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This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music: Protect your instrument this winter

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Starling-DeLay Symposium
Starling-DeLay Symposium

Los Angeles Philharmonic
LA Phil

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

ARIA International Summer Academy

Study with the Elizabeth Faidley Studio

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

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