V.com weekend vote: Is your chin rest on the side or center?

March 24, 2017, 3:54 PM · With so much talk over the years about shoulder rests, something that seems to get less attention is chin rests. It shouldn't be so!

Often, it's the chin rest that can make a big difference in our comfort, arguably even more so than the shoulder rests. When we raise the chin rest, it does not raise the level of the violin on the shoulder. Also, the chin rest is a factor in how far forward or backward the violin sits on the shoulder, horizontally, and that affects our entire position. The chin rest needs to be correct for your jaw shape, neck height, so that you don't have to strain your neck, contort your body, etc. and that you can achieve a healthy posture.

three chin rests

I can remember in my early days, going to a violin store and trying many different shoulder rests, in an attempt to find one that fit correctly. It's something that is certainly as important as getting the right shoulder rest. In some cases, particularly in the world of period-performance, violinists and violists use no chin rest at all!

I've had a number of chin rests over the years, but the one that currently is working for me has the chin cup on the side, but is bracketed in the middle.

What kind of chin rest do you use, and are you happy with it? Did you simply stick with the one that the violin came with, or did you go on a chin rest search? Why do you feel that your current one is (or isn't) working for you? What kind is it? And can anyone offer expert advice about fitting for chin rests?

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Replies

March 25, 2017 at 12:05 AM · I use a center-mounted slightly scooped chin rest with cup in the middle. If the chin rest has a cup on the side but mounted in the middle, it's okay. A highly-scooped chin rest (e.g Flesch) or a side-mounted chin rest is not comfortable for me.

March 25, 2017 at 12:05 AM · Chin cup on side, mounted on side.

Advice I’ve found on this site quite often: If your setup is causing you trouble, consider the chin rest first before adding or getting rid of a shoulder rest. I tried the Flesch flat chin rest, centered over the tailpiece, about 12 years ago but went back to the left-mounted, left-cup types a few years later. I could play with the Flesch, but there was the subtle nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Though this model didn’t interfere with my playing, it turned out that it was too tall.

Didn’t stick with any of the chin rests that came with the instruments I have. I did quite a lot of research online, tried and rejected some models, then settled on the ones I have now -- very happy with them. Currently, they are the Teka medium on one fiddle and lower-set Dresdens on two others. These models work for me because they fit well with my build -- just high enough but no higher.

FWIW, I attach a Strad Pad to the CR of the instrument I’m playing at the moment. This markedly increases my comfort and the feeling of secure grip -- and there’s no skin irritation. Schedule allows for up to 3 hours of practicing and playing per day.

March 25, 2017 at 12:15 AM · I have buy at least 10 chinrests but i chose kreddle side mounted with pirastro korfkerest. For me this combination is the best.

March 25, 2017 at 12:54 AM · I voted "Something else" since I use a Berber chinrest, which is sort of halfway between side and center. Previously, I used a Kreddle also mounted about halfway between side and center, and really liked it. But, then I tried the Berber and it just felt more secure so I stayed with it.

March 25, 2017 at 02:51 AM · BRAVA! Thank you so much for talking about this. I was about 17 and the luthier was sick and tired of how I treated my set up. I was clamping down so hard that i was always pulling the chin rest and making touch the tail piece. He said that I needed to try all sorts of different chin rests. I tried taller ones and settled on a vermeer and have done so ever since. I try to tell my own students now not to copy me because i use a certain brand but to try different things and find what is best for them and for their instrument

March 25, 2017 at 03:22 AM · I have a centre chinrest and maybe it works for me...it seems ok. I say "maybe" because what is driving me absolute nuts is working out what sort of shoulder rest I should use...having bad posture, advanced years and other issues....so I'm on another mission and hopefully a million things will improve with the right shoulder rest (apologies for wandering off the point)

March 25, 2017 at 03:38 AM · I use a Kaufmann CR that has part of the side carved away because it was irritating my jawbone. For the viola I like the Wittner although I would prefer real wood.

March 25, 2017 at 03:56 AM · I use the Zitsman, which is a center-mounted chin rest, but 2/3 of the area of the cup is still to the left of the tailpiece. Similar to the Guarneri, the cup is large without any humps which for me feels very comfortable. It's also higher than most chin rests that have the cup to the left, which for me all but eliminates any need for a shoulder rest or pad.

March 25, 2017 at 05:25 AM · "Center" and I the violin maker custom carved it. Just perfect since I'm only 5'1".

March 25, 2017 at 07:56 AM · I have. Kreddle too, side mounted. I use the highest setting and like that it can be turned and pivoted to the right position and then tightened into place. The only thing was that it was fairly hard plastic which didn't really suit my chin, so I topped it with a bit of medium density foam and the toe of an old black sock with a rubber band on the stalk to hold it. Much more comfy!

March 25, 2017 at 11:58 AM · I have a Berber chinrest on my viola and a centered Flesch chinrest on my violin, though I may change it to Berber as well soon... Can't play with a chinrest on the side!

March 25, 2017 at 05:06 PM · I use a center mounted Ohrenform-Berber rest that has been made slightly taller than the original version. I do not use a shoulder rest, and I spent three years searching for the chin rest that would allow me to hold the instrument without lowering my head too far, and not lift my shoulder for support. However, whatever set-up the player uses, the chin rest must be able to serve the purpose of being the main connection between player and violin. If must provide both comfort and security when holding the instrument, that way there is no fear of dropping the violin when shifting and bowing.

March 25, 2017 at 11:09 PM · Centered new Flesch chinrest raised 1 cm with a small sponge under the viola. Simple and very comfortable to play.

March 25, 2017 at 11:15 PM · I am using a Wittner Augsburg side fitted, at the moment, but it leaves something to be desired. I'd probably go for a Strad or try a Kreddle.

March 25, 2017 at 11:24 PM · I'm a violist so I have some extra height, and not a long neck. Point is, all these contraptions, thanks to the methodicistitists [!] like Flesch, etc., are a waste of time. Learn to play your string instrument as the Russians did; they didn't clamp down with their neck: THE HELD THE INSTRUMENT WITH THEIR LEFT HAND. This is their secret, retro-historically. You should be able to do all things, including shifting downward if you hold your instrument high, as Ritchie advises (https://www.amazon.com/Before-Chinrest-Violinists-Pre-Chinrest-Publications-ebook/dp/B008FKKGWO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490484002&sr=1-1&keywords=chinrest), with your chin not clamping down. Acoustincally, technically, and most importantly, musically, this is what makes most sense. NH

March 26, 2017 at 02:58 AM · I have strobel on viola, vermeer on violin, raised by my luthier. I own a bunch of others, and sometimes use the kreddle on vla (too small a plate, but LOVE the lightness), & have used flat Flesch on both instruments, but angle is not quite right.

It's so nice to have choices. There were many fewer options in the '60s.

March 26, 2017 at 03:55 AM · I have done a fair amount of experimenting with chin rests as many are uncomfortable against my jaw line. I am currently using a synthetic, not wood, chin rest on the side. The only minor problem is that I need to have both of my violins outfitted with the same chin and shoulder rests so that everything feels the same when I play. And, identical placement is critical. I find two slightly different chin rest configurations on my instruments throws off my technique when the accoutrements are not secured in the same positions. Perhaps it is my age or being picky, but It just makes it so much more comfortable when switching back and forth.

March 26, 2017 at 05:54 AM · Chin cup partly left and partly middle, mounted on the left. I can't stand those ones like in the middle pic that have a harsh edge at the tailpiece, just where I want to put the weight of my jaw.

When I discovered my current chinrest I thought I'd died and went to heaven. It came on an instrument purchased in the 1980s and no idea what brand it is.

March 26, 2017 at 09:08 AM · I guess my "Topper" style is more centered but it has a reverse cant. In the final analysis it is the bio-mechanics that determine the type of chinrest that works best for anyone. Or, more simply put: what works for you may not work for me...

At this moment I'm playing a loaner from my local Luthier shop and it has a standard chinrest. What is interesting is that that slight change in bio-mechanical position does have an effect on where my fingers hit the strings - ever so slightly flat. Fortunately, I'll have my violin, with it's chinrest, back in a few days.

March 27, 2017 at 01:29 PM · Kreddl for the win! I leave the ball joint on mine just barely loose enough to make adjustments on the fly. I have it high enough to not need a shoulder rest, and tipped juuuust right for my jaw line. It's glorious.

March 28, 2017 at 07:42 PM · There's options for chin rests? I use what was on the violin....oh wait......I did tell the Luthier to change it, now that I think about it. I didn't like the angle. It felt like I was stretching my neck...OUT...Maybe a swan would not have any issues with it, playing peacefully to the baby cygnets as she glides gracefully across the lake. :-)

March 29, 2017 at 04:21 AM · I just found this web sight. It is wonderful to hear others opinions. I am very tall with a longer neck. Instead of using my neck pressure to hold my violin. I found a chin rest that mounts over the tail piece, and my chin rests on the left side. It took several shoulder pads to find the one that fits me, so the violin is effortless to hold, with no neck pain any more. I saw a shoulder rest in an old Etude Magazine. And i experimented, and my wife sewed me a foam pad with cordaroy cover, held on the violin with rubber bands. No neck pain. It allows me hours of practice. and i am so excited to practice now. Thanks to all for the opinions on this sight.

Thank you Everyone,

Cheers

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