You should be comfortable when you play fiddle. But without the right chin rest and shoulder rest, that’s hard to do. Follow these six basic steps to find the most comfortable chin rest and shoulder rest for you.

Step 1: Position Your Fiddle Correctly

Rest your fiddle on your shoulder, ensuring it’s a little behind your collar bone. Avoid lower chest placement to prevent uncomfortable forward head posture.

Step 2: Find Proper Posture

Face forward without twisting your neck. Lean your head slightly to the left (an eighth of an inch at most), snuggling your jaw into the chin rest.

Step 3: Assess Your Neck Height

Place your fiddle parallel to the floor on your shoulder. Face a mirror with your neck straight and measure the space between your jaw and chin rest. For maximum support, your shoulder rest/chin rest combo should eliminate any space between your jaw and chin rest.

Step 4: Choose Your Shoulder Rest

Select a shoulder rest that fits your shoulder contours and eliminates space between your jaw and chin rest. Try options like Kun, Moch One, Bon Musica, or Pirastro KorfkerRest. If you can, try several varieties at your local music store before you buy a shoulder rest.

  • Kun: Affordable with a nice curve, comfy padding, and height-adjustable legs.
  • Mach One: Curvy design, height-adjustable legs.
  • Bonmusica: Padded shoulder rest with customizable molding for extra support.
  • Pirastro KorfkerRest: Ergonomic but pricey.

Although I use a small violin pad instead of a shoulder rest, I discourage most fiddlers from doing this. You’ll likely be most comfortable with the support of a traditional shoulder rest.

Step 5: Determine Your Chin Rest

Your chin rest choice depends on your shoulder rest.

  • If you choose a traditional shoulder rest with legs, choose a chin rest without a lip.
  • If you choose to use a pad or sponge, opt for a chin rest with a subtle lip.
  • Consider a higher chin rest for more support if you have a longer neck.

I hope these steps guide you to the best shoulder rest/chin rest combo for you. Good luck!

Have more questions? Set up a private lesson and we’ll help you find the most comfortable fiddle set-up for you.

More Fiddlers’ Body Care Resources:

The Ultimate Guide to Fiddlers’ Hand and Fingertip Care

9 Steps to Maintain a Relaxed Wrist

How to Let Go of Left Hand Tension