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A violin teacher’s pick of the best violin shoulder rest from Kun, Wolf, Everest, Bon Musica and more.

When I wrote a new post about violin shoulder rests on my blog last week, I asked which shoulder rest the readers of my blog prefer. The post had over a 50 comments – featuring more than 20 “best” shoulder rests.

And that is exactly how it should be!

Picking a shoulder rest is a very personal choice and depends on your playing style, neck height, body structure and even your chinrest and the shape of your violin.

Naturally, each violin player will gravitate towards another shoulder rest choice.

Even though there is no one-size-fits all solution, there are a few rests on the market that work for a lot of my colleague violinists and students.

In this post, I am sharing what I consider to be the best violin shoulder rests around today. My choices are not only based on my own preferences, but also on the opinion of my fellow violin teacher friends and over a hundred opinions of my students and readers.

Best Violin Shoulder Rest

What to look for when buying a shoulder rest

When looking for a violin shoulder rest there are many things for you to consider. Do I want one with feet that attach to the body of my instrument, or a simple pad? How much would I be willing to spend? Should I get an ergonomic one? At this point you see that ” wow” they come in fun colors too!! All the while forgetting that your original reason for looking at them in the first place was to be more comfortable while playing.

Before considering which shoulder rest to buy, you might want to read my previous post “The Essential Guide to Using a Violin Shoulder Rest“. Getting a deeper understanding about the different types of shoulder rests and how to use them will help you to make a better buying decision.

How will my buying guide help you?

Today I will help you sort though the most loved violin shoulder rests according to my personal research. I will list the pro’s and cons of each shoulder rest so you can decide which shoulder rest best fits your needs.

Please remember, the best way to find a perfect shoulder rests is trial and error. Most violinists need years of trying different set-ups and rests before they find what works best for them.

So, if it seems overwhelming to choose the right shoulder rest based on this blog, I totally understand.

It IS a difficult decision and many professional players still struggle to find the right set-up for them.

My best advice is to allow yourself to take the time to experiment. Try out different rests and set-ups and feel for yourself what feels best. If you are able to, go to music shops and ask if you can try out shoulder rests in the shop.

In the end, your comfort always matters more than the opinions of any other violinist, including mine.

I know this approach can be daunting and time-consuming, especially for a hobby player.

In the process, it helps to remind yourself that finding a good violin shoulder rest can greatly impact how comfortable you feel playing your violin. If you have a set-up that works for you, you will enjoy learning and practicing more!

That is why it is worth spending the extra time on finding the correct shoulder rest for you.

TIP: If you buy a student violin kit, you will usually receive a shoulder rest as part of the package. Give it a try. Because it might be just right for you. The most popular and widely recommended shoulder for others, might not work for you. Always choose what feels the most comfortable for you 🙂

What is a good violin shoulder rest?

If you are looking for a shoulder rest to buy, I recommend to check out the shoulder rests presented below. All of these shoulder rests are popular violin shoulder rest that work for a range of different players.

For each shoulder rest you will find a detailed description as well as direct links to various webshops where we found the shoulder rests at great prices.

1. Flexible Shoulder Rests

Wolf Forte Secundo Violin Shoulder Rest

1. Wolf Forte Secundo 

Completely Adjustable Shoulder Rest

SPECIFICATIONS

Launch Price: $29.99 /£29.99 /€22.80
Materials:
Comfortable Rubber and Aluminium
Size:
21.84 x 73.66 x.17 cm
Adjustable Height:
Yes
Adjustable Width:
Yes
Weight:
68 g
Violin Sizes:
4/4 and 3/4

REASONS TO BUY

+ Height, width and tilt can be adjusted
+ The bendable metal base can be shaped to fit any shoulder shape
+ Available in many sizes and color

REASONS TO AVOID

– Difficult to adjust
– Legs can pop off instrument when playing

I personally own a Wolf shoulder rests since 15 years and am still enjoying the shoulder rest. The main reason to go for a Wolf shoulder rest is the reasonable price and great ergonomic flexibility of the rest. You can change the shape, adjust the height and width and the tilt. This is the most affordable shoulder rest on the market that offers this amount of flexibility.

The main part of the rest is made of comfortable rubber. This rubber is topped with flexible aluminum plating. That allows you to shape the rest ergonomically.

If you have a longer neck, this is a great rest for you. Because the height can be adjusted on either side to any height between 0.5 and 8 cm

Fun Fact: Sarah Chang uses this shoulder rest.

Wolf violin shoulder rest
Wolf Forte Secondo Shoulder Rest 4/4-3/4 Size

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Bonmusica Violin Shoulder Rest

2. Bon Musica 

Customizable rest that can hook over your shoulder to prevent slipping

SPECIFICATIONS

Launch Price: $49.99 /£47 /€48
Materials:
Flexible Metal with Foam Padding
Size:
Vary based on size
Adjustable Height:
Yes
Adjustable Width:
Yes
Weight:
136 g
Violin Sizes:
4/4 to 1/16

REASONS TO BUY

+ Adjustable height, width and tilt
+ The bendable metal base can be shaped to fit any shoulder shape
+ Shoulder rest does not slip of your shoulder

REASONS TO AVOID

– Expensive
– Foam cushion is thin
– The shoulder rest has rectangular, pointy angles that can harm the varnish of the violin if the player is not careful
– Bulky therefore it doesn’t fit well in many violin cases. So you have to carry it separately
– Difficult to adjust

The Bon Musica shoulder rests has a completely adjustable height, angle and width. In this way it can be adjusted to custom fit each player ergonomically.

You can bend it to hook over your shoulder to alleviate the worry of it sliding down.

The flexible metal can be shaped easily to exactly fit the shape of your shoulder and collarbone.

Fun Fact: Hilary Hahn uses a Bon Musica shoulder rest.

Bon Musica violin shoulder rest
Bonmusica 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest

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Pirastro KorfkerRest Shoulder Rest on Violin

3. Pirastro KorfkerRest Model 2

Premium light-weight shoulder rest that enriches the sound to the instrument

SPECIFICATIONS

Launch Price: $323 /£295.83 /€275
Materials: Wood and Foam Padding
Adjustable Height: Yes
Adjustable Width: Yes
Weight: 32 g
Violin Sizes: 4/4 and Viola

REASONS TO BUY

+ Enriches the sound of the instrument
+ Completely customizable (height, width, shape)
+ Fit is very secure, even on violins with a small width
+ It’s made of wood, but still bendable
+ Lighter than (almost) any other similar ergonomic shoulder rest
+ Collapsable feet for easy storage
+ High quality construction

REASONS TO AVOID

– The price is extremely high compared to other shoulder rests available on the market
– It might be too low for some players with a long neck, as the rest gets instabile on bigger heights
– The rest has small screws and can be difficult to adjust
– There is no foam in the middle of the rest
– If you use it a lot, the foam pads need to be changed every few months

One of the most premium options on the market. Made of bendable tonewood, so it is lightweight and adjustable.

This product comes with the ErgoPack which contains spare pads, joints, screws, locking rings and a torx screwdriver.

Some violinists swear by this shoulder rest, sharing it enhances the sound of their instruments. However, it is being said that other shoulder rests that do not “hug” the body of the violin (such as pad rests) have the same positive effect on the sound.

The shoulder rest is extremely light-weight which can be comfortable for players who play for long periods of time

Pirastro Korfker Violin Shoulder Rest
Pirastro KorfkerRest Model 2

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Fun Fact: Recently, Pirastro started offering another very unusual shoulder rest. It does not attach directly to the violin, but to a special frame instead. Check what the Pirastro KorfkerCradle looks like:

 

Pirastro Korfker Cradle

 

The makers claim that this construction enhances the sound of the violin even more than the KorfkerRest. What’s more, it costs around 1.000 USD and is so far the most expensive shoulder rest I’ve ever seen!

2. Pre-shaped Pad Shoulder Rests

everest violin shoulder rest

1. Everest Shoulder Rest

Great Price-Quality Ratio

SPECIFICATIONS

Launch Price: $13.99 /£15 /€22.90
Materials
: Plastic with Foam Padding
Size: 21.5 x 5.5 x 6 cm
Adjustable Height: Yes
Adjustable Width: Yes
Weight: 91 g
Violin Sizes: 1/10 – 4/4

REASONS TO BUY

+ The most affordable customizable shoulder rest
+ Good grip on the violin
+ Pre-shaped shoulder pad
+ Low cost
+ Light weight

REASONS TO AVOID

– Made from plastic, which can more easily break than metal parts
– Rubber and foam parts can fall off with heavy use
– The base of the shoulder rest is pre-shaped and might not fit your specific shoulder shape.

This Everest is a solid plastic shoulder rest with foam material covering the base.

Violin teachers especially like this model, thanks to the easy set-up. The rest firmly grips the violin which means it doesn’t fall off easily when kids are practicing. It is also one of the most affordable agronomical shoulder rests on the market, making it a great option for violinists on a budget that still want to get a customizable rest.

There are versions of the Everest rest available with foldable feet, so you can easily store it in your violin case. Furthermore, the rubber covers on the feet of the rest are replaceable if you lose them.

Everest EZ4A Violin Shoulder Rest 4/4 Size - Adjustable to 3/4 Size
Everest EZ4A 4/4 Size – Adjustable to 3/4 Size

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Kun Collapsible Violin Shoulder Rest

2. Kun Collapsible 

Save space in your violin case without compromising on comfort

SPECIFICATIONS

Launch Price: $23.99 /£35.34 /€31
Materials:
Plastic with Foam Padding
Size:
17.8 x 5.1 x 7.6 cm
Adjustable Height:
Yes
Adjustable Width:
Yes
Weight:
68 g
Violin Sizes:
1/8 – 4/4

REASONS TO BUY

+ Adjusts ergonomically in height and tilt
+ Pre-shaped shoulder pad
+ Light weight
+ Collapsible

REASONS TO AVOID

– The feet slide off of some violins
– Made from composite material making it less durable. Parts can break when the shoulder rest falls on the floor.
– The base of the shoulder rest is pre-shaped and might not fit your specific shoulder shape.

A Canadian made shoulder rest that comes in all instrument sizes.

There are a variety of models to cover every need. Its unique shape built from composite material makes it lightweight and comfortable to play.

There is a special locking locking device that makes sure the rest never fully rotates. This will protect your instrument from unwanted damage.

One of the best parts of this shoulder rest is that it is foldable, which makes it very easy to store and take with you on trips.

The Kun rest is a favorite of both amateur and professional players alike.

Fun Fact: Chloe Hanslip uses the Kun Collapsible shoulder rest.

kun collapsible shoulder rest
Kun Collapsible 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest

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FOM Violin Shoulder Rest

3. FOM Shoulder Rest

Cheaper dupe option of the Kun

SPECIFICATIONS

Launch Price: £12.95
Materials: Plastic with Foam Padding
Adjustable Height: Yes
Adjustable Width: Yes
Violin Sizes: 1/16 – 4/4

REASONS TO BUY

+ Adjusts ergonomically in height and tilt
+ Pre-shaped shoulder pad
+ Light weight
+ Low cost

REASONS TO AVOID

– The base of the shoulder rest is pre-shaped and might not fit your specific shoulder shape.
– Made with cheap rubber which can more easily break
– The foam part is a bit thinner than the KUN original

Many of my students are happy with this cheaper alternative to the KUN shoulder rest. If the KUN shoulder rest is not in your budget, you might like to try this rest.

FOM Violin Shoulder Rest - Bottom View
FOM Violin Shoulder Rest

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4. Fiddlerman shoulder rest

Great option for players with a short neck

SPECIFICATIONS

Launch Price: $22.89
Materials: Wood and Foam Padding
Size: 20.32 x 3.8 x 6.35 cm
Adjustable Height: Yes
Adjustable Width: Yes
Weight: 57 g
Violin Sizes: 4/4-3/4 and 1/4-1/2

REASONS TO BUY

+ Shorter than standard shoulder rests such as Bonmusika, Kun and Wolf
+ Collapsable feet for easy storage
+ Quality construction
+ Great value for the money
+ 12 Month Fully Covered Warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

– Feet can come off the swivel part of the rest
– Not recommended for players with a longer neck

Made of wood or lightweight carbon fiber

The wood model has height adjustable feet that collapse for easy storage. In contrast, the carbon fiber rest has a simple design with a visible carbon fiber texture.

As well as a built in curve and tilt. This helps the rest stay in place without sliding.

Fiddlerman violin shoulder rest
Fiddlerman Wood Violin Shoulder Rest

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3. Pad & Cushion Violin Shoulder Rests

Playonair Deluxe Violin Shoulder Rest

1. Playonair Shoulder Rest

Unique Shoulder Rest that Offers Flexibility & Free Range of Motion

SPECIFICATIONS

Launch Price: $23.60 /£23.60 /€35
Materials:
Velour Covered Cushion and Pump
Size:
20.82 x 13.4 x 2.79 cm
Adjustable Height:
Yes
Adjustable Width:
Yes
Weight:
68 g
Violin Sizes:
4/4 to 1/2

REASONS TO BUY

+ Comfortable
+ The thin pad covers a wide area
+ Helps keep neck and shoulder relaxed
+ Offers the benefits of both playing with and without the shoulder rest

REASONS TO AVOID

– Can pop off while playing
– Removing the air filling tube incorrectly can cause the pad to tear
– Not recommended for players with a long neck

The Playonair shoulder rest is a velour covered air filled cushion that comes with an adjustable strap.

Its air filled cushion changes in sync with your body movements and changing posture while you play.

The Playonair often works well for young students that find a regular shoulder rest too bulky. As well as a player that would like to play without shoulder rest, that need a little extra support.

The rest comes with a blow tube so you can inflate the rest to your preferred amount of firmness.

Playonair violin shoulder rest
Playonair Deluxe Violin Shoulder Rest

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Gel Rest Micro Violin Shoulder Rest

2. Gel Rest Micro Shoulder Rest

Best Choice for Authentic Baroque Playing Style

SPECIFICATIONS

Launch Price: $22.50
Materials:
Gel Material with Micro Adhesive
Size:
7.62 x 7.62 x 0.9 cm
Adjustable Height:
No
Adjustable Width:
No
Weight:
85 g
Violin Sizes:
Any

REASONS TO BUY

+ Great for players with a short neck
+ Adds minimal extra height
+ Removes easily to adjust position
+ Get all the benefits of playing without a shoulder rest
+ Discrete – your audience will not see the shoulder rest

REASONS TO AVOID

– Can harm the varnish on your violin. Use with caution if you have a brittle, soft, or newly varnished violin
– It does not offer the support of a regular shoulder rest.

This Gel Rest Micro shoulder rest is a soft and comfortable cushion for your collarbone.  Seeing that it is only 3 inches in diameter and ⅜ inches thick, it’s a great option for players that like a discrete shoulder rest.

It stays in place by suction and can be placed anywhere since it does not use rubber bands or a strap.

Some violin players, such as baroque players, like to play violin in the original way without a shoulder rest. This rest can offer any violinists a perfect mix between all the benefits of playing without a shoulder rest, but with the little extra support that this cushion offers.

Gelrest Micro Violin shoulder rest
GelRest Micro Violin Shoulder Rest

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4. Miscellaneous

Foam Pad Violin Shoulder Rest

1. Foam pad shoulder rest

Cheapest shoulder rest that can be used for young kids

SPECIFICATIONS

Launch Price: $8.73 /£7.44  /€13.70
Materials:
Open cell foam
Size:
5.71 x 4.44 x 14.60 cm
Adjustable Height:
No
Adjustable Width:
No
Weight:
18 g
Violin Sizes:
4/4 – 3/4

REASONS TO BUY

+ Soft
+ Inexpensive

REASONS TO AVOID

– Cheap quality material
– Not ergonomically adjustable
– No adjustable feet or great grip on the instrument
– Many players may find that the rubber band straps do not look pretty
– Takes a bit of trial and error to find the perfect spot
– May slightly dampen the sound of the instrument

A thin sponge for those who want minimal padding. It goes on easily with good old rubber bands.

This rest  might especially work well for very young children that can not use a standard shoulder rest yet.

I do not recommend this shoulder rest for adult violinists. In that case I recommend to spend the extra money on a higher quality ergonomically adjusted shoulder rest. This will help you to play pain-free and the materials will last longer.

There upon doing the job it is meant to do, make playing easy on the shoulder.

Players Economy Foam Violin Shoulder Pad
Foam Violin Shoulder Pad

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2. Children’s Sponge Shoulder Rest

Many teachers start children off by attaching a soft dry sponge to a young player’s instrument. These inexpensive cloth covered sponges can be purchased online or made yourself. To make one yourself watch the video below.

Are you using any of the shoulder rests of this list – and are you satisfied? Is any great shoulder rest still missing? Comment below!

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