Violins and violas are the most cumbersome instruments in a string instrument family. You will need to put in long hours of practice, and it may take weeks to produce sounds that resemble musical tones.

7 Best Viola Shoulder Rests Review

Thus, it is essential to invest in your comfort and to learn the correct posture early on.

If you’re thinking about playing the viola professionally, one of the critical requirements is a decent viola shoulder rest. Beginner violists often complain about neck and shoulder pain, not knowing that even a cheap shoulder rest could solve their problems.

Top 5 Best Viola Shoulder Rests

Shoulder rests are typically made from one or two materials. A harder material forms the base (the side facing the viola), and a softer material creates a cushion between your shoulder and the instrument. Wood and foam are the most common shoulder rest materials, but there are options like plastic, metal, and rubber.

Product Rating

MI&VI Classic Rest

4.6

Everest (EZ Model)

4.7

Kun Adjustable Rest

4.5

Alice Deluxe Universal

4.2

Wolf Forte Secundo

4.4

1. MIVI Music’s Collapsible Classic Viola Shoulder Rest

Classic Viola Shoulder Rest for 15”-17” Viola (Full Size) with Adjustable Height | Collapsible | Real Maple Wood | Excellent Support Grip - By MIVI Music

If you need something easy to carry from one gig to another, this collapsible shoulder rest is worth considering. It will fit 15” to 17” violas perfectly. Moreover, it’s Maplewood base is curved for maximum shoulder comfort.

A thin layer of padding protects your neck and shoulder from fatigue. The feet that attach to the viola are made from rubber to prevent it from dampening the sound. What’s more, they are collapsible, so the shoulder rest takes up very little space when packed.

Features

  • Pure Maplewood base
  • Flexible rubber feet
  • Attractive wood color
  • Foam padding

Pros

  • Collapsible, space-saving design
  • Curved for perfect shoulder fit
  • Generous padding
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • The legs collapse outwards, not inwards
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2. Everest Viola Shoulder Rest (EZ Model)

Everest EZ Model Shoulder Rest for 15"-16 1/2" Viola

It is a durable, flexible, and inexpensive shoulder rest for beginners. The main material is premium quality ABS plastic, which is cushioned with a layer of foam. Plastic is advantageous because it has a little more bend than wood and can feel more comfortable on the shoulder.

The computer-based modeling of this product makes it fully ergonomic, ensuring the dimensions are well in place. It has adjustable grippers operating with a screw that allows you to get into a comfortable playing position. The shoulder rest comes with removable legs that are almost similar. So, there’s no need to follow a specific order when attaching it.

Features

  • Premium quality material
  • Foam padding
  • Designed to fit various sizes of violas
  • Adjustable grippers

Pros

  • Highly ergonomic
  • Durable
  • Flexible
  • Easy to attach
  • Comfortably padded

Cons

  • Can feel a bit short to some players, even at full extension
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3. Kun Adjustable Viola Shoulder Rest

Kun Original Viola Shoulder Rest

When you’re picky about your shoulder rests, it is wise to choose something that you can tinker with to your heart’s content. This Kun viola shoulder rest, for instance, is adjustable in three different directions. You can tweak it until you get the most comfortable playing position and angle.

The ends (feet) are not rubber. However, they are equipped with a unique locking mechanism that stops them from getting in contact with the viola’s body. It is suitable for 14-inch to 17-inch violas, so it’s pretty versatile.

Features

  • Lockable feet
  • Classic shoulder rest design
  • Foam padding
  • Curved base

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Doesn’t interfere with the resonance

Cons

  • Poorly constructed; its parts may often fall off too soon
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4. Alice Viola Shoulder Rest – Tiger Stripes Design

Deluxe Maple Wood Tiger Stripes Universal Model Viola Shoulder Rest With Cloth

You don’t have to spend a lot to get a decent wooden shoulder rest. This contoured Maplewood viola shoulder rest is a testament to that. It features a gorgeous tiger stripe natural wood finish that makes it look elegant and pricey. It also comes with a cloth.

Designed for 15 and 16-inch violas, this is a decent shoulder rest for beginners. It gets the job done but doesn’t offer enough comfort as other shoulder rests. To top it off, it comes in a unique color that’s very attractive.

Features

  • Maplewood base
  • Foam padding
  • Contoured design
  • Free cloth

Pros

  • Ridiculously cheap
  • Gorgeous design
  • Attaches easily and firmly

Cons

  • Tends to slide back sometimes
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5. Wolf Forte Secundo Viola Shoulder Rest

Wolf Forte Secundo 15

With the spirit of saving the best product for last, here is the top quality shoulder rest for 15-inch and larger violas. Its price tag reflects the slight margin in quality between it and the other violas we discussed above.

It has a flexible metal base that’s nearly invisible due to the complete rubber-padded bar. Comfort is guaranteed, and so is appropriate playing posture because one can adjust the shoulder rest’s height and angle.

Features

  • Bendable metal base
  • Thick rubber padding
  • Adjustable height and angle

Pros

  • Folds to fit the shoulder comfortably
  • Its feet don’t interfere with the resonance

Cons

  • Metal can be a bit tough to bend
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best material for a viola shoulder rest?

Ans: Your three main options are wood, plastic, and metal. Wood is stiff, so it’s often contoured to fit the shoulder. Some players find it too stiff, so they prefer more pliable materials like plastic and soft metals. Plastic is flexible and often comfortable, even with thin padding. Soft metal like aluminum is used to make the bases of metallic shoulder rests. These options are ideal for beginners, who might find wood too uncomfortable to play with.

2. What are the qualities of a good shoulder rest?

Ans:It must be comfortable, flexible, and highly adjustable to suit your specific playing posture. The best shoulder rests are incredibly durable too. Plus, comfortable padding, which can be foam or rubber, is necessary to make longer practice sessions possible.

3. What should I check while choosing a viola shoulder rest?

Ans: Of course, it is the size of your viola. Shoulder rests only fit specifically sized violas, so picking one that’s too small or too big is the one you should strive to avoid. Luckily, most shoulder rests specify the size of the viola they are made for.

Our Top Pick

The MIVI Music’s Collapsible Viola Shoulder Rest is a clear-cut winner in this list. It is pretty compatible (fits 13” to 17” violas), has collapsible feet, and is finished in beautiful wood color. Moreover, its generous padding and comfortable contoured design make it an excellent option for all expertise players, and thus, our top pick, too.