Printer-friendly version

Freedom regained -- with better-fitting chin rests

Jim Hastings

Written by
Published: July 25, 2013 at 5:01 PM [UTC]

My experience bears out the wisdom of advice I've read on v.com several times: If your setup is unsatisfactory, then, before adding or ditching a shoulder rest or changing to a different one, first consider the chin rest.

In summer 2005, when I first tried the Flesch flat chin rest, a popular model centered over the tailpiece, I liked it right away. In general, all seemed well these last 8 years; yet there was a subtle nagging feeling that something was a bit off. Since using the device didn't degrade my playing or cause discomfort, I largely ignored the feeling.

Then, in early May, one in-home session of comparing this model with two others I'd used before helped me pinpoint the problems: 1) The Flesch flat model was too tall for me. 2) It made me hold the instrument farther left than I wanted to. 3) It made me point the scroll farther left than I wanted to.

So what did I do? I detached the Flesch and substituted a Guarneri rest from my collection for comparison. That helped me hold the instrument a little more to the right and point the scroll more toward the front; but I no longer felt comfortable with this model, even when covering it with the Strad Pad, a detachable, washable chin rest cover.

Next I pulled out a vintage rest from my student days. It reminded me of the Teka medium -- same basic shape and size. On two fiddles, this one was too tall for me; but on the third fiddle, it worked great. I couldn't safely use it now; one bracket would no longer remain securely in place.

So I ordered a new Teka medium, which works great on this third fiddle. The other two instruments now have Dresden mediums, which are shorter.

What freedom regained -- not to mention the enhanced feeling of security. Indeed, sometimes it turns out that the old way was better after all. Oh -- what is that classic song -- "I Could Have Danced All Night"? Well, I don't know how to dance, but I felt as if I could have fiddled the night away -- out in the garage. Be assured that I didn't -- for three reasons: 1) I'm not a night person. 2) I try to be a good neighbor. 3) 4:40 AM -- rising time -- comes fast.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Our Kokopelli
Please support Violinist.com
through your
one-time donation or
sponsorship campaign.

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

The Potter Violin Company

Coregami Performal

Metzler Violin Shop

Gliga Violins

Zhuhai International Mozart Competition - Apply by April 30, 2017

Connolly Music

Corilon Violins

Meadowmount School of Music

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Heifetz International Music Institute

Long Island Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Pro-Am Strings

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop