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Shoulder Rest


Lane
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Everyone is shaped differently, so I don't think a shoulder rest is a one-size fits all issue. Do you have friends with different rests? Is the Kun comfortable for you? The Kun is okay for me, but not as comfortable as the Viva. However, there are a couple of different kinds of kuns. I have a Bravo which is better for me than the standard, but I hate how it comes unscrewed constantly and falls off. Currently I'm using the new Comford rest, but the ends of the legs have come apart, so I may take it back. It is comfortable for me, but my son hates it!

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Lane,

I actually like the Kun "knock-offs" such as the Muco and Artino. They grip the violin better, they have a much more comfortable pad and they don't have those surgical tubing protectors. When I am not using one of those, I use the plastic "Mach 1", which is really comfortable and simple.

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I have used Kun and Playonair. Neither is perfect for me so I do some going back and forth. The Kun is adjustable, so you should try adjusting it (if you have not already) to see if that improves your comfort. Otherwise, go to your local luthier and try some different ones. We can tell you which ones work for us, but since this is so individual, what we tell you will not help you much.

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People often try to use a shoulder rest to compensate for failings of their chinrest. I think one should first try to find a chinrest that can help hold the instrument comfortably between the jaw and collar bone. Then the main function of the shoulder rest will be to stabilize the position and angle of the instrument.

Unfortunately, this means that one's choice is among about 2-dozen chinrests and about a dozen shoulder rests - nearly 300 possible combinations.

The shoulder rest can be set at any angle that helps the player's comfort and that doesnot fall off the fiddle.

I think the over-the-tailpiece models of chinrests that are so popular now have a major disadvantage in that they are not adjustable for different players (I find many too uncomfortable for me to use). I like a chinrest that can be moved about the left side of the tailpiece so that I can set it up for best comfort while holding the violin at the optimum angles (for me) - these kinds of rests do not go over the tailpiece and therefore have the disadvantage that they are not clamped on the sturdy end-button block. Nevertheless most players used such rests before WW-II. The mass and placement of the chinrest can affect the sound of the instrument.

More and more people I know are starting to use the Bon Musica shoulder rests. They don't work for me - my choice is the Wolf Secondo (for me the Standard works best, althought the Forte is OK and more adjustable for people with longer necks). I find that with some chinrests - other than my first choice (Original [German-made] Stuber-model, that are no longer made to the same exact dimensions) the Mach-One shoulder rests works a little better (although it likes to fall off more easily than the Wolf).

Even very-closly-similar shoulder rest models can have differences of a millimeter here or there than can affect a player's comfort.

The addition of a "StradPad' or a folded-over chamois cloth can help adjust the comfort and utility of one's chinrest/shoulder-rest combination.

Good Luck with your choice.

Andy

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As I noted in another thread about shoulder rests, I was able to order several rests from Shar, take them to my daughter's teacher who helped her winnow it down to one (the Bon Musica, as it happened), and then return them. I made sure the return policy would cover this AHEAD OF TIME (because I did have to pay for them up front and wait for the credit to my account after returning them) and of course was very careful to repack them exactly as they had been before we opened them.

As for other Kun-like rests, I used to use a standard Kun. When my daughter was trying out rests I took the opportunity to test a few myself. I wasn't particularly unhappy with the Kun, but the foam pad was beginning to wear out and it seemed like a good time to tinker with things. I tried the Kun Bravo and found it actually does not feel exactly like a standard Kun (I didn't like it as much). I liked the plastic Mach One and switched to that. Then I got a maple Mach One as a gift and found that its shape IS a little different from the plastic one (and I like it better). I had a lot more trouble at first getting the maple Mach One to stay put than either my old Kun or the plastic Mach One, but once I got the right combination of leg heights and the angle across the back of my fiddle I stopped having problems (much to my relief since I really like it). So even within a brand, the differences are not always so subtle and sometimes they do matter.

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In fact, you can do a lot of customizing even without tools, just by bending it. I would like to see more rests, of different designs (including a Kun-shaped one), made out of easily bendable metal- this seems obviously a better idea than using rigid plastic or wood. Any entrepreneurs out there?

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