Best Shoulder Rest?

January 5, 2016 at 04:10 PM · What is the best shoulder rest for your health?

Replies (37)

January 5, 2016 at 05:05 PM · The one that fits you! Shoulder rests aren't one size, shape fits all. We all have different bodies, which commend different shoulder rests (if any), hence the wide variety of devices/methods. Then there's the whole debate about how it affects sound, but that's another discussion.

I have a rather long neck with approx.. 4 1/2in between collarbone and chin, hence was using a tall shoulder rest setup initially, but I found over time that a short shoulder rest, combined with a tall Chin Rest rather, provided for a much more comfortable setup, removing the tension in my shoulder by lowering my elbows, which improved my tone production literally overnight!

January 5, 2016 at 05:17 PM · And I don't use one at all! I find they put me in weird, painful positions.

I do use a sponge to protect my collar bone though...

(...and away we go! ;) )

January 5, 2016 at 05:44 PM · The first true SR thread of the year! Oh, it sure is good to be alive, isn't it?

I don't use a shoulder rest either. I use PolyPads which are contoured pieces of foam (available from Johnson String but curiously not available from Shar as far as I know).

Now, the interesting thing there is that I have acquired a viola. With the viola I find that I really just need the small piece of padding to protect my collar bone, which is rather sensitive, and even then it's just a bit straining to fit the instrument between there, so I'm looking for a thinner/denser padding material. I found after playing the viola for a while that when I switch back to the violin I need more than I did before or it just feels too low. But the Kun is just too high for me, so I've got blocks of foam that I'm carving up trying to find just the right fit.

On the other hand, I sure do wish that my childhood violin teacher had let me use a shoulder rest. Practicing was painful. The chin rest hardware dug into my collar bone. That's how I ended up with a spur on my collar bone, and it's why I need the padding now.

January 5, 2016 at 05:48 PM · A teacher at my school is in favor of raising your chinrest and making the shoulder rest smaller/use a sponge/use a cloth or nothing. This way the violin while you are playing it is lower and closer to your shoulder, which makes it easier to play (like Roger St-Pierre said), but you're still not having to squeeze a lot with your neck/shoulder, which causes pain all over the place. One way to do this is to add cork under your chinrest, but you can also get chinrests specially made to be higher.

I managed to add cork under my chinrest so that it's higher but will still fit in my tiny case, and then I use "the perfect shoulder rest" sponge and two of those round red makeup sponges. Unfortunately the sponge (and possibly the cork) dampens the sound so I'd love input on an alternative but my issue is that my shoulders are really narrow so I'd need the shoulder rest to be right at the end of the violin under the chinrest.

January 5, 2016 at 06:05 PM · I play viola and use a Kun Shoulder rest, but recently its been feeling too tense, I'm trying to find a solution, since my back has been in pain since I felt this tension

January 5, 2016 at 06:27 PM · When the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (ASMF) was founded in 1958 by its first conductor Neville Marriner (he wasn't a Sir then) one of his first acts was to ban the use of the shoulder rest in his orchestra. In 1958 the shoulder rest was a fairly recent invention that was being taken up enthusiastically by many teachers, some of them influential, and I would guess that Marriner, himself a violinist, did not wish to encourage its uptake, perhaps because the weight and clamping effect of a shoulder rest do have some effect on the tone, and this would have been an important consideration for the ASMF.

A similar argument could be put forward in respect of the chin rest (invented c. 1820 by Louis Spohr), but that is a different story I may return to in the future.

January 5, 2016 at 06:45 PM · As soon as someone mentions "Heffietz", we all have to drink!


January 5, 2016 at 08:03 PM · The Wolf forte primo is very adjustable so is a good candidate.

Yours Truly, Heffietz

January 5, 2016 at 08:45 PM ·

January 5, 2016 at 08:53 PM · I have 2 Viva rests, one for each fiddle. They have side to side swivels on the bottom and top clamps, but I keep them on the center settings. I find they are a bit higher than Kun and they let more sound thru than Kun. I definitely believe that the type of both the chin & shoulder rest can change the sound.

For the chin rest I prefer a mount on each side of the tail piece with the wood going over the bass side. But, my German will not tolerate this kind of rest, turns it harsher, and thinner on the treble side, so I hafta use a side mount on it. With my China, sounds fine with the other rest and is more comfortable.

January 5, 2016 at 11:07 PM · The Forte Primo is made of aluminium and can be bent and twisted as needed. Personally, I need the wide end to be flat on the curly end of the collarbone for support; and the rest of it to follow round in front of the collarbone for stability. hence the twist.

However, I had one of the rivets break, and the failing SR scrathed my fiddle, so I changed to a plasic Kun rest.

January 5, 2016 at 11:17 PM · After writing my previous post, I decided once again to try my Kun and strangely it seems okay now. It's as if the cursed viola stretched my neck! LOL

What do we drink if someone says Heffietz (sic)? Hefeweizen?

January 6, 2016 at 02:58 PM · Hi Alexi-I'm currently using the Pedi "Elegante" the feet have minimal contact with the instrument and they don't slip. The Pedi shoulder rest is made of titanium and carbon fiber so it's strong and lightweight. I have the feet on the lowest setting since I have broad shoulders and not a very long neck.I've also used the Wolf Forte Primo in the past it's a sturdy rest and the feet don't slip but it is a bit bulkier than the Pedi. Good luck with your search! -M

January 6, 2016 at 04:45 PM · Laurie I believe took this video of Eugene Fodor. I really like what he had to say here on this issue. He breaks down the actual positioning of the violin in just a few words.

January 6, 2016 at 04:48 PM · Thank you Maurice, is the Pedi shoulder rest adjustable, I have a fairly long neck (5 inches) if it were, it would be such a pleasure

January 6, 2016 at 05:35 PM · Hi-Yes, it is adjustable. -M

January 6, 2016 at 08:36 PM · Eudene Fordor is right, of course, we don't use a shoulder rest to compensate for a long neck, but for sloping shoulders....

January 6, 2016 at 09:11 PM · Long neck should be compensated by a taller chinrest, NOT a taller shoulder rest.

January 6, 2016 at 11:04 PM · Excuse me, folks. The person who posted the question is a VIOLIST. While, as a violist, I agree with the first response, i.e., the best rest is whatever is comfortable, the violinists among you, it seems to me, may not be in the best position to respond. It is not clear to me that the considerations are quite the same for violinists and violists.

January 7, 2016 at 01:56 AM · Eugene Fordor claims in that video that the violin + chinrest = 4" approx., which is very far from the reality on violins (violas perhaps a bit closer to that). The average would be more like 2 1/4" (just measured my instrument!). I have a very, and un-usually tall chinrest (Kr├ęddle chinrest @ max height), which brings the combo to 3", still 1 1/2" too short for me. I guess I'm a giraffe like he says!

January 7, 2016 at 05:54 PM · Collarbones, jawbones and shoulders are as varied as noses.

January 8, 2016 at 10:43 PM · I think that varies Roger depending on height of your chinrest model. The top of my chinrest to the back of my violin is around 3.5 inches. I'm about 6'0 and it doesn't bother me to play restless.

January 9, 2016 at 12:53 AM · Not to be a smart aleck, but asking which shoulder rest is best for your health is like asking what shoe fits the best, or what size pants you should get.

January 9, 2016 at 01:41 AM · But of course the correct answer is "shoeless" and "no pants," (to be a smart eugene.)

January 9, 2016 at 03:05 AM · Surely, to write "Heffietz" you must have been drinking in the first place?

January 9, 2016 at 12:08 PM · Tom is right: few of us can treat the viola as simply a bigger violin. For one thing, in orchestral works we often have to grumble about on the lower strings for hours on end, with a decent enough vibrato (even on the fourth finger) to avoid the usual viola jokes.

August 7, 2016 at 09:36 AM · Hi , guys!!

I just got my new shoulder rest and it is really nice.

1. it is not mutulise the sound of violin

2. it is not damage the instruments

3. it has plastic cups which I actually are very easy to stick!! No mess, no damaged!!!


how to insert the photo?

August 7, 2016 at 12:28 PM · In my opinion, the invisi-rest is best!

Cheers Carlo

August 7, 2016 at 01:20 PM · Where is Krisztian when we need him?

August 7, 2016 at 01:38 PM · The best shoulder rest is the one that fits you best, gives you the most freedom, and gives your instrument the most security. It takes many trials to find your ideal shoulder rest; try them all before you decide. If you don't have a shop nearby that stocks them all, beg your friends to let you try their shoulder rest; see Hilary Hahn's Youtube on the subject.

August 7, 2016 at 04:38 PM · Somebody may have invented an invisirest type device:

August 7, 2016 at 04:40 PM · Whoops

August 7, 2016 at 08:05 PM · Seraphim, I used Craig's technique for a few years on my viola. But my thumb seems longer than his, and perching the viola neck in the thumb's pad like this makes my fingers' base joints lie below the string level. On the other hand my thumb and joint shape do not allow me to use its lower part to support the neck without contact with the index's base joint, which in turn hampers shifting and vibrato,(both of which I want wider on the viola..) So, after trying a few small pads, I returned the the DSR (dreaded shoulder rest)!

I seem to be the only V-commer, apart from Charles Cook, who describes balancing the violin or viola on the shoulder-rest, which I attach a little further away from the collar-bone the most folk. No gripping, just the weight of my head. This never stops me from lifting or swivelling the instrument with my left hand, or moving my shoulder or head.

I use a customised Teka-style chinrest an a soon-to-be customized Kun Bravo.

November 7, 2016 at 06:55 AM · I use a Peter Voight medium shoulder rest have done since I was 14 ( 44 yrs). They are not for everyone but once you have used one and like it there is nothing else that works.

I also have an extremely rare Peter Voight chin rest which goes in perfect harmony with the shoulder rest.

I have tried many different shoulder rests and nothing works for me as well. The work shop is closed down now so they are as rare as hens teeth to buy. I have repaired mine so many times. I any one out there knows where I can get one let me know< I will be so grateful

November 7, 2016 at 07:19 AM · One of these?

November 7, 2016 at 08:39 AM · I found photos of Peter Voight shoulder rests by Google search. More than anything else they remind me of the old, and also no longer made Kolitsch shoulder rest. The materials differ, but the design is very similar. Because Kolitsch rests were once very common as one of the first highly successful commercial designs, you could probably find them used on eBay.

November 8, 2016 at 08:22 AM · Thank you Craig first. I checked these out but unfortunately that are both ones I am looking for,

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