Performa shoulder rest

December 16, 2019, 4:18 PM · Hello what do you think of Performa Shoulder rest. I play with a little sponge and always looking for the shortest shoulder rest if there is such a thing.

Replies (51)

Edited: December 16, 2019, 4:57 PM · SHAR sent me an email announcement for it, and I followed up by watching the videos. I haven't tried it, so bear that in mind as you consider my thoughts. One thing I noticed is that it's designed for players who use a chinrest with the cup placed left of the tailpiece. I use a center mount, cup over the tailpiece model that I'm not inclined to give up, so the Performa is already looking like it wouldn't suit me.

SHAR has a thirty day return policy, and the Performa might have its own return policy too. (I forget.) So you have little to lose by trying it. But no shoulder rest, no matter how well thought out and designed, will be right for everyone.

I'm currently using a Belvelin foam pad and I absolutely love it. It can be positioned ANYWHERE without restrictions, which is an invaluable quality. It's as light as they come, and it's pretty nearly as inexpensive as they come too. For me, for now, it's win win win.

December 17, 2019, 3:59 PM · I am in Greece, Shar does not dispatch to my country so i must find another way to get this shoulder rest. I don't have the opportunity to try it. I have Guarneri chinrest i think it is ok. Shoulder pads muffle the tone a little bit. I have a gelrest cut in the middle but it is a bit extreme low... I raised the chinrest with extra wood. I want a shoulder rest very light with 1,5 cm max 2cm high
December 17, 2019, 4:02 PM · Have you tried Viva La Musica? I hear it can go lower than a Kun.
Edited: December 17, 2019, 4:21 PM · Yes, i have tried the viva la musica. I don't want a fix angle to the violin. I want a flatter violin angle . Ray Chen 's shoulder rest probably is what i want but it is a custom prototype...
Edited: December 17, 2019, 6:31 PM · Huh. This might be kind of tricky... unless you use sponges, pads or something like Acoustagrip or Acoustifoam or adjust the shoulder rest legs for a flatter violin angle.

And oh, I just checked the shar music page. The performa should work with any chinrest according to a question posted on the shar performa page.

Edited: December 17, 2019, 10:41 PM · I'd like to try this SR. Its $47 for the "polymers" one and $90 for the wood one. I'm sure the wood one has better tone ...
December 17, 2019, 10:52 PM · I don't know why the wood one would have better tone. Both models are isolated from the vibrating violin body by "rubberized" material.
December 18, 2019, 12:50 AM · The wood one is lighter
December 18, 2019, 8:57 AM · Both Performa shoulder rests are light compared to my head which is also closely connected to the instrument when I play.

In fact I have replaced the cork on all my chinrests with rubber for greater isolation -- and that did make an improvement in tone.

Interestingly I have found that using a Gelrest Micro or Acoustagrip as an alternative to a shoulder rest had no audible effect on tone (to me) even though both items stick to the violin back by microsuction. (This is the case playing the instrument under the chin or in cello position.)

December 18, 2019, 5:38 PM · Now, i use a gelrest micro which i cut in the middle to minimize the contact in the back of my violin.
Edited: December 19, 2019, 8:50 AM · I have ordered a wooden Performa from SHAR and will describe my experience as soon as I have one.

Over 40 of the the past 50 years I used (or at least bought and tried) almost every "reasonably priced" shoulder rest available. This will be the first one I consider not "reasonably priced."

For the 30 years before that I did not use shoulder rests.

December 18, 2019, 8:28 PM · I was just messing around about the "tone." Anything wood always has to be better than anything plastic for your tone, right?
December 19, 2019, 3:47 AM · Ray Chen said once in an interview that "Shoulder Rest kills the tone and pads kills the projection" i think he is right.
Edited: December 19, 2019, 8:15 AM · I don't think so. This kind of discussion is like the one about center mounted vs side mounted chinrests. And since neither the art of violin making nor terms like "tone" and "projection" are exact sciences (100%, or at least 33.3% measurable), the discussion could go on and on.

Playing restless definitely has a positive impact on the quality of tone. I haven't tried any other microsuction pads than the acoustagrip, but the acoustagrip - although being some massive piece of foam - made so little a difference that it could be biased by psychological effects - at least in my own perception as in the perception of my peers, who are mostly academics in physics, chemistry, engineering or medicine, heavy nerds and picky until you drop, plus a handful of full time pro musicians from our local symphony. If the larger effect of a shoulder rest is more because of its acoustic impact on the violin body, or because of changes in posture and body tension, would again be one of many interesting questions in this context. And if it is about physical interaction of the components, then for sure it will also play a "large" role how tight the rest will clamp onto the instrument.

To add something to the chinrest topic - while I perceived serious differences between several models (under the ear) depending on point of contact as well as on weight, the three of my friends who joined me in this test series (including my luthier) told me I was nuts.

It may (or may not?) seem obvious that the vertical (-> mostly on the ribs) pressure from the CR in an acoustically relatively inert region of the instrument has less impact than the transversal (-> mostly on the back plate) pressure from the SR in an acoustically highly active region. So my personal conclusion to this is, use the CR you're comfortable with, and if you prefer using a SR, then fix it as loosely as possible without it falling to the floor before the end of the 3rd movement.
As long as almost 100% of all contemporary world class violin virtuosos (except ASM) including Ray Chen himself use any kind of SR, this is not a point for me to lay too much focus on.

Edited: December 19, 2019, 8:21 AM · On my quest for optimal viola posture I was happy to learn about a new low-profile SR. Unfortunately, this is one more that goes very low on the bass side, but without an option for alternatively lowering the treble side. Will therefore have to continue my ongoing sponge-and-chamois experiments...
December 19, 2019, 11:32 AM · Nuuska, I totally agree with you. While rests may affect the sound, the difference is so little that it doesn't matter anymore. I just care about being comfortable. This topic is so controversial... It seems that getting an extremely low height on the chest (treble) side is difficult because most shoulder rests are designed to be higher on the chest side than the shoulder side. I think it's because most people need more height on the chest side as there's more space to fill. Some people require extra height on the chest side even if their chinrest is the apropriate height...
December 19, 2019, 1:33 PM · For a little while I was using the "comford" shoulder rest that attaches to 4 places on the lower bout. I used the plastic version for a number of years, then as the foam wore out, I replaced it with a metal version, which is heavier. I noticed much less responsiveness from my violin with the heavier rest which I didn't expect. I tried several different rests after that at the local violin shop and picked the korfker rest as that was by far the best sounding. As for chin rests, one thing to keep in mind in comparing side mounts to center (such as the flesch) is that the ear location relative to the violin is much different. That alone will result in a different perceived sound.
December 19, 2019, 3:44 PM · I can play with or without a shoulder rest, but I use a Pirastro korfker cause I think it helps the I nuts? It's possible it's all an illusion based on where your ears are in relation to the violin...but I honestly don't know.
Edited: December 19, 2019, 3:52 PM · Most of the center-mount chinrests locate the players jaw and chin in the same place as the left-mounts. With most (but not all) of the violins I have tried the left-mounts sounded better (definitely the ones I own). I did these "experiments" with a violinmaker friend and another listener in large venues 25 to 30 years ago.
Edited: December 19, 2019, 3:54 PM · Because I, like Andy, am insatiably curious, I too have bought a wooden Performa to try.

I own a Korfker that I am moderately happy with. They recently sent me the new low feet and that's much better for me but still higher than I want it. The ideal position for me (short neck) would essentially be restless with just a little stabilizing padding on the treble side and some grab at the shoulder.

Under the ear, the Korfker is definitely tonally better than the Viva La Musica Diamond that I was using previously -- as long as the feet aren't gripping the body of the instrument too tightly (which unfortunately also means "sufficiently securely").

December 19, 2019, 4:02 PM · I too, purchased the wooden one and it’s to arrive today from Shar! I currently use the Korfkerest which I like a lot, but it’s a pain to get that exact fit! Too many options and I get overwhelmed easily.

Review to follow soon!

December 19, 2019, 7:07 PM · Report!

Not a fan. The pad offers no friction on your shoulder and so the violin slides around. The rest is too bulky and flat. I think my neck is too high for it perhaps. I didn’t even bother to play and see what it sounded like as it just felt awful.

Back to Shar is goes!

December 19, 2019, 11:08 PM · My teacher got one and I tried it for the duration of my lesson today. I rather like it. It's low and the broad piece for support is comfortable. It's solidly stable without immobilizing the violin. I'll have to see, when mine arrives, how further adjustment might make it feel. I also can't tell at the moment how much it dampens the sound of the violin.
Edited: December 20, 2019, 6:44 AM · This is all interesting. I find the Performa significantly improves the ring and response versus the Viva La Musica Diamond, which, like Lydia I had been using.I find it more comfortable, and am not sure whether I want my shoulder rest to be any more immobile than the Performa is as some rests I have tried made the violin feel locked in to only one playing position. Jaime, I too have a long neck! I may see if we can get on the same gig as me if you'd be willing to let me briefly try your Korfker. I can't imagine shelling out that money without being sure I'd like it - but I take it you can return a rest to Shar if you don't?
December 20, 2019, 7:12 AM · Hi Ray! I'm more than happy to let you try it the Korfker!

Shar is excellent in that you can return anything as long as it can be "put back on the shelf." I purchased the Korfker during one of their 20 or 30% off sales so it was still expensive but saved me a good chunk of money. Their customer service is top notch.

Side note-You pay the return shipping but it's never more than 5-6 bucks as long as it's a nice light item.

December 20, 2019, 8:54 AM · You are all very lucky... I must wait because Shar does not dispatch outside US or Canada.
December 20, 2019, 9:29 AM · I used a Kun for many years on both violin and viola, and really the only complaint was that they tend to slip a bit, so I was always checking on the mounting position, which became a distraction. I think the rubber material on the newer ones is better. I did switch to the Korfker for viola a couple of years ago and love it! It is way over priced, but the materials are superb, it doesn't slip at all, and it is super light weight. Two of my friends (one violinist, one violist) both swear that it has improved their tone & volume. I agree. We could all be imagining things, but I don't think so. Perhaps it is the low mass, or the very tiny contact points, but there seems to be something to it. I plan to get one for my violin soon.
December 20, 2019, 11:00 AM · Guys, I think the reason why the Korfker is so expensive is because of the bendable wood technology and all the bolts and pieces that make it highly adjustable. I wish it wasn't so expensive, but maybe it just costs a ton to manufacture???
December 21, 2019, 12:49 PM · Dimitris,

Sorry about being a bit delayed with this post. Based on how you described your needs with respect to a shoulder rest, you might consider the Wittner. As you know Wittner is German based. This should make it easier to find someone within the European Union who stocks and sells these.

I purchased mine about 4 months ago and paid $63 US. I have used numerous types of shoulder rests for 50+ years. For 30 of those years I used and was pleased with the KUN rest. I was intrigued with the Wittner because they pursued a design that focused on maintaining violin acoustic performance while providing an extremely flexible and comfortable rest. The support for this shoulder rest is entirely maintained by the violin endpin block. This allows the bottom plate of the violin to freely vibrate as intended and not be subject to any dampening effects that some shoulder rests impart. Additionally, the height, tilt, and angle adjustments are accomplish through two ball joints. This allows for near infinite adjustment possibilities. Achieving your 1.5cm to 2cm height is well within the range of adjustment. Additionally, it is extremely light. It also allows the violinist to adjust the shoulder rest to your precise body/violin dimensions. Once installed you will hear a difference in your violins volume of sound and enhancement in tone. After 4 months of use I can say without hesitation this is the best shoulder rest I have ever used.

This Youtube video link shows a violinist installing and reviewing this shoulder rest. This is the video that convinced me to give the Wittner a try. There is a model 280 that is intended to be used with the Wittner chinrest. The model 282 was designed to be used with an existing chinrest.

Hope this was useful. If all you are interested in is the Performa, I am sorry that I was not more helpful in suggesting how you might acquire one.

December 21, 2019, 5:49 PM · Thank you very much Larry!
December 21, 2019, 7:30 PM · Still using and liking the Acoustifoam:

You can choose the precise height, it has good friction to stabilize the instrument while you shift, and it has very little contact with instruments or shoulder.

But as always, in this matter, your mileage may vary.

December 22, 2019, 5:32 PM · Acoustifoam is similar to arcrest

I think ArcRest is much more elegant but i dont like rubber bands.But i think rubber bands to these rests is necessary.

December 22, 2019, 8:40 PM · Acoustifoam and Gelrest Micro rests fasten to the back of the instrument by micro-suction. No elastic bands are needed. The varnish on some instruments may be too soft to tolerate this well for extended use - at least some have told me they suspect this.
December 23, 2019, 4:40 PM · My Padauk wood Performa shoulder rest arrived from SHAR this morning and I have given it a bit of a trial. I like it!

It comes with an extra long screw mounted grip for the chest side and an extra 5mm thick shoulder pad for added softness/comfort and a bit of extra height above the shoulder. I may play with the original "chest screw" but doubt I will use the longer screw.

It weighs 88.7 grams with the 5mm* shoulder pad added to the 2mm already mounted when it arrived (compared to 77.1 grams for my old Wolf Secundo (the low model with no screws to adjust height)). Maybe the sound is a bit stronger/richer than with my Gelrest Micro (maybe not, since I did not do an exchange test).

* more comfortable for me than the 2mm pad

It holds the violin nicely for me so that my old** arm vibrato can be utilized again in addition to wrist. Although how long I can vibrate the arm remains to be seen.

** pretty much missing since a neck injury 30 years ago.

They advertise the Padauk wood and charge for it like it was something special, but according to Wikipedia it is a cheap hardwood that is easy to carve - so much for that and the extra $50 cost! But it is nice and perhaps lower mass than the composite and I do not regret the purchase.

December 23, 2019, 6:38 PM · Thank you Andrew! Can you measure the minimum height over the shoulder? With the legs fully screwed.. Is it under 3 cm?
December 23, 2019, 8:49 PM · According to a posted Shar FAQ, the minium height is about 2.5 cm.
December 23, 2019, 10:35 PM · Dimitris, I just measured it. With the extra 0.5cm pad on it the top of the SR is a little less than 2 cm from the bottom surface of the violin, so with the thinner pad it would be a little less than 1.5 cm.

This is the minimum distance.

December 24, 2019, 1:51 AM · Thank you Andrew! I will buy this shoulder rest when i find it available in an EU store
December 24, 2019, 10:33 AM · I purchased my Performa (paduak)about two weeks ago from Shar. Like Jamie above, I didn't like it at first and seriously considered returning it. It seemed big and bulky compared to the Korfker rest I normally use. However, I kept trying it and now I like it very much. It is the only rest I can use that doesn't aggravate my shoulder issue. I fond I can play longer with this rest than even practicing restless. I don't find an issue with tone degradation at all and find it feels naturally comfortable. But as always, your mileage may vary.
December 24, 2019, 7:51 PM · If somebody produce a shoulder rest thin delicate and light like korfkerrest and low and flat like performa i think this might be the best of all
December 24, 2019, 8:13 PM · I've spent a practice session with the Performa wood rest now and have mixed feelings about it. My usual rest is a the standard Korfker, with the short feet.

First, it does dampen the sound slightly. The Korfker clamps the instrument very lightly and not always securely. The Performa grips more tightly, which cuts down resonance.

Second, it is pretty flat and thus feels more stable. I raised the chest-side leg as much as I could in order to keep the instrument near-flat, which is my preferred position. I felt that some of the loss of tone occurred because unilke my hold with the Korfker, which keeps the instrument higher (but is less comfortable because I have to raise my neck more), the Performa is at a somewhat lower angle. With the Korfker, I am effectively pushing the violin up into the bow a bit more, which increases contact solidity and thus volume.

The Performa is a heavier rest, which isn't really noticeable with the instrument on the shoulder. I think holding the violin feels more effortless and stable with it, with my left shoulder completely relaxxed, but for me the adjustment isn't entirely ideal.

I actually don't know what I'm going to do. I would like a version of the Performa that has a Korfker-like lightweight wood, and more lightweight contact with the violin. It's the first rest I've used that feels low enough for me.

I've recently lost a lot of weight, which has changed the geometry of my chin / neck / shoulder, so nothing I'm using currently really feels quite right.

December 25, 2019, 1:37 PM · I agree with Lydia that a low and lightweight thin rest would be ideal for someone who play with a thin pad and dont need bulky high rests. The low rest can be high with an extra high leg. A high rest can not be low...
December 25, 2019, 6:41 PM · Someone needs to convince Ray Chen to open-source his sr, especially the special "rice glue" he uses with his sr. Going from playing restless to sr, Ray's sr is definitely on the low side.

December 26, 2019, 8:04 AM · Nothing really to add since I haven’t tried it yet, but I really hope the rest becomes popular enough that they come out with a viola model. I can reasonably use a wide variety of standard rests comfortably on violin, but the Performa looks like exactly the type of design that would work really well for me on viola. Frustratingly it seems to be even harder to find low shoulder rests for viola than for violin (for example the Comford rest was only ever available in “tall” for viola), even though I would think that more people would need shorter shoulder rests for viola (I suspect the viola market is just smaller, so companies have to have reasonable success before they come out with a viola model).
December 26, 2019, 10:36 AM · Ingrid, according to a Shar FAQ posting, a viola version is expected in the new year. I think viola players need lower shoulder rests more than violinists because of the thickness of the instrument, yet the viola market is way smaller. Violin versions always come ahead of viola versions. On a personal note, I already have a fairly long neck and I need my Kun rest at lowest setting on viola whereas I can have it at medium height on the violin.
January 4, 2020, 4:29 PM · The Shar store responded that they don't dispatch outside US or Canada so i kindly send a question to mr Cyrus Forough fb page if he intented to sell his rest outside US or Canada. But he didn't reply... So i think i can't get this rest for now
January 4, 2020, 8:35 PM · After some experimentation I've decided that the Performa doesn't force me to hold up the violin in the same way. That means the bow doesn't make as solid contact with the string, which results in a less powerful sound. I could probably figure out how to make it work and it might eventually beat the Korfker for comfort in that event.

But the Korfker, with the new low legs, is actually working pretty well for me, and I'm sticking with it for now, I think. (But I am not returning the Performa.)

January 4, 2020, 8:56 PM · I broke down and ordered the Korfker so when I get it I'll okay another comparison between the two...
January 5, 2020, 2:41 AM · Korfker has new low legs? How low can it be?
January 5, 2020, 10:55 AM · Not quite as low as the Performa, but fairly low.
Edited: January 5, 2020, 8:52 PM · I don't have the Performa, but looking at it I wondered about two things: can the feet be adjusted to fit a small 4/4 instrument?, and how does the lack of rotation (tilt) of the feet (fixed screws and nuts assembly) allow for angular adjustments (perpendicular axe to the screw posts)? The SR being wide I could see this being an issue for a perfect fit. I think it may work fine for short necks where the angular variations on short feet may be negligible, but I am not so sure for longer ones however.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Sejong Music Competition
Sejong Music Competition Guide to Online Learning Guide to Online Learning

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine