Viola shoulder rests

May 2, 2023, 6:04 PM · I'm looking for some recommendations for viola shoulder rests for my daughter. She's been using an Everest and has also tried a Kun, but neither is giving her enough support. She is very petite, and while she has no problem with reaches on the viola, the weight of it is a lot for her, especially without a great setup and support.

On violin she quite successfully uses the Bonmusica shoulder rest. I was going to just order her one of those for viola, but the viola ones are sized by the half inch, and I am uncertain if any of them will fit. Her viola is oddly shaped -- it is short in length (15.5) but with very large bouts.

My guess is ultimately she will end up with something like the Luna, but it isn't out for viola yet.

Does anyone have any other suggestions in the interim?

Replies (14)

Edited: May 2, 2023, 6:57 PM · I have used both a regular Kun and, more recently, a Kun Super on my 15.5 inch viola. They are fine for me, but I have no idea how they would work for your daughter. A teacher or luthier would be in a much better position to help you with your question. Sorry I cannot be of more help.
May 2, 2023, 7:27 PM · The kun super is nice because it can fit a wide variety of low bout sizes. As for comfort for your daughter I wouldn’t know. She’d have to try one.

For the Bonmusica Sharmusic has the lower bout width each of the sizes will accommodate under features/specs. Measure your daughter’s viola and see which one hers falls under in terms of lower bout width and order that one. If she likes the violin version she very well might like the viola version.

May 2, 2023, 8:12 PM · Aside from trying various sizes on at a store, the only other option to figure out which size Bonmusica to order is Christian's suggestion of measuring the width of her viola and checking the lower bout measurements on the Shar Music site. Has she tried different chinrests? That can make a big difference.
May 2, 2023, 9:41 PM · The viola was last set up for her brother who is 7 inches taller, so we know we have tweaking to do. We've already replaced the chinrest once, but we may need to work on that too.

I did the measurements previously for the Bonmusica, and hers falls between two sizes. Assuming I would order the larger one, that is supposed to be for a 16.5 viola, so I am just concerned it wouldn't work. I'm going to take her and her viola into the local shop, but my guess is they aren't going to have every size in stock.

I'll look into the Kun Super as well.

May 2, 2023, 9:51 PM · Yeah, if the measurements are between two sizes, it's probably safer to get the larger one, although if she likes to position her shoulder rest in such a way that it sits closer to the collarbone (for someone with narrower shoulders), the smaller one may be better, but in general, the larger size is probably a safer bet. I haven't used a Bon Musica in years, so I don't really know how width adjustable it is. I just know its width adjustment is very limited compared to other shoulder rests like the Kun. I've never tried a Kun Super myself, but from what I've heard, it's shaped similarly to a standard Kun except the width adjustment is on a sliding scale instead of a series of holes, which is nice in the sense that it accounts for minute variations in lower bout sizes, so in terms of comfort, the Bon Musica + changing the chinrest is probably more likely to make a difference for her comfort-wise compared to the Kun Super.
May 3, 2023, 12:11 AM · If her viola falls between you want to get the bigger one because the number that is there is the max width the shoulder rest can do. So the smaller one wouldn’t fit on her viola since it’s above the maximum width unless she tends to put her shoulder rest more towards the end button to be closer to her collarbone.
May 3, 2023, 12:59 AM · The Pirastro Korfkerrest was a game changer for me. Especially on the viola. Combined with a Wave chinrest of the right height it is much more comfortable than anything else I have tried.
May 3, 2023, 7:37 AM · You can get the regular viola Korfkerrest shipped from Europe for about $330 if you don't want to wait for the Luna. Works very well on my son's viola with large lower bout.
May 4, 2023, 1:48 PM · When I started playing viola I first tried playing without a rest, thinking that the additional thickness of the instrument might be enough. It wasn't, although I'm sure the audience found it amusing when my viola would slide around on the shoulder of my tux jacket.

If possible, have your daughter try as many shoulder rests as she can. I'm fortunate enough to be close to a large store; they laid out half a dozen shoulder rests for me to try. I eventually settled on the good old Kun - a larger version of the one on my violin - but if your daughter has already tried the Kun and doesn't like it, there should be others she can try that might work better. Being able to quickly compare them really simplifies the process.

May 4, 2023, 2:00 PM · My son uses the Korfkerrest and she has tried that on violin and really liked it, but it took my son a year to get it set correctly. If at all possible, I would like to wait for the Luna, though their violin maker has offered to help set one up if we want.

Anybody have any intel on when the Luna will be out for viola?

May 4, 2023, 2:00 PM · I just order a KorfkerRest for viola from Thomann. I don't think there is anything lighter or more customizable. By far the best price and very responsive shipping. Release date for the Luna viola model is as yet undetermined.
May 4, 2023, 4:06 PM · I think the viola Korfkerrest came several years after the violin version.
May 4, 2023, 5:09 PM · Yes the violin version came out in 2014 and then the viola version was released in 2018. Hopefully they don’t take 4 years to release the viola version of the Luna. Maybe it won’t since the Luna is made from synthetic materials.
Edited: May 8, 2023, 2:25 PM · We ordered a bunch of shoulder rests from Southwest strings, tried them all and kept one, sent the rest back.
I did call the shop prior to ordering and asked if it would be OK and they replied, "no problem as long as the shoulder rests come back in sell-able condition.
It is difficult to find a luthier shop that would have in stock as many shoulder rests as we got from Southwest strings.
I have to say that my wife used to study to become a professional and I am a PT; between two of us we had a good idea what we were trying to achieve.
The important thing to keep in mind is that a good shoulder rest (or a chin rest) is not necessarily is the most expensive one but the one that keeps the instrument in proper alignment and is comfortable.
I also would try to get feedback from the teacher.

good luck

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