Shoulder rest for a wide lower bout
I'm having trouble finding a shoulder rest that works with my new viola. Note: for those inclined to tell me that I don't need one at all, that's simply not an option I'm considering.
I've gotten along comfort-wise with Viva La Musica and Kun. All I ask is that
a) it fit the viola
b) it fit in the case (collapsible arms)
c) it not cause the instrument to buzz
The Viva failed me on (a) - the lower bout on my new viola is about 258mm at the widest point; the Viva was stretched to the breaking point despite allegedly fitting >16.5" violas. The Kun collapsible failed on (c) - it fits the viola and the case, but the rest pivots on the feet such that in the course of playing it pivots towards the bottom of the viola, causing buzzing when it makes contact. I am constantly having to pivot it away again, which gets annoying - I need to do this every 5-10 minutes.
Does anyone else have this problem? Does anyone know of a shoulder rest that fits larger instruments, has collapsible feet, and where the platform piece (for lack of a better word) doesn't pivot on the feet when you don't want it to?
Bon Musica makes custom wide shoulder rests. Unfortunately, at 260 for the lower bout, your options are limited.
I recently switched to the Everest Viola one to avoid the Kun pivoting problem and it has worked great. It doesn't fit in my case, but my case is particularly small, so it may fit in yours.
My son's Kiernoziak's lower bout is 10 3/8" or just over 260mm and the Viva La Musica 'Diamond' works, but just barely. For the first several months putting it on always felt like we were taking it past the limit, but it has loosened up over time and seems to fit pretty well now. Would buy again.
To me, the solution seems plain simple.
If you can use a low SR check out the GelRest Micro. Concordmusic.com has the best price I've seen.
I'm wondering, have you widened your kun to widest position on both sides? I can't recommend anything in particular, but if finding a suitable shoulder rest is problematic, I would explore sponges and pads, as the width of the viola will not matter.
If you basically like the viva la musica, I'd write to firstname.lastname@example.org - eventually they'd be willing to work on a custom made diamond model. It's not a super-huge company...
Foam is a great option or some sponges that will grip and support maybe?
Another possibility is Acoustagrip. They have a viola version. I've been happy with my violin version.
They said they aren't considering it, not that they tried it.
Lots of good suggestions here - thank you all!
Yes, I agree that you have to use what works for you. People do get frustrated with shoulder rests, but that doesn't mean you should get rid of it altogether. Ditching the shoulder rest is a good solution for some, but not all. The good news is that there are lots of options to try: various shoulder rests, sponges, foam pads, cloth, etc. I think most of us benefit from using something underneath the instrument to stop it from slipping. In order to go shoulder restless, I think you will have to get accustomed to using a lot more left hand support than you're used to; plus your body type needs to work decently with restless playing.
Let me add my vote for the Acoustagrip also.
I have had the issue that you describe with the Kun viola rest tilting. Try attaching a makeup pad to the side that contacts the body with a rubber band - this will limit how much it can tilt.
As for the acoustagrip, I've got my experiences. Basically, I like it. Not necessarily on violin, since I've found my perfect setup here. But on viola, it was one of several "95%" options. What made me stop using it was it's effect on the varnish. The use of the acoustagrip hasn't any impact on all my other instruments, either with spirit varnish or a well matured oil varnish. But on my main viola with a relatively young (11 years) delicate and rather soft varnish similar as it is traditionally used in Mittenwald for the high end models, you can see clearly where it was attached even after an hour of playing. Not that it would stick too hard to the varnish and take away some of it, this definitely never happened. It just leaves an impression there which can be polished out - but I don't fancy polishing my viola on a weekly base.
Not sure if Wolf Forte Primo would be wide enough. Another thought: does it help you move the feet under the treble side (A string) all the way to the spike?
Have you tried the Kreddle adjustable chinrest? My neck is bordering on gargantuan and I still don't even use the tallest setting. It was worth every penny of the $100 for me.
I vote for the bonmusica. From personal experience, you can slightly bend certain parts, which can give at least a few cm in width
Acoustifoam. Can be moved to where it provides optimal support and contact with collarbone. I use them with my violin, and my teacher uses them with his viola.
Lots of great suggestions here. Thanks everybody!
A colleague of mine played one of those Tertis model violas for awhile with a lower bout so big there was only one case model that it even fit in (a BAM Artisto with the largest pattern cutout).
Hi! It's extremely helpful feedback that the pivot on Kun rests causes an issue for violists - I play viola myself using the Collapsible and the Super and have never encountered that problem, but it's obviously a common concern based on the number of comments on this thread!
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