7 Best Violin Shoulder Rests of 2020 – Violin Shoulder Pad Reviews

A shoulder rest is essential to holding your violin securely and comfortably. That means it’s well worth spending some time to get the right one.

But if you’ve started your search only to find the choice overwhelming, don’t despair! We’re here to take the guesswork out of making the perfect selection.

Read on for our reviews of seven of the best violin shoulder rests out there. We’re going to tell you all about their good, and not so good, points.

OUR TOP PICK
Kun Original Violin shoulder rest
Kun Original Violin shoulder rest

  • Legs fold down for easy storage
  • Three-way adjustment for a comfortable fit
  • Locking device prevents scratches on your instrument

 

The Best Violin Shoulder Rest of 2020

1. Everest EZ4A violin shoulder rest

best violin shoulder rest Everest

The EZ4A model shoulder rest from Everest is adjustable to fit either three-quarters or full-size violins. Three holes on either side allow you to move the position of the feet that grip the instrument. If you’re buying for a growing violin player, it’s a great option to minimize replacements.

The manufacturer claims it’s “virtually indestructible”. If you’ve got a violin case that doesn’t have a separate compartment for your shoulder rest, that will be reassuring! A shoulder rest can get plenty of knocks as you’re traveling to lessons or rehearsals.

As well as the width, the height can be adjusted too. There’s a range of about half an inch, helping you find the perfect position for your neck. If you’re very tall, Everest also makes a range of longer feet that can be added for a more comfortable fit.

It’s made of sturdy plastic with a foam top. The feet are coated so there are no hard edges to scratch your violin.

This is a very economical shoulder rest, but it won’t last forever. The plastic frame may well be as indestructible as Everest’s claim, but the foam insert will come away in time. It can be re-glued, but you’ll probably need to replace it in a few years.

The whole thing is a simple matte black. There’s nothing to get excited about in terms of its appearance. But it’s smart enough to work equally well whether you’re practicing at home or performing on the stage.

Pros:

  • Will fit either three-quarters or full-size violins
  • Height adjustable for a comfortable fit
  • Robust plastic construction will withstand knocks

Cons:

  • Not the most attractive shoulder rest out there
  • The foam pad may come away from the plastic in time.

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2. Kun Original Violin shoulder rest (Our Top Pick)

best violin shoulder rest Kun

Kun’s Original shoulder rest is slightly more expensive than the one from Everest, but it’s still reasonably priced.

In this case, it’s for a full-sized violin only, so it won’t be suitable for smaller players. Despite that, it can be adjusted in no fewer than three directions. That gives a huge amount of flexibility to ensure a comfortable fit.

One thing to note for those with shorter necks, though, is the support on the shoulder side has limited movement. Anyone who’d like a shoulder rest that sits almost flat to their shoulder may prefer another option.

And although it comes with instructions, they’re not as clear as they could be. We’ve heard of accounts of people finding their shoulder rest popping off their violin, which is almost certainly user error. If you have any difficulty, your teacher or local music shop will be able to help.

The shoulder pad here is black, whilst the legs are gold-colored plastic. A patented locking device prevents the back from ever coming into contact with the violin.

The grips here are screw-on. Make sure you screw them in fully, or your shoulder rest will keep coming off! The feet screw on directly to the legs, so it won’t wobble about.

If you have limited room in your violin case, this is a great option. The legs can be folded down so it can be stored without taking up a lot of space.

Pros:

  • Legs fold down for easy storage
  • Three-way adjustment for a comfortable fit
  • Locking device prevents scratches on your instrument

Cons:

  • May not be the best fit for those with shorter necks
  • The instructions aren’t as clear as they could be.

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3. Fiddlerman Wood Edition violin shoulder rest

best violin shoulder rest Fiddlerman

The Wood Edition shoulder rest from Fiddlerman will fit either three-quarters or full-sized violins.

As the name suggests, the base is made of polished wood with the Fiddlerman logo engraved across it. It gives it a smarter appearance than plastic versions.

The cushioned platform is made of black foam, and a smooth contour distributes the weight of your violin evenly. It will stay comfortable against your shoulder even if you’re playing for extended periods. It may not have the premium appearance of a velvet shoulder rest, but it still looks good.

It can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally, and it’s easy to do. One potential point of weakness is the adjustment screws, which are made of plastic rather than metal. It’s likely to be the component that means you eventually need to replace your shoulder rest.

The rubberized feet grip the violin tightly without leaving a mark. And they fold up for easy storage, so it won’t take up much room in your case or music bag.

We have, however, heard of some cases where the feet have fallen off. This seems to be a quality control issue, as it’s not a universal experience. The good news is that this shoulder rest comes with a 12-month warranty for peace of mind.

Pros:

  • Adjustable to fit both three-quarters and full-size violins
  • Height adjustable for a comfortable fit
  • Rubber legs fold away for compact storage

Cons:

  • The adjustment screws are plastic rather than metal
  • We’ve heard of some cases where the feet have repeatedly fallen off.

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4. Theng violin shoulder rest

best violin shoulder rest Theng

Theng’s shoulder rest is another one that will fit either three-quarters or full-size violins. That makes it a great option for growing violinists. It also offers excellent value for money, as one of the cheapest shoulder rests on our list.

The cushioned section here is made of black foam, and it sits on a black plastic frame. The foam isn’t the thickest, but it is nice and comfortable. The black legs have non-skid silicone feet so there’s no danger of them scratching your violin.

Despite the diminutive price tag, this shoulder rest is also fully adjustable in terms of both height and angle. There’s also a gentle curve that will fit most players with ease.

It can be disassembled to make storage easier. And it comes with a 12-month warranty for reassurance.

And if this wasn’t enough, you’ll even get some extra goodies. Included alongside the shoulder rest is a tablet of rosin and a rubber practice mute.

There’s very little not to like with this shoulder rest. It has all the features of more expensive models. And unless you feel strongly about a wooden rather than plastic base, there’s little to tell it apart.

Pros:

  • Height and angle are adjustable
  • Can be disassembled for easier storage
  • Comes with a free tablet of rosin and rubber practice mute

Cons:

  • The foam cushion could be a little thicker
  • The base is plastic rather than wood – but at this price, who cares?

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5. Bon Musica violin shoulder rest

best violin shoulder rest Bon

This shoulder rest from Bon Musica will fit only a full-sized violin. It’s also the most expensive on our list, costing twice as much as any other option. So is it worth it?

Well, this is by far the most adjustable shoulder rest on our list. The height offers considerable flexibility. No matter how long or short your neck, you’ll be able to get a comfortable fit. If you’ve struggled with other shoulder rests, this could be the one for you.

You can also adjust the angle at which the two metal sections of the shoulder rest are aligned.

Perhaps most usefully, it’s also possible to adjust the curve. The foam section is in two pieces to allow maximum flex. This will allow you to position it further forward or back on your shoulder, as you prefer. Enough force is required to adjust it that you can be confident it won’t change shape whilst you play.

There are so many options here, in fact, that you may need to spend a little time experimenting with it. Do that, though, and you’ll get a fit that’s entirely customized to your body and preferences.

The feet will grip your violin smoothly, without leaving a mark. But note that the legs here can’t be folded down. This is one of the larger shoulder rests out there. Even if you have a shoulder rest compartment in your violin case, it may not fit.

Pros:

  • Enough height adjustment to suit the longest or shortest necks
  • The alignment of the two metal sections can be adjusted …
  • … and you can even adjust the curve for a completely customized fit

Cons:

  • Bulkier than other shoulder rests – it will require more storage space
  • Expensive – twice as much as the next costliest option on our list.

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6. Nanyi violin shoulder rest

best violin shoulder rest Nanyi

At the other end of the spectrum from Bon Musica’s shoulder rest in terms of price, is this one from Nanyi. It costs about as much as two cups of posh coffee, making it the cheapest option on our list. But you’ll still get an awful lot for your money.

Both the height and width are adjustable. Change the width by moving the legs between the three different holes around the chuck. The height is changed by rotating the chuck at either end. These can be changed independently of one another to get the perfect angle too.

There are also hinges that allow the legs to fold down for easy storage.

The foam top is very comfy, though we’ve heard a couple of people say they’d prefer it to be thicker. The all-black finish is smart too. And it can be adjusted to fit either a three-quarters or full-sized violin.

It isn’t, however, the most robust shoulder rest out there. We’ve heard of cases where the feet have fallen off or the legs have snapped.

But at this price, you’ll still be getting good value if it lasts for a couple of years. And Nanyi is confident enough in their product to offer a 12-month warranty.

Pros:

  • Adjustable height and width
  • Legs fold down for easy storage
  • 12-month warranty

Cons:

  • There may not be quite enough cushioning for some players
  • It’s not as robust as some others.

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7. Wolf Forte Secondo violin shoulder rest

best violin shoulder rest Wolf

At more than twice the price of Nanyi’s shoulder rest, Wolf’s Forte Secondo model is a good mid-range option.

It will fit both three-quarters and full-size violins, and has plenty of flexibility. The height can be adjusted from 1¼ inches all the way to 3 inches. And because either side can be adjusted individually, you can also alter the gradient.

The width can be adjusted too, with the legs on one side attaching to a curved bar that can be slid in or out. The grippy feet hold securely wherever they’re positioned, without damaging the surface of your instrument.

The shoulder pad has a gently curved surface designed to fit the contours of the violinist’s body. It will work particularly well for musicians with narrower shoulders.

The cushioned section and most of the rest of the shoulder rest are black. The legs, however, have paler rubber sleeves which prevent them from scratching the violin. They’re a little reminiscent of blobs of chewing gum, which won’t be to everyone’s taste (pardon the pun).

One other thing to watch out for here is that it isn’t possible to detach or fold the legs. If you’re looking for something able to fit in a smaller violin case compartment, it’s not the best choice. But if you can store it separately, you’ll get a good quality shoulder rest with lots of scope for customization.

Pros:

  • Adjustable height from 1¼ to 3 inches
  • Width can easily be adjusted, fitting either three-quarters or full-sized violins
  • Gently curved pad will work particularly well for violinists with narrower shoulders

Cons:

  • The pale sleeves covering the legs aren’t the most attractive
  • Doesn’t collapse for storage.

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Ready to choose?

That brings us to the end of our tour of seven of the best violin shoulder rests on the market right now. Whether you’re looking for an economical choice or want to splash more serious cash, there are some great options.

Our top pick is the classic Kun Original. It’s reasonably priced, yet offers loads of scope for a customized fit. And it’s easy to store too.

But if you’ve found it difficult to get a comfortable shoulder rest, it’s well worth trying Bon Musica’s model. Take your time to experiment with the adjustable sections and you’re sure to find a perfect fit.

Whichever one we choose, we hope you enjoy making music in comfort with your new shoulder rest.

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