Pirastro Korfkerrest review (not a discussion or SRs!)

December 12, 2018, 7:16 PM · First, if you are tempted to comment about how shoulder rests are crutches, or the "invisi-rest" is so much better, etc., please don't. I am simply writing a short review of the Korfkerrest. There is not much useful discussion on v.com about this rest, and I wanted to share my experience to help others.

If you want to talk about how much better your life is without a shoulder rest, start a new thread. If you want to know more about this technological wonder, post away! :)

I got the Korfkerrest (KR) for my birthday a few weeks ago. It's pricey for sure. I am talking about the rest, not the cradle.

1. It's the lightest rest I've ever come across. It almost feels like it's weightless, I like this feature.

2. The wood is bendable. I did not bend the wood, it conforms very nicely to my body. You don't need to harden the new version.

3. It is infinitely adjustable. I adjusted the width and tilt, which took all of five minutes, and then I was all set. Others have had to spend more time. No two bodies are the same, but the KR can match your body with a little adjustment. The Ergo pack adds a lot to the adjustment degrees of freedom.

4. It's beautiful to look at. Yes, this is the least important, but it's worth mentioning.

5. It's comfortable. I have never been more comfortable playing. I am 6'2" and have a long neck and broad shoulders. The KR has a nice "hook" to the shoulder, while allowing me to move freely. My violin is stable under my chin with zero effort. I liken it to playing on a cloud, if that makes any sense.

I thought about the price as follows: I use expensive (for me) strings, and this is worth 2-3 sets of really good strings, so you can decide if it's worth it; it will last a lot longer than Evah golds or Timbres.

Everyone is different. Some use a SR, some don't. I don't get a feeling of moral superiority for my violin choices, so use what works for you. I looked into this because I was not comfortable playing without a SR or with other SRs. If I lost it, I'd buy another KR in a heartbeat. I got mine during Shar's black Friday sale so it was $222 USD with free shipping.

Thanks to Lydia L. for answering some of my questions by email!

Replies (30)

December 12, 2018, 8:03 PM · Shoulder rests are crutches, and the invisi-rest is so much better.
December 12, 2018, 8:56 PM · I, too, use the korfker. Made a significant difference in the response/resonance of my violin.
Edited: December 12, 2018, 11:51 PM · Tom, the version 2 pads are supposed to be more durable. We’ll see.

Cotton, fair enough since I trolled you about your rehair :)

In all seriousness though it’s pretty amazing. I agree with Erik on his experience.

Edited: December 13, 2018, 2:27 AM · I've been debating whether to buy one. My concern is: I need a very low shoulder rest when playing viola (I have almost no neck), and need to know if it can be lowered to the level I need. I don't want to spend $300 on it if the minimum height is too tall for me. So... does anyone know what the minimum possible height of the Korfker is at the shoulder foot?

I currently use a Mach One with short Everest feet to reduce height.

December 13, 2018, 7:32 AM · With the Ergonpack you can get the shoulder side pretty low. I don’t have it in front of me. You can order from somewhere with a return policy. Shar told me they’d accept a return if the wood was not bent.
December 13, 2018, 7:54 AM · @AndrewH is the Fiddlershop gelrest no good for you?
December 13, 2018, 8:08 AM · Thanks for posting this. I've been wondering how people were getting along with the new version.
Edited: December 13, 2018, 10:35 AM · I have the new version Korfkerrest. I have not had the patience to sit down with the tools to adjust it. I find that the rest does bend BUT you can't bend it very much at one time; you have to bend a little bit at a time. So I just play with it as it came, which is sort of a miracle as I play left-handed and have a long neck... I bought the Korfker because it was reputed to be the least muting shoulder rest. I have five other SR's and none of them fits me or sounds as good as the Korfker on my new violin, so it is definitely a keeper. I was surprised at how much my old regular rest (Bon Musica) muted my new violin. The Korfker does cost more than other rests, but you won't have to keep buying more rests once you get this one!
December 13, 2018, 2:19 PM · Andrew Fryer, there are two reasons the Gelrest is not suitable. 1) Anything that attaches in the middle of the bottom plate will mute the instrument too much for my liking, and 2) I need not only a low shoulder rest, but one that provides a significant tilt, or I won't be able to reach the C string easily. The main thing that keeps me from playing without a shoulder rest is short fingers.

Anyway, this thread is about the Korfker.

December 13, 2018, 3:14 PM · I have been using the Korfker rest on my violin for a couple of years. I got it right after the changed to not having to bake it but before changing to thicker pads. I wanted the bend in a different place than what is delivered, and it took some work to achieve that. I had to clamp it flat to a bench to straighten it out and then make the bend in the new position. This adjustability is brilliant. The legs can be set at different angles and adjusted so that the springiness of the wood helps secure the rest to the instrument. I have never had it drop off in action.
Earlier this year I got myself a Korfker rest for my viola too. BTW, Andrew, that rest comes with the "Ergo-pack", so no need to add it to your order. I did not need to use that, so I can't comment on how well it works (I don't think they can be used to make the rest lower). The way the legs are constructed means that the end of the rest is at a certain minimum distance from the instrument. I have mine bend so that it is very close to the instrument at the highest point. That creates a sort of hook over the shoulder. Not as extreme as on the Bon Musica, but still much more than on my previous VLM Diamond rests.
One problem I have had with the Korfker is that the padding was so thin that it actually gave me a mark on the skin of the shoulder. The viola rest came with thicker padding than what was on my violin Korfker, so I contacted Pirastro asking if these thicker paddings were available of the violin rest too. They are, and Pirastro send me a set free of charge! (Great customer support in that company. They have sent me strings on several occations when I have asked for advice). If you need the crutches go for the Korfker-crutches. The best shoulder rest I have used (And I have tried almost every brand out there). Expensive, yes, but worth it.
December 14, 2018, 2:44 PM · How do these compare to VLM diamond? I just bought one and it was a nice step up from the basic kun model
December 14, 2018, 3:13 PM · The VLM is great and the legs are adjustable in many ways - but it is preformed and cannot be bent.
December 14, 2018, 3:46 PM · I want the korfker but the price is so high, I can’t afford it. I think the markup is astronomical on it. I don’t understand what could make it cost so much.
December 14, 2018, 5:42 PM · Christopher, I think the bendable wood and the complicated adjustment mechanism justify the high price.
December 14, 2018, 6:08 PM · The Korfkerrest is the result of a long, ongoing and hence expensive R & D process which explains much of its cost. Someone on this thread was able to score one for $199 which is a good 15% less than what it costs a local retailer under normal circumstances.

It's truly exquisite, from A to Z.

I wouldn't have returned the one I tried if:
- An optional, very short shoulder side foot had been supplied.
- There had been a way to rotate it (open towards the scroll) along its axis.

This is a pic of how my old Bonmusica was adjusted which illustrates both of these points:

If those two issues get solved in future developments of the Korfkerrest, I'm back on board.

December 14, 2018, 11:07 PM · The Korfkerrest is made of bendable maple. It’s treated to be flexible forever unless you bake it. It’s a unique design with a lot of R&D in it. It’s expensive, I won’t sugar coat that aspect of it. But for me, it has been worth it.
Edited: December 14, 2018, 11:25 PM · Tom, I assume you mean Mach One? I don't have a Korfker and I've been avoiding buying one because I don't know if it can be adjusted lower.

The Everest feet may be big, but they still don't have the damping effect of something placed directly on the back plate, and I believe they have the lowest minimum height. (Also, they're smaller on a viola, relative to the instrument, than on a violin.) I don't know of a way I can play viola without making a ton of compromises, and I have no interest in switching to violin more than once or twice a year. If a Korfker can be adjusted low enough, then I might actually be able to avoid extra tinkering.

December 15, 2018, 7:19 AM · @Tom Supakorndej wrote:
"Holly, that chin rest is mad tall. You must have a very long neck. Perhaps a Korfker Rest with a normal height chin rest is in the works."

Correct. Don't know what got into me ordering that 1.5" inch model. My teacher was horrified too.
In the meantime, my handy neighbor has cut it down to half that height and it's a good fit with the very adjustable Wolf Forte Secundo. But as many of you know, the feet have rather thick, soft protective tubing... the influence of which you also know.

As mentioned above, if Korfker's further developments included an optional, very short shoulder-side foot and an easy rotational adjustment along the "east-west" axis, I will join the Korfkerrest ranks.

December 15, 2018, 8:51 AM · About this dampening business: Markov and Chen use shoulder rests which attach to the back plate, see Ray's here: https://www.facebook.com/raychenviolinist/photos/a.603751003021658/1022782797785141/?type=1&theater

and here some more info about it: https://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/20159/17015/
It's attached with glue to the back of the instrument

Ray in fact states this shoulder rest helps him project more, which is interesting. I find that using my VLM rest the sound is more focused than without, but for me there doesn't seem to be a difference in projection. I'll have to bring my Kun to practice tomorrow to compare the timbre.

December 15, 2018, 8:54 AM · I am another one belonging to the Korfkerrest camp. It is so light that I don't feel I'm using a rest at all. In fact I came back from restless to use this one after trying a colleague's at a rehearsal. I also would buy another in a heartbeat if I had to.
December 16, 2018, 10:49 AM · I never much liked shoulder rests, and finally decided they are a crutch and threw mine away. My life has been so much better ever since!
December 16, 2018, 11:01 AM · Will,

The point of this thread was to review a product that has been barely mentioned on v.com without people rushing in to condem shoulder rests and espouse the view on the matter. Please let those interested in this SR have some peace without all the crutch comments.

December 17, 2018, 2:50 PM · I don't have a Mach One, but looking at pictures of it shows that it also does not go very low at the very edge of the instrument. I would guess that the Korfker could be adjusted to a similar shape. At the edge of the instrument it has significant height, but it can be formed and adjusted to almost touch the back of the violin.
December 17, 2018, 3:29 PM · Bo, please note that my Mach One is modified by replacing the feet with much shorter ones, so it is adjusted well below the normal minimum height. My shoulder is 28 mm from the viola at the edge of the instrument, and I would prefer for it to be a few millimeters lower. I need to know whether the Korfker can do that.
December 17, 2018, 3:55 PM · Looking at my Korfkerrest today, I think you can get the shoulder side to be about 24-25 mm with the ergo pack. This is an estimate, mind you.
December 17, 2018, 5:53 PM · Thanks, that's what I needed to know. I'll think about getting a Korfker the next time I see a good deal on one.
December 18, 2018, 1:13 PM · I got mine earlier this year for $237 at SHAR. Shop after Christmas is my advice...
December 20, 2018, 5:09 AM · @Andrew Hsieh and others who favor low shoulder rests, this thread got me corresponding with Berent Korfker about the shoulder side height problem I experienced when I first tried the Korfkerrest.

Good news: A shorter leg option (about 1cm shorter) is in production and will be available in about 3 months time.

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