Choosing a Violin
Choosing a shoulder rest
Try many different types when choosing a shoulder rest
The shoulder rest is an important piece of equipment that greatly affects the players comfort while playing, but some people use them and others do not. There are differing opinions, but it is not so much a question of skill as a difference in physique, such as the length of the neck and the shoulder bones.
There are many different types of shoulder rests, but the most common type is a slightly curved rest with feet for attaching to the violin. 70% to 80% of people use this type. All shoulder rests have basically the same structure, with screws to adjust the height and width of the feet.
The rest itself is made of various materials that fall into two categories: wood or plastic. Recently, wooden rests have been popular. Walnut, maple, ash, and other woods are used, but the hardest material is ash. Ash is used to make baseball bats, which are very hard and resilient. Using a hard material for the chinrest tends to produce a clearer tone.
The best things about plastic should rests is that they are light. Of course this lightness alters the tone, but it affects each instrument differently. The best way to buy a shoulder rest is to try several. Plastic shoulder rests comes in red, orange, purple, and other colors, so you can pick the one that suits your style.
Playing with an improperly installed shoulder rest will result in bad form and bowing angle, so please use care in installing it. Try attaching the rest at different angles to find the one that works best for you.
The feel of the instrument will change dramatically, and tone will also be affected, so use your own instrument when trying out shoulder rests. Keep trying different rests and adjustments until you find one that is perfect for you.