high neck.

I have tried every shoulder rest on the market! None give me comfort - they all have limitations. I was better off without a s/rest.

Then, I changed violins. Then nothing worked: with or without a s/rest.

What did provide a difference was a new chin rest. More comfort under the chin and by neck. But the violin kept moving around during play.

So, back to a s/rest. The only s/rest that seems to work best is a Mucco, which is a plastic one with high foam. Still not a perfect combo, but workable. At least now I have no more hickey, so some benefit.

good luck!

June 7, 2007 at 02:16 PM · I like the old "Menuhin" shoulder rests, especially as they don't grip and therefore damage the violin (or at least the varnish) like Kun and Wolf. And yet they stay on better.

Unfortunately they seem to have gone out of production. They couldn't have been too bad if the great Yehudi allowed his name to be used for them.

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