Printer-friendly version
Zlata Brouwer

6 Steps to Select Your Ideal Violin or Viola Chinrest and Play Comfortably

September 25, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Is you violin not optimally on your shoulder?

Do you have pain during of after practicing the violin or viola?

Do you sometimes doubt if you have the right chinrest?

In this video I will share with you 6 steps to select your ideal violin or viola chinrest and start playing comfortable...

You're having what I'm having? Would you like to have the same chinrest, Gelrest and shoulder rest that Zlata on the video has?

My chinrest is a Guarneri model ebony chinrest. 
On the chinrest I've got a Gelrest to make it extra comfortable.
My shoulder rest is a Wolf Forte Secundo shoulder rest.

Select your ideal chinrest in 6 steps... you need to find out the following...

1) The right place of the chinrest under your chin or jaw

2) The right place of the chinrest on your violin or viola

3) The right shape of your chinrest

4) The right height of your chinrest

5) The right material of your chinrest

6) The right combination of chinrest and shoulder rest (or shoulder pad... or nothing...)

Happy comfortable violin and viola playing, peeps!

Is it useful to you? Please let me know in the comments!



PS: Do you have questions for me on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to

From Andre Peggion
Posted on September 26, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Chinrest + shoulderest + pain in the neck.
During a long time I lived into this equation. This was the reason that I left violin in order to play viola. After had been tried many viola sizes (from 38 to 42 cm), shoulder and chinrests types, pads, etc, the equation closed this way: raise the chinrest and replace the shoulderest for a small anti-sllipery domestic rubber.
The better viola, the one I have been using this last two years, is a 40.5 body lenght with a string lenght close to 37 cm and a rib height of 4 cm. The chinrest is a Berber model, raised 1 cm.
Playing without a shoulderest seems strange at the beginning. But it's just a matter of get used. Slowly pain and tension go away cause this style of playing requires shoulder and neck relaxed.
Two sites helped me in this search of an ideal equipment:
A research with Conservatory students - and the Frisch and Denig: Violin and Viola Chinrest Fitting System -
Also important are some masterclass with the immortal Yehudi Menuhin - (the first one), the best violin player, in my oppinion, and also a very special person.
Another source of study is compare the younger Vengerov style, playing Sibelius concert with his head leaned over the violin, and his actual posture, playing Beethoven. Even thought both Vengerovs are fantastic.
Jascha Heifetz doesn't need any comment about his playing posture.
Christian Ferras, with tears on his face at the end of Sibelius second movement, is also impressive.
My consideration is that there is no magic formula for playing viola or violin. Each person has his/her own body and the equipment must fit him or her, not the opposite. But a proper posture is a must for anyone, no matter which equipment will be used.
From Zlata Brouwer
Posted on September 27, 2013 at 8:51 AM
Thank you, Andre, for your great comment and tips! You are totally right: there is no magic formula.
From Zlata Brouwer
Posted on September 27, 2013 at 8:51 AM
Of course, if I didn't say it clearly in the video, chinrests and shoulder rests are not mandatory. Some like to play without, some just the shoulder rest, others just the chinrest... or a shoulder pad or a cloth... any combination can work for you. Just try everything out and see what's best for your body and playing style!
From George Mitrou
Posted on September 29, 2013 at 10:39 AM
Well, to be honest, I would be happy if my chin rest wasn't actually made of plastic and it wasn't that slippery... Other than that, I'm really happy with my violin posture, and with my bonmusica shoulder, also my chin rest is a strad type although as I said is made of plastic... I just wish it was made from boxwood or ebony! I really hate it...
From Zlata Brouwer
Posted on October 2, 2013 at 2:25 PM
Hi George, why don't you go buy an ebony chin rest in the same shape as the one you have? Or could a Gelrest offer the solution:

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

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal
Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Classic Violin Olympus

Coltman Chamber Music Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Jargar Strings


Violin Lab



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine