The Comford Violin Shoulder Cradle is very different from any other shoulder rest on today’s market. Instead of attaching to opposite sides of the violin with two sets of feet, like the popular Kun models, it has a more complex set of bendable rods that secure on both sides of the lower bout, just below the c-shaped cut-out. This placement allows the Comford Cradle to sit on your collar bone, which, according to the manufacturer, makes it a more stable, natural and comfortable rest.
The Comford Cradle is available in a variety of different models. There is the gold model, which comes in tall and medium varieties, and the plastic, which is also available in tall and medium sizes. The plastic model is considerably less expensive but is also a bit lighter. The tall is very tall — and even the medium contributes quite a bit of height.
There are two major (and I mean really major) problems with this rest. The first is that it is extremely heavy. It seems to nearly double the weight of the violin. Although the plastic model is somewhat lighter, it is still the heaviest rest I have ever tested.
The second major problem is that this shoulder rest affects the tone of the instrument more than any other rest I have evaluated. In fact, the company claims that the rest has a hollow “resonating” chamber that sweetens, mellows, and actually improves your sound. Translation: your sound becomes muffled and muted. In my opinion, it takes considerable hubris to claim that your shoulder rest actually “improves” the sound of the violin. Tell that to an owner of a Stradivarius and see how much that claim comes up short. As a matter of fact, the greatest sin a shoulder rest can commit is to affect the sound.
The fact that the Comford affects the sound is and should be considered a design flaw — not an advantage.
For me, this would be a shoulder rest choice of last resort — one to adopt only after you have tried all the others and only the Comford is comfortable for you.
Lisa Ann Berman, M.M.
Masters of Music in Violin Performance, Yale School of Music http://www.simplyviolin.com