Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holding the Violin - Shoulder Rest Tips

Many people ask what accessories are needed to aid in holding the violin. A very important piece that aids in this process is what is called the shoulder rest. The shoulder rest is installed on the back of the violin and gives comfort to the player when he rests the violin on his shoulder and chin. Without a shoulder rest in place, holding the violin becomes very uncomfortable and can cause many bad habits down the road.

What kind of Shoulder Rests Can I Buy?
There are many different types of shoulder rests out there that aid in holding the violin. The most popular style is a "Kun" brand style. These are very popular because of their ability to adjust to different violin widths and give quite a few inches of support off of the shoulder. There are many different brands of Kuns that range in price and typically they start at about twenty dollars. I don't see much reason to choose one more expensive their starter model. There are many other types of brands of shoulder rests and I suggest trying out different ones to see which one feels the most comfortable to you. Many shops will allow you the option to put it on your instrument before buying to make sure you will be happy with it.

Do I have any other Options?
Another option you can go with for holding the violin is by using an actual kitchen sponge or rubber pad. These don't give as much elevation off of the violin but can provide enough comfort for the violinist. Obviously this method will cost a lot less and is a popular option especially for beginners.

How do I Install Them?
To install a Kun shoulder rest you will take the side that is narrower and place the rubber prongs on the front left back of the violin first. You then can install the thicker end on the right side back next. Make sure the shoulder rest fits securely. To install a sponge or rubber pad, you will be using a rubber band. The rubber band will stretch on bottom button of the violin to the left corner bout of the violin. This should be tight enough so that the sponge stays in place nicely.

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