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chin rests

Instruments: materials and models

From tammuz kolenyo
Posted May 30, 2011 at 05:09 AM

hi;

hi have a couple of questions about chin rests. i know that they come in a variety of material, plastic and wood. rosewood, boxwood, ebony and plastic. but which of these is the best ergonomically and hygiencially. i'd think that plastic, which is the cheapest, is the least likely of the surfaces to harbour any bacteria...so why is the wood (ebony, rosewood, boxwood) held in higher esteem?

now, another question regarding chin rest model type...i read somewhere on the net a while ago that the Teka model is the best suited for people with narrow/pointed/triangular chins and its position over the tailpiece is more ergonomically suited...in addition to it being higher than the other models thus also scoring better points for those with longer necks.are there any other models that approxmate, or better, the Teka chin rest model at catering for people with such chins,long  necks and preferred playing position (over the tail piece?)

thank you

From Justin Fan
Posted on May 30, 2011 at 05:23 AM

 The most common materials used for constructing chinrests are:

Ebony

Rosewood

Boxwood

Plastic

Ebonite

Other woods are used, but to a lesser extent.

 

Plastic is the most "hygienic" but affects the sound of the violin. I find as well as many other violinists, that the vibrations are not as warm and thus the sound becomes more weak.  

Chinrests are a tricky business. I feel that any non hump chinrest can work for anyone with a proper shoulder rest. I have a custom made hybrid between a Strad model and Guarneri model which has the Guarneri shape but dips very low like a Strad without the hump. I recommend you go to your local violin shop and try a few and go from there. Your luthier could probably give you more in depth knowledge as well. Just my two cents.

From Francesca Rizzardi
Posted on May 30, 2011 at 05:36 AM

No arguments, but a few comments as someone who bought a new chinrest for their new violin when the one it came with didn't work for me:

1. My teacher said the chinrest wood should match the wood of the violin fittings (simply esthetic, of course).

2. Maybe 10 years ago I read that wood cutting boards were found to be as hygenic as plastic cutting boards.  Not sure if you can apply this to chinrests that aren't maple (or pine, maybe?).

3. A luthier told me that non-centered chinrests can cause a violin to warp over time.

Personal note--I have a long neck and ended up with a ohrenform chinrest.  It doesn't have much of a lip and is pretty level throughout.

 

From Smiley Hsu
Posted on May 30, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Chin rests are like chairs.  You may see one that looks comfortable, but you won't know until you try it.

From Sue Bechler
Posted on May 30, 2011 at 01:16 PM

Plastic chinrests seem to get sticky if you perspire while playing, where wood does not. Another choice is the Wittner hypo-allergenic rest, which feels different than other non-wood rests. I have one student who selected the Teka rest. My sense is it can fit the face shape you describe, but it also tends to be lock the head into a specific position; too confining for some players. Ohrenform/Berber rests also seem to fit the face shape. My sense of this one is that it encourages the user to tilt the head to the left. Not everyone likes that, either.  Sue  

From tammuz kolenyo
Posted on May 31, 2011 at 06:58 PM

well, i guess i'll settle for the teka chair, i mean chin rest

am still not sure whether the material makes a big issue aside from hygiene. i had a plastic teka on my old violin and it was comfy. although when perspiring, it doesnt provide as much friction as wood

thing is, i'll be having it fixed with on a violin being sent abroad, there are no decent chin rests here or luthiers for that matter. but there are lots of chairs here (uae).

and thanks for the suggestions. chin rests are indeed a tricky thing. i think a lot of the overt shoulder rest woes are covertly owed to the chin rest.

From Smiley Hsu
Posted on May 31, 2011 at 07:39 PM

One thing is for sure, a proper fitting chin rest can make a world of difference in your comfort and playing.  I just switched out my custom chin rest for a "more" custom chin rest, and it has helped tremendously.  I can almost play twinkle and sound decent :-)

Besides being comfortable, a good chin rest should feel grabby when you put your chin on it.  That is, it should allow you to hold the violin in place with minimal pressure, and not feel like the violin is going to pull away from you during downshifts and vibrato. 

After using this chin rest for a while, I'll probably go back to visit Gary Frisch at chinrests.com, and see if I can get an "even more" custom chin rest. 

 

From tammuz kolenyo
Posted on May 31, 2011 at 07:50 PM

smiley, i check out your utube vids. i think they've put on a teka model chin rest with added elevation. is that true? i think, although my head is less elongated than yours, that we share the features conducive for a teka chin rest...or rather its features are conducive to our faces....yeah. if i recall (not utubing at the moment), yours is mounted on the left and pointing towards the centre thus allowing over-the-tailpiece playing. what material/wood is it made of?

 

From Eric Meyer
Posted on June 1, 2011 at 03:09 AM

i'd think that plastic, which is the cheapest, is the least likely of the surfaces to harbour any bacteria...so why is the wood (ebony, rosewood, boxwood) held in higher esteem?

Wood is more like kissing. Not as hypogenic as one might desire but life without it would be lacking in beauty and dull indeed .

From Smiley Hsu
Posted on June 1, 2011 at 03:35 AM

Tammuz,

In my vids, I have a Hamburg chin rest.  The one I am using now, is a German replica of a side mounted Flesch raised by 11 mm for my main fiddle and 8mm for my second fiddle.  The reason I 

mention that it is a German replica is that the replicas are never exactly the same as the original.  It just so happens that this particular replica suits me very well -- perhaps better than an original Flesch.  As I said, it is all about trying them out to see what fits. 

From Joyce Lin
Posted on June 1, 2011 at 04:40 AM

Tammuz, my features and preferred playing position fit the description, and I just rented a violin with a Teka - it has been comfortable so far.  My violin has had a Berber/Ohrenform for over a year and it works pretty well - prior to that I had to switch chin rests every few weeks/months. BTW, neither has caused me to tilt my head to the left - my head looked pretty upright in the mirror.

Hygienically, I second the Wittner - the side-mount one worked better for me than the center-mount one.  I just wish it had continued to work...

From John Cadd
Posted on June 2, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Do you ever use play dough to see what shape your jaw makes when pressing down? The image in the mirror can deceive you. When your        jaw bone       presses down that will make the deepest impression.  Take a close look at that for the shape you need in plastic or wood. Allow for some head movements during playing.  Don`t be too rigid about the exact fit. Allow for the best violin tilt as well. The rest should follow your best playing position.  The shape that forms against the soft tissues (your side of the jawbone ) will help keep the violin still as you shift down.   Feel under your chin to see what I mean. Feel the hard and soft parts.

From Gary Anderson
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 02:04 PM
You might check out www.ResonationChinrest.com for a chinrest that can allow greater resonance in a violin and viola. And it costs less than a new set of strings.
From Rocky Milankov
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 11:11 PM
My violin's sound is sensitive to any clamps, so after trying quite a few chin rests, I made my own from a piece of compressed natural (non-bleached) sea sponge.

Buy a bulk at the art supply store.
Cut the pad approximately twice the target thickness in the shape you desire.
Place under a heavy book overnight.
Use your creativity to find out how to secure it on your violin.
For more comfort, cover it with a piece of chamois.

The advantage is that it is cavernous, so it does not dampen the sound too much. It will also get slightly impressed by your chin. It is soft enough to prevent you clutching your chin, yet provides some resistance and enough support.

Have fun!

From Darrett Smith
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Rocky, why not try something like this, if you know a luthier who will do it for you? This is from Joseph Curtin's website.

Ultralight violin chinrest mount

From Rocky Milankov
Posted on July 18, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Darrett,

Thanks! That is an amazing idea. I may give it a try. In the meantime, back to Sponge Bob.

From Andrew Victor
Posted on July 20, 2013 at 11:16 PM
After learning about Gary Anderson's Resonation Chinrest here the other day, I ordered one. It arrived yesterday.

It has improved the clarity of double stops, the ring of pizz, and the depth of sound going way up the G string of my best violin. Actually it's better all over, but those were the first three improvements I noticed and the simplest to recount. I've only played a hour or two with it so far, but I'm sold and have ordered more for 3 of my other violins.

I bought the Dresden ebony model which is most like the German-made Stuber chinrests I've used exclusively for the past 43 years. I'm also going to try a rosewood Dresden model.

Anderson will also modify one of your own chinrests with his patented improvement, but I've decided to go with his pre-made products, since I seem to be able to maneuver around the fiddle just as well with them.

Andy

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