After decades of playing violin, first at school, and then as an adult, I had despaired of ever finding the best violin shoulder rest to suit me. Finally, the collapsible Everest model has given me exactly what I need. Furthermore, the solid construction gives me hope that this a product that will provide me with many years of use.
Here are the qualities that make this such a great piece of equipment in my opinion:
- The height is adjustable by means of screws to enable the clips to be positioned exactly as desired.
- The clips fold in for storage and decrease the height by about one inch, making it easier to fit inside a case.
- The rubber clips grip the instrument really firmly.
- The ergonomically shaped pad sits extremely comfortably on the shoulder.
- I was astounded to find it selling at a price well below those of other, in my opinion inferior, brands.
My long search for the perfect shoulder pad
When I started learning the violin at school in 1965, I was given a bath sponge to put between my shoulder and the instrument. This was a interim measure until I (well, actually my mother, because I am incompetent at sewing!) produced the statutory pad.
The “statutory pad” was a small fabric cushion, about three inches by four inches, which was stuffed with kapok, old tights or a piece of sponge. A piece of narrow elastic tape was sewn from one corner to the opposite one along one of the longer edges. This was hooked over the chin rest to keep the cushion from falling, while the cushion itself was tucked underneath the fiddle. It was lumpy, awkward and moved around when I played.
My first “real” shoulder rest was a big, wooden thing. It was very solid, of course, and looked very “classical”, which suited my teenage poser style in those day. It was also extremely uncomfortable!
Some people say you are better off without anything, or at most with just a cloth (the real purists even remove the chin rest – yikes!). When I took up playing the fiddle again in my 40s, I tried that too, but found I was clamping down so hard on the chin rest with my chin, that it hurt. It also felt very insecure and I worried about dropping my fiddle.
Finally, I went through a number of branded products, including one made by Kun. These are generally considered top of the range. I was disappointed in every single one I tried. The same problems kept arising. The clips did not seem very secure. Worst of all, things seemed to loosen, or screws got lost, until the rest no longer stayed on. For the last couple of years, I have been putting up with one that would fall off constantly…
Until now! I’ve been playing with the Everest rest for the last year or so and am delighted. I can play freely and without any of the discomfort I’ve experienced in the past. I’ve taken some pictures, which I’m posting below to illustrate the features that make this product the ideal choice for a violin player.
You can get Everest collapsibe shoulder pads from Amazon US and Amazon UK.