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Bon Musica Shoulder Rest
Shoulder rest comparisons.
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starise
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October 4, 2019 - 2:42 pm
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I had a few other basic shoulder rests that were similar to the Kun basic design. Some lacked the foam. A few didn't allow for much adjustment. I never liked the hard designs that basically feel like a block of smooth wood between your shoulder and the violin.

I always considered the Kun to be a compromise, at least for me, since the violin still wants to slide down my shoulder. Takes a long time to get the fit good enough to support the violin under my chin with a center mount chin rest using the Kun.

My teacher tells me I have a short neck and wide shoulders. I always imagine the HULK when someone says a person has a short neck or no neck. I always considered my neck to be average. I'm nothing like the HULK 🙂  

Recently one of the feet on my Kun broke. I figured it would be maybe a few dollars to replace it. I thought the replacement price was too high for a little rubber foot. Might as well shop for other rests. The fact that I wasn't entirely happy with the Kun also prompted me to look some more.

I really liked the Korkfer, but man I can't see dropping that kind of money on a shoulder rest, at least not at this place in my violin education. The Bon Musica looked like something I could make conform and even wrap around my shoulder, so I ordered one from Fiddlerman. Any others use this rest? I probably would have made do with the Kun, but they kinda pushed me away with that foot replacement price.

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cid
October 4, 2019 - 3:05 pm
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I bad one for my viola.I don’t think I had one for my violin. I thought I liked it at first, but then felt constrained. My should seemed like it was in a cast. I guess as I became more comfortable with my viola, I needed to feel more relaxed.

Another thing that concerned was all the metal hardware between the viola back and the backside of the rest. I was concerned that if it got loose and flipped that the back of the viola would get damaged. I am NOT saying it would, I don’t know. That is just me and my “what if”. I think I watched too much Sesame Street with my kids. Back then had a section about what ifs to help kids think about consequences.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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MoonShadows
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October 4, 2019 - 4:24 pm
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I have two of them. (When the first didn't arrive, Amazon sent me another one and said I could keep the first one if it showed up.) Well, I tried every which way from Sunday, and couldn't get the Bon Musica adjusted so it felt comfortable. BTW...I have a short neck too. I am using the Fiddlerman Wood Shoulder Rest. It is the best I have found for me.

Fiddlerman_Wood_Violin_Shoulder_Rest_x700.jpgImage Enlarger

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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cid
October 4, 2019 - 4:52 pm
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I like that shoulder rest on my Concert Deluxe. It seems to not mute the violin. I never noticed any affect until I had used this Fiddlerman one and then used another one of similar design, Kun or FOM on that same violin. The other shoulder rest seemed to mute the violin. I thought it was me. Went back to the Fiddlerman shoulder rest. Played the same song, same bow. It was no longer sounding muted. I tried this a few times with the same result over and over. 

I read comments about people stating the shoulder rest muted the violin but never noticed until I got this one with the violin.

I do use my KUN on my Doetsch. I don’t notice it as much with that violin. Maybe because it is a warmer sounding violin, whereas the Concert Deluxe is a brighter sounding violin.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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starise
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October 7, 2019 - 5:56 pm
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Thanks for sharing your experience. Shoulder rest seems like such a simple thing. Should not be difficult to find one. Yet I haven't had a lot of luck. Sorry if there are typos. Using my smart phone.

I have heard similar comments about getting the bon musica adjusted. I hope I don't have those issues. I'll report back after

I get it and give it a spin 🙂

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cid
October 7, 2019 - 6:46 pm
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Just because some of us are not fans of it, does not mean you won’t like it. I hope you do. You just might.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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GregW
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October 7, 2019 - 7:55 pm
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I never could get it (bon musica) adjusted to feel right and went back to the Everest.

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MoonShadows
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cid said
Just because some of us are not fans of it, does not mean you won’t like it. I hope you do. You just might.

  

Agree!

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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Gordon Shumway
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October 8, 2019 - 5:47 am
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This (link) is the only shoulder rest I own. The Fiddlerman one above looks as though it's more or less the same.

I have noticed a couple of different Chinese copies selling for less than half the price, but Amazon put a lot of shipping fees on them, so that, if mine breaks, I'll probably buy the genuine article again.

I am convinced my second shoulder rest will be a Bon Musica, but it isn't on my immediate purchase horizon. I probably also need to ask myself if it doesn't seem unnecessarily expensive.

Andrew

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MoonShadows
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October 8, 2019 - 5:53 am
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Interesting @Gordon Shumway . What makes you say that you are convinced the Bonmusica will be your second shoulder rest? Is there something in particular you like about it, or have you tried one?

From what I have read in a few places, it seems folks either love or hate the Bonmusica.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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Gordon Shumway
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MoonShadows said
Interesting @Gordon Shumway . What makes you say that you are convinced the Bonmusica will be your second shoulder rest? Is there something in particular you like about it, or have you tried one?

From what I have read in a few places, it seems folks either love or hate the Bonmusica.

  

It's because I began with a cheap plastic one and I compared it with my teacher's (shoulder rest - it wasn't a BM: it might have been a Hidersine), and I wanted the shoulder-hugging curvature. I've seen someone (Hilary Hahn??) use a BM, and it looks very comfortable, especially with its mouldability.

Andrew

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MoonShadows
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October 8, 2019 - 6:23 am
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Thanks, Andrew.

BTW...andLOL...I don't think I ever watched Alf. Up until now, I always thought Gordon Shumway was YOUR name! 

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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Gordon Shumway
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MoonShadows said
I don't think I ever watched Alf. 

You have missed out on greatness (and unmatchedness)!

Andrew

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October 8, 2019 - 6:36 am
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Gordon Shumway said

MoonShadows said

I don't think I ever watched Alf. 

You have missed out on greatness (and unmatchedness)!

  

So, I've been told. Maybe I have to find the episodes somewhere and watch.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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October 8, 2019 - 9:40 am
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MoonShadows said
Interesting @Gordon Shumway . What makes you say that you are convinced the Bonmusica will be your second shoulder rest? Is there something in particular you like about it, or have you tried one?

From what I have read in a few places, it seems folks either love or hate the Bonmusica.

  

I can't speak for Gordon. I can say I mostly look at reviews which I know can be skewed. The Bonmusica seemed to have a large number of satisfied users. Sadly I just don't have the time to go into a music store and demo shoulder rests. I like the ability to bend it as opposed to something that can't ever be changed, other than maybe a height adjustment for the feet. 

I've noticed several users fall in and out of love with the BM. They have a period where they like it, and then they don't. Maybe us fiddlers are just a finicky bunch 🙂

In order to explain why I think I might like the BM I need to go into a brief explanation of my shoulder area. Some people have smooth shoulders that almost seem completely horizontal. I'm not like this. The muscles from my neck slope down into my shoulder which is kinda knobby. My shoulder joint has a prominent bump that sticks out as part of the joint.....I'm far from smooth on that part of my body. If I put the violin further out toward my shoulder it's on that hump. If I go too far the other way, the violin is on a small incline. The best place seems to be between the two areas and that's a tough thing to do with a Kun.

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MoonShadows
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October 8, 2019 - 10:19 am
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Tim..See the PM I sent you.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

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cid
October 8, 2019 - 11:31 am
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@starise said

I've noticed several users fall in and out of love with the BM. They have a period where they like it, and then they don't.

I think this has to do with a change in how violinists/violists will change their hold over the years. I don’t necessarily think it is due to the BM, exactly, although we will all say it is the BM. 😁

With newbies, which I still consider myself, as we learn to play, we are also learning to hold. As that changes, the setup actually has to change. That setup you loved no longer works. Also, as you become more comfortable, those that purchased it for the “secure” feel, tend to feel constrained by it because of that secure feeling we liked at first. I think professionals will also have issues with body changes that cause the setup they loved, no longer suitable.

I also think the type of music you play affects how you hold. Fiddle music, in my opinion, is a freer, more relaxed sort of playing, a shoulder rest as secure as the BM prevents that movement. I think a classical violinist moves the body, but not so much the violin as it rests on the shoulder. It may be subtle, but that is what I see in a lot of fiddle players vs classical players. I think the violin moves more with the body in classical players, where the fiddle moves more with the music. So, if a person plays both, I would not be surprised if they had two different shoulder rests, in some cases.

I don’t think it means a shoulder rest is at fault. We change as we play, as we learn, as we get a better comfort level, as we age. I think these all affect our set up choice.   

I do need a shoulder rest for the 15 1/2” viola I got when I traded in my 16” viola. My BM will not work. I am actually thinking of getting the 15 1/2” BM shoulder rest because, right now, as I am experimenting with the best angle hold, I need the security. After I get comfortable, I might change it. But, maybe with the viola being larger than my violin, I will keep using it.

My concern is the hardware between the back of the instrument and the BM, should it slip. I will just have to be aware.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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starise
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October 8, 2019 - 12:43 pm
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Thanks for your thoughts on this. One thing my 1st teacher commented on to me was that most of the stuff we buy for our violins won't really help us play any better. In her view an average setup with decent strings should be all I need to get to an acceptable level of playing. Adults are probably the worst for this because we often think buying something will help us. So I've been trying to have the tough mentality to make do because I've already bought stuff I probably didn't need thinking it would help. The old "in the woods without toilet paper" mentality probably isn't the best approach either.

One extreme is to say, "Sure I'll play that cardboard violin".  The other extreme  is to just go buy new stuff all the time. So I sort of overthink all of my purchases. Do I need that? Will this help? I believe anything that helps you to hold a violin so that you can play it better is very important.

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cid
October 8, 2019 - 2:28 pm
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starise said
One thing my 1st teacher commented on to me was that most of the stuff we buy for our violins won't really help us play any better. In her view an average setup with decent strings should be all I need to get to an acceptable level of playing. Adults are probably the worst for this because we often think buying something will help us.

I have to disagree. The setup has a LOT to do with your playing. If you do not have the proper set up, violinists/violists will develop issues with their necks, their backs, their arms, and their jaws. This is not just a “buy it so I play better”. It actually will make you play better because you have the proper posture, and are more comfortable. You will not be fighting with the instrument as you play, either. Will it turn you into a virtuoso? No. But will it help you improve? Yes. Will it help eliminate issues with joints, muscles, arms, neck, jaw, back, etc? Definitely. 

I also do not think adults are going to shell out bunches of money for these things because they want something new. I think that adults know that simply buying something new willy nilly is not going to make us better players. Have I a lot of set up options? Yes. Did I think they would suddenly make me have good intonation, bowing, etc. No. It was for comfort, eliminating possibility of injury. All of these points, in the end, will help your practicing and playing help you become better.

So I've been trying to have the tough mentality to make do because I've already bought stuff I probably didn't need thinking it would help. 

You will most likely purchase a number of shoulder and chin rests until you find the proper set up, and years from now, that may change. If you still have the older ones, you can see if they now work before buying different ones.

I believe anything that helps you to hold a violin so that you can play it better is very important.

Exactly!

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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starise
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I have to disagree. The setup has a LOT to do with your playing. If you do not have the proper set up, violinists/violists will develop issues with their necks, their backs, their arms, and their jaws. This is not just a “buy it so I play better”. It actually will make you play better because you have the proper posture, and are more comfortable. You will not be fighting with the instrument as you play, either. Will it turn you into a virtuoso? No. But will it help you improve? Yes. Will it help eliminate issues with joints, muscles, arms, neck, jaw, back, etc? Definitely. 

I also do not think adults are going to shell out bunches of money for these things because they want something new. I think that adults know that simply buying something new willy nilly is not going to make us better players. Have I a lot of set up options? Yes. Did I think they would suddenly make me have good intonation, bowing, etc. No. It was for comfort, eliminating possibility of injury. All of these points, in the end, will help your practicing and playing help you become better.

Just in case there was a misunderstanding, by "average setup" I mean a violin that is set up for 95% of the learners out there to learn well on. I certainly don't mean a "meh" setup 🙂 Moving the sound post will change the tone but won't likely change the way we play a violin. No matter what the setup is, if the violin can't produce acceptable tone on all strings there might be deeper problems with it.

Why adults buy stuff is a big generalization. I do think that as a group they tend to try to buy the best tools to do any given job within their budget. If we feel one tool is better than another, even by a small margin we might be tempted to buy it. At least that's how I am. Most purchases we make don't seem "willy nilly"at the time. Might be viewed like that later on when we know more....at least that's my take on it. What I think I was attempting to say is an average instrument set up ok should be enough for most into at least the first 3-5 years. Unless you want to play the very highest notes in 4th position. Most players at that level aren't capable of that anyways. At least not to proficiency. 

Thanks for all the advice here from all who responded and a special thanks to Moonshadows! 

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