Printer-friendly version weekend vote: What is your chin rest set-up?

The Weekend Vote

Written by
Published: August 22, 2014 at 4:47 PM [UTC]

Chances are that your violin came with a chin rest, but is it the best chin rest for you?


Louis Spohr designed the first chin rest, which was center-mounted, over the tailpiece. The chin rest above is center-mounted, but the cup is to the left of the tailpiece.

These days, one has a huge range of choices. If you are planning to make a change, you'll likely need to try a range of different rests to find the best fit. That probably means going to a violin shop that carries many chin rests, so you can try them in person.

A chin rest should suit the length of your neck as well as the shape of your jaw. Besides height and shape, you also need to determine whether you want the chin rest placed right over the tailpiece, or to the left of the tailpiece.

How is your chin rest set up?

From Karen Collins
Posted on August 22, 2014 at 4:51 PM
Kreddle, Kreddle, Kreddle!
From Michael Divino
Posted on August 22, 2014 at 5:03 PM
From Jim Hastings
Posted on August 22, 2014 at 5:13 PM
My instruments previously had side-mounted models, left of tailpiece. About 9 years ago, I tried the Flesch flat model, centered over tailpiece, on each of them but eventually decided that these were too tall for me. The lower-set left-mounted devices turned out to be better after all -- currently 2 Dresdens and 1 Teka medium.
Posted on August 22, 2014 at 7:40 PM
The side mounted chin rest hurts the sound of violin, since it is mounted on the side rib, that squeezes the face and back board and a part of the rib, impades the vibration.
From Lyle Reedy
Posted on August 22, 2014 at 9:42 PM
I use both side-mounted and over-the-tailpiece but on the other side (bow left). All home made. Shaping contact to the fiddle can be important.
From Matt Peebles
Posted on August 23, 2014 at 12:41 AM
Side mounted Frisch and Denig raised chin rest (to compensate for no shoulder rest) on my violin, and a center mounted raised chin rest on my viola.
From Shawn Boucke
Posted on August 23, 2014 at 2:32 AM
Ohrenform on every one of my instruments.
From Francesca Rizzardi
Posted on August 23, 2014 at 6:12 AM
Funny--your question just above the choices was "HOW is your
chin rest set up" (with no hyphen), which I interpreted as "Is your chinrest set up well, poorly, just right, etc"? Because I suspect, like the author whose blog inspired your question, that if I tried other chin rests, I might find one that is more comfortable. Once I was tempted to file off
part of the bump, but my teacher warned me that the wood (ebony) is very hard.
From Zina Francisca
Posted on August 23, 2014 at 8:20 AM
Kreddle! It has made a big difference for me.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on August 23, 2014 at 5:02 PM
Ohrenform. It lets me move my chin around a lot, and has helped me break a bad habit of clamping too hard with my chin.
From Erik Bystedt
Posted on August 23, 2014 at 10:23 PM
Posted on August 23, 2014 at 11:50 PM
I don't like a lot of chin rest - (jaw rest) and a lot of the time, I am hardly using it - I sometimes use a shoulder rest and sometimes I don't - I have thought about removing the jaw rest from one of my violins to see how I like it -. I don't like a high rest because I like to move and the higher the more scrunched and permanently stuck in place I feel. I thought about the over the tailpiece type and it feels like a big cyst, but I would just as soon remove the rest and put my jaw on the tailpiece as needed. One of my instruments has a tiny chin rest and it is oh, so comfortable!
From Paul Deck
Posted on August 24, 2014 at 1:41 AM
I switched from the Kun to the PolyPad, now I have to reconsider my chin rest. I'd like something that helps me move my chin nearer or across the tail piece so that the button can go into my neck where it belongs. but I have tried Flesch models and they seem too high (Berber even higher). Suggestions would be appreciated. Kreddle ... yeah, but that's a pretty expensive experiment!
Posted on August 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM
I repair violins for a living. Most damages I see are from side mounted chinrests. There is no blocking inside the instrument for the clamp, and they eventually crush the instrument. I have developed a low profile over the tailpiece chinrest to help preserve the instrument.
From Michael Schallock
Posted on August 25, 2014 at 8:04 PM
After trying about a zillion chin rests over about the last 58 years I am currently using a Wittner and I recommend it as a first try for my students.

It is fairly flat, which is almost always good, it is lightweight, which is always good, it is hypoallergenic
and it is very easy for anyone to mount without damaging the violin.

Posted on August 26, 2014 at 6:10 PM
Someone in the past over-tightened the clasp on a to-the-side mounted chin rest, causing the bass-side lower bout rib of my violin to permanently buckle slightly. For this reason I now use a center-mounted rest -- benefitting from the support the end block provides. I've had to customize the rests I've tried so far by reducing their height and footprint area, and by whittling them to a comfortable fit.
Posted on August 26, 2014 at 6:17 PM
The bass-side lower bout rib of my fiddle is permanently buckled from chin rests over-tightened by prior owners. For this reason, I've always used across-the tailpiece rests -- they have the support of the end block. All of these rests I've tried so far require modification by reducing their height (from the top surface in), as well as their footprint area. The feet should touch only the edge out side the purfling. In the process, I also customize the fit.
From Brent Hudson
Posted on August 26, 2014 at 11:55 PM
I got my violin cheaper because the bass-side lower bout rib is buckled from generations of too-tight chin rest clamps. Better to clamp above the end block and do what you must to get the rest comfortable after that. Most over-the-tailpiece rests seem to come with too much footprint area and too much height, so they must be heavily modified. Best to do it, though. In many cases the thing isn't comfortable to begin with anyway, so re-carving from the top down brings the surface lower and gets a better fit. Can't take too much off from the foot end, of course, or you'll bring the arch down onto the tailpiece. The size of the footprints can be reduced so they rest only on the edges above the ribs.

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

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

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd 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 Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

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