Welcome to our forum. A Message To Our New and Prospective Members . Check out our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

Check out the “Let it Snow” Xmas 2020 Group youtube project!”

A A A
Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Shoulde rRests for the Viola
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
Avatar
spounder
Member
Members
March 21, 2021 - 5:15 pm
Member Since: March 20, 2021
Forum Posts: 5
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I have just bought a viola and am wondering about shoulder rests. Do I have to go through an almost infinite number of them before I find one that fits and does it's job? Should I dispense with one altogether and consider a pad instead? My current rest gets me in the ballpark, but no further. After using it for a while I have a sore jaw. Is this typical? I am wondering if a pad might be a better option.

I would like to be able to hold the viola correctly before booking lessons, so any advice would be welcome.

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
March 21, 2021 - 6:17 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 2312
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@spounder - 

You can see what "Violaman" uses and does. 

Please look at the top of the page - "Beginner" heading to start (looks like he's just using a sponge-type with rubber bands) and the "Videos" heading here, at - 

https://violaman.com/ 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c0/a4/6f/c0a46f4a2d6370d2ed9512536ce19823.jpg

 

...hope this gets you started!

- Emily

Avatar
Mouse
March 21, 2021 - 6:50 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3173
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@spounder 

Shoulder rests and chin rests are tough to advise on because it is so relative to the person, but, I would think that if you are having a sore jaw, your setup is not right for you. It may be the setup is not right, or the setup is right, but you are jaw clenching, the best way I can explain it. Or, it could be both contributing to each other, but you should not have a sore jaw. 

I tried without a shoulder rest. It was comfortable, but it lacked stability for me, I have gone back to a choice of two. I am using a Kun or Bon Musica on both violas (15 1/2” and 15 3/4”). If I am having a good session, the Bon Musica is too confining, but it has so many adjustments you can make. 

Also, I have found, recently, that even though it is called a shoulder rest, for me, it is better as a chest rest. I now have it just high enough on my shoulder to catch the top of the slight curve in the Kun on the shoulder and the rest of the shoulder rest is against my chest. This is where a shoulder rest with optional longer legs comes in handy. They can raise the instrument up from the chest. You can also add a padding to raise it. You still have to have the shoulder end raised to the proper height for your neck space.

This may not work for you, If you think that you are “jaw clenching” because the viola is not not steady, or in your mind it isn’t, I would recommend you try the Bon Musica. You might switch back to a less restrictive one later, but the stability it gives, may help you relax your jaw grip, until you are used to it.

If you think you are having to lower you head to the viola, you may want to try a higher chinrest, rather than raise the viola. But, that is preference, too. If you are dropping the head. I would think you need a higher chinrest (prefereed by me for me)  or a higher shoulder rest at the shoulder end. Just don’t go so high you are playing with the head raised or tilted backwards. 

You also could have a chinrest with too aggressive of a lip. I can’t use an aggressive lip chinrest. It digs into the underside of my jaw too much. 

Look in the mirror while you are holding it as if playing it and check your posture and see if you can see and feel what you think is causing the jaw clenching or whatever issue your setup is doing. Pay attention to how neck is bending, the jaw feels against the chinrest, etc. See if you can see what you may be subconsciously doing to balance it.  

Just so suggestions from what I have found,

The Bumblebee Flies!

Avatar
spounder
Member
Members
March 22, 2021 - 2:43 pm
Member Since: March 20, 2021
Forum Posts: 5
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks for the information guys. I have just ordered a Bon Musica. It sounds like the best choice at the moment.

Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
Pro advisor
Members

Regulars
March 23, 2021 - 7:00 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 1547
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

spounder said
Thanks for the information guys. I have just ordered a Bon Musica. It sounds like the best choice at the moment.

Let us know how you get on with it.

I was going to suggest that maybe you should be wary of spending money until you get a teacher's advice.

You imply that your rest is too high? Its height is one of the things I hate about my Bon Musica!

Andrew

Avatar
JohnBAngel
Member
Members
March 23, 2021 - 9:37 pm
Member Since: May 19, 2020
Forum Posts: 34
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@spounder

I took up both the violin and the viola pretty much at the same time around 10 months ago.

I have tried several shoulder and chin rest arrangements and I am getting close to the most comfortable ones for me. I think it took 2 different chin rests and 3 different shoulder rests before I became comfortable.

I found that I was holding the instrument too flat and too high on my shoulder and I was suffering with pain in my neck and shoulder.

I am now using sponge-type pad for the shoulder rest and a small sponge pad on top of my chin rest.

My instrument position is now tilted approximately 20 degrees from horizontal and I am able to hold it in-place by the jaw below the ear and side pressure (not down pressure) on the soft pad on top of the chin rest.

Hope this helps. Don't give up and always seek help out there- sometimes it is not easy to find.

Good luck and welcome to the site.

JohnBAngel

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
March 24, 2021 - 2:25 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 1208
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Ideally, the shoulder rest should not create much (if any) change in instrument position from playing without a shoulder rest. Its purpose is to fill space, not to raise the instrument.

I would advise first finding a position where your jaw rests comfortably on the chinrest and your fingers reach the strings easily, then finding a shoulder rest that helps you hold the viola in that position. You may want to consider experimenting with chinrests as well. If you have a long neck, get as much height as possible from the chinrest before you start adding height using the shoulder rest. If you have a short neck, definitely look into lower chinrests. Because of my extremely short neck, I had to get a custom-made chinrest that is lower than anything on the market, and I use a shoulder rest set as low as possible.

Overall, you should aim to keep your shoulders in a neutral position when holding your instrument. Your head should not need to turn too far to the left; ideally you should be able to hold your instrument securely with your head facing straight ahead or with only a slight turn to the left. The chinrest and shoulder rest should enable that posture.

Avatar
spounder
Member
Members
March 27, 2021 - 8:18 pm
Member Since: March 20, 2021
Forum Posts: 5
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I tried the Bon musica and it is working reasonably well. I can support the instrument pretty comfortably and I'm pretty sure that with a little bit more tweaking and it will be ideal. It's certainy a lot better than the first shoulder rest that I bought.

Avatar
Mouse
March 27, 2021 - 8:23 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3173
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I am happy it os working for you. Don’t be surprised, if after you are more secure with your viola. you want to try a different setup, it happens. I still use my Bon Musica viola and violin shoulder rests, and switch between the Kunn an Bon Musica with the viola, and Fiddlerman and Bon Musica with my violin. It depends on how I am feeling.

Today, it was the Bon Musica.

The Bumblebee Flies!

Forum Timezone: America/New_York
Most Users Ever Online: 696
Currently Online:
Guest(s) 45
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today microcell
Upcoming MaceCRO, visionsalchemy, Preanix, EJ-Kisz, laserbrainz, Writer, Poke, DeeLight41, Ken Knapp, EricBluegrassFiddle, Zippo, iamnotanoctopus, tesfalcon, Skittles, Ty Pierce, jacarino, Jonand
Top Posters:
Mad_Wed: 2849
Barry: 2680
Fiddlestix: 2647
Oliver: 2439
DanielB: 2379
ELCBK: 2312
damfino: 1992
Kevin M.: 1971
cdennyb: 1815
TerryT: 1728
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 3
Members: 27507
Moderators: 0
Admins: 7
Forum Stats:
Groups: 16
Forums: 76
Topics: 9116
Posts: 113557
Newest Members:
iogles, Devoted, SolomonH, fosar, deano67
Administrators: Fiddlerman: 15485, KindaScratchy: 1757, coolpinkone: 4180, BillyG: 3589, MrsFiddlerman: 2, Jimmie Bjorling: 0, Mouse: 3173