Shoulder Rest Height

April 20, 2005 at 04:31 PM · Does anyone know of a shoulder rest more than 3 inches high?

Replies (36)

April 20, 2005 at 05:37 PM · I too am looking for a higher shoulder rest. Right now, I use a Viva, and I'm waiting for a shipment of longer legs to try...

Sorry I couldn't be more help,


April 20, 2005 at 06:30 PM · Comford has a high version of its rest. I do not know exactly how high it is.

April 20, 2005 at 07:31 PM · Careful...are you really sure you need a rest that high?

April 20, 2005 at 07:46 PM · When i bend my neck to hold the violin, i'm getting really bad pains in my left shoulder. I was told the reason for the pains is that my neck is not straight. So- when i use the Poly Pad which is 3 inches, it helps a lot, but wanted to know if there is something higher as well.

April 20, 2005 at 10:11 PM · I have a long neck as well and use the Wolf shoulder rests. It has adjustable leg heights, which helps quite a bit. Good luck!

April 20, 2005 at 10:43 PM · Try the Wolf Forte Secondo. I use it.

April 20, 2005 at 10:42 PM · I have a Bon Musica. It can be set a lot higher than my Wolf or Kun rests and can be adjusted in just about every direction to fit the user perfectly. They're not cheap, but worth the money. I still keep the Wolf on my electric violin which I leave out on a stand so that I can just pick it up and play if I don't want to bother unpacking the "real" violin. But I find it feels small, hard and weird compared to the Bon Musica.

April 20, 2005 at 11:18 PM · I use a Viva with Kun extra long legs. It's pretty high, I don't know if it's 3 inches or not

July 16, 2005 at 11:18 AM · Can I suggest to lots of my 'American friends' that here in Europe especially the UK , we use the 'Stowemaster' shoulder rest. It does not clamp the violin in any way. Rather than waffle on about it they have a web site that is under construction , . Its amazing!! I know they post far and wide. Catman

August 22, 2005 at 05:54 AM · I bought a MUCO rest recently. Quite good. High. Adjustable. It flexes a bit, so comfortable. I have a high neck, too.

August 22, 2005 at 07:32 AM · Try a combination of a higher shoulder rest and a higher chin rest. That way there aren't extremes on either end.


August 22, 2005 at 11:31 PM · I believe resonance rests are very high.

August 23, 2005 at 01:26 AM · Preston had an excellent idea of changing both the shoulder rest and the chin rest. I have an unusually short neck so I use a Wolf rest on its VERY lowest setting. However, as I was fooling with it, I saw it could go very high. They're strong and dependable as well as comfortable and easily portable.

Just make sure that you're neck isn't bending too far back because of the added height. You don't need to grip the violin with the neck- just have it rest there and let it share the load with your left hand. Otherwise, you could create some painful spine and shoulder problems. You might find that with a bit of adjustment you could do with a rest that's only 2 inches high or something in that range. There are many people with long necks that use extremely small pads- they just have to rest it on their shoulder and have the left hand do all the work. It might be better than straining your neck. But if you find something that works, continue with that! :)

December 11, 2005 at 08:34 PM · hello everyone, i thought i'd sort of "resurrect" this post for a bit, since I'm having serious concerns over the height of my kun collapsible. I've been taking a course in body alignment lately, and i've been focusing on standing up straight and everything, and keeping my head "floating on top of the spine" like my coach says to do, but unfortunately, this is creating difficulties with my shoulder rest. As it stands: I can elevate my left shoulder, which hurts like hell, or I can keep my shoulder (and the violin) down, and overextend the fingers of my left hand to reach the notes. now i am in dire straits, because either way, my third, fourth, and thumb fingers are starting to feel some serious pain and i know it's the beginnings of tendonitis, and if i don't get a new rest soon then i might be screwed. I tried out a MACH ONE last night which i really like, and I guess more than anything I am asking for input from others who have had this "Kun"/"long neck" problem, on which shoulder rests they have used for this relief which i so desperately pursue. Let me know about the prospect of Mach one, but also, feel no reluctance to mention other brands which you feel deserve equal or more attention (and quick--my hand is getting screwed!)

thanks so much,


December 11, 2005 at 11:01 PM · Greetings

try a Wolf Forte Primo.


,> and overextend the fingers of my left hand to reach the notes.

Not completley sure what you mean by this but you may be looking at the wrong cause. If you are having to stretch for the third and fourth then youyr hand is in the wrong posiiton. The naturla function of the hand is to stretch backwards -from- the fourtyh fnger to the first. So it might help you to practice exercises like Schradieck but before you begin play some fourth fingers and get thta shape curved and comfortable. Learn tyhe feeling of where your hand is when the foutrth finger is oin good shape and relaxed. Then begin the exercise whil recreating that feeling. This kind of ex4ercise is good for scales in 3rds as well where you find the fourth finger and second with the 1st and third raised. Then keep the same hand feleing and reach back to play one and three.

In the meantime I will repost a long splurge I wrote on rests which may be some interest or not at all.



December 11, 2005 at 11:11 PM · Greetings,

some old stuff wot I wrote

But violinists are a curious breed, in order to function we have to have passionate and deeply felt beliefs but this so often prevents genuine exchange and dialog. `This fingering is better than that.. Oistrakh plays it better than Joe Bloggs. A Strad is better than a guarneri etc.` Nowhere is this more prevalent than during short lived and acrimonious debates about the shoulder rest which almost invariably ed up at the play ground level although the Ministry of Education would quickly close down such an area if it was heaped with as much bs in real life as it is in so called intelligent exchange on the subject.

So, I think I am going to leap in at the deep end although I may never get there?Ealso, although I am personally against the use of rigid rests I frankly couldn`t care less what any else does. This makes me highly objective, doesn`t it? Doesn`t it? Mmmmm?E

I would like to identify some points from either camp in this internecine war that are worthy of a can of bs spray although there are many others.

1) The restless have a curious almost holier than thou `look mum no hands` approach to discussing this subject. BS Every restless player uses some kind of padding, be it sewn into the jacket or stuffed under the jumper (stern, Rosand etc). Just because these guys turn up at a master class in a tee shirt and play as brilliantly as ever doesn`t mean that is how they are going to play most of the time. I can do that, any idiot can do it. It proves nothing-. The issue then, is actually about what kind of support are you going to use?- That immediately makes it more interesting because the dialog is open to exchange of possibilities .

2) The user claims shifting is better with a rest. Not true. But the technique is different. Again, an opportunity for discussion an comparison lost.

3) The restless say you can rotate your instrument using the thumb and forefinger along a lateral axis. So what? A little experiment with a rest shows this is equally possible.

4) The user claims the violin slips without a rest. Not really. If anything, an over high rest is more likely to cause slipping. The slippage of the restless is cured by the use of a chamois leather cloth or chinrest wrap. Instantly and for good.

5) The restless claims that connection with the instrument is disrupted. For me, this is true. But can we say this true for the likes of Mullova , Vengerov, Kaplan and so many other great players. In my case my shoulder girdle becomes disorientated and I am then unable to use a natural finger action based on gravity and reflex so I have to start squeezing with the arm muscles. But that is me and -only- me.

6) The user says the head supports the instrument whereas the left is used by the restless causing stress. Not so. You can support the violin as much as you wish with your left hand while using a rest and it is actually logically incorrect to say the left hand is supporting the instrument. The whole body is actually doing the work. Both of these possibilities can be exploited by either kind of player if they have an open mind.

Enough!!! What has this got to do with K11. (BTW I don`t have my book with me and I have a hangover so just in case, this is the shifting study in triplets)

Well, depending on whether you use an `inflexible` rest or not your technique is likely to be one of two kinds that are somewhat different and the differences become quite pointed in this work.

S zigeti repeatedly drew attention to the value of this study and in his book `Szigeti on the violin` he explicitly linked it to a passage in the first movement of the Mozart D major concerto k218 (no, there aren`t 218 Kreutzer etudes)which goes 123/123 123321 321/321 etc.. He suggested that familiarity with the technique found in the study would make this passage and many others simple. The technique he emphasized in his discussion is that of expansion and contraction. That is, when shifting down from a lower finger to a higher one the higher finger is prepared by a contraction of the hand that brings it as close as possible to the finger prior to the shift. He actually calls this a contraction study. Two other very restless players who advocate this technique are Desmond Collier (a brilliant Paginini player among other things) and Samuel Applebaum. This technique does indeed smooth out the shift and is very important for restless players. However , users seem to me much less inclined to use or even be aware of this technique since shifting is so rapid with a rest. Nonetheless it is worth exploring and is an example of how a users technique can be enhanced by looking at what older players did automatically. When mowing form a lower finger to a higher finger the restless players` hand expands so that the new finger is reaching for the new note. Again very important, but the user is so well trained to move rapidly en masse that this technique is not so common. Again, it is well worth practicing.

There is a good physiological reason for this too. When the muscle is in a slightly stretched condition it is sending a great deal more data to the brain than usual and is much quicker getting into action. The rather passive block of fingers that moves so rapidly using a rest is really rather passive in neurological terms and this can actually be a weakness. Another way to experiment with this , whether you use a rest or not, is to move down from a lower finger to a higher one. But, instead of contracting the higher finger stretch it in the wrong direction towards your nose, then release the sudden build up of energy and the downward shift will be so rapid and smooth it will blow your mind. I use this technique in slow works sometimes in spite of the admonition we are told to practice shift in the tempo of the work we are playing.

Incidentally, that is a general practice point for K11: change the speed of your shifts according to the speed you are practicing.

What then do the users to that the restless could explore? Well, a key aspect of modern technique is a double stop shift. That is, when notes are on adjacent strings you place the new finger on the new string and then make the shift on two fingers, at least for a while. This has the effect of preserving the hand shape and general efficiency for users in particular but everyone should practice shifts like this in their pieces.

Finally, restless users need to work out much more carefully how the whole body is used in shifting which brings one to the shoulder. In order to create space and energy for the arm to shift well Menuhin suggests that prior to the shift the left shoulder drops down and back. During the upward shift the shoulder can then spring forward making an opposing action to hat the forearm is doing. IE when you shift up the forearm moves towards you but your shoulder/upper arm move away from you in contrary motion. On the down shift this is reversed. The shoulder is prepared by a slight move forward and up and as your forearm shoots away from you towards the scroll your upper arm shoulder moves back and down towards your body. I have found this to be true for me but I dislike the feeling of raising and pushing the shoulder forward prior to a downward shift and have tentatively concluded that the player is much better advised to pay attention to something else during this direction of shift: the thumb. Paying attention to the thumb leading down resolves most of the problems of shifting for a restless player, like magic! So I suggest working on half Menuhins idea and then the thumb for going down.

Users have long since stopped paying much attention to the thumb and I believe this is a small weakness. The conscious training and use of a thumb, which becomes automatic later is very beneficial in keeping the hand relaxed and flexible. A rest user can fall into the trap of keeping the hand in one shape and position for too long leading to stiffness.

Finally, never forget, this is a study for every note being played with a beautiful tone, whatever the tempo. You would be well advised to pay a tenuto on the note prior to every shift. After you have the piece under control experiment with using a continuous vibrato kind of in the background. This will be important to keep relaxed.

December 11, 2005 at 11:17 PM · I have a wolf violin shoulder rest, I don't know if it is three inches but it is a pretty high one. My violin teacher says the wolf ones are the best.

December 12, 2005 at 03:31 AM · I'd hesitate to buy a Stowemaster shoulder rest.

I plunked down about $180 CAN for one 2 months ago and the thing fell apart. The other one they sent to the shop was faulty, so now they have two bad over-priced shoulder rests. Not to mention, it was me that asked them to order them in, as the dealer had no idea about these products. The company that makes them is absolutely horrible in the simple task of correspondance, so I don't imagine I'll get much of a chance to discuss any of this with them.

Finding the perfect shoulder rest/chin rest combination is so hard and very annoying. It isn't a quick thing, but when you find it, I hear it's great. I haven't found it yet, and I've done a lot. I'm thinking of scrapping the shoulder rest completely.

December 12, 2005 at 03:38 AM · I use a wolf shoulder rest with the extensions on it, plus an extra little pad thing so it can keep up PLUS I've had to get my chin rest raised up by 2cm.

If you couldn't tell I have a very long neck :P

December 12, 2005 at 03:52 AM · Might I suggest a big ol' viola?

December 12, 2005 at 04:41 AM · as others have said, the wolf shoulder rests go pretty high... you can adjust them to how you want, they are also VERY comfy!

December 13, 2005 at 04:43 AM · jon, you may not suggest a big ol' viola, sorry, i'll leave that to people who suck. JK violists haha well i appreciate all your responses...i'm looking into the wolf, and though i've heard great things from you guys, i've heard from some other players i know just the opposite. anyone have any thoughts about mach one? i'm thinking about ordering one.

December 13, 2005 at 07:05 PM · I have a comment about a mach one. It is 55.00 in the Shar catalog. The Wolf one is only 18.00.

And the Wolf works.

January 26, 2006 at 03:53 PM · Does anyone know of the absolute shortest shoulder rest for the violin? Not the kind that touch the back.

I am going to make my own, I think. On that is literally less than 1/2 inch below the back of the fiddle. I love the feel of playing with nothing, but some sound, no matter how minute, gets lost, even when using a pad like the one Tamsen Beseke invented (though that is a great concept).

I'll let everyone know what I come up with when I'm done. If anyone else is interested in a similar thing, let me know.

There was a rest I owned years ago, that Mr. Updegraff was a black shell-like rest that didn't touch the back. It came with another pad that could be velcroed (sp?) to the back of this shell like rest. Does anyone know what I'm talking about at all? I think Mintz used this rest at one time.

January 26, 2006 at 04:06 PM · Try that float on air thing William...actually I bought one a while back and never liked it because it was too short, it's yours if you want

January 26, 2006 at 04:17 PM · Thanks, Jon. Even that is too high, I'm afraid. And, I'm looking for something that doesn't touch the back at all. I actually came up with something similar, but different, to Tamsen Beseke's pad. It yielded good results, but still has ever so slightly less sound than something that doesn't touch the back at all.

Thanks again, Jon.

August 12, 2006 at 10:08 PM · I completely disagree with Pieter Viljoen.

I first saw and tried the Stowemaster shoulder rest about a year ago as it was being used by my Head of Strings at school (where I'm Director of Music).

I was so impressed, that I bought one for my wife and we have not been disappointed. It works perfectly and is amazingly adjustable and dependable, as well as making a huge difference to the sound of the violin.

As for the firm that sold it to us (Woodbridge Violins in Suffolk, England), they couldn't have been more helpful, with the designer himself, Mr Russell Stowe, making sure that we were perfectly satisfied before declaring himself happy.

It's so much easier to use than the Kun or the Wolf and it really gives a good feeling of security when playing.

August 13, 2006 at 12:01 AM · Yikes! I seem to have firmly joined the ranks of the, erm, young and restless. I used to use a big ol' monster Brooklyn Bridge of a shoulder-rest, then a Kun Bravo, and now I just use one of those little red sponges. I find that playing with just the sponge has forced me to be much more aware of posture in my whole upper body, as well as shining a spotlight on the importance of balance. That in turn has helped my bow arm, and as soon as I get off the computer I will look in Joska Szigeti's book as per Buri's suggestion for that bit about shifting. Basically, the shoulder-rest seems to me to be sort of like training wheels on a bike: feels really weird and scary when you first take them off but once you stop relying on them, you're better off. I always recommend that everyone at least TRY playing without a shoulder-rest. If you really can't stand it, go back to using one, but you might be surprised.....

August 13, 2006 at 06:25 AM · I'm with you, Maura.

I have a long neck. A really long neck (methinks my great great grandmother married a giraffe). Anyway, when I started the violin I bought myself an adjustable rest and cranked it up to skyscraper mode. Life was good. But then came different positions and shifting and vibrato and things began to fall apart. The instrument no longer felt secure. The search for greater heights, fatter chinrests, etc. was on.

Then one day I'm watching a Ruggiero Ricci masterclass DVD. He's sittng there holding the fiddle down below the clavicle (i.e., nowhere near his chin) and demonstrating how to crawl all over the fingerboard with the left hand. And he says something I'll never forget. He says "if you want to play like Paganini, take off the chin rest -- Paganini didn't use a chinrest." My head spun. Paganini not only didn't use a shoulder rest, he didn't use a chinrest either! Now Ricci is one of my absolute fave violinists, he's not some blithering fool. So I started messing around without a shoulder rest. At first I came very close to dropping the instrument. I thought, no way. But gradually I made adjustments. I'd alternate with the shoulder rest and began to ratchet it down until I was ok with its shortest setting. Somehow this made it easier to go entirely without, but still only for short periods. When playing restless I started to like what I was hearing and feeling. The naked violin's contact with my not very padded shoulder causes the notes to resonate through my whole thorax (much like it does when I practice vibrato with the scroll against the wall). I can literally feel when a note is in tune, which to me is incredibly cool. The positional adjustments take time and practice. But it won't be long before I'm playing restless 100% of the time.

Excuse the long post, but my point is that even those of us with long necks have other options and techniques at our disposal.

Best regards,


August 13, 2006 at 09:21 AM · i have the same problem of high neck and wolf wasnt good to me too much flexibility i use a kun and not so satisfied (can't make the legs longer)did anyone use a goldencomfort ? its about 50$ but does it work ?one that was recommended here a stowmaster costs about 140 $ and one saidin this thread he was not satified .

any suggestions ?

August 13, 2006 at 12:11 PM · For those interested in trying to play without a shoulder rest, see if my approach works for you.

1. Click on my name to get to my profile here.

2. Click on my website link.

3. Go to "writings".

4. Click on "Fundamnetals". The shoulder rest aspect is dealt with early on in the section on holding the violin. It is based on what I learned in this regard from Aaron Rosand, along with an innovation or two of my own.

August 13, 2006 at 04:04 PM · I think the Bon Musica goes pretty high. I use it, and I have a very long neck.

August 13, 2006 at 09:17 PM · My daughter plays with a Bon Musica also.. One person that I know of swears by them and she said that it has saved going to the chiro for her.. They are expensive and some have had trouble putting them into the case.

August 13, 2006 at 11:02 PM · Mr. Wolcott, you're referring to the "suretone" rest (or do they use an h in the sure?". It's a hard plastic shell, with a velcro pad. Only problem is, it attaches with elastics, and can shift around a bit while you're playing. I used this rest when I was 10 or so.

September 4, 2006 at 08:50 AM · Buri - I have just re-read your post about shifting. At first reading I did not grasp the "contraction" point you make becuase I have conceptualised the motion a bit differently.

With a shoulder-rest you can just move your hand up and down as you like, maintaining a standard shape to the hand frame. Like the bit on a computerised lathe moving up and down along the travel... This has the disadvantage of making shifting less secure in some ways, because the hand does not prepare for the shift and you might not "land" quite in the right place when you make the "block" shift as my teacher used to put it.

Playing with a soft pad (or baroque violin with no chin at all) and in making a shift down from low finger to high finger, I "arch" the hand in a backwards direction and a little upwards, like a cat getting ready to jump. At the same time I feel the shoulder and upper arm moving down and forwards. It's like the whole curve from the shoulder, down through upper arm and forearm, and into the back of the hand and then fingers is expanding outwards, like blowing up a balloon.

Then in making the change there is just a quick snap of the fingers and the high finger is bang on the lower note. It's very quick and great fun. I think it must work because as you say the preparation "contracts" the higher finger nearer to the new position, and the hand and arm have already partly assumed the new position. There is less "shifting" to do when it comes to the jump down.

It seems particularly effective in slow legato phrases where you can maintain the intensivity of tone and vibrato through a very quick change.

May 24, 2008 at 10:09 AM · This disucssion is very old, but maybe you still like some advice. I don't like to heighten shoulder rest because then your arms raises above your shoulder level. It is better to lift your chinrest when you have a long neck. I you wants to know more about this topic, have a look at (site is in English)

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