Violin Shoulder Rests. How to find the best possible for you?

violin viola shoulder rest. Limassol music lessons
A sam­ple of how a shoul­der rest look like

What is it actually?

Shoul­der rests are  designed to com­fort the vio­lin hold­ing and play­ing. Its a par­tic­u­lar equip­ment placed under the vio­lin in order to ele­vate the vio­lin to the lev­el of the chin,  reduc­ing this way the gab between the chin rest and the jaw.That facil­i­tates the the head (by rest­ing on chin-rest) to take a role in hold­ing the vio­lin in straight posi­tion and releas­es the left hand. Shoul­der rest are par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful for tech­niques like vibra­to or posi­tion chang­ing. They are not  how­ev­er a must. The use of shoul­der rests will depend on the phys­i­ol­o­gy of the body of the vio­lin­ist his tech­ni­cal habits and abil­i­ties and sound expec­ta­tions.





Strategies for the best shoulder rest adjustment.

The way each vio­lin­ist holds the vio­lin should be very indi­vid­ual and in accor­dance to his body phys­i­ol­o­gy. The shoul­der rest (if used) should facil­i­tate the pos­ture. There are many dif­fer­ent options out there, and it is very impor­tant to find the com­bi­na­tion of shoul­der rest and chin­rest that is most suit­ed to your body in order to main­tain the appro­pri­ate pos­ture for you.

Here are some brief, gen­er­al­ly agreed upon guide­lines for pos­ture. First, think of sit­ting or stand­ing tall. This nat­ur­al stance should be main­tained when you hold the vio­lin. The end of the vio­lin should rest on the col­lar­bone, and the scroll should be lev­el with the body of the instru­ment. Keep the head in a neu­tral posi­tion, turned slight­ly to the left. The head should not tilt or strain to reach the vio­lin. The jaw sim­ply rests on the chin­rest. There should be no ten­sion involved in hold­ing the vio­lin between the col­lar­bone and jaw­bone, sole­ly the weight of the head. A prop­er shoul­der rest will make this pos­si­ble.


Pads and sponges

violin pad sponges, music lessons limassol
Cus­tom-made vio­lin pads and sponges

For young chil­dren hold­ing vio­lins of small­er size  I usu­al­ly sug­gest home­made vio­lin pads (see the pic­ture on the right

You can also get sponges and have almost the same result as the vio­lin pads.

Alter­na­tive­ly for small­er you can buy shoul­der Rests that feed the size of the vio­lin and the length of the child’s neck. I usu­al­ly sug­gest the cheap­er choic­es where you can exper­i­ment a bit with minor  eco­nom­ic con­se­quences. (Note : I usu­al­ly dis­cour­age par­ents from  buy­ing the wolf shoul­der rests as they nev­er adjust prop­er­ly to the mea­sure­ments of the vio­lin and the child).

Shoulder Rests

More rigid shoul­der rests that clamp onto the under­side of the vio­lin are usu­al­ly good for any­one with an aver­age to long length neck. They come in all heights and many are adjustable. Some of the more com­mon shoul­der rests are the Kun, Mach One, and Wolf. Oth­ers include Bon Musi­ca, Ever­est, Com­ford, Res­o­nans, and Viva la Musi­ca.
Anoth­er option is to play with­out a shoul­der rest or sponge. This is most com­mon among peo­ple with short­er necks. Some peo­ple use a cloth over the end of the instru­ment. Most impor­tant­ly, the vio­lin needs to feel com­fort­able and sta­ble where it sits.


Where to get them from?

Very often the shoul­der rests are includ­ed in the pack­age of a new vio­lin. Oth­er­wise wise  you can find some mod­els in almost all local shops vio­lin mak­ers (there you can also make a cus­tomized one). You can buy them also online in music stores like

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