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Shoulder rests are used to help violists hold up their viola. There are many varieties of shoulder rests available, and the selection of a shoulder rest is very personal. Questions to consider when choosing a shoulder rest are: does it help me hold up my viola? Is it comfortable?

Ideally, you should take your viola with you to a music store to test several products. You also may want to ask your viola teacher or violist friends for their recommendations. Some viola players use no shoulder rests, others prefer a particular brand, and some teachers recommend the use of round, cosmetic sponges. To minimize neck abrasions, some violists also find it helpful to either place a scarf or cloth over their chin rest, or to use a chin rest cover. If you play a small viola, you may want to use a violin shoulder rest (a 14" viola would be comparable to a full-size 4/4 violin). Visit our Violin Shoulder Rest page for small viola shoulder rests.

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