Bon Musica...

January 10, 2020, 8:19 AM · Anyone have a Bon Musica that just fit worse the more it was adjusted? No matter what I do it digs into my chest, and I've taken pliers to try and fix that, no joy. My teacher is willing to try and shorten the long adjustment screw on that side but I don't think we CAN shorten it enough without putting the body of my violin at risk from scratching. I suspect the part meant to rest on my body will still dig in/bruise.

I'm just curious if my experience is unusual. I may try the Wolf Secunda next, or just give up and stick with the Kun. My neck/shoulder isn't quite happy with the Kun...

Replies (24)

January 10, 2020, 8:28 AM · Is that one of those SRs with no padding?
January 10, 2020, 8:38 AM · Good luck with the Wolf Secondo! It was my SR of choice for over 30 years.

Now after 10 years of alternating between no-SR, Acoustagrip and Gelrest-Micro I am finding new joy with the Performa from SHAR.

January 10, 2020, 9:00 AM · Paul - it has padding, and it is adjustable in every possible way. I suspect it wasn't designed for someone of my build though I do know some women like it.

Good to know Andrew- I almost tried the Wolf before the BM but the latter was on sale at the time. I do need something adjustable given my neck/shoulder problems.

Edited: January 10, 2020, 9:16 AM · Catherine,
There are 2 models of the Wolf Secundo:
1. "Standard" - the low one with no real height adjustment
2. "Forte" - with height adjustment screws.

I used the "Standard" one. I did have one "Forte" model but I did not need its height-adjustment screw feature.

I found the Bon Musica too confining - but you can bend the part that grabs the back of your shoulder to relieve that somewhat.

The Kun models I tried never quite "cut it" for me.

January 10, 2020, 9:20 AM · Catherine - are you talking about the screw that is on the treble/E side of the instrument? I am currently using a Bon Musica, and I have a mark on my collar bone from its contact with my skin. I've learned to live with it because when I adjust the shoulder rest to not do that, it is uncomfortable.

For what its worth: In the past three years, in addition to the Bon Musica, I've used the Kun, the Kun with additional sponges, the Wolf Secondo (with height adjusters - my least favorite of the bunch), and a Belvelin pad. My favorite was the Belvelin pad, but I could not get the kind of vibrato that I wanted (either due to impatience, mechanics or other factors) so I switched to the Bon Musica.

Edited: January 10, 2020, 10:00 AM · Pamela, it's the screw on the G/bass side, as well as the padded metal edge on that side. Leaves painful bruises. My fused neck likes a very low rest (high CR), and my jacked shoulder likes the stability of the hook though I DID adjust the hook so it isn't to the degree it came.

The Kun is ok, just need a different angle, or a higher Wave CR. It would likely be perfect if the Wave CR came in a height between the medium and tall. The medium is a little short for my neck while the tall is too high. I've a Goldilock neck:)

January 10, 2020, 10:22 AM · I had the same experience with the bon musica - the more I adjusted it, the less comfortable it became. I agree with Andrew that it confines the shoulder which I found ached after half an hour or so.

I'm currently using and very happy with a pirastro korfker which suites me at the moment.

Edited: January 11, 2020, 10:25 AM · The more I adjusted the Bon Musica, the more it scratched off the varnish on my violin backplate. Now I use a Wolf. I feel the chinrest height is more important than the shoulder rest. It is a continuous battle to get a good fit! Next I will attempt to fit an Impressionist.
Edited: January 10, 2020, 11:38 AM · I use the Bon Musica - I like it very much despite the visual impression it was designed by a diesel mechanic. The both the advantage and the disadvantage is that it is very configurable. If it digs in, consider changing the angle between the plane of the violin back, and the plane of the curved shoulder rest. It does not need to be parallel to the vertical plane of the violin back. Mine is now tipped toward the back at the lower bout side, and away from the back at the upper side, and it fits very well. For what it's worth, I just acquired the new Performa rest, and what I miss is this feature - the plane of the rest can't be changed, and must be parallal to the vertical plane of the violin back.
January 10, 2020, 11:40 AM · If this verbal description is too clunky, I can post a photo later today.
January 10, 2020, 12:01 PM · Sadly Charles, it's more than that angle. It's also about the length of that screw on the G string side - it's much too long at it's shortest. Any shorter and I risk my varnish. So there are two points on that side causing me pain and bruising though some adjustments get it down to only one.

You are welcome to post a picture to see if I understand you properly.

Edited: January 10, 2020, 6:13 PM · Much deep thought leads me to the conclusion that the length problem of the screw on the G string side could be solved by shortening its free end with a hacksaw or similar. There's always an engineering solution ;)

[edit added] I'm not an SR user, but my former teacher uses a Bon Musica on her violin and viola. I've noticed that a significant number of violists in my orchestras also use the Bon Musica, perhaps because the way it hooks over the player's shoulder may help to support the heavier instrument.

Edited: January 10, 2020, 1:37 PM · Hi Catherine, I have a few suggestions.

1. If you need your Bon Musica at a very low height, try sticking adhesive foam on the metal parts that will scratch your violin. By sticking foam on the metal, it is less likely to leave a scratch even if it touches the back of your violin.
2. I don't know if this will work, but you could always try replacing the Bon Musica legs with Kun legs, which are shorter.

By the way, if you want to raise your chinrest a little, Catherine, you can either put some padding on top of your chinrest, or you can insert a thin layer of rubber material underneath your chinrest to make it higher. I raised my Wittner center mount with a bit of rubber material and it works great.

Also, I recently found out that you can get the hook quite straight on a Bon Musica. You just have to work a fair bit to straighten it, but it's not that hard. I actually tried it recently and I managed to straighten the hook to the point that I can't feel it on my shoulder anymore. There's still a bit of hook left, but I don't think it's enough for me to feel restricted.

January 10, 2020, 4:08 PM · By the way, here's a comparison of Wolf theecondo vs Bon Musica by Red Desert Violin: https://www.reddesertviolin.com/comparing-wolf-forte-secundo-vs-bon-musica-violin-shoulder-rests/

I was very curious so I messaged her about the structural and functional differences between those shoulder rests because they are both bendable to fit the body.

Edited: January 10, 2020, 5:04 PM · If you're lo for a highly adjustable SR and don't depent on that "hook" the bonmusica provides, you might look into the Augustin / Viva La Musica models. The VivaFlex is reasonably priced alt a bit plasticky; if you don't mind investing a little bit more (but still not unreasonable), with the VLM Diamond you'll get thevmost beautiful SR in the market. I prefer the Diamond because I like it a bit stiffer.
I've compared it to several Kun, Wolf (including the forte secondo), the Bonmusica, Mach one, and Invisirest plus a couple of pads, and found it to allow the maximum amount of individualization, especially because no other model will fo lower (although it can also go quite high, and allows almost any amount of tilt), and it allows you to bring the rest closer to your collarbone by rotating the feet position so it will sit rather on your chest than on the mobile part of your shoulder.

Disclaimer: I paid for all the 5 Diamonds I currently have in use, as well as for the VivaFlex - so no conflict of interest with this company.

January 10, 2020, 5:20 PM · I, too, found the Bonmusica not work fork for me. The "unfinished" nature of it had me worrying about scratching my instrument, and, although I did kind of like the "hook" feature, I found that I was unable to adjust the rest so that it wouldn't slip off the instrument. For a while I went back to the Kun I was using before, then eventually found the Korfker rest for my viola. Once it is adjusted, it is great - extremely light weight, and doesn't slip.
January 11, 2020, 12:06 AM · Katherine,
If the kun would work with a higher wave chin rest that's between the medium and tall heights then another thing you can do similar to what Ella described is take your violin to a luthier and have them raise the chin rest a little bit. All they need to do is either put some more cork under it or if they have it a riser/lift under usually made of wood.
Edited: January 11, 2020, 3:30 PM · Good idea Christian, so simple that I hadn't thought of it! Surely I can figure this out without having to go to the lutheir - my shop takes at least solid week for any and everything (they are a large shop with a huge school rental program).

Ella, I've seen all of the RDV videos on the BM when I was first considering the purchase. I know she really likes it, it just does not seem to be working for me. It's not the hook at all, that's easily adjusted, it's what is happening at the bass/G side that is the problem.

Nuuska, I will keep the Diamond in mind - along with the Forte Secunda - if raising my CR a bit doesn't work. Surely I can find a little rubber or cork to experiment with.

Trevor - I has already considered your suggestion and my teacher was willing to help make that happen, but it would then be TOO short...and the screw isn't the only thing causing me pain and discomfort on that end of the rest.

January 11, 2020, 4:14 PM · Charles Zacks...
I love your imprssion of bonmusica - designed by a diesel mechanic.

My first impression of it was that it looked like a modern high tech garrote. After adding a metal plate and mounting a Sennheiser wireless with a DPA mike attached it definitely looks like a Darth Vader’s torture device.

January 22, 2020, 3:13 PM · I had a Bon Musica which after I tried adjusting by bending, I wasn't able to get it to fit properly after that.
If you are used to the stability of the Bon Musica, I would not recommend the wolf SRs. I tried a few and thought the overall design was sub-optimal in terms of its ability to stay adjusted the way I like it. Also I thought its stability was not in the same class as Bon Musica. I would suggest the mach one hook in that price range. Also the comfort shoulder rest (plastic version, metal is too heavy and affected the response of my violin) is good but i'm not sure if its still available.
Edited: January 26, 2020, 2:32 PM · As an experimenting beginner, I've ended up with a small collection of shoulder rests (Bon Musica, Wolf, Kun, Mach One, Polypads, Acoustigrip etc...). Until recently I've had the most success with the Bon Musica and Wolf Secondo. I was able to get the Bon Musica to fit the best. However, with the hook over the back, whilst secure, was sort of too rigid. And yes, the metal parts were uncomfortably close to the underside of the violin. About 5mm in my case. It is also the heaviest, weighing in at a hefty 96g.

Just this week I decided to take the plunge and get the Korfker shoulder rest. It's easily the best shoulder rest I've tried so far (as it should be for the price). Light as a feather, highly adjustable and secure. I had to spend a few hours setting it up though. As expensive as it is, if I had just bought it at the beginning, I could have saved myself a few quid by not buying all the others lol.

January 26, 2020, 2:29 PM · Glad the Korfeckr worked for you! I went with the VLM Diamond and I think it will work out fine. No more metal SRs after my Kun drew blood on the treble side...
January 26, 2020, 7:04 PM · interesting comment on the metal shoulder rest. I had a plastic comford shoulder rest, it wore out, so I splurged for the metal one that was supposed to sound better. It was heavy, and was a huge drag on the responsiveness of the violin.
January 26, 2020, 8:05 PM · I suspect men wouldn't have this particular problem, at least not many. The padding wore just enough on one of the treble corners that the edge could bite, and it did. My teacher was perplexed when I showed him my Kun, he has had his for 10 years and the little wear he has is in a quite different place and far less. I've had mine for 1 year...


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