Wolf Primo vs Secondo

February 9, 2011 at 06:32 PM ·

Yet another shoulder rest topic... :) I've been looking for a new shoulder rest, and have had the Wolf Forte Secondo recommended to me. After doing a little research, I've seen that there are 2 popular Wolf shoulder rests, the Primo and the Secondo. I was wondering, what is the difference between those two, and what has been your experience with them if you've played with them? I play the viola and have a relatively long neck, so are these good shoulder rest options for my situation? Any other advice, comments, or other recommendations would be greatly appreciated as well.


Replies (29)

February 9, 2011 at 07:14 PM ·

The Secondo is more adjustable.  I set it up following the instructions from the Magic Posture website (http://www.magicposture.com/) which also recommends using it in combination with a Teka chinrest.  I think the resulting setup is quite comfortable.

February 9, 2011 at 10:38 PM ·

The first time I put the forte primo on, I knew it was the rest for me. I had tried several different Kuns before that and was never satisfied. The primo fit me like a tailored suit and I'll never go back.

February 9, 2011 at 10:47 PM ·

I've used a Forte Secondo on my violin for years, and love it.  One big difference between it and most all other rests is that you can change the angle of the pad.  The height of the legs is also hugely adjustable.

February 12, 2011 at 01:32 AM ·

 On my viola I use the primo, on the violin I use the secundo.  I love Wolf shoulder rests.  I've been using them for years.  They are highly adjustable, comfortable and, most importantly, they last a very long time.  Wolf actually uses a metal frame which does not crack like the cheaper plastic ones.  The only thing that really wears out over time are the rubber nibs that hook onto the instrument itself.  But you can buy replacement parts that are very easy to put on.

I've even started recommending them to my younger students who have longer necks.  They work great.  Far better than the Kun rests that are usually provided.

September 10, 2016 at 03:41 AM · Not one of these replies has answered the original question. I have tried to find the answer too. My impression is that the only difference between the primo and the secondo is that the primo is fairly straight and the secondo is curved. I am yet to go and check them out.

September 10, 2016 at 03:49 AM · @Anne You do realize this post is from 2011 right? I use the secondo it's very adjustable and "moulds" well around the collarbone. The primo is a bit boxier. Shoulder rests are not a all for one one for all type of product. It all depends on what's comfortable for you and your body geometry. Contact violin dealers in your area. The ones near me had probably 30 different shoulder rests for me to try to find what worked for me. Some people don't necessarily need a shoulder rest though. If you have a private teacher ask for his/her advice on what they think will be good for you. Also ask a violin dealer what shoulder rest they think may suit you best.

September 10, 2016 at 07:58 AM · The curve of the Secondo follows the curve of the collabone, while the straight Primo may not provide stability obtainedby leaning near the centre of the rib-cage.

However, I find that if I stretch the Secondo to fit my viola, its curve is too far the left.

Safety: I have had to replace the rivets after a few years. And if it slips, the various metal parts don't do wonders for the varnish..

Their great advantage is that one can twist the aluminium base: more horizontal at the shoulder end, and more vertical at the chest end. (Otherwise only the Mach One does this, but I find its curves all wrong for my anatomy.)

I use a much carved Teka-style chinrest: a decent lip in the right half to hook comfortably under my chin, and the left end hollowed to allow my delicate jawbone to escape unharmed.

My shoulder rest is alttle further from my collarbone than usual, and my head balances the viola see-saw fashion. No hickey, no tension, no gripping.

September 10, 2016 at 12:38 PM · You just have to try rests to see what really fits you. I recommend first setting up your chin rest so that you can hold the violin between your chin/jaw and your collarbone and then (if you must) select a shoulder rest that allows you to comfortably reach all the strings and play without raising your left shoulder.

My shoulder rest choice for 40 years was a Wolf Secondo without height adjustment (but I tried them all). Now I play without a shoulder rest, as I did for the first 30 years. As well as depending on personal physique one's choice can also be related to the demands of the music one plays, and the demands of the music I now play are less than they once were.

September 10, 2016 at 01:58 PM · Primo is designed for usage in 1st violin section, Secondo for 2nd!

September 11, 2016 at 01:03 PM · And for the viola, or shouldn't I ask?

September 11, 2016 at 01:18 PM · @Adrian the Terzo! ;)

September 11, 2016 at 04:37 PM · Hi Annie,

The ideas exposed by Andrew Victor are important. Since viola has a higher rib than violin, you may try first a higher chinrest without shoulder rest, than a shoulder rest with a 'normal' chinrest.

There's two types of chin rest: the central and left placed. Both can be elevate using small pieces of wood glued at the feet of the chinrest. This can help to determine the height of the chinrest, accordind to your neck lenght.

To fill the eventual gap between viola bottom and your collarbone use a small sponge, like the round Artino.

Without a shoulder rest you can play with your body movements more free and may have less chance to injury yourself.

But you have to try different solutions to see what is better for you. There is no magical solution since there are no identical bodies.

September 12, 2016 at 02:34 PM · Not sure if this helps but I used to use the Wolf Primo and I will say that it didn't move or fall off I think because it's made to fit a 3/4 and 4/4. I use the Pedi Elegante now it's a bit more expensive than a Wolf but I really like it.


September 12, 2016 at 05:53 PM · Have you tried the invisi-rest? Ultralight, guaranteed to fit every violin, and won't fall off, ever!

Cheers Carlo

September 12, 2016 at 06:09 PM · Annie,

check out Viva la Musica Diamond SR for viola. It can get adjusted quite low and has great sound properties. It is also very stable and reliable.

My personal experience is that centered SR works better for viola, especially if you plan not to say in 1st position, but to venture up the fingerboard.

One often forgotten fact is that it is all about SR-CR combination. Either of them (or mismatch between) can drive you toward non-optimal posture, but a good combination can be very helpful.


September 12, 2016 at 06:22 PM · I used an invsi-rest for several years. It never fell off the viola, but continuously slipped off my rather sloping shoulder..

The Diamond that Rocky mentions is less rigid than the Kun Bravo, and grips the back plate less tightly, which is good for tone. But I found it inherently unstable due to the pivots not being parallel and truly opposite.

The violin version is perfect.

September 12, 2016 at 09:22 PM · @Carlo can I see a picture of the invisi-rest? Can't find anything about it online

September 13, 2016 at 12:16 AM · @Bailey. I have included a picture with this message. You may not be able to see it as it is totally transparent and light as air :-)

Cheers Carlo

September 13, 2016 at 02:35 AM · Oh my god I'm an idiot.

September 13, 2016 at 04:45 PM · Don't be harsh on yourself... it is not your fault that Carlo has a strange sense of humor.

September 13, 2016 at 10:48 PM · We can pay for Carlo's in visi-rest with an invisi-credit card; but re-assembling one's instrument frpon the fragments on the floor might just need a very real card! Unless, of course, you wish to support the fiddle with the left hand, which to my mind is like trying to lift the chair you are sitting on..

September 13, 2016 at 10:49 PM · Oops!

September 14, 2016 at 01:46 AM · So, it is not just my children that think I have a strange sense of humour...

Cheers Carlo

September 14, 2016 at 02:03 AM · Violinists and teachers everywhere seem to be split on whether your left hand or chin should support the majority of the violin.

September 14, 2016 at 04:16 AM · The most simple way is with the least equipment. I strongly recommend no rest as the most simple way to support the violin. If a shoulder rest is best way to support a violin, why is it that so many violinists, including myself, end up with at least half a dozen models trying to get comfortable? In my case, I figured out that using a rest was part of the problem, not the solution to being comfortable. Others have chosen another route.

Cheers Carlo

February 20, 2017 at 08:16 AM · I have purchased a Primo and the instructions are vague. Due to its metal frame can it be moulded like the Secundo?

I have also found that the Primo once I remove my viola from my shoulder one side comes away.

I am looking for a solution I have contact Wolfe to yet no avail. Is there a solution bi would appreciate your help. Thank you.

February 20, 2017 at 08:16 AM · I have purchased a Primo and the instructions are vague. Due to its metal frame can it be moulded like the Secundo?

I have also found that the Primo once I remove my viola from my shoulder one side comes away.

I am looking for a solution I have contact Wolfe to yet no avail. Is there a solution bi would appreciate your help. Thank you.

February 20, 2017 at 02:52 PM · It can be molded, tho maybe a bit less than 2ndo. Make sure the feet are clean an a. Bit sticky (nature of the material, but the covers do dry out over time, can be replaced).

I fit my primo to my vla at an odd angle; shoulder side is right next to cr hardware, so I need to make sure it's really snugly fitted or that end comes away too easily. You might want to try shortening the adjustable end a skoch.

February 21, 2017 at 05:39 PM · Sharon I have a (soft) shoelace going from the left screw to the left corner of the back. Works perfectly.

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