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The Three Chinrests

Krista Moyer

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Published: August 17, 2014 at 11:29 PM [UTC]

This one's too bumpy, this one's too sharp. Aaaah - this one is just right!

Sometimes finding a comfortable setup on the violin is a challenge. In the beginning, I didn't even know that you could do that. I thought that I should just go with what was recommended by my teacher, and that's the best it could get. I was wrong.

It was difficult to bring up the subject. After all, I had been playing on this particular instrument almost a year, and hadn't said anything, but I'm glad I did. First, we lowered my shoulder rest. It helped, but the chin rest pressed painfully into my jaw. A few weeks later I got the chin rest that he recommended, and it was slightly better, but still pressed. But, since it was better, I held my tongue.

Finally, after a few months, I did a little bit of research, and came up with three different options. When I showed up to my lesson with them, my teacher was a bit taken aback. I suppose he thought we had solved the problem because I hadn't complained. He chose one of the three and put it on for me. Again, it was better, but didn't solve the problem. So, I took matters into my own hands and switched it out for yet a different one, which finally felt right.

I hadn't realized how much more comfortable my violin had become until yesterday when I has helping a friend out with his violin. It was so bumpy, lumpy, and slid around so much! Thank goodness I persisted in sleuthing out what would work best for me. How many other people play with poorly fitting chin rests, I wonder? It made such a huge difference to find the right one.

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 8:37 AM
This is timely - my new Wittner Augsburg chinrest has just come in the post! Krista, what kind of chinrest did you finally settle on? I have always had huge problems trying to get comfortable while playing with neck and joint issues most of my life (i think I'm simply the wrong shape for the violin - should have learned the cello) but am hoping this chinrest (and maybe the Isny shoulder rest) will help.

Good luck with yours!

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 11:18 AM
I tried out many different chin rests. Some of the most comfortable ones were the type that clamp on in the center of the violin, over the tailpiece. That made my violin too far over my shoulder though and then I had trouble playing on the G string. Placement is as important as comfort.
From Jim Hastings
Posted on August 18, 2014 at 12:46 PM
I can relate to this. A good-fitting CR is crucial. I play on three fiddles -- can't use the same CR model for all three. FWIW, I cover each with a Strad Pad, Velcro attachment. I've used Strad Pads since 18 y/o -- I'm far more comfortable and get much better traction.

I blogged in more detail on my experience a little over a year ago:

Freedom regained -- with better-fitting chin rests

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 11:27 PM
I played on the same chin rest for about 5 years. It was the standard chin rest that is on the side of the violin. I bought one that goes in the middle of my violin and EVERYTHING has gotten so much better! I play better in tune. I can shift better. who knew that these problems were due to my chin rest?!
From Krista Moyer
Posted on August 19, 2014 at 12:50 AM

My violin came with a Guarneri chinrest which was immediately switched out for the Wittner Hypoallergenic, left side mount model that used to be on my student violin. My teacher chose the Kaufman model, and I finally found a good fit with the Dresden medium plate.

I wish you luck in finding a comfortable setup. I am certain that you will find the best combination for you. It might take a while, but you'll get there.


It's amazing what each person finds the best fit, isn't it? I'm glad you found what works for you.


That's interesting that each of your fiddles needs a different set up. I will have to keep that in mind if this little violin acquisition problem I seem to be fostering keeps up. LOL! And thanks for the link to your blog. Interesting1

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