Are you looking for a shoulder rest to make playing your violin more comfortable? Unsure about which types are the best and what you should be looking for? Well, in this post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know when buying a new shoulder rest for your violin.
We also review 6 of what we think are the best violin shoulder rests currently on the market to help you choose the best one for you and your needs. Let’s get started.
Quick Answer: The Best Shoulder Rests for Violins
The Top Violin Shoulder Rest Reviews
When playing the violin, it’s normal to crunch your neck. Sadly, this posture is uncomfortable and can lead to stabbing pain, especially if you play the instrument for hours at a time.
However, with one of the best-rated violin shoulder rests below, you can relax your neck comfortably and enjoy playing for however long you wish.
1. Bonmusica 4/4 Violin Shoulder Rest
Thanks to Bonmusica 4/4 Violin shoulder rest, playing the violin doesn’t have to be painful anymore. This shoulder rest comes with a sponge padding on the inside that provides a perfect balance of comfort and functionality.
What’s the best part? Bonmusica 4/4 is also available in 3/4, 2/4, 1/4, and a minimum height of 1”. You can constantly adjust the shoulder breath if you feel it presses the collarbone too tight.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re left or right-handed. This shoulder rest is ergonomic to guarantee the hands-free stability you require when shifting fingering positions.
You don’t have to worry about daily wear and tear since the form padding is premium-grade and will last you years. That said, you can always be sure about getting value for your bucks.
2. Fiddlerman Wood Violin Shoulder Rest for 4/4 and 3/4
- THE PERFECT FIT: The Fiddlerman Violin Shoulder Rest includes height adjustable feet for a custom fit. The feet are also collapsible for easy storage...
- WORKS FOR VIOLINS AND VIOLAS: Designed to fit 4/4 and 3/4 Violins but can also fits 13" and 14" Violas.
- BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED: The solid wood body of the shoulder rest is specifically crafted for a warm resonance and is built to last through years of...
If you’re looking for a violin shoulder rest that also works on violas, then there’s no better alternative to this piece. Fiddlerman wood Violin shoulder rest accepts 4/4 and 3/4 violins and 13” and 14” violas. But that’s just the start of its many magical benefits.
Using this shoulder rest is an absolute breeze since you can adjust both its height and shoulder breadth. The feet also collapse to help you maximize storage space.
Filderman wood violin shoulder rest allows no room for tilting. Neither does it touch the violin when playing. This way, you can keep a well-adjusted posture and immerse yourself in iconic sounds.
Weight shouldn’t be your concern when using this shoulder rest. It only weighs 58 grams—slightly lighter than any typical wooden shoulder rest in the market.
Additionally, it comes with a sponge padding on the inside that feels comfortable against the skin. Use it for concerts, training, or leisure plays, and it will guarantee real value for bucks.
3. Kun Original Violin Shoulder Rest
Level up your skills using one of the world’s most popular shoulder rests that hails from the store of a reputable brand. Kun Original Violin shoulder rest is made for enthusiastic players who love high-quality instruments in mind.
Kun Original is not the same as Kun collapsible since the feet are rigid and don’t collapse. However, it’s mountable in three directions using mountable brackets. You’ll also find replacement feet in the package so that when the original breaks, you can always continue with your concert undisturbed.
Kun original is crescent-shaped to fit snugly over the shoulder. The shoulder area is contoured and foam padded for comfort. But what makes it unique, you may wonder? It comes in two feet heights–regular and extended, so you can’t miss something that works for your neck height.
This piece is your ideal when looking for a shoulder rest that works for 4/4, 3/4, and 1/2. The frame is a strong thermoplastic that will last years.
4. Everest EZ4A Violin Shoulder Rest
You may already know that there isn’t a one-fits-all shoulder rest. But if we could only recommend one, Everest EZ4A is your ideal. This shoulder rest is made of adaptable and adjustable feet that fit both the short and long neck.
It also works with both violin 4/4 and 3/4 and 13” Viola. EZ4A is particularly impressive for its versatility. You can adjust the range to high or low since the tow has a margin of about ½ an inch.
Unlike many brands, this one has grippers to ship the position of the instrument. And no matter the angle, it won’t touch your instrument as you play.
The body is a sturdy high-grade ABS with medium firmness. It’s sturdy black and difficult to damage or break even when it falls. But that shouldn’t happen since the locks at the edge are firm and also adjustable. All the parts are replaceable, with substitutes locally available in your nearest store.
5. Fiddlerman Light Carbon Fiber Shoulder Rest
- Height Adjustable - Secure and Durable feet
- Streamlined & Lightweight
- Fits all full size (4/4) violins as well as 14" violas
Life doesn’t compromise, neither is Fiddlerman. This brand has taken its releases a level up, maintaining their quality and functionality.
Among its infallible releases is the Fiddlermen light carbon shoulder rest, which emerges as one of the best-sellers shoulders rests currently available. This piece guarantees a whole new vibe with a classic wooden look that lets you immerse your feelings and thoughts in your sounds.
With a new technology standard, the wood comes contoured to offer a perfect grip that doesn’t slip. You can also secure the feet using adjustable locks and adjust them to your desired height and shoulder breadth.
This piece shouldn’t weigh you down since it’s made of a lightweight composite body that weighs only 59 grams. The hybrid polymer body is also sturdy and will last you years of uninterrupted use under proper care.
Every performance is worth appreciating, and this shoulder rest gives you another chance to enjoy the bliss of playing both 4/4 violin and 14’’ viola.
6. NANYI Violin Shoulder Rest for 4/4 and 3/4
- 1. This standard NANYI Shoulder Rest is our most popular model, fits 4/4 size violin and adjustable to 3/4 size violin.
- 2. Material: high-strength PVC board skeleton, Imitation wood grain. strong and not easy to deform!
- 3. High-density wear-resistant sponge contact surface, comfortable and convenient.
Nanyi is a tried-and-true brand, and you can count on this shoulder rest to get the job done. The classic piece comes in a high-strength board skeleton that is stable and not easy to deform.
Its appeal imitates that of the wood grain to guarantee the unique and much-needed vintage vibe. However, what makes this piece stand out is the high-density sponge padding.
As it comes to contact with the shoulder, it comfortably touches the skin with a striking balance of convenience. What’s more, the sponge is also sturdy to withstand daily wear and tear.
NANYI shoulder rest guarantees a snug fit on 4/4 violin. But there’s room to adjust the height and breadth so that it works with a 3/4 violin.
We also loved the stability of the shoulder rest. It doesn’t tilt or sway, and it allows you to hit all your notes with ease.
How to Choose a Violin Shoulder Rest: A Buyer’s Guide
Often unseen as they’re hidden by the violin, shoulder rests are useful tools that violinists place underneath the bodies of their violins to provide support for a violin and the chin of a violinist.
As you are shopping for a violin shoulder rest, you will come across many options in various colors, shapes, and sizes.
There are a few things that you need to take into consideration while you are looking for a shoulder rest and in this section of our article, we’ll discuss what they all mean to help you find the right one. Let’s get started.
Do You Need a Shoulder Rest?
The first question to ask is do you even need a shoulder rest?
Violins used to be played without shoulder rests and they were originally introduced to violins as a way to assist women and children with playing their instruments.
However, over the centuries, shoulder rests have become a staple part of being a violinist and even the top professional will use them.
But, the short answer is that you do not need a shoulder rest to play the violin.
Why Should you use (or not use) a Shoulder Rest?
Many musicians will not perform without a shoulder rest, but, there are a variety of benefits that shoulder rests offer to violinists and there are several reasons why it may be a good idea for you to use a shoulder rest with your violin.
When a violinist plays their instrument regularly without a shoulder rest, they will begin to naturally become accustomed to the way that violins were originally designed to be played.
Playing the violin without a shoulder rest allows a violinist to relax more, ultimately helping them to improve their tonality and sound, however, this is not always the case for many violinists.
But, shoulder rests are very beneficial for violinists who have longer necks.
Violins are not wide enough to fully cover the distances between the collarbones of some violinists and their jawlines.
Therefore, these violinists need ways to fill in those distances so that they don’t strain their necks while playing for extended periods of time.
This is where shoulder rests shine, due to the fact that many of their heights can be easily adjusted and modified to provide what violinists need.
Your choice to play with or without a shoulder rest should reside in what you are comfortable with.
Many people who have pronounced collar bones, for example, prefer to play with shoulder rests because of the comfort that the shoulder rests’ paddings provide over the body of their violins.
If you want to feel freer in your movement as you play your violin or do not want to carry around additional gear, then you may prefer to play your violin without a shoulder rest.
Types of Shoulder Rests
There are a variety of shoulder rests that are available on the market, and many violinists use unorthodox shoulder rests as well.
Foam Shoulder Rests
- Excellent support and padding for beginning players
- Made of comfortable Open cell foam
- Attaches to the instrument with rubber bands (not included)
The first type of shoulder rest are made from foam. These sponges are very comfortable and cater to a range of violinists.
Beginner violinists who are learning in school settings are typically given foam sponges to use as shoulder rests by their teachers.
They’re usually secured to violins using rubber bands or any other type of elastic cable whereas some are made with adhesives so that they can be easily attached to violins.
Clip-on Shoulder Rests
Clip-on shoulder rests are one of the most common types of shoulder rest for both violins and violas.
Clip-on shoulder rests are used by many professional violinists because of how easy the shoulder rests are to attach to their violins and how easy they are to also remove and store when they aren’t needed.
They are attached to the bodies of violins using rubber feet that are included with the shoulder rests.
These rubber feet are then attached to two different points on the body of a violin, providing a secure structure for a violinist to use on their instrument.
Air Cushion Shoulder Rests
Air cushion shoulder rests are a relatively new type of shoulder rest that can be inflated to the cushion level that a violinist desires.
They are also attached to the bodies of violins using multiple feet attachments.
These shoulder rests have quickly become popular due to how comfortable they are and how they quickly adjust to the movements of a violinist.
Shoulder rests are available in many different sizes, but, the main size that you need to pay attention to while you are shopping is the size of the violin that the shoulder rest is developed for.
Many shoulder rests can be adjusted in their height and their location on a violin, but their overall length cannot be changed. The length of a shoulder rest directly correlates to what size violin it will fit on.
If you have a 4/4 violin, make sure that your shoulder rest will fit.
Shoulder rests come in many shapes, from flat to extremely curvy. The variations in the shapes of shoulder rest help violinists choose shoulder rests that work for their body proportions.
A violinist who has flesh over their collarbone, for example, may prefer shoulder rests that are flatter in their shapes.
In contrast, violinists who have pronounced collarbones may prefer shoulder rests that are curvier so that the shoulder rests can fit over their collar bones rather than on top of them.
The materials that a shoulder rest is made of will determine how durable and comfortable that shoulder rest will be.
The main structure of a shoulder rest is typically made of ABS plastic or composite, which both provide good flexibility and durability.
Some shoulder rests have main structures that are made of wood, which provide the it with elegant appearances and durability as well.
If it’s one that has legs, these are usually made of a plastic or composite material and attached to the main part of the shoulder rests with metal screws.
The legs are lined with rubber so that they can be placed onto violins without damaging the violins.
Shoulder rest padding is made of many materials with most manufacturers using foam to pad their shoulder rests, but air and gels are also used.
The pad of a shoulder rest can appear to be thicker but may not be comfortable due to the rigidity of the material that is used.
However, a shoulder rest might have a thin pad but its material allows the shoulder rest to provide great cushioning.
With advancements in shoulder rest technologies, there are a multitude of ways to adjust them to your exact needs.
However, most shoulder rests can be adjusted in their height and their angle.
These are the two main characteristics that you want to be able to adjust on your violin’s shoulder rest, as adjusting the shoulder rest’s height will allow you to fill the space that is between your chin and your shoulder nicely.
Adjusting the angle of your shoulder rest will help the shoulder rest and your violin fit against your shoulder and neck better.
Most shoulder rests are portable, but some are harder to store away than others.
If you can, look for shoulder rests that can fit nicely into your violin case so that you don’t have to carry it around and potentially lose it.
Many violin cases have compartments that are sized perfectly for violinists to store their shoulder rests and other accessories in.
Comfort is one of the most important things that you will want to pay attention to as you are shopping for a shoulder rest for your violin.
The most important thing is that it should be comfortable as you play, allowing you to play for extended periods of time without having pain in your shoulder.
It may be best for you to try out several shoulders rests at your nearest violin shop for this reason.
Even if you then later buy it online, trying one in person can give you a good idea as to how comfortable certain shoulder rests are and you can see if it works with your body type.
Best Shoulder Rest Brands
There are a number of good brands of shoulder rests on the market at the moment.
Kun is a dependable shoulder rest brand and is one of the most widely used brands among beginner and professional violinists.
Kun has numerous shoulder rest models for violinists to choose from, catering to a range of body types and budgets.
With decades of research and development experience, Kun offers very comfortable shoulder rests.
Bonmusica offers unique and versatile shoulder rests. Many of their shoulder rests can be adjusted in more ways than just their height.
The versatility of Bonmusica’s shoulder rests allows them to easily stand out among the many other shoulder rests that are on the market.
If you are looking for an air cushion shoulder rest, then PlayOnAir will be a great brand for you to choose from.
PlayOnAir is one of the only companies that produce air cushion shoulder rests, and their products are highly revered by their customers.
PlayOnAir has an extensive inventory of shoulder rests, and their shoulder rests use systems of straps and leg attachments to remain secured to violins.
Shoulder rests are available for a multitude of budgets, and you can even make your own if you need to by using a foam pad, sponge, or towel.
There are many great shoulder rest options between $10 to $50.
There are even violin shoulder rests that cost as much as $350!
Conclusion: Which Violin Shoulder Rest Should you Buy?
We hope that helps you make a bit more sense of violin shoulder rests and what you should be looking out for when buying one.
If you’re finding your violin uncomfortable then it’s a low-cost and easy way to make it easier to play.
If you’re still on the fence about which one to go for, you can’t go wrong with the first on our list, the Bonmusica Shoulder Rest.
This shoulder rest is comfortable and comes with adjustable feet that work for all types of violins, is versatile, adjustable, comfortable, and all at a very affordable price.
For more details and to read reviews click the button below.