Is it easy to install a chin rest yourself?

November 30, 2006 at 02:35 AM · I'm still having neck and shoulder pain issues, so I'm going to try switching to the Flesch center-mounted chin rest. I've never done much in the way of violin work---changing strings is about my limit :)---and don't want to damage my instrument out of stupidity. Is replacing a chin rest an easy task, or should I really find a luthier to do it? Do I need any special tools other than a chin rest tightener?

Replies (28)

November 30, 2006 at 03:02 AM · karin, give it a try. i think it is not as technical as changing strings really:)

couple things to watch out for:

1. location. check to make sure the rest does not touch anything else such as the endpiece to prevent potential buzzing later. if it is meant to be centered, center it.

2. before you try it on your violin, if you really want to make sure how the metal parts work, try it without a violin to get a feel for it, that is, which way is loosening, which is tightening.

3. if a turner comes with it, great, if not, a little screwdriver (for eyeglasses) may do. but watch out not to scratch the varnish during the turning.

4. you don't want to overtighten the metal part. just enough so that the rest does not move with a little gentle push/pull in different directions. some say, if too tight, sound may be affected also. i always leave mine on as loosely as i can get away with.

5. obviously if too loose, the rest will slip off. but, i trust you can find the middle ground.

6. make sure the clamp parts take a full bite on the edges of the violin so the contact is good and secure. study another violin if you have to.

good luck, you are one more step closer to being a luthier, haha!

ps, oh, do no harm above all,,,please make sure your violin is secure when you do this so as not to drop the violin by accident. may want to sit on carpeted floor to try it!

November 30, 2006 at 03:33 AM · What Al said--the short answer is yes, it is easy--I've done three so far.... another al

November 30, 2006 at 04:39 AM · You're from Caltech and MIT. Just pretend it's a symmetry adapted atomic orbital or something. You can do it!

November 30, 2006 at 05:21 AM · Yes. It's hard (i.e. not soft), but not hard.

Don't over-tighten it though lest cracks down the road.

Interesting. I had neck and shoulder when I used center mounted chinrest. Now I am using guarneri. Hmmmm...

November 30, 2006 at 07:38 AM · Thanks to both the Als. Vivian, I have no idea if this will help, but I'm trying everything until I can find an Alexander teacher or someone to guide me more directly.

Jim, I'm actually from MIT and UC-Berkeley, and I'm a theoretical (well, computational) don't want me within 100 feet of any lab. I think I can handle this, though. Chin rests don't blow up, do they?

November 30, 2006 at 08:26 AM · Karin--I'll change your chin rest if you will program my calculator for Calc III> ;)


November 30, 2006 at 11:01 AM · Greetings,

now you ahve 20 000 people worrying about the state of your chin rest.

It"s scary when I think about it.



November 30, 2006 at 12:13 PM · karin, the reason i have given my so called advice:) is because i have been there, done it quite often now, but the first time i did it, it was really not hard, but,

i scratched the varnish,

i dropped the violin in the process,only on my lap,

i tightened it unnecessarily too tight.

for some violins, i did notice a change of sound if tightened too much (may be there are thinner plates,,,i dunno) for one violin, i loosened it so much in the interest of sound and when it was played, the violin slipped out:)

for others, for side mounted rests, i also noticed difference in sound with different locations (but yours is centered). now just imagine all the permutation out there with side location and pressure,,,you need a physics/math degree to figure that out. then there are people in the field who claims side mounted sounds better than center mounted. Ai ya!

anyway, we anxiously await the outcome of your mission possible. just do it:)!

December 3, 2006 at 01:26 AM · Hi Buri,

How did you get 20,000 people? The state of my chinrest is Illinois. :-)

December 3, 2006 at 01:37 AM · Short answer: go ahead, it's not difficult, just be careful to not scratch anything or make the screws too tight/loose. :)

December 3, 2006 at 02:20 PM · Hi Karin,

In the past 20+ years I have changed more chinrests than I can count. I would suggest that you have a violin dealer/luthier do it.

The Flesch chinrests, in particular, seldom go right on the violin. They usually don't clear the tailpiece, especially if you have a Hill Style tailpiece. This can be corrected by removing a small amount of wood (not too much!) from the underside of the chinrest and installing taller cork. If a shop adjusts the chinrest for you they might charge extra for their time but, I think you'll find it is well worth having a professional do it for you.

Good Luck!

December 12, 2006 at 07:48 AM · I got the chin rest and tried installing it. At first I thought "this is going to be a piece of cake", but even when I shorten the bars as far as I can, it's too high for my violin; I can still slide it off. Aren't violins a standard thickness? Am I doing something wrong, or do I just have a defective chin rest? I think I'm going to get some cork and raise it anyway, so perhaps that will solve the problem, but any advice would be appreciated.

December 12, 2006 at 08:03 AM · I think--it's the chinrest itself--I encountered exactly that putting one on a 1920's violin. Take the instrument to the shop with you--better yet, just remember how much too high chin rest was as you get the right one, keeping the incorrect one for comparison until you get it right.... I wish I could tell you how to talk about chin rests at the shop but can't.

And it will be easy when you get the right one..

December 12, 2006 at 05:39 PM · All I needed to put mine on was a miniature ice pick from a set of plastic-handled screwdrivers. I keep the ice pick in my violin case, just in case I need it to tighten my chinrest.

I found it very simple to do, although it was awkward holding the violin in place with my legs against the floor while holding the chinrest and ice pick.

Of course, by putting it is the center, you minimize the awkwardness of holding it between your legs and the floor to simply holding it between your legs while sitting.

December 13, 2006 at 02:04 AM · karin, i do not think raising it with more cork is a good idea--it may not be stable in the long run.

December 13, 2006 at 02:33 AM · Greetings,

its okay to raise the height with cork a little bit. I had it done to one of my Flesch chinrests when I wa ssuing it. The problem is not so much stability as there cones a point where the sound may become considerbaly dampened,



December 13, 2006 at 05:50 AM · Buri, how much would you say is "a little bit"? Is a 1/2 cm too much?

December 13, 2006 at 02:07 PM · Hi Karen,

Get yourself a paperclip..That's all you need. Just make sure you unfold it into a straight line first! Then you can unscrew the parts that hold the chinrest onto the instrument. Do this carefully so you don't scratch the violin with the paperclip. Then, you can put on the other chinrest and use your fingers to tighten the "fasteners" until you have to use the paperclip to finish the job.


December 13, 2006 at 07:25 PM · Hi Daniel,

Thanks for the advice, but I already have a tool that came with the chinrest. The problem is not the lack of a tool, it's the fact that the chinrest just doesn't get any shorter (the bars have threads only up to a point). I got some cork last night and will try making up the difference with it, since I think I want it higher anyway.

December 13, 2006 at 10:07 PM · It's strange that the thing doesn't tighten all the

way. I had a viola chinrest, and even that had

no trouble tightening all the way down. Unless your

violin is seriously undersized, (is it a 4/4 size

violin?) there may be something wrong with the


December 13, 2006 at 10:23 PM · That's strange...Cork will probably work though. Could it be defective? Maybe the shop you got it from can exchange it?



December 13, 2006 at 10:23 PM · Paul--there's something about chin rests--and I don't even know how to describe it well. I went through the same thing, and it was the chin rest, but there was nothing wrong with it. I just had to get another one. (For someone else's violin)....

December 13, 2006 at 10:50 PM · Greetings,

what you gotta do is stop trying to screw it round your jaw and put it on the instrument,



December 14, 2006 at 12:44 AM · Thanks for the responses, all. I don't think my violin is undersized, but who knows. Since I want a fair amount of height anyway, I added some cork and that worked quite well. I plan to upgrade my instrument in the next year anyway, so if the chin rest (which I got from Shar) doesn't work on the new instrument, I'll get a new one. In the meantime, I'm happy to report that my chiropractor says I have a lot more strength with the new setup, but I'm going to an Alexander teacher this evening for a second opinion and maybe some more adjustments.

December 14, 2006 at 03:45 AM · Hi Karin, what is the rib height of your violin? Measure from under the glueline to the glueline (not including the edges of the top and bottom).

By the way, I sent you e-mail. I have some clamps that are too short for my violin.


November 17, 2007 at 11:42 PM · i recently put on both a berber and flesch (both center mounted) onto a violin with a hill style tailpiece and they went on just fine without need of adjustment.

November 18, 2007 at 12:10 AM · Hi:

My only warning (it is easy to do) is that you do not overtighten it and make certain when you are using the little wrench (looks like a tiny nail setter) that you don't go through the bracket to the other side and indent or sratch the violin.

September 24, 2011 at 11:35 PM ·

I'm a luthier now and need to know where to secure my certificate of luthierism.  :-))

Ordered a flat Flesch chin rest with Hill hardware which arrived today and nine days after I ordered it. (Beware: Johnson Strings was the only one that had this one in gold hardware and they apparently send through the U.S. Postal Service. Not Johnson's fault it didn't arrive within a reasonable time so they sent another one to me yesterday via UPS which I will refuse. I will avoid the USPS at all times in the future excepting for letters.)

Anyway, I took the old side rest off and put the new Flesch rest on without any apparent difficulty. Tail piece isn't touching the rest, rest is centered, hardware just snug enough to hold it in place.

Saw this thread which was helpful. No big deal in my case. Thanks for the information all.

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