For a quick comparison, scroll below to the bullet lists, but you will benefit from reading this brief preliminary information:
The reason I am comparing these two specific models is because of the BODY TYPE that tends to gravitate to them: People with tall geometry, long necks, and prominent collar bones need to read this to help decide which will serve you better.
*Note to people with narrow sloping shoulders: go straight to the Bon Musica pros and cons!
Incidentally, I am not including the other main Wolf shoulder rest, the PRIMO in this comparison. If you are tall, broad shouldered, but you do not have a prominent collarbone, the Wolf Primo is a 3rd option for you to consider.
Let’s get started!
Advantages of BOTH Wolf Secundo and Bon Musica:
Highly customizable and “contort-able”
HUGE variance from lowest to highest setting; both can go quite low, and amazingly high
Grippy pads prevent slippage
Nice “swivel/tilt” function helps violin “seat” onto your body and grip
Both models seem to be favored by people with broad shoulders or long necks. (not necessarily both) It has also been the favorite of muscular builds (bulky shoulders leaving little space between shoulder and jaw)
Wolf Secundo advantages over Bon Musica:
Minimal design: not bulky, fits in your case, lightweight
Shape: Pad is shaped like a bent figure 8, narrow in the middle, wider on each end, PLUS a sideways curve. I believe this curve helps people with prominent collarbones tremendously. (The Wolf Primo is shaped like a figure 8 but does not have the curve)
Wolf still allows freedom of movement because it doesn’t lock in place as much as Bon Musica.
Bon Musica advantages over Wolf Secundo:
MORE highly customizeable, and EASIER to bend, so greater contortions and finer adjustments can be achieved.
More settings for pad placement are available
Chest end (end closest to E string) is extremely adjustable, can go very high to help correct a violin that is tilted wrong.
Bon Musica has the “Hook” which is totally customizeable; Because of this hook, the Bon Musica is a great choice for people with narrow or sloping shoulders, because it prevents slippage and keeps the violin firmly on small shoulders.
Bon Musica Cons:
Bulky design, often won’t fit in cases, and it dampens the violin sound slightly. (worth it in my opinion)
IF it gets squished, it will likely change your customized shape
IF adjusted too extreme, it can lock violin in place robbing you of some of your freedom
Wolf Secundo Cons:
Force or leverage is needed to make adjustments near the ends. (pliers, or my old teacher held mine in a desk drawer and used it to bend it) It’s easy to bend it in the middle, but lots of players like to fashion a “hook” similar to the Bon Musica to secure violin on shoulder, and that requires pliers.
Chest end (closest to E string) will only go so high, so it can only help so much with raising the E string side of the violin.
Players who feel they need a “hook” won’t find real satisfaction with Wolf because the rest does not “extend” over the shoulder much.
If you have other pros and cons to add, please post a comment below so we can all benefit from your perspective. Thanks for reading!