Why, Where and How to Put a Shoulder Rest on a Violin? https://violinspiration.com/wp-content/uploads/Blog-Why-Where-and-How-to-Put-a-Shoulder-Rest-on-a-Violin_.jpg

Your violin shoulder rest: you use it every day, so you better feel comfortable using it!

Whether you prefer a bulky shoulder rest or no shoulder rest at all, the ideal shoulder rest is one that takes you through your practice session no matter what length. In best case scenerio, it also doesn’t fall on the floor too often…

To make sure you will feel comfortable with your shoulder rest set-up, I created this essential guide to using a violin shoulder rest.

In it, I answer all your questions about shoulder rest, from “How to put a shoulder rest on the violin” to “pros and cons of playing with and without a shoulder rest” and everything in between

Read on to learn all you need to know about using a violin shoulder rest!

how to put shoulder rest on violin

Choosing a Violin Shoulder Rest

There are four types of shoulder rests on the violin you can choose from:

1. Pre-shaped Pad Shoulder Rests

Violin Shoulder Rest Everest

Pre-shaped pad shoulder rests are usually adjustable in height and angle, but have a pre-shaped ergonomic pad as a base. The base is mostly made out of plastic. If your shoulder shape matches the pre-shaped pad these rests can feel very comfortable. As there are usually no metal parts in this type of shoulder rest, the cushions can feel very soft. Violin teachers like to use these shoulder rests for big groups of students as they can quickly and easily be positioned on the violin. 

TIP: I recommend the pre-shaped shoulder rests for beginners as the shoulder rests are easily adjustable and already shaped to fit a standard shoulder shape.

2. Flexible Metal Shoulder Rests

Wolf violin shoulder rest

Try using a bendable metal shoulder rest if you want greater control over the shape of the body of the shoulder rest. These shoulder rests can be bended by hand to adjust the shape of the metal. The downfall about metal shoulder rests is that it can be difficult to bend them exactly to your shoulder shape. However, these shoulder rests are sometimes still preferred by professional players, because of the amount of control they give the violin player over the shape.

TIP: Flexible metal shoulder rests give the violin player the greatest freedom to make ergonomic adjustments. If you want to take your time to perfectly customize your rest to your shoulder shape, this is the right option for you.

3. Pad & Cushion Violin Shoulder Rests

Gelrest Micro Violin shoulder rest
Pad and cushion shoulder rests combine the benefits of having no shoulder rest while giving support to the violin player. This type of rests is great for players that do not want to use a regular shoulder rest, but also don’t like the feeling of the violin directly resting on their collarbone.

4. Miscellaneous

Players Economy Foam Violin Shoulder Pad

Some players use other common household objects such as sponges or towels between the violin and their collarbone to give extra support.

These objects can also be used in conjunction with a regular shoulder rest. Some professional players like play with a shoulder rest and use a towel to protect their neck from touching the metal part of the violin.

If you already have a shoulder rest, make sure you install it on your violin the correct way.

How to Put a Shoulder Rest on Your Violin?

How to Put Shoulder Rest on Violin

Regardless of the brand, all rests have a wider curved part and a thinner part.  You’re going to want to place the wider side of the rest on the side of the chinrest. If you are using a center mount chinrest, that means the wider part is on the side of the G string.

How to place a shoulder rest on a violin - shoulder rest placing

The tricky part about putting a shoulder rest on a violin is trying not to drop your violin while doing so. Therefore a safe way to do this is to:

Step 1. Place the violin on your lap

How to place a shoulder rest on a violin - step 1 v2_1
  • Take the time to sit down on the edge of a seat. Your knees out in front of you.
  • Place your violin on your lap with the strings facing up.

Step 2. Hold the violin between your legs

How to place a shoulder rest on a violin - step 2_1
  • Take your violin with both hands and place it between your legs. With the  back facing you and the scroll pointing to the floor. The body of the violin will be pointing toward the ceiling.
  • Your legs should fit nicely in the rib area of the violin.
  • Squeeze your legs ever so slightly to hold the violin in place.

Step 3. Attach the feet of the shoulder rest to the violin

How to place a shoulder rest on a violin - step 3_1
  • Take the shoulder rest. Place the wider part onto the same side as the chin rest as mentioned above.  Make sure that the rim of the violin fits nicely into the c shape of the feet on the rest. Slide the feet of this wider side to a 9′ o clock position.
  • Slide the other feet onto the outside of the violin stopping at sound the 3’o clock position.

Step 4. Adjust the placement of the feet of the shoulder rest

How to place a shoulder rest on a violin - step 4_1
  • Adjust it by sliding the feet to an angle that fits your shoulder. Make sure it is secure.
  • If your shoulders are narrow, move the feet closer to the end pin.
  • If you have wider shoulders place the shoulder rest further away from the end pin, in the middle of the lower body of the violin

TIP: When your shoulder rest is put on correctly and you hold the violin in a way that scroll is pointing to the floor, it will look like a happy smile :grinning:

If the sides of the rest are reversed and incorrect, it will look like a frown :white_frowning_face:

What if you are standing?

If you are in a position where sitting down is inconvenient, here is a great video showing how to put on a rest while standing:

Where to put a shoulder rest in a case?

All violin cases are built differently but most come with a compartments for you to keep your shoulder rest and any other accessories you may have.

It depends on your case which way of storing your shoulder rest is best:

If the violin case has a special place to insert the shoulder rest

In case the violin case has a special place to store the shoulder rest, put the shoulder rest in the designated compartment.

Where to put a shoulder rest in a case - shoulder rest fits in the compartment
The shoulder rest fits in the compartment

Depending on the shoulder rest that you chose, your shoulder rest might not perfectly fit in the compartment. In that case you might like to choose to either decrease the height of the shoulder rest before storing or store the shoulder rest outside of the case.

Where to put a shoulder rest in a case - shoulder rest fits the compartment with rotated feet
The shoulder rest fits the compartment when the height is decreased and the feet are rotated

TIP: In case your shoulder rest does not fit into the shoulder rest compartment, you might want to opt for a foldable feet shoulder rest such as the Kun Collapsible.

If the violin case has no special place for the shoulder rest

If you don’t have a compartment in your case, there is usually space under the neck of your violin to store it. Rotating the feet of the shoulder rest might be necessary in order to store it.

Where to put a shoulder rest in a case - shoulder rest fits under the neck of the violin
The shoulder rest fits under the neck of the violin

Some shoulder rests might not fit near under the neck of the violin. In that case you can add your shoulder rest in your sheet music compartment or carry it seperately.

Where to put a shoulder rest in a case - shoulder rest doesn't fit in the case
If shoulder rest doesn't fit in the case, the solution is to use a bag

Storing an electric violin shoulder rest

Electric violins often have a full body including a shoulder rest that is non-detachable. In that case, the rest can be kept on the violin when putting it in the case.

If your electric violins have a detachable shoulder rest, you can place it either in the same way as a regular violin shoulder rest, or next to the violin as shown on the picture below:

Where to put a shoulder rest in a case - shoulder rest fits next to the electric violin
The shoulder rest fits next to the electric violin

 How to Fit and Adjust a Violin Shoulder Rest?

Once you’ve put your shoulder rest on your violin properly, it is time to fit and adjust it so that you can play. To do this, follow the following steps:

Step 1: Adjust the Pad contour

This step is only applicable to flexible metal shoulder rest. If your pad is made out of platic or pre-shaped, directly skip to step 2. If your current shoulder rest does not match your collar bone, you should consider one that is bendable.

If you have a flexible-metal shoulder rest, make sure the pad of the shoulder rest is following the shape of your collar bone.  Bend it with your hand and shape it to fit.

how to put shoulder rest on violin

Step 2: Adjust the Height of the Shoulder Rest

Make sure the height of your rest is adjusted so that you can place your chin on it comfortably.

If you have to bend your spine and lower your chin to reach it, the shoulder rest is too low. Additionally, if your neck is stretched upward so that your head is tilted to the right, the height is too high.

Make sure that the shoulder rest is placed so that your chin naturally falls into the chin rest. When you play the violin, your spine should be in a neutral position.

how to put shoulder rest on violin

Step 3: Tilt the Shoulder Rest to Your Desired Angle

When your rest has a proper tilt, the pad fits completely on your shoulder. If it does not do this completely, you should look for a rest with an adjustable tilt.

how to put shoulder rest on violin

Step 4: Adjust the width of the shoulder rest

The width is the angle of the rest while on the violin. This would be how far or how close to the tailpiece you’ve attached the feet. If you have narrow shoulders, the feet are closer to the tailpiece at the base. So your angle is slightly different from a player with a wider shoulder. Someone with wider shoulders would have the feet attached to the sides of the body.

how to put shoulder rest on violin
violin shoulder rest narrow
Violin shoulder rest placement for narrow shoulders: note how the feet are moved closer to the chinrest.

Is a shoulder rest necessary?

Technically it is not necessary to use a shoulder rest. But it really makes playing a lot more comfortable. If you find yourself needing to raise your left shoulder to hold the violin, then you need a shoulder rest.

Short history of the shoulder rest

There was a time when you didn’t need to decide whether to use a violin shoulder or chin rest. Because neither was invented yet!

When was the violin shoulder rest invented?

The chin rest was invented first in 1820 by Louis Spohr. Following the chin rest, the shoulder rest appeared in the 20th century. Before that, violinists would use handkerchiefs and pads to help hold the violin in place.

Who invented the violin shoulder rest?

At first a bent wire was connected to the chin rest. You can see an example on the image below, in Frederick W. Becker’s US patent no. 775,792, 22nd November 1904. Just a few years later Gustav L. Becker patented another version of a chin and shoulder rest combination – US patent no. 908,541 dated on 5th January 1909.

Violin Shoulder Rest - combined chin and shoulder rest patent by F. Becker
Patenr no. 775,792 by F. W. Becker
Violin Shoulder Rest - combined chin and shoulder rest patent by G. Becker
Patent no. 908,541 by G. L. Becker

But, the credit for the first stand-alone shoulder rest goes to Erno Mier Goldberg from Israel. The date of the patent is 19th September 1950.

Here is an image of the original sketch Erno gave with his request to the U.S. patent office on 21st December 1948:

How, Where and Why Put a Shoulder Rest on a Violin - First Shoulder rest - US patent
Patent no. 2,522,944 by E. M. Goldberg

Why was the shoulder rest invented ?

The simple reason or goal of the shoulder rest is to help hold the violin. It adds height and helps prevent your instrument from slipping. This in turn, will help ease chronic pain that many violinists experience. Players with a longer neck tend to lift their shoulder to hold the violin in place when playing without a rest. Using a shoulder rest would prevent them from doing so.

What are the pros and cons of playing with and without a shoulder rest?

How, Where and Why Put a Shoulder Rest on a Violin - pros and cons playing with the shoulder rest
How, Where and Why Put a Shoulder Rest on a Violin - pros and cons playing without the shoulder rest

Do professional violinists use a shoulder rest? 

There are professional violinists who do use a rest, and some who play without.

 Violinists who play without a shoulder rest

Anne Sophie Mutter

Jascha Heifetz

Itzhak Perlman

 Violinists who play with a shoulder rest

Hilary Hahn

Leonidas Kavacos

Frank Peter Zimmerman

A final note

With the proper fit, a violin shoulder rest can make playing feel more comfortable!  This allows you freedom from worrying about your violin slipping.

Choosing a shoulder rest is a very personal decision. Your chin rest should work well with your shoulder rest. That means it may take some trial and error to find out what works for you.

Some violinists even find more physical freedom when playing by choosing not to use a shoulder rest.

If you can, go to a local music shop and try out several different shoulder rests. A good music shop will offer you to try out different shoulder rests and even spare parts if needed. If you don’t have a music shop nearby, researching online video’s and buyer reviews can be very helpful in making a good decision.

Whatever you decide,  choose what is the most comfortable for you.

I am currently writing a new blog post that contains a guide with my personal recommendations. I will be sure to upload it next week so you can get support in making a decision which shoulder rests you’d like to try out.

For now, enjoy your week of practice ahead!

Do you use a shoulder rest? Or do you play without? Comment below. I would love to know what helped you make your decision, and how pleased you are with it!


Did you find my post useful?


Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I’m using a standard KUN. It’s never been comfortable

New student. Can’t read the make of rest. It feels ok.

Interesting Rebecca. The Kun is a fairly low rest, so sometimes it doesn’t work well for people that have a longer neck. I will upload a post next week with recommended shoulder rests, I hope this could help to check out some rests and decide which one to try next. It is really a lot of trial and error, finding the right shoulder rest. I took a long time too to find a comfortable set-up and I am still always trying to improve it today.

I use a Bon Musica shoulder rest and I love it!

Yes! I agree 100%! None of us are built the same. A standard shoulder rest that only adjusts one way, doesn’t do much good. The Bon Musica is so comfortable because you can customize it to fit YOU.

I use a Bon Musica too – will never change. Love it as well. 🙂

Nice to hear that so many of you are currently enjoying the Bon Musica. I have heard so many mixed opinions about it, it seems like many violinists either totally love this rest, or dislike it and that there is not that much in between. 🙂 I like the fact that Bon Musica has an adjustable pad and that you can shape it to adjust to your shoulder shape.

I recently bought the Bon Musica and love it too!

Bon Musica is the way to go! It is adjustable in SO many ways! About 7 months ago, I switched from an Everest. The Everest only adjusted up and down. The Bon Musica can be adjusted to fit the curvature of your shoulder, along with so many other options! It is a MUST have! 🙂

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about the Bon Musica Shawntina. Also really happy for you that you found a rest that works so well for you.

I’m using a pre-shaped shoulder rest, and for the time I’ve been using it, I feel confortable and relax while playing the violin.

Which one are you using, Jose? 🙂

It’s a JohnSon shoulder rest.

Interesting, I’ll look it up- I did not hear about this rest yet.

For what I heard, it’s very common here in my country, many musicians uses it.

The one I bought is this style: comment image

I have the same, Jose. How do you like your rest? I find it comfortable.

I am a beginner, glad to have read this and learnt much about the types of shoulder rest. Might consider getting one with time.

I’m happy to read your comment Rosemary, glad the post was helpful in considering which type of shoulder rest you might like to try in the future. 🙂 Good luck with your first lessons!

online violin lessons - step-by-step

This is a very interesting topic. I have just changed to a Poldauer. I used to have a Kun and a Bonmusica before, but my shoulder became tense. For me the Poldauer works fantastic. It feels like a shoulder rest, but you are much more free in your motions: www.poldauer.com

Interesting Mirjam, I did not hear of the Poldauer rest before. 🙂

I think, it is quite new on the market and I was very surprised, that it is working so well for me, because I need a rest. I have a long neck, so I use the Poldauer (name comes from the great teacher Leopold Auer) with a Kreddle (I think, this was the name) chinrest, which is totally adjustable in hight. Maybe you can try this combination, too? I would be very interested in your opinion. Have a great time, and thank you very much for your excellent work!

Hi, I have to use a shoulder rest since the beginning of my lessons, the one I have has been very useful

Nice to hear Maria, which one are you using and what do you like about it? 🙂

I’m using a Kuhn shoulder rest- made with real wood- works fine.

I also use a Kun Bravo which has a wood base. In the past I have used a Bon Musica and also an Everest. I am still finding the right set-up for me. Julia, your blog is the most helpful I have ever read on this subject. Thank you for the thought you put into it!

Thanks so much Barbara, that’s kind of you to say, I am glad the blog was helpful to you. Sometimes some little adjustments to the height, shape, width and tilt of the shoulder rest can go a long way.

John, thank you for sharing the rest that works for you.

Wolf Forte Secondo because it’s so adaptable , whether you need it higher or lower, and it’s easy to bend to shape so that it fits you ( I watched the Magic posture videos on YouTube on how to adjust it) . I love it – it’s really comfortable.

Hi, Sue! Iagree with You, I saw that video and the Wolf shoulder rest fits exellent to my granddother, but for me is just to short (from shoulder to chest)…

I started and currently am on a Wolf Secondo Forto. It really does allow for a custom fit and fairly comfortable. Almost too many possibilities.
I bought a FOM 1/2 for my daughter, which didn’t fit her 1/2 violin 🙁 (it had set positions by screws of the grips). So in that regard, be sure to check if your rest fits your violin (unless it has sliders to set the exact width).

Ohw yes, you are absolutely right Mark. It is a good tip to add to my blog post for other people to remember.

I currently use a Wolf Forte Secondo too and also agree the ergonomic flexibility of the rest is very nice. 🙂

online violin lessons - step-by-step

i recently bought a Kun original (previously owned a cheapy off EBay)
I can’t believe the difference it’s made, wish I’d bought it ages ago

Nice to hear Peter. I really like the shape of the Kun shoulder rest too, I use it every now and then and it feels very comfortable.

Hallo! About the shoulder rest-I had a Wolf’s but it did’nt work for me. Then my husband rearranged one the most cheapest, so I am satisfied with this now 😊.

Nice to hear Suzaa! May I ask which rest your husband used and how he rearranged it? It sounds interesting.

I dropped the letter n from my name (!?), it’s Suzana!
Oh, no, my husband does not playing the violin. I am! ☺️ He just do what I asked. So, he added another screw. O, it will be easier with picture…

Here is the picture


I am going to try adding a longer screw so the violin can be raised aome. Thanks for posting this picture. Great idea.

I am using a preshaped pad shoulder rest and I really love it!

Glad that you are already feeling comfortable with your shoulder rest Charles. Which one are you currently using?

I’m not using any shoulder rest right now but decided to buy one. Which one will be good for me as I’m just a beginner?

Hi Ipsita, good question. I am currently writing a new blog post in which I share my top picks, I will most probably finish it next week and upload it to the blog! I will write you an e-mail update as soon as it is up.

I have three shoulder rests. I consider the best one is a Kapaier I obtained from Japan and the second is a Bon Musica. The latter is great because you can adjust it in so many ways and I like the fact you can curve the metal to hook over your left shoulder to stop any slipping. However they are quite expensive at £52. The Kapaier, bought through ebay, was half the price of the Bon Musica and required no alteration at all for my setup and actually this is the one I prefer but bothare excellent that means I… Read more »

LOL Yes, I did think that to myself Rick.😀 So I am very happy you found one you really like to prevent you from having to do so.

online violin lessons - step-by-step

I have a kun preshaped, that is adjustable in height and width. It fits okay, but I wish I could adjust it to make my violin set more flat instead of the steep angle to the right. I am a very large person (6 foot 2 inches tall, and 300 pounds), so standard stuff doesn’t fit me well. I have to modify everything to fit my very large frame. I need a longer screw for the right side of the rest to bring the right side of my violin up about 2⁰. To get onto the “E” string properly either… Read more »

That is quite an adjustment to make David. I am happy you were able to find the additional height in the extra screw.

I used a shoulder rest when I started to learn the violin but I couldn’t find a position for it that was comfortable. I tried to play without it but I couldn’t hold the violin in place so I put the shoulder rest back on. At the beginning of almost each session I tried to find a good position for my shoulder rest but it never was really it. After a couple of months I tried to play without a shoulder rest again and it went great. I felt much more confortable than with the shoulder rest and I never… Read more »

I am happy you found playing without a rest more comfortable. Do you also like to freedom it gives you while playing as well?

Hi, Julia. I have a tendency to move (my violin and my body) as I’m playing, because my body is “feeling” the music. I’m trying to minimize that right now because as a beginner it’s difficult enough to have the proper intonation and crossing strings when being still. 🙂 But in these moments, not having a shoulder rest does feel as I’m more free.

This is interesting. It came at a perfect time. The other option is the democrats with their 2nd impeachment drama. What a relief to focus on violin.🎻❤

As a beginner I used a Kun for 6 months because of its popularity and recommendations. It was okay but not perfect. I tried a Bon Musica and find it much better. The ‘hook’ that can be adjusted to fit over the shoulder is the feature that does it for me.

Hi Terry, from what I am reading, you are not alone in liking the hook feature that comes with the Bon Musica. It seems like it is a great choice!

Great article!! I tried with five different types of these, and none of them seemed to be comfortable to me, but since I bought the wolf one, I´ve not experienced any kind of problem.
I want also to thank you everything you do, writing about violin and sending such interesting emails!! Thank you very much!!

You’re very welcome, Maria. I am happy you are enjoying my content!

I play with a FOM shoulder rest and I’m very comfortable with it.

I started with one of those but it kept falling off my violin and wasn’t comfortable for me

What do you use now, Sue?🤔

online violin lessons - step-by-step

I was told if you can’t hold the violin on your shoulder with just your neck, with no hands you need a shoulder rest. I bought a zaret sponge. I don’t like how it looks because of the rubber bands holding it in place are ugly on my violin. It also seems to shift around. I’d rather not use one at all, but my neck wont hold it in position. What do you think?

I am in the process of writing a guide to some of my top recommendations for a shoulder rest. It should be completed next week. I will send you an email letting you know when it is posted. Keep a look out in your inbox.👀

I use a Wolf Secundo shoulder rest. I would recommend this flexible metal plate type to anyone struggling to find the right rest if they have not tried one. My first violin came with a Kun-a-like but the shop advised a better model was the Wolf which is a “flexible metal plate” type. With a bit of brute force to bend it, it gives me a great fit but I was surprised at just how high I had to raise the extending feet to reach this great fit. I also have the rest at quite an angle to the vertical… Read more »

That is a great tip to keep in mind, Neil! Thank you for pointing it out. Oh BTW, your new “old” violin is beautiful!! Best of luck with it.🎻

Hv no shoulder rest but it’s painful 😖

Sorry, your in pain. Maybe this is something to consider looking into, Geet. A shoulder rest may hep alleviate it.

At present I don’t use a shoulder rest.
I tried to use one once or twice because my teachers told me to, but I was very glad when they accepted that I’d rather play without the rest. So far I’m 100 percent content not using a shoulder rest.

I am happy to hear that, Gea.

I have the Wolfe Secundo Forte and the Bon Musica. Both are similar and use flexible/adjustable parts. However, while the Wolfe is acceptable, the Bon Musica has better quality, works better and adjusts more broadly. It is also twice the price, so you get what you pay for.

The Bon Musica is getting rave reviews on this thread. I must look into it a bit more myself. I am glad you like it, Kirk.

online violin lessons - step-by-step

I know another way to apply the shoulder rest. Pick up the violin by the neck, turn it upside down and place the neck between your left elbow and your ribs and hold the bottom of the violin with the left hand. With the right hand, grasp the narrow side of the shoulder rest and attach it to the violin while the left hand positions the other side. No wobbling or chance of a drop.

I’m a senior techie. My first teacher, now long passed, took a piece of foam and a carved out a valley and strapped in on with rubber bands. (he played on a Precenda which he sold for $150K US in 1989. Since then I’ve used several Kuns, a Mach 2, and several newer foam types. I sat up close to Isaac Stern many years ago when he played at convocation hall in Toronto. He used a piece of foam hidden under his shirt which he proudly unoiled to the class. In the words of my dear departed teacher. “Practice Michael,… Read more »

What a lovely experience that must have been to see Isaac Stern so close. I bet it was very fun to see when he pulled the foam out from under his shirt.🤣

Bonjour j’utilise un BonMusica , j’ai eue de la difficulté à l’ajusté, enfin j’y suis parvenue avec de la patience. J’ai moins de tension dans l’épaule et dans mon bras.

I am happy the Bon Musica is working so well for you.😀

I use the Willy Wolf Forté Secundo with the screw height adjustments. I’ve been using these for many years – very comfortable and adjustaboe both in terms of the screws as well as the metal base that you can shape to your shoulder. That said, I’m tempted to try the Bon musica one as I like the additional shoulder hook to provide extra security. I question about shoulder rests reducing vibration and volume. My rest fits to the edge of the instrument forming an open bridge across the instrument, so in fact it leaves space all around the instrument. If… Read more »

I believe you are correct, Jerry. The chin rest was invented to help support the violin so that players could do a bit more advanced technique.

I just bought a KorfkerRest, best purchase I ever made! It’s quite expensive but in my opinion worth it. You can shape it however you need and the legs can be adjusted as well, but the interesting thing for me is how my violin responds. My tone is greatly improved.

Wow, that is an interesting point to consider, Joanie. Thank you for mentioning it.😀

online violin lessons - step-by-step

I’ve been using a shoulder rest ever since I switched to learning western classical music from learning indian classical music. It has made me hold the violin without using my left hand.
I appreciate your tips on utilizing the rest.

Your very welcome, Abhimanyu.

I am using kun bravo.. It is good so far

I’m happy you found a rest you’re pleased with, Jomy.

I use a pre shaped pad shoulder rest and it feels super comfortable…but I don’t remember the brand name coz it’s been a while when I got that

Glad you’re comfortable with your rest, Kirti.

Hi Julia,
I am 81 years old and have been playing violin about a year and a half now. Although a shoulder rest came with my learner violin, I could only play about 5 or 10 minutes before having to rest my shoulder. Checking online, I decided to buy a Bon Musica shoulder rest. As I’ve seen mentioned in previous comments, it is very adjustable. After much trial and error I can now play for thirty or forty minutes with no problems. Your site has been very helpful to me. It is much appreciated.

I am happy you like my site, James. And that you’ve found a rest that allows you to play a bit without feeling discomfort.

Hello and thank you.
It seems to me that I always have to consider not just the shoulder rest, but also the chin rest. 50% correct shoulder rest and 50% correct chin rest to achieve the best result.
Im still not confident that I have my violin under control as well as I might.
Can you offer any more help please?

I would recommend trying as many different rests, positions and adjustments you can make to figure out what is most comfortable, Mike. If you are experiencing pain, change something. Keep changing things up until you no longer feel pain. I would also add, if you feel pain, better to stop and rest than risk injuring yourself more.

Hi Julia
No pain problems at all. I have many shoulder rests, which I’ve experimented with over the years. I think improvements will come from more chin rest experimentation. I have only tried the more common ones. I need to try something a little different. Especially in terms of depth I think. Any ideas of what I might try please?
Thank you very much Julia

online violin lessons - step-by-step

Like my violin, I’m using a violin rest that I made myself, it’s made to fit me, and works very well for me.

Hi Julia, I am Jonathan, thank you for the partiture, I from Argentina, i was studient for two years, now i am autoditactic, i need a advancer teacher,jeje, you have exercice for 5 and 7 position?. Thank!

Hi Julia;

I’ve always had a Pre-shaped Pad Shoulder Rests …
Not the best but, it can go …
the defects are that it does not support well, and I have to support more with my left hand … and then I would like a foot higher! but if too high, it is unstable!

so I made a custom one … I am attaching the photos…

now the violin stands on its own 🙂

I wonder how they did it in the past


I wish I had read this when I first started playing. With a standard rest I would clinch my teeth and clutch with my chin trying to hold the violin in place. I’ve always had to raise my work desk a few inches because of my long neck so I should have looked for a high profile shoulder rest from the beginning. I am very happy with the bon musica and have recently found the Resonans High-profile which costs a lot less but doesn’t stay on as well. I used a vice to put a bend in the Resonans and… Read more »

I started with the shoulder rest that came with my violin, which is a mendini by cecilio. I then got a KUN one and I absolutely LOVE it. Its sooo much more comfortable and fits my shoulder really nice!

online violin lessons - step-by-step

I use a performa shoulder rest by Cyrus Creations. There are two models. I use the wooden one. I find it very comfortable to use and more supportive than the Kun that I started with. The rest can be adjusted very low so that it is almost like playing without a rest, but the pads provide more comfort than the hard body of the violin.

See www.cyruscreations.us for details.

I will try again. I have a Bonmusika, Kun, Wolf and Fiddlerman. The Fiddlerman was the only one short enough for my neck. I play a 1/2 violin and some if the rests do not come in that size. I am sure the other rests are good quality, but not everyone would be happy with all of them because we are all built differently. If anybody can use the Bonmusika (I bought two), the Kun and Wolf, I will send them to you if you pay the shipping. Again, they are all for a 1/2 size violin.

I am currently using a pre-shaped shoulder rest and it is quite painful. I’m constantly having to stop playing to adjust it and am sore after each practice. This post has me thinking a bendable or cushion rest might be the way to go.

I’m new to the Violin and I didn’t have a rest until today. I think it will help me hold the Violin better and move my hand on the finger board easier. I’m going to play with the adjustments until I find what works best for me. I think it is an unusual that I received your Email on shoulder rests while mine was in transit. Best Wishes Greg

Hi Julia, Got interested in your on line violin classes by accident and decided to try to learn to play. I played trumpet in my youth and I am now 83 years old(or young). I got interested in violins listening to Roby Lakatos playing “Du swartser Zigeuner” in a You Tube video and then watched other music videos on You Tube, like:t Elia Bastida and Joan Chamorro playing their jassy styled music on You Tube also. I have bought three violins at local Goodwill store very cheap, between $20.00 and $60.00. They were in very good condition, but needed new… Read more »

Nice to hear from you Dennis. How fun that Roby Lakatos was your inspiration! He was one of mine too. I was about 14 years old when I met Roby Lakatos. He came to play with our student string orchestra as a soloist. It was a very special experience to play with such a great violinist up close.

online violin lessons - step-by-step

Hallo Julia I can’t imagine at all playing the violin without shoulder rest. Instead of concentrating on holding the violin firmly which take the most of my beginner energy, I concentrate on improving my playing technique, and the result amazingly good within one year. I tried several kinds 0f shoulder rests. The best of them so far is the Bonmusica. I have customized the Bonmusica to suit my size and breast form, according to the instructions of several violin teachers at the YouTube. If you know a shoulder rest that is better than the Bonmusica for me please name it.… Read more »

My first teacher was not a fan of shoulder rests, so I learnt to play with just a small piece of sponge attached to the underside of my violin and a cloth over my shoulder. When I bought a new violin 18 months ago the shop threw in a cheap shoulder rest. I have a long neck, so I tried playing with the rest, without the rest, and eventually settled for without. Then I started to practice shifting and began to use the rest again. It’s not the most comfortable so I’m thinking of upgrading. I had thought of buying… Read more »