Shoulder rest issue

May 1, 2019, 2:59 PM · For the past several years, I had been playing with a standard kun shoulder rest. A couple months ago I was finally fed up with the shoulder rest falling off every time I moved my instrument. I went online and found the comfort shoulder cradle, it doesn’t fall off of the violin and I like the way it fits my shoulder. The problem is that I’ve only had the shoulder rest for 2 months maximum, and the padding has already worn out to the point where the plastic is digging into my shoulder and giving me a gnarly bruise. I’ve come up with a temporary fix by wrapping a cleaning rag around the spot, but now the shoulder rest doesn’t fit my shoulder quite so well. Is there any advice, or am I just S.O.L.? Thanks

Replies (26)

May 1, 2019, 3:44 PM · Hey Brock, I've been designing a shoulder rest for quite some time now (in fact, I'm holding a prototype in my hands at this moment) that will solve this issue, as well as many other issues that have plagued SRs for too long now. In designing this SR, I've realized why no one else has done it: it's extremely hard to make something that works perfectly. It's much easier to make a new SR that is just a new set of compromises. Still, I hope to finish my design within a couple of years, once I feel I have eliminated all compromises.

Anyways, the trick I currently use with my students is the following: affix a couple of sturdy rubber bands around the legs of your Kun, and once the Kun is in position, pull the rubber band to the under-side corner of the violin on each side.

This will create constant tension pulling the SR towards the front of the violin, so that even if your SR isn't "clamping" the violin like it's intended to be, it will be unlikely to fall off.

Let me know if you need more detail on the rubber band trick.

Edited: May 2, 2019, 7:00 AM · Google "Gelrest." You can probably adapt one of those chinrest covers to cushion your shoulder rest - and then perhaps cover it with a cloth sleeve to insure longevity. Email the Gelrest company for Steve's advice re. your problem.
May 1, 2019, 4:17 PM · Throw it out and buy a Kreddle.
May 1, 2019, 5:44 PM · … then throw out the Kreddle too...
[Sorry Cotton, couldn't resist...]
Edited: May 1, 2019, 6:32 PM · Simply use a single long elastics to connect the feet of the Kun SR with one of the C -bout corners. 1st install it between the feet, then pull from the middle and connect with the corner.
May 1, 2019, 6:45 PM · I agree with those who suggest putting elastics on with your Kun rest. It's also possible that the feet on your shoulder rest are worn out. You can buy replacement feet for your Kun. Feet do wear out after several years of use.
May 1, 2019, 8:13 PM · Thank you guys! I’ll definitely try the rubber band idea
May 2, 2019, 1:03 AM · I'd personally suggest to start playing eventually without shoulder rest.
Edited: May 2, 2019, 5:58 AM · Watch out for unwanted resonances or dampings from rubber bands and the like! Rubber and other elastics may also degrade and break with time. But, not being a shoulder rest user, am I really qualified to give this advice, I wonder?
May 2, 2019, 7:31 AM · Shar will sell you all the Kun replacement parts. Not expensive. By the way if you go to ANY Suzuki class you will see all the kids have rubber bands on their shoulder rests from the legs to the lower corners, pretty much regardless of what kind of SR they have.

If you want to try going without an SR, then you need a teacher who is experienced in teaching "restless" students because your technique will need to change in ways that will initially feel significant. I know because I played restless all through my childhood, but took up the SR when I returned, so I understand those differences.

May 2, 2019, 8:25 AM · I had a Kun I used 30 years ago--the thing NEVER fell off. Excellent.

But when I found that old Kun last year in my case, the legs were rusted and the plastic tubing brittle, so I bought a new one. Same design, but it seems to have less sticky rubber on the legs. D*** thing keeps falling off. It must have fallen off 5 times in a lesson; my teacher finally gave me a rubber band. :)

May 2, 2019, 10:57 AM · There are 3 reasons I can think of why your Kun keeps falling off: worn or damaged feet in which case you can replace them, too loose a fitting in which case you can slightly bend the feet bracket to obtain a tighter fit or too much pressure on the chin rest in which case you need to relax. That said, fitting wise I have been happy with the Wolf Forte Secondo.
May 2, 2019, 11:10 AM · Roger St-Pierre, It doesn't fall off when I am playing (thank goodness), only when bringing it up or down. The feet aren't worn or damaged since it is new, and it is very tightly fit.

I've since learned how to move it slowly up or down to my neck, and to avoid all contact with clothing.

May 2, 2019, 3:18 PM · Timothy, your adjustment on the Kun is probably just too tight (or maybe just right depending on how you look at it). The OP's is probably just too loose.

The big issue happens when people "angle" their SRs to feel more correct, which then leads to a lack of "clamp" on the violin. So we can have a SR that holds on to the violin, or we can have one that is properly adjusted to our body, but it's rare to be able to have both.

Edited: May 2, 2019, 4:52 PM · Another detail some violinists miss: if you turn violin upside-down with the button facing forward, the right foot of the SR ought to be positioned all the way down to the corner. This will not only secure it, but will also release unnecessary pressure under the treble side and provide more mobility and easier tilt correction. Depending on your physique and the height of SR, your violin may make contact with your collar bone, which is OK.
May 2, 2019, 5:43 PM · "Your violin may make contact with your collar bone, which is OK." Only 'OK' Rocky? It used to be de rigour and certainly essential if you want to play restless...
[LOL! 'Footloose and restless' in this case...]

May 3, 2019, 8:25 AM · Hi! I work for Kun, so I'm just going to chime in about some stuff that has been brought up on this feed!

The rubber on the feet can wear out or get a little brittle, but that should only happen after several years of regular use. Replacement feet are inexpensive and available online and in stores, or if you have trouble finding them email and we can send you in the right direction!

The old-school latex tubing style feet are also still available, though they are no longer standard-issue. Shar might have them, or again send us an email if you want to find the old style feet or replacement tubing!

Brock, if you have always had that issue with your Kun, you may have feet from an early batch - when we first introduced the over-moulded feet, the rubber was a little too brittle and did lend itself to slippage (it's a very fine line to walk sorting out a material that won't wear out or slip or damage varnish or dampen the sound of an instrument)! If your feet are from one of the early batches I can probably send you a new set for free... send me an email and let's sort something out!


May 3, 2019, 9:13 AM · I don't suppose we'll ever see any shoulder rest issue being given a rest :)
May 3, 2019, 9:20 AM · Erik: that's it! If I angle the rest so it is close to the violin button on the base side, I can pivot it on my shoulder a bit, but it is more likely to fall off.
Sigh. No rest for the weary violinist.
May 3, 2019, 10:16 AM · Jocelyn: perhaps you have the same problem I did (when I still used the Kuhn): I could not get the rest close enough to my neck to sit comfortably on the shoulder. What I did was buy the 3/4 sized Kuhn and then used elastic bands to hold it on, extended to the near-back corner.

However, I then switched to the Everrest and that problem went away. And then I found the whole thing grossly irritating and threw it away too - much to the consternation of my teacher but 'she persisted' :D

May 3, 2019, 11:58 AM · I have found that if the feet of a shoulder rest (e.g. Kun) lose their grip but are not visibly worn out, cleaning them with alcohol seems to improve the grip significantly. Just be sure that there is absolutely no alcohol residue left on the shoulder rest before putting it back on the instrument (air dry a good long time).
May 3, 2019, 12:44 PM · Re: "nice offer from Emily"

I have a Kun "Bravo" with collapsible feet that is great in all respects. But, alas, one day it was sitting on the floor besides my violin case, and... I stepped on it. One of the hinged parts broke. I tried to find a replacement part, but I could find every part EXCEPT the hinged foot thing I needed. I finally contacted Kun, and a very helpful and friendly person sent me the part I needed, with their compliments. Seems like a pretty awesome company to me.

May 3, 2019, 1:41 PM · Did they say 'Sorry' too?
Canadian don't-cha-know...
May 5, 2019, 11:29 AM · I have resorted to using a sponge (more accurately for him foam rubber) under my shirt like Issac Stern used to do. It's made my playing much better and actually helps to bring me closer to playing fully without a shoulder rest.

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