Shoulder Rests

If you want to get strong opinions out of violinists/violists/fiddlers, talk about shoulder rests.  Some believe you don’t need them, some swear by only one brand, some make their own at home.   The purpose of a shoulder rest is to help support the violin which helps take some of the strain off of the left hand.

I believe that when learning the violin, you have to strike a balance between ideals and being able to progress on your instrument with some level of comfort.  Here are a few of my favorite options.  Note: When purchasing a shoulder rest, make sure it is the appropriate size (4/4, 3/4 , 1/2, etc.)

Kun Collapsible 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest  This is a classic and my personal favorite.  There are models with foldable and adjustable legs.  I don’t need a really tall shoulder rest and this one lowers down to a minimal height.  Similar to the Kun is the Everest Collapsible Violin Shoulder Rest, and it’s a bit cheaper.  I find that I can adjust the Kun to a lower height, which suits me. Both are excellent options.

Some people don’t care for the stiffness and rigidity of a shoulder rest and opt for a sponge.   There are ones that are shaped like shoulder rests, such as the Zaret, however, many people opt to use a regular sponge or foam from the fabric store, cut it to the size they want, and attach with a rubber band. If you don’t need any type of cushioning at all, you can also use a piece of leather or suede and place it over the chin rest so that it does not slip when playing.

I have experimented with different types of shoulder rests and sponges over the years and it has taken me a long time to find out what I like.  It’s best to go to a music store that specializes in strings and try out the different types of shoulder rests.  You can also experiment with different thicknesses of sponges at home before you buy something.

Published by debshebish

Classical Violin & Traditional Fiddle

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