Shoulder Rest


















Ravitz Violin Shoulder Rest

I am no longer selling these shoulder rests.

If you have any questions, contact me - Cary Ravitz, 859-263-5087, caryravitz_at_gmail.com (replace _at_ with @).

This shoulder rest is for your left shoulder. I will make a reversed copy, for right shoulder players, on request.

For violas, I can use 1 cm longer legs, on request.

This shoulder rest is more adjustable that any other shoulder rest currently available. Adjustments include

The attachment to the violin minimizes interference with sound and is quick and secure - Storage of this shoulder rest is easy -

If you are looking for a very high shoulder rest - I believe it is much better to have a high chin rest and a low shoulder rest than the reverse. When you have a high chin rest and low shoulder rest the violin sits lower making bowing easier and it makes the violin more stable. With a high shoulder rest any force on the shoulder plate is magnified on the plate grips by the long lever arm, making it inherently less stable. These chin rests might be helpful - Kreddle, SAS, Wittner Augsburg, and Messiah style. And some people just add cork blocks under their chin rest.

This shoulder rest can be set very high on the chest/lower side to allow for a relatively level violin, but height on the shoulder/upper side is limited to prevent instability.

These shoulder rests are handmade, on demand. I finish each (3D printed) plastic part and the aluminum shoulder plate by hand and assemble, set up, and test each shoulder rest.

Important note

Starting in March 2019, new Ravitz shoulder rests use a new plate grip cover. Instead of latex rubber tubes, the new covers are rubber bands, 3/8 x 1/32 inch, cut and held by a collar (see photos). The design of the plate grip plastic is the same so the new covers work on the old shoulder rests.

The new covers are soft and grip well without being tacky or sticky. And they are easily replaced (see instructions below).

The reason for this change is that I am unable to find suitable rubber tubing. Currently available latex tubes (and other materials) do not provide enough grip to hold the position on the violin plate.

What is new

Ongoing Improvements - If you would like to get the latest version, contact me. (These changes do not affect function in normal usage.)
Installing the shoulder rest on the violin

This shoulder rest is attached to the violin similarly to many others, but it does not install like these rests because of the spring loaded violin plate grips.

To install the shoulder rest on the violin, unfold both sides, put one of the violin plate grips on the violin, pull out on the other grip, position it, and release it. Make sure that the violin plate is fully seated on both sides of each plate grip.

The parts

The shoulder plate

The shoulder plate is malleable aluminum with 4 mm foam. It may bent repeatedly to form to your shoulder or chest.

The foot assemblies

The foot assemblies connect the shoulder plate to the violin plate. Both feet slide along the shoulder plate as needed - loosen the bolt on the side of the foot, slide the foot, and retighten. The tightness of this bolt lets you make the leg hinges harder or easier to move.

On both feet, the first hinge folds toward the middle for storage and a bolt slides in a slot across the shoulder plate that when tightened limits the unfolding of the foot to set the height. This height adjustment has five steps, minimum (0 degree) and maximum (45 degree) are set with the bolt moved to the ends of the slot. The three middle height steps can be seen with the leg unfolded and the bolt should be centered on the appropriate step.

On the lower foot, at the free end of the hinged leg, the vertical bolt angle is set by two bolts that tighten a bracket. These need to be tightened a bit beyond snug.

On the upper (spring loaded) foot, the vertical bolt angle is set only by the foot location on the shoulder plate. At the free end of the hinged leg, there is a slotted force control bracket, held by a bolt. After the vertical bolt angle is set, the force control bracket is rotated until the arrow is roughly centered between the stops. To increase the spring force, rotate the arrow away from the shoulder plate. The arrow also acts to stop the rotation of the the bracket, so it should always be set to allow both up and down motion.

On both feet, the third hinge adjusts the shoulder plate tilt, i.e. the vertical bolt angle as seen from the end. It is tightened with one bolt. Make sure that the two plate grips are parallel when sighted from the end. This ensures that the violin plate sits securely in the plate grips.

The plate connector

The plate connector mates the two halves of the shoulder plate, tightened by thumbwheel.

The violin plate grips

The violin plate grips are adjusted to fine tune the shoulder plate height at each end. The spin stop is linked to the plate grip and moves with it up and down the bolt. At the appropriate plate grip height, a thumbwheel is locked against the spin stop - this stops vertical movement and limits swiveling of the plate grip.

The plate grip moves .5 mm vertically for each full turn.

How to set up the shoulder rest

The basic steps to set up the shoulder rest Check these adjustments before stressing the mounted shoulder rest.
How to replace the plate grip covers

Use Alliance #73 or #74 (3/8 x 1/32 inch), Pale Crepe Gold rubber bands (Alliance Advantage also works well). These are readily available on the internet, large boxes for under $20.

photo photo
Cut segments of a rubber band (at least one inch long) with diagonal ends. Locate the smooth/flat and curved/rough sides of an original collar. Newer collars have a smooth/flat side and a ridged/rough side. The ridge (along the middle of the collar) is not necessary but it makes it easier to align the collar vertically. Thread both ends of a rubber band segment into a slot on the smooth/flat side of the collar for the original collar or the ridged side of the newer collar.
photo photo
Pull the cut ends of the rubber band through the slot together, past the diagonal cut. Pull on the rubber band on both sides of the collar to align and relax the rubber band.
photo photo
Repeat for each slot. Slide the collar onto the plate grip.
photo photo
Pull the cut ends of the rubber bands against the collar to tighten them around the plastic. Tighten just enough to conform to the plastic, leaving the rubber unstressed. If you overtighten the rubber you can see that is thinner - pull back on the collar to loosen it. Small air gaps are not a problem - when in place the violin plate grip is spring loaded against the rubber and the rubber is pressed against the plastic in the correct geometry. Cut the excess rubber band with scissors, leaving a short amount that can be pulled out if needed.


This shoulder rest is an original design by Cary Ravitz.

New violin shoulder rest concepts

Other Design Features

Design patent on the first generation US D792506.

Note these expired patents on two of the features of this shoulder rest. US5419226, Kun folding feet. DE2848610, BonMusica hooked shoulder plate.


The upper shoulder plate is .05 inch 3003-H14 aluminum, either 1.375 in x 3.75 inch or 1.375 in x 4.75 inch. The lower plate is 1.375 in x 4.75 inch. 4 mm sticky back foam backs the plates.

The bolts are either M3 button head or M2.5 cap head. Both use a 2mm hex wrench. All nuts are square, thin DIN 562.

All of the plastic parts are printed (using a Lulzbot Mini) with ABS plastic.

Plastic parts

Standard parts

Last modified 6:30 PM, 14 Jul 2023 - File size 21K - Count 13990