Kun Bravo Collapsible Violin Shoulder Rest

October 24, 2018, 8:32 AM · Hi everyone!

I just ordered the Kun Bravo Collapsible yesterday, but I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with it (i.e. height, curvature, comfort [the regular black Kun, not collapsible, was quite comfortable for me], how it affects sound production, etc.)

I'm using a lime green Everest (yuck, it's a monstrosity...) that I had traded my black Kun for to my student. He is a scrawny little thing and the Everest was far too big for him, so he was having severe issues holding up his instrument. His family isn't super affluent, so instead of having them buy one, I just gave mine to him.

Anyway, I need a pretty high set up despite being small because (as I have mentioned before in previous posts) my violin is exceptionally large and heavy, and a low setup causes my shoulder to overcompensate, causing a lot of muscle tension and pain for days afterward. I use a Guarneri chin rest with a Strad pad to help boost the height (and prevent the dreaded violin hickey).

Any general or specific comments are appreciated! :)

Replies (27)

October 24, 2018, 9:49 AM · Not this particular rest, but I don't think the original Kun Collapsible is nearly as secure as the regular Kun.
Edited: October 24, 2018, 10:11 AM · Hmm, interesting. I wonder if it would be okay with my isntrument; it's pretty wide on the lower bout. If not, I can always exchange it. I bought it because it would fit better in my double vln/vla case (Concord brand) than a normal one. I'll have to try to fit a viola shoulder rest in there too.
Edited: October 24, 2018, 11:06 AM · I have used a Bravo Collapsible (that's the wooden one with the brass hardware, right?) for about two years now, and it's never come off while I was playing. I did sometimes have that problem with the original (plastic) Kun collapsible, but the wood/brass design is maybe more rigid. The feet on the Bravo are different from the feet on my old rest, and I think they hang onto the edge of the violin better.

There was a distinct change in the sound of my violin with the new rest, too. A good change, I mean, something I'm happy about. I don't pretend to understand acoustics or physics, but it might be that the plastic rest was somehow damping some of the overtones of the violin? It's now a little richer in tone, and the only change in my setup has been the rest. Same brand of strings, same bow, rosin, etc. So I'm happy with the Kun Bravo. It's pretty, too. I don't know if any of this is helpful.

Also, you can get feet with extra long screws to add height. I have a very long one on the e string side, and I have it screwed almost all the way down (shortest) on the g string side. There's a lot of room for fussing with the height.

October 24, 2018, 11:17 AM · I "have"-but haven't used in years-a rather worn Bravo rest, though I did forget whether it was collapsible or otherwise. I found it fine, but a bit "stiff", in that it didn't fit me perfectly, and also would occasionally slip off the violin-but still used it many, many years until I found...

I recommend to you the to slightly more affordable Viva La Musica Diamond-collapsible feet, no slips, feels like it's not there, even better looking, and it *may* have enough height for you (though nothing like a Wolf rest.)

October 24, 2018, 11:41 AM · A bit off topic - I believe it is much better to have a high chin rest and a low shoulder rest than the reverse. When you have a high chin rest and low shoulder rest the violin sits lower making bowing easier and it makes the violin more stable. With a high shoulder rest any force on the shoulder plate is magnified on the violin grips by the long lever arm, making it inherently less stable. These chin rests might be helpful - Kreddle, SAS, Wittner Augsburg, and Messiah style.
October 24, 2018, 12:01 PM · My kun collapsable is unstable sometimes, but that's only when I stop paying attention and clamp down too hard. Thus the instability. The shoulder rests that are very unmovable and designed to immobilize the violin are extremely uncomfortable for me. Not a fan of the super high chin rests either, unless of course you have a really long neck. If your head is down and forward (Alexander terms), the space to fill between the collarbone and jaw isn't actually that big.
October 24, 2018, 12:10 PM · Cary, I looked those chin rests up and they're super interesting! I use my Strad pad for height and for comfort, since the Guarneri I have cuts into my jaw and isn't particularly comfortable. I may try that though, with a lower shoulder rest. I am pretty small (5ft. 1), and have short fingers (especially my pinky, which makes things super fun up in 6th position on an already larger-than-average instrument...), so I might play around with lower violin, higher chin rest...

Also, I found that the Everest one dampens my violin considerably, deadening the sound. If I didn't need one, I would play without a shoulder rest because it opens the sound much more, but it's physically impossible for me to hold it up without compromising posture.

October 24, 2018, 12:11 PM · I confess I'm not sure how the height of the shoulder rest works in conjunction with the height of the chin rest. The gap is from the collar bone to the jaw, right? You fill that gap with the violin and the chin rest, and the height of the shoulder rest doesn't change the size of the gap between your collar bone and jaw, it just changes the angles at which the fiddle rests on your collar bone.

I don't push up with my shoulder or down with my jaw very much, so my shoulder rest seems quite stable on the violin. I might suspect that the problem of shoulder rests coming off during play has more to do with tension/posture than with the design of the shoulder rest.

Edited: October 24, 2018, 1:15 PM · I use a Kun Bravo collapsible shoulder rest, and it's awesome. When I got this, my luthier had me and my companion listened to the sound, and it sounded better than anything else. The luthier pointed out that he thought the collapsible one sounded better, perhaps because it has more brass (?). We pondered the mysteries, but, it did sound better. Then years later it was stepped on and because I wasn't paying attention, I ordered the one that doesn't fold up. It was a pain to deal with the clunky thing...and...it didn't sound as good. The Kun people eventually sent me a replacement foot for my broken one, and all is right in the world. They had extremely good customer service, I should say. And the thing is completely solid and comfortable for me. I am a long-necked guy, for what that's worth, and I have a tall chinrest too.
October 24, 2018, 12:28 PM · Is the Kreddle worth the $89 plus $12 for stainless steel? I can't do nickel. I think I will try th Kun first and then see if I need a different chin rest... I'd like to not have to use the strad pad, since it's not super attractive, but it's functional...
October 24, 2018, 12:36 PM · I got this one a few days ago. Kun Solo. It's awesome. Same price as a standard Kun. Feels great. Could hear a huge sound change from my violin. The sound really opened up more.

https://www.sharmusic.com/Accessories/Shoulder-Rests/Kun-Solo-Collapsible-Shoulder-Rest.axd

@Scott Bailey The violin sits on the collarbone. The chinrest fills in the space between the top of the violin and the jaw. The shoulder rest fills in the space between the bottom of the violin and chest/shoulder.

October 24, 2018, 12:41 PM · The Kun Bravo is a nice rest. It will effect the sound, for better or worse, as anything attached to the violin tends to do.

I have two Kun Bravo rests, both non-collapsible. I recently discovered that one of them seriously effects the response of the G/D string. The other, at the same height and positioning, does not. Go figure.

Kristen, looking at your image, you appear to have small shoulders. I have found that many students like this prefer the aforementioned Viva La Musica Diamond as it can be adjusted to be further away from the edge of the shoulder.

October 24, 2018, 1:00 PM · WAVE is another chinrest you might look at.
October 24, 2018, 1:16 PM · You might want to try a center mounted chin rest if you have shorter arms.
October 24, 2018, 1:18 PM · Scott - I don't fill the gap from chin to collar bone. I try to hold the violin with my left hand and shoulder. At times I use the chin rest to help.

If you don't put any force on the shoulder rest, it won't come off. But it only takes a momentary lapse to cause a lot of shoulder rests to fail. The higher it is, the more likely this will happen.

Kristen - I have a short neck so I have never experimented with tall chin rests. I think that Wittner has the best chin rest attachment mechanics. The back of the clamps are smooth plastic that does not bite. Zuerich is their new side mounted chin rest with height adjustment. But I'm not sure how high you can set them.

October 24, 2018, 1:22 PM · @Laura McDermott: Right, that's what I think, so I am not sure I understand Cary's advice. If the violin sits on the collarbone, it should remain at that height no matter what the shoulder rest is. The height of the shoulder rest shouldn't be determined by the length of one's neck, right?

Like probably most players, I fussed around with CRs and SRs for years. Now that I'm comfortable with what I have, I believe I did not really understand what I was trying to fix earlier. I don't pretend to have any kind of useful advice for anyone else; it just struck me this morning that SRs and CRs may not have all that much to do with one another, or at least not in the way I usually hear it discussed.

October 24, 2018, 1:24 PM · @Cary, that's interesting. I don't use my shoulder to support the violin. That sounds uncomfortable, but everyone is physically different. Do you have high shoulders, or do you lift your shoulder up to the back of the violin?
October 24, 2018, 1:44 PM · The shoulder rest lifts the violin off your collarbone by the amount of the height of the shoulder rest, thus making the chin rest closer to your jaw.

(I think we're using collarbone and shoulder interchangeably here, BTW. The shoulder is made up of the collarbone, arm bone, and shoulder blade, but lots of people use shoulder when they actually mean collarbone.)

October 24, 2018, 1:52 PM · Julie, I mean the collarbone by the throat, not where it sits atop the humerus. I forget that the collarbone actually goes all the way from the sternum to the shoulder joint, and think of the collarbone as the shelf on either side of my trachea. So huh, I'll have to read these comments again with that in mind.
October 24, 2018, 1:53 PM · I've watched a lot a fiddlers (I fiddle for dances), many ex-violinists, many native fiddlers. What impressed me the most is how many different ways there are to hold a violin. Everyone has to figure out what works best for their own body.

Many people with long necks use the shoulder rest to help fill the gap from some resting point to chin.

My comment about stability is simply mechanics. The longer the lever arm from shoulder plate to violin plate grip, the easier it will be to knock the shoulder rest off the violin. It only takes a momentary lapse to cause this, depending on how well the shoulder rest is attached to the violin. The attachment varies widely with different shoulder rests.

October 24, 2018, 2:43 PM · I will heartily endorse the Wittner Augburg adjustable chin rest! It's like $26 and you can play with height and tilt depending on which spacers you use. It's designed as a center mount, but I use it side mounted, no problem.

I'm a big proponent of finding the correct chin rest before deciding on shoulder rests, or what not.

October 24, 2018, 10:17 PM · Hm, I'll give that one a try. You guys think a smaller person should use a center chin rest? I've never tried that; I had a generic side chin rest on my old instrument, and the Guarneri on my good one.

I'll have to test it, thanks!

October 24, 2018, 10:18 PM · I prefer the VLM Diamond over the Kun Bravo. However, these days I use a Korfker.
October 24, 2018, 11:32 PM · It should be coming Thursday or Friday, so we'll see how I like it.
October 25, 2018, 6:09 AM · Hi! FULL DISCLOSURE, I work for Kun, but I'm writing with a personal comment:

I'm a viola player and I use a Kun Collapsible, and I've never had an issue with it falling off. Because viola shoulder rests have to cover more distance, violists tend struggle with rests falling off or slipping out of place more than violinists (although I used to clamp down in youth orchestra and lose my violin rest allll the time).

I have also heard that collapsible models (of various brands) are more likely to fall off, because they have that extra hinge, but that has never been the case for my Kun Collapsible Viola rest!

Re Original v Collapsible from your original post, if you found the Original comfortable the Collapsible should be pretty much the same for you -- they're made from the same shape base and design, just with a different mechanisms to allow the forks to fold down!

October 25, 2018, 6:43 AM · Great, thank you Emily! I'm looking forward to getting rid of this green monstrosity!
Edited: October 25, 2018, 8:04 AM · I have had a Kun collapsible as well as 2 other Kun shoulder rests. But Emily brings up a very important point when she writes "if you found the Original comfortable." I never found the Kun shoulder rests a perfect fit for any extended length of time. For me a Wolf Secundo was a perfect fit for a number of decades - but then even that faded as I needed to be able to move the violin around more than any conventional shoulder rest permitted and I used an Acoustifoam for a while and am now using Acoustagrip - or no rest at all.

Acoustafoam: You would think that a foam device that clings to almost half the back of the lower bout with tiny micro-"suckers" might affect the sound of the instrument, but it doesn't!


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