Shoulder Rest Falls Frequently

May 24, 2008 at 04:17 PM · So I have a Wolf Forte Secondo shoulder rest and it's set pretty high, how I like it and have had it for years. I think my rest is going on 9 years old by now. Recently, the rest started to fall off of my violin more frequently. This happens regardless of lyrical or technical playing, and with a variety of different shirts (I tried to find a pattern and even resorted in changing shirts to see if it was that) I replaced the rubber grips on the feet, and the problem is still here. Does anyone have info on this? I don't want to change brands, but I can't figure out why it keeps falling off.

I highly doubt it is a playing technique issue...I am getting my masters in violin performance and have been playing for about 18 years, nothing in my technique has changed recently and the problem is very new.


Replies (22)

May 24, 2008 at 08:12 PM · I would recommend purchasing new feet. Undoubtedly, you've slightly bent the feet open just enough through years of popping on/off (I'm assuming you don't gently slide the feet off the instrument every time) that now the feet aren't bent enough to hold the instrument anymore.

If that's not the case, it might be that the rest is too tall... sometimes that and added pressure of the head weight can push one side of a foot away from the instrument. (This is very hard to describe in words!)

If you really like your Wolf for a certain reason (like height or contour shape), you might want to try other rests that are similar, but are better suited to your violin. I'm assuming you didn't purchase a new violin... sometimes the bouts of violins vary in widths and if yours is too narrow, then that can cause your shoulder rest to suddenly and inexplicably fall off, too.

May 24, 2008 at 08:51 PM · I think Wolf rests are meant to be bendable. After years of use, maybe you have changed the warp on the bar or the angle of the feet just enough that it is no longer as wide or as spring-loaded as it once was. Sue

May 25, 2008 at 02:44 PM · I used the Wolf Superflexible in school, and it constantly fell off. I had to give up on it. Maybe you could try the Bon Musica? That one seems to stay on quite well.

May 25, 2008 at 03:47 PM · the Comford rests literally CANNOT fall off

May 25, 2008 at 03:49 PM · Just a thought, maybe the violin is trying to wiggle out of the thing...we (women) used to all wear girdles, thank heaven THAT fad passed..

OK, ok, I'm leaving;>)

May 25, 2008 at 05:42 PM · Ross,

I find the same thing happens after only 1 1/2 years' use. It didn't at first. I think it may have something to do with the fact that the rest slides onto the instrument and is then held there by pressure. After a time of constnt pressure, anything will begin to 'give'. At first I turned the screws in somewhat (I also had it on the highest position) which shortened them and for a time, at least, made it taughter. Later I had to repeat. There is another option. There is a screw in the middle with a bent metal rod - by undoing the screw you can adjust the rod, making it shorter or longer. I shortened my daughter's for example for her 3/4 size instrument. Again, that worked for a while, though it is not a permanent solution. It needs to be redone.

May 27, 2008 at 01:21 AM · a new one!

wolf is made in China. here it is only $6.

May 27, 2008 at 04:18 AM · and they will break within a week (the soft pad anyway).

Hi Ron!

May 27, 2008 at 09:18 AM · a week? my prof has had his for something like 5 years!

I no longer use. Flesch CR and foam pad under the shirt is the best combo. Isaac Stern was not wrong about this.

May 27, 2008 at 02:34 PM · I've been using a Comford. It certainly won't come off. Though recently I have been experimenting going without a rest. Seems comfortable enough, I just don't know. I don't have an opionion either way, just that lately I've been trying it without. We'll see.

May 27, 2008 at 07:48 PM · Having the Wolf set to a high position means that the "feet" are long. A small difference in angle at the base of the feet then makes a large difference in width where the feet touch the violin. And the aluminum strip between the feet is flexible, and therefore a constant source of changing angles under the influence of playing.

What puzzles me is how this problem could have taken so long to surface.

Hope this helps,


May 28, 2008 at 01:29 AM · It seems to me as if you have three possibilities. One is that the rest is defective in some sense or worn out. Your luthier can tell you whether that's the problem. Another possibility is that something about your technique is defective and causing the problem. Your teacher can tell you if that's the problem. The third possibility, which you can investigate if neither of the first two turns out to be the problem, is that the rest is not suited to you. At your luthier, you can try a bunch of rests and see if you can find something better. Good luck! I use a PLayonair which falls off frequently just because of the way it is made. I accept that because it is the only one that works for me.

August 8, 2008 at 12:15 PM · Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I had the shoulder rest for years, I did buy a new one and haven't experienced the problem. I guess they really do "go" after so many years.

August 9, 2008 at 10:18 AM · If the shoulder rest falls, leve it there. :)

September 2, 2008 at 09:32 AM · Maybe you should try the Kun shoulder rests. They work for me and they're really comfortable. If you don't want to, then try adjusting the shoulder rest to a lower level.

September 2, 2008 at 10:28 AM · Hi there, i also have the same shoulder rest, and had the same problem a while ago. I found that adjusting the higher leg by the screw, so it comes in a bit (sorry for this appauling description i don't know very much about the parts of shoulder rests) tends to help, as the legs have a habit of becoming a bit splayed after prolonged use. Doing the adjustment i attempted to describe usually works as it gives it a better fit.

Sorry if none of this made sense,


September 2, 2008 at 10:49 AM · And i've just realised the same thing has already been said. Sorry!

September 2, 2008 at 11:59 AM · Take it as a sign that you should get rid of your shoulder rest altogether. The greatest violinists throughout time don't use one.

September 2, 2008 at 01:45 PM · I play on the same type of shoulder rest, and the only thing that I can think of that might be the problem would be that possibly the metal that connects to the feet has become stretched out or bent over the 9 years that you have been playing with it, which may have caused a looser grip on the violin itself. Good luck

September 9, 2008 at 02:36 AM · My teacher showed me a trick that has helped me keep the rest on my violin. I use a strong rubberband around each side of the rest and hook the other end on the bouts of the violin. I never had a probem with slippage after that. You might give that a try. There is not enough pressure to hurt the violin and your piece of mind is the outcome.

September 10, 2008 at 03:56 AM · Switch feet. My wolf did the same thing. The feet on the wolf are spaced too close to each other, and just a little extra pressure from the chin will cause them to pop off.

The KUN legs have a different diameter adn thread, so don't try those. It will strip the inner threads off the WOLF. I used legs from my Via La Musica. Those fit very well.

September 10, 2008 at 07:15 AM · Thank you Marina. That is exactly what I was about to say. You don't need to use a shoulder rest to play well. The problem with the shoulder rest is that a Kun for instance makes violinists tilt their instruments at an angle as opposed to letting the instrument rest flat like a table on the collarbone. The tilted angle of the instrument changes the trajectory of sound, so do the feet of shoulder rests on the ribs which inhibit the vibrations of the instrument. Just for a test, go to a concert hall with a friend. Have your friend sit in the audience and try playing a scale with a shoulder rest then the same scale without. There will be a difference in how the instrument resonates (maybe not as apparent to the player but certainly the audience). I remember a rather well known violinist I know had a student do this very same thing at a masterclass I attended. There was a significant difference in tone quality and projection when the student played the scale without a shoulder rest in comparison to when he used the rest.

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