Sep 162010
 

I have shopped around and compared prices for my favorite shoulder rests (shoulder pads), and have provided links for “more info and to purchase today” for each product. These product links are for the best prices (new) that I have found, and often include free shipping!

For more advice & tips, watch my video about Violin & Viola Shoulder Rests <--Click the link Here are my Top Picks:

  1. Kun Collapsible Violin Shoulder Rest – Full Size (4/4) and Junior Size (1/2-3/4) – Black
  2. Kun Mini Collapsible Violin Shoulder Rest – Mini Size (1/16-1/4) – Black, Green, Red, Blue, and Yellow
  3. Kun Collapsible Viola Shoulder Rest – Standard 15 + Inches – Black
  4. Foam Wedge Shoulder Rest

1. Kun Collapsible Violin Shoulder Rest – Full Size (4/4) and Junior Size (1/2 to 3/4) – Black

This is the shoulder rest I like to use on both my violin and my viola.  (The 4/4 violin size adjusts enough to fit my viola, too!)  If you are a viola player, however, I would recommend getting the viola size for better support.  (I just use the same one for both because it’s handy for lessons.)

Kun Collapsible Violin Shoulder Rest 4/4 Black

Outstanding Features:

  • It is adjustable in width that reaches across the instrument.

This is essential since instruments of the “same size” vary lots in actual measurements.  My violin, for instance, is very petite, so I put the screws in the middle of 3 holes on the tall side, and in the first of 3 holes (to make it smallest) on the short side.  When I switch it to my viola, I put the screws into the 3rd of 3 holes (to make it widest) on both sides.

  • It is adjustable in height on both sides.

Adjustments are made by turning the leg forks in (“right-y, tight-y”) to be shorter, and out (“left-y, loose-y”) to be taller.  Since violas are thicker than violins, the gap between shoulder and chin is smaller when playing a viola.  I am able to make my shoulder rest shorter when playing my viola to fill the smaller space between my shoulder and chin.

  • The leg forks fold down – they are “collapsible!”

I would not buy a shoulder rest or pad that does not have this feature.  This allows you to fold in the leg forks to fit compactly into your instrument case.  You should experiment (carefully!) to find the best place inside your case to store your shoulder rest without posing a threat to your precious instrument.  NEVER force your case to close as you may be crushing your violin or viola!

I have found that shoulder rests or pads which do not collapse are more prone to breakage.  I’ve seen many non-collapsible shoulder rests snap at the leg forks, requiring the purchase of a new shoulder pad.  ($$$ ch-ching!)

  • Reasonably priced, good quality shoulder rest that should last for years.

I’ve been using the same Kun Collapsible shoulder rest for at least 20 years!!  I’ve had to replace dry, cracking rubber feet (Colorado’s dry climate is rough on musical instruments!) 2 or 3 times, but Kun was gracious enough to offer these and other replacement parts for sale wherever the shoulder rests are sold.  (I recommend buying one set of these replacements when you purchase your shoulder rest, for future use.)

Otherwise, you’ll only have to buy a new one when you grow into a full size violin!

→Click here for more info and to purchase a Kun Collapsible today from Musician’s Friend.

**Be sure to select “4/4 Black” under “Select Color/Option Here…” button on the product page for the Full Size shoulder rest.

**Be sure to select “3/4 – 1/2 Black” under “Select Color/Option Here…” button on the product page for the smaller shoulder rest that will fit a half-size and a 3/4 size violin.

Replacement Parts Available:

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2.   Kun Mini Collapsible Violin Shoulder Rest – Mini Size (1/16 to 1/4) – Black, Green, Red, Blue, and Yellow

This is the shoulder rest I will use on my children’s little violins.  My son’s blue violin is a 1/8 size, so I am going to get him this shoulder rest in blue, of course!  He currently uses a foam wedge, but he will enjoy a better, more custom fit.  I will be able to adjust this shoulder rest to fit his next violin which will be 1/4 size, so I don’t mind spending under $25 for this helpful tool.

My daughter is using a 1/32 size violin, so the foam wedge is still the best option for her.  I’ll get a green or yellow Kun Mini when I get her a 1/8 size purple violin!

Kun Mini Collapsible Violin Shoulder Rest Mini Black 1/4-1/16 Size

Outstanding Features:

  • It is adjustable in width that reaches across the instrument.

This is essential in order to adjust from a 1/16 size to 1/4 size violins.  Also, violins of the “same size” vary lots in actual measurements.

  • It is adjustable in height on both sides.

Adjustments are made by turning the leg forks in (“right-y, tight-y”) to be shorter, and out (“left-y, loose-y”) to be taller, to get just the right fit.

  • The leg forks fold down – they are “collapsible!”

I would not buy a shoulder rest or pad that does not have this feature.  This allows you to fold in the leg forks to fit compactly into the violin case.  You should experiment (carefully!) to find the best place inside your child’s case to store the shoulder rest without posing a threat to the precious instrument.  NEVER force the case to close as you may be crushing the violin!

I have found that shoulder rests or pads which do not collapse are more prone to breakage.  I’ve seen many non-collapsible shoulder rests snap at the leg forks, requiring the purchase of a new shoulder pad.  ($$$ ch-ching!)

  • Reasonably priced, good quality shoulder rest – worth purchasing even though the kids are growing rapidly!

Fortunately, these Kun Mini shoulder rests are adjustable enough to fit three violin sizes, usually used when kids are growing inches in a few months!  This helps justify purchasing one for such little violin players.  If they don’t continue long enough to progress through all three sizes, you can always sell the shoulder pad with the violin –  including it should help boost the sale price.

You won’t need a new one until he or she grows into a 1/2 size violin!

→Click here for more info and to purchase a Kun Mini Collapsible today from Musician’s Friend.

**Be sure to select “Mini (and color of your choice) 1/4 – 1/16 Size” under “Select Color/Option Here…” button on the product page.

Replacement Parts Available:

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3.   Kun Collapsible Viola Shoulder Rest – Standard 15+ Inch – Black

This is a good viola shoulder rest.  It has all the same features as the Kun Collapsible shoulder rests for violin, but is bigger!

Kun Collapsible Viola Shoulder Rest Standard 15+ Inch

Outstanding Features:

  • It is adjustable in width that reaches across the instrument.

This is essential since violas come in different sizes, too.  Instruments of the “same size” vary lots in actual measurements.  This shoulder rest will fit all violas from 15 inches and larger.

  • It is adjustable in height on both sides.

Adjustments are made by turning the leg forks in (“right-y, tight-y”) to be shorter, and out (“left-y, loose-y”) to be taller.  You can really make it fit YOU to be most comfortable.  Take the time when you first get it to try different adjustments until you find what’s best.

  • The leg forks fold down – they are “collapsible!”

I would not buy a shoulder rest or pad that does not have this feature.  This allows you to fold in the leg forks to fit compactly into your instrument case.  You should experiment (carefully!) to find the best place inside your case to store your shoulder rest without posing a threat to your precious instrument.  NEVER force your case to close as you may be crushing your viola!

I have found that shoulder rests or pads which do not collapse are more prone to breakage.  I’ve seen many non-collapsible shoulder rests snap at the leg forks, requiring the purchase of a new shoulder pad.  ($$$ ch-ching!)

  • Reasonably priced, good quality shoulder rest that should last for years.

I’ve been using the same Kun Collapsible shoulder rest for at least 20 years!!  I’ve had to replace dry, cracking rubber feet (Colorado’s dry climate is rough on musical instruments!) 2 or 3 times, but Kun was gracious enough to offer these and other replacement parts for sale wherever the shoulder rests are sold.  (I recommend buying one set of these replacements when you purchase your shoulder rest, for future use.)

→Click here for more info and to purchase a Kun Collapsible today from Musician’s Friend.

Replacement Parts Available:

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4.  Foam Wedge Shoulder Rest – Great for Tiny Violins!

This is what I currently use on my children’s little violins (1/32 and 1/8 sizes).  I strap it on with 2 rubber bands from opposite directions to get the most stable placement on the instrument, and to reduce movement in the playing position.  These wedges really help to reduce the beginning player slippage!

Zaret Shoulder Rest for Violin or Viola Medium

Outstanding Features:

  • It is SIMPLE!!

Just a little step up from using a dish cloth for padding.

  • It is shaped well for shoulder placement.

The shape helps to keep the instrument on the shoulder, but isn’t adjustable for height (sometimes little ones, like my 2 yr old, have to raise their heads up a bit too high to get the violin under their chin.  Since it is made of foam, it does soften as they hold the violin, and it isn’t too rigid, so they don’t have to keep their chins up too high for very long.

  • It is compact and somewhat squishy.

That means it can fit easily into your violin case and shouldn’t damage the instrument in any way.  You should experiment (carefully!) to find the best place inside your child’s case to store the shoulder rest without posing a threat to the precious instrument.  NEVER force the case to close as you may be crushing the violin!

  • It’s CHEAP!

So inexpensive (under $5) that I’ve been known to actually cut into the foam (a utility knife works well!) to reduce the thickness, on occasion!

→Click here for more info and to purchase a Foam Wedge Shoulder Rest today from Musician’s Friend.

**Be sure to select “Medium” for use with 1/32 to 3/4 Size violins, under “Select Color/Option Here…” button on the product page.

** Be sure to select “Large” for use with full size violins and any size viola, although I would recommend buying a Kun Collapsible (listed above) or other of these “top picks.”

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