Lora Staples - beginning violin and fiddle expert

How to choose the right violin shoulder rest

Violin shoulder rests explained

In this video, Lora shows you easy-to-understand tips to choose a shoulder rest that is right for you. At the same time, she reviews some of the best-known shoulder rests on the market with pros and cons of each one. Watch this video, because finding the right shoulder rest isn't as simple as you may think!

Released on November 5, 2013

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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Colin Hesketh on July 7, 2018 @6:49 am PST
Hi Lora Greetings from the UK. Your recent post on Bon-musica shoulder rest..Where you had a whoopsie drilling a new hole so you could swing out the shoulder rest part for a better fit. I have lost the post so I can't re-watch it again. Can you help me please Lora.
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on July 7, 2018 @9:55 am PST
Hi Colin! Yes, I had a major whoopsie, but was able to salvage the shoulder rest, and in fact, I am using it now....I think I like it better than my Mach One. Here is the link to part 1: https://youtu.be/LX-tNDYQCQQ
Colin Hesketh on July 8, 2018 @6:15 am PST
Glad to hear it. Thanks so much for the reply.
Best Wishes
Colin Hesketh.
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on July 7, 2018 @9:56 am PST
Here is the link to Part 2: https://youtu.be/IxqtFoK2Xxg
Brent Zackery Aquino on September 8, 2017 @4:11 am PST
Is the bon musica shoulder rest friendly for people with really short necks?
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on July 7, 2018 @10:01 am PST
Brent, the Bon Musica is incredibly versatile, so it works for people with long or short necks, broad or narrow shoulders. HOWEVER: If you have a short neck, that is more a function of your chin rest. I have just learned of a super low chin rest called the "Brandt". It is AMAZING. It is shaped like my beloved Stuber, but it's way shorter.
You can get it form Gary Frisch at chinrests.com.

But back to the Bon Musica: short neck people will attempt to put the shoulder screw as low as possible, and that is the BIGGEST DRAWBACK of the Bon Musica.....when that screw is set at its shortest, you only have 1-2 mm clearance between a big metal bracket and the back of your violin. It's HORRIBLE, because it will be highly likely that you will clamp down at some point and gouge your violin.

I am going to place a corn-pad on my Bon Musica because I already made a tiny dent in my violin. NOT COOL AT ALL.

Have you tried the Kun? The Kun is versatile, safe on the violin, and works well for short necks. Feel free to ask a follow up if you need.
Sanipan on February 15, 2016 @10:18 pm PST
Your video was most helpful. I have a short neck (similar to yours) and I am stuck between purchasing Kun bravo or VLM diamond (or any other low profile shoulder rest). Can you recommend a shoulder rest which can be set to the lowest height? I am unable to try them as we don't have stores to purchase locally.
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on February 17, 2016 @7:52 am PST
Hi Sanipan,
I do not know offhand the height range of each. But if it were me, I would first try a google search. If that didn't give me an answer, then I would call a super-store that sells them, and ask. I don't know where you are, but hopefully you are in a country where there is a music super-store. But I bet you will find an answer by trying various searches online like, "short violin shoulder rest", "lowest violin shoulder rest" "height measurements of VLM diamond" etc. Good luck! Both of those sound like great choices. I have not played with a Diamond, but have seen pictures.

OH, VERY IMPORTANT: You can purchase extra tall or extra short feet for your shoulder rests.....so the important thing is to know that the screws on the rest you buy are compatible with the replacement screws. I know Kun uses standard parts.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on February 17, 2016 @8:30 am PST
Sanipam besides what Lora is suggesting, you may also try shoulder pads instead than regular shoulder rests. They are usually shorter. Friends of mine with short necks used them successfully. Good luck!
Sravya on November 2, 2015 @6:54 am PST
I am a rather short person( I'm 5 feet tall) just like you and I have narrow shoulders. I tend to push my shoulder up and push my head down just to hold the violin in place. There are no music stores in my area and the only way I'll get a shoulder rest is if I buy it online, and the problem is I can't actually feel the shoulder rest before I buy it. If you have any suggestions for my body type It would be very helpful. Thank you.You video is great by the way!
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on November 5, 2015 @6:18 pm PST
Hi Sravya
Let me tell you what has worked for me, and that will at least give you a starting point! I find that people with similar body types like the same type of set ups, so it should get you in the right time zone at least!!!

I use a STUBER chin rest. YOu can find them on Amazon. Get the BLACK ONLY. The others are the wrong shape.

I use a Mach One shoulder rest, but those are expensive. Kun shoulder rests are very similar, and will at least allow you to get close to my set-up. Kuns are $23. I think EVERESTS are cheaper and those are also similar to Kun's. YOU MUST WATCH MY VIDEO on youtube about how to set up a Kun (or Everest) properly. Most people get it wrong.
Just search youtube for "Red Desert Violin Kun" and it should come up.
Hope this helps! Good luck on your journey.....finding the right set up is HARD, but it is SO important, so keep trying!
John on December 21, 2014 @4:41 pm PST
Any recommendation for shoulder rest specifically for skinny people who can't lift up their violin due to their skinny chest?
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on December 22, 2014 @8:51 am PST
Hi John
The 2 shoulder rests that offer the best "height" option regardless of chest or shoulder shape, is the Bon Musica or the Wolf Secundo. I prefer the Wolf, because there is less bulk to it.....but to be honest, it is not quite as versatile as the Bon Musica. Don't get me wrong.....it is VERY VERSATILE....but the Bon Musica really satisfies with the "hook" that you can totally customize to fit your shoulder, and the ability to easily boost the height on your chest side too. It's just a little heavy, but heck, it's worth it. Watch some videos on youtube for ideas on how to customize it.....there are dozens of ways to tweak it for your body. Good luck!
iz on February 14, 2014 @9:35 am PST
Hello ackie.
My question is about wether or not to keep my violin in the case or can it be hung up on the wall?
I had a split in it and I wondered if it is getting too dry.?
Jackie * VSM MEMBER * on November 26, 2013 @10:27 pm PST
Over many years, I tried and purchased too many shoulder rests. I was always looking for a better one and they aren't cheap. My main problem is that I am tall and have a long neck. Many shoulder rests say that they can be adjusted for a long neck, but they are always falling off the violin. Then I discovered the Comford Shoulder Cradle. I love it - it's not adjustable but it is absolutely perfect! I will never have to look for a better one because I have it. The way it attaches to the violin prevents it from slipping off - it never falls off. It does come in two heights so you don't necessarily have to have a long neck to use it.

One word of warning though is that it doesn't fold up and therefore won't fit in every case. I have to fit it in my case upside down under the neck of the violin.
Lora - host, on November 27, 2013 @8:15 am PST
Hi Jackie
I just checked out that rest on Google. I have seen those rests before, but I never paid them any heed, because it looks to me like a model that would constantly be falling off! That's great to know that they don't!

One other think you might consider (although you are happy with your set-up now) is a taller chin rest. People with long necks often get a REALLY high shoulder rest to take up all that length, and that creates other severe problems, like the shoulder having to lift up really high to reach the violin, the violin is far away from the body causing a disconnect, etc.

But, my philosophy is: If it ain't broke, don't fix it"....so if you are comfy now, by all means, stay put!

Thanks for the info on the "Comford".
Jarl * VSM MEMBER * on November 13, 2013 @5:20 pm PST
HI Lora,
thanks. I suffered from slippery fiddle for years and then finally discovered the Bonmusica (tried a Wolf but it didn't work for me). Now I'm a happy boy and the fiddle stays put.
Lora - host, on November 14, 2013 @2:39 pm PST
Hi Jarl! Great to see you on this site! Yes, I LOVE the Bon Musica, except it just wasn't right for my short stature, but it's GREAT if you are not vertically challenged! Keep up your GREAT work!
M Baguley * VSM MEMBER * on November 13, 2013 @6:51 am PST
Please spell the names of the chin rests. I couldn't work out how to spell them from the video
Lora - host, on November 18, 2013 @4:19 pm PST
Hi M!
Ok, here are the names of the SHOULDER rests....I think that is what you meant:
Kun Original
Kun Super
Kun Collapsible
Kun Bravo (this is just the fancier materials, but same shape as original)

I also talked about the BON MUSICA.
And also the "WOLF SECUNDO"

I don't remember the order I talked about them, but that should give you what you need.

My chinrest is a STUBER chinrest, but I don't think I mentioned that in the video. That will be in a video coming up!

Thanks for your question!
Lora - host, on November 11, 2013 @8:31 am PST
Hi Donna
In my opinion, the height of the chinrest is of special importance to taller people, because if a person with a long neck just gets a super high shoulder rest to absorb all that neck length, then suddenly, the violin is quite far from their torso, lifted up from their shoulders. This causes a "disconnect" between player and violin, but worse, it causes the left arm to have to work very hard to stay up artificially high.

It would be better if the player with a long neck explore getting a custom chin rest....it is AMAZING what ergonomic solutions are available to us now!
Thanks for you comment, and I'll "see you" around!


Recommended Shoulder Rests
Kun 4/4 original shoulder rest
Kun original violin shoulder rest Buy it on Amazon
Mach One 4/4 Violin Maple Wood Shoulder Rest
Mach One maple violin shoulder rest Buy it on Amazon
Mach One Hook 3/4 4/4 Violin Maple Wood Shoulder Rest
Mach One Hook maple violin shoulder rest Buy it on Amazon
Wolf Forte Secundo 3/4 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest
Wolf Forte Secundo violin shoulder rest Buy it on Amazon
Bonmusica 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest
Bonmusic violin shoulder rest Buy it on Amazon
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