Sunday, February 22, 2009

Which Violin Shoulder Rest should I get?

So, your shoulder is starting to hurt after playing the violin a lot and you wish to buy a shoulder rest for your violin. Now, there are many, many types of violin shoulder rests that can be bought in the market. These help to keep your instrument stuck to your head and make it more comfortable for your shoulder whilst playing. But there are so many different styles and brands, it’s hard to make a decision. These set of violin accessories are not too expensive; and average would be about £20 for a good quality shoulder rest and they do not have to be replaced. I think there are 3 big “brands” in the market of buying violin shoulder rests. These are tailored to different needs and I’ll explain them in due course. Just to say beforehand that I’m not promoting these companies, I just want to help give an idea of what’s around!

The Wolf

The first name is the “Wolf” violin shoulder rest. The main part of the shoulder rest is made of comfortable rubber. But what makes this shoulder rest so popular is that it has a metal bar which can bend the shape of the whole shoulder rest to fit your body. Also, the height of the violin accessory can be made taller by another three inches; this would be the best suited violin shoulder rest for a person with a long neck. But the only downside is that it cannot be placed in a violin case without changing the shape of the rest, and this can be a hassle.

The Kun

Another reputable brand is the “Kun” shoulder rest. This company is considered by professional violinists to be the best quality. Again, this shoulder rest is height and angle adjustable, but considered more comfortable as it is made of foam and the material doesn’t break away as easily as rubber. However, the Kun tends to be more expensive, and some of their more “classier” violin shoulder rests aren’t necessarily value for money.

The Artino

Lastly, there is the “Artino” set. This is a less known brand, but is incredibly good value for money. It is very similar to the Kun, but this shoulder rest can fit nearly any sized violin from being a full size all the way down to an 1/8th! This is the edge that it has over the other two sets.

In my opinion, all of these 3 companies produce incredibly good quality violin accessories as a whole, and again, in no way am I promoting for them, it’s just a personal opinion. All these violin shoulder rests have slightly different designs; I use the Wolf as my shoulders and neck are quite tall/large ;).

How to place the shoulder rest on the violin

If you decide to get one, then they’re very easy to fit together – there should be some instructions that come with the pack. After you have made the correct size, get your violin and lay it down on something soft (a bed) upside down; so the violin strings are faced down and you have the back of the violin facing upwards. Now take your shoulder rest and hold it so you can read the handwriting. See the two rubber clips at each side? Remember this phrase: Sad face. The shoulder rest should look like a sad face whilst it’s placed on the violin, it should curve like that if you understand XD. So place the shoulder rest at the top of the violin, and push it down to the widest part of the violin. Press the clips so it doesn’t fall off, and then place your violin under your chin like normal. All you need to do now is adjust so it feels most comfortable for you – ideally, you should be able to lean on the violin from your head and keep it up without your left hand touching the neck. Great! The shoulder rest for the violin is one of the most important violin accessories about and it will make a huge difference to your playing – making it more comfortable and practical!


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  4. I thought a shoulder rest wasn't advisable because it somehow mutes or decreases the violin's natural volume or power?

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