Help chooslng sholder rest

January 5, 2019, 12:31 PM · Hello,
I know this is a controversial topic, but I need to replace my sholder rest and I'm undecided about 3 options. The problem: I can't try them out before ordering.
1. Kun Solo
2. Viva la Musica VLM Diamond Dark Maple
3. Viva la Musica Professional Walnut Gold

I would like to know which ones usually work best for my body type. I'm 28, slim/normal weight, 1.71m / 1.72m height (5'7" / 5'8"). I have defined sholders and chest (not curved down or flat sholders like some people have).
I've played without a sholder rest for some time, less than a year, but I eventually gave up, never felt secure when shifting. But the experience made me less tense on my neck and I learned to use the left hand to also hold the violin leaving the neck more free, I use to say that playing without sholder rest made me learn how to play with sholder rest.
I want something that gives the feel of no sholder rest, it's not too agressive but at the same time makes the violin scure.

Thank you to everyone who could share opinions.

Replies (28)

January 5, 2019, 12:49 PM · Buy all three and send back all but the best one.
January 5, 2019, 12:53 PM · What Paul said. There is no way we can really advise you because the choice is so personal.
January 5, 2019, 12:57 PM · Welcome David!

That is a great idea from Paul. If you do not want to initially order three shoulder rests I would choose the Kun.

Edited: January 5, 2019, 1:11 PM · And can I just send two back and they will refund me? Do you know if Thomann does that? I live in Portugal.

@Jeff Jetson Could you tell me why?

I used Kum Bravo and hated it, aways falling, Kun Collapsible felt better... but it's weak material.

Judging bu the pictures and videos, the Viva la Musica ones have a bigger curve...is that true?

January 5, 2019, 2:02 PM · WLM diamond worked well for me. Much less probe to falling off than the Kun. Now I prefer the Pirastro Korfker rest. Light and more adaptable than the WLM.
January 5, 2019, 2:10 PM · Covering decades of violin playing, I have only used Kun collapsible, Wolf Forte, Wolf Forte Secondo, Kun Bravo (I think I got it twice-memory hazy), and Viva La Musica "Augustin" Diamond. The latter I still use, as is the least obstrusive of all of those. Kuns are decent, but at least the Bravo used to slip every once in a while (haven't used the Solo.) The "Wolves" are nice, but have huge rubber feet.

VLM Diamond definitely feels as if it's not there, which is to this day why I love it. The curve is mild-which I prefer, because I like to use the SR positioned quite a bit forward-right, not so much over the shoulder (also easy to achieve with the Wolf rests.) Kun has a more obvious curve. VLM Professional I did try about 7-9 years ago and liked it, but liked the Diamond even more (however, some do prefer the Professional.)

I have peculiars needs, however, so perhaps the standard Kun may work for you. For me, they tend to lean my violin too much "backwards" (over the shoulder), even when I set the rest's legs to the rightmost position.

January 5, 2019, 2:37 PM · Buy all three and then put them in the garbage.
Edited: January 5, 2019, 2:49 PM · @David- what part felt insecure when playing without a SR? The part closest to your neck, felt like it would slide out? Or the scroll end of the instrument where you hold it?
January 5, 2019, 2:51 PM · @Cotton—- That made me laugh!
Edited: January 5, 2019, 9:37 PM · @Craig First Everything felt insecure, I couldn't hold the violin without the left hand too much, that made shifting very hard, I was always wanting to raise my left sholder...
The Korfker is the one that needs to be heated or seemthing, right? I left it out because it sounds to complex to prepare and prone to be wracked.

So far you guys are convencing me with the Diamond, I'm tired of failed Kuns, maybe third time is the time to change. Oh yeah I used Wolf as a kid/teen, horrible, good for children and that's it.

Edited: January 5, 2019, 7:57 PM · No Cotton. Buy all three and use two at a time!!

@David you should just look on the company's web site and read their return policy.

January 5, 2019, 11:17 PM · A few suggestions:
1. Read the numerous discussions on this site and elsewhere about shoulder rest models and what people prefer. Product reviews can be a somewhat useful way of judging, namely the features of the shoulder rest and not so much "I like this and not that" type of thing.
2. Experiment with a sponge/pad/cloth thing. These are usually much cheaper than your regular shoulder rest and are highly customizable. They can serve a wide variety of functions--anything from acting more or less like a regular shoulder rest, to being just an anti-slip object that doesn't do much else, to just a collarbone cushion to protect your collarbone from the chinrest clamp, and everything in between.
3. Look into various chin rest options. The right chinrest makes a world of difference. In fact, finding the right chinrest is at least, if not more important, than finding the right shoulder rest. There are a wide variety of chinrest styles available.
4. I have never tried a Kun rest myself, which is really weird because it is one of the most popular shoulder rests in the world, but I have heard of problems with the Kun falling off frequently. One option is to buy a Kun and buy the feet for another shoulder rest model, since the feet often have the same screwing mechanism, making them interchangeable. I use a Fom shoulder rest, which is just a Kun with softer padding, and the feet work great and are very stable. Most violin shops don't seem to sell it, but if you do a little googling, you should be able to find a seller somewhere if you wish to try one.
January 7, 2019, 12:15 AM · I am using Wolf forte secondo right now. But I am still thinking about change. I would like to try Kun Solo. My reason for disliking Wolf it is mainly from that it is really high if I turn it down as it can be it is still too much for my short neck. And I am putting it very far from me on my violin. I have also very flat and small chinrest.

The second thing I don't like on my Wolf, the rubbers can wear off very quickly, it is not proper to wear off but it gets harder, and begin cracking. Fortunately, you can replace them for a few bucks. I changed chinrest a months before so I am thinking to still use Wolf, but maybe will try the Kun :)

But I need money for new bow and strings to try :-) and a new case, ..... la la la :)

So it is a really individual thing. But the great thing about Wolf is that is very very easy to modify it to proper shape

Edited: January 7, 2019, 3:54 PM · I recently went through the same kind of process. I'd been playing with a Bonmusica for some time but never quite managed to get it 100% comfortable - I found that my left arm ached - I could sort of choose which part of my arm ached, but despite constant tweaking, I never got rid of the ache.

So I did as Paul Deck suggested - I ordered a Wolf Forte Secondo, an Everest, and VLM Flex,

Prior to the delivery, I assumed that the Forte Secondo would be the one for me - but much to my amazement, the VLM Flex proved to be the clear winner. No more aching arms, secure firm hold leaving my left hand free.

I'm not advocating you buy a VLM Flex - I am advocating that you try several and find the one that best suits you.

January 7, 2019, 6:07 AM · Something my local violin shop offers, is for one to go in and try lots of different brands of shoulder rests. Do you have a local music shop / violin shop that could also offer this? Good luck in your hunt! I use a Wolf, have done since being a child. The Kun Solo is also nice, I found it comfortable to use. Definitely try as many as possible, return the ones you don't like etc! Good luck
January 8, 2019, 8:15 AM · Hi David,

I work for Kun so obviously I'd recommend a Kun rest, but I can also recommend them personally as I've been playing with various Kun models for about 15 years!

It's definitely best to try a shoulder rest before you choose one - I think at least one shop in Lisbon carries Kun rests if you're near there, but I'm sure you can find stores online that would be happy to accept returns!

I would recommend looking at the Kun Super rest as well - it has fine adjustment like the Solo but you'll find you can adjust it a little lower if you prefer a lower profile shoulder rest.

I use a Solo on my violin and a Super on my viola, so either one is a good choice by me!

Emily

January 8, 2019, 9:34 AM · I've only ever used a Kun original or a Wolf FS. I did not like the Kun after a while, switched to the Wolf for a year and a half, then switched back to the Kun. I found I needed the horizontal adjustment that the Kun offered - which I believe alternate/more pricey models also offer, but right now my setup is working well and for less money.

Glad you found a shoulder rest that is comfortable for you, David!

Edited: January 8, 2019, 9:51 AM · I started off with a flattish, bouncy shoulder rest. Hated it. Bought a solid wood Hidersine Maesbury because the photo made it look nice and curvy. I have no complaints, although I use it with a Teka chinrest -the Guarneri was a disaster. You'll have to find a shoulder rest + chinrest combination that works for your neck length.
Bonmusica looks like a nice spare, but I haven't got $50+ to throw away on a whim.
Edited: January 9, 2019, 3:51 PM · Good news people... For my surprise, a school where I teach got VLM Standard 3/4/4/4 for the school's violins. Damn those sholder rests are from another world compared to Kun... Kun feels like cheap plastic and rubbish construction after having one of these in my hands. They attach much better to the violin, they are very comforatle, and the inclination angle stays. With Kun, the inclination goes away right after you put the violin on your sholder.
Judging by the reviews, the Diamond has many different adjustable options, but doesn't seem to have the possibility to adjust the inclination?
I ordered the Diamnod Dark Maple and the Professional Walnut Gold, I have 30 days to send one back if I want to. I'm sure the professional will be great for me, I just don't know if the Diamond will be even better or worse.
January 10, 2019, 4:17 PM · The Wolf models have the advantage that they are extremely adjustable; you can bend them to fit your shoulder and chest better. The mounts of the feet can be flipped to reduce the height if you have a short neck. For a long neck, you can extend the screws (they are a screw in a screw). You may wish to check "Magic posture" for ideas how to adjust them:
https://youtu.be/92fqBPRjueQ . You can't return it to the shop once you have bent it, of course.

A disadvantage is that the Wolf is not so stable due to the many moving parts.

January 10, 2019, 5:22 PM · I've never put my korfker rest in the oven and it works perfectly.
January 15, 2019, 1:02 PM · The old Korfkers you had to put in the oven, but the new ones are adjustable anytime, no cooking required.
However, they are SO EXPENSIVE. It's 300 USD for one! And the KorfkerCradle clocks in at over 1,000 USD. That's more expensive than my bow (it's $500).
January 15, 2019, 1:12 PM · Hey David,

My $.02! I bought an Everest, I really liked how solid it felt and the cushion is firm, which I thisbe stabilizes the violin.

Happy Playing! Keep the honey dripping!

Edited: January 15, 2019, 2:37 PM · I understand Mr. Korfker is alive and deserves to be paid, but it's a pricey proposition that which they sell. The argument "if you really care about violin playing, you should..." doesn't hold water. Strings (even Pirastro's own), nice quality fittings, bow, rosin, actual music scores, etc. offer to this particular player a better value.

That said, I am no one to judge how should others use their money-spend away.

I have been tempted to invest on it, but then put my current SR on and think to myself "why change that which works so well... just because the other one is more expensive, must it be better for my needs?" And thus the skeptic takes over, and I end up "postponing" Korfker's SR. I am sure that if it would have costed $80.00-$100.00, I would have already tried it.

January 15, 2019, 2:39 PM · My Korfker lets my violin produce more ring under the ear than with a VLM Diamond.

That said, it's not an audible difference to anyone else, as far as I know. However, I like the lightness, even if I've never been able to get my initial model to adjust the way I wanted it to.

I bought a second-generation Korfker during the Shar Christmas sale, which I'm waiting for still. Hopefully that will address the adjustment issue.

January 17, 2019, 3:07 AM · Lydia, even if only the player notices the difference, that then leads to them playing better (in my experience). I have a theory that this is why real strads often sound so good; not because the violin itself is necessarily better, but because the player feels they playing on something special, and that shows up in how they play it.
January 17, 2019, 7:28 AM · I have to admit, though, I really want one of the korfker cradles, but still, I'm a broke kid.
Edited: January 17, 2019, 8:39 AM · Having used shoulder rests for about 50 years of my 80 years of violin playing I would like to suggest that one of the following three might be helpful:

Acoustafoam
AcoustaGrip
Xeros

I currently use AcoustaGrip for violin and Xeros (or nothing for viola. I do not have a long neck. I hold the violin on my collarbone. These are all quite "flexible" in the way they can be conformed to individual needs. I have not found that any of these have any effect on what I hear compared to playing "restless." Also when I test-play the instruments in cello position the sound is not affected by any of these rests. A number of my violinist colleagues have recently switched to the AcoustaGrip.

Check them all out at Google.com

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