I have recently switched to the center mounted, Berber-style chinrest. I will tell you, it is simply amazing, granted that it suits ur body and playing style.
I used to think that the shoulder rest was what would help make my violin position secure, but I tried many styles to no avail. Before this switch, I was playing with a Guarneri style chinrest and a mach1 shoulder rest. I never rested my head on the cup, instead locked my chin over the tail of the chinrest between teh end of the rest and the tailpiece. This is what was comfortable for me, but it was so insecure and I always knew it. When i would shift, my violin would fall in front of my body and into my hands. Anyone who plays with this sort of position will definitely benefit from this chinrest. Ive went thru numerous shoulder rests, each one only helping a little, but never curing the problem. The mach was what felt most comfertable, but I was never truly happy.
...Until one day when my teacher suggested I try a few center mounted chinrests. I ordered the two Flesch models and this interesting Berber model. The Flesch was too slippery and did not have a deep enough cup for me to lock my jaw into (something that i have become very accustomed to). I then try this berber model and it was amazing from the beginning.
At this point, I decided to ditch my mach becacuse its surface was much to slippery on my shoulder and went back to a standard foam padded kun. After a few hours of playing, I decided to go out on a limb and try out this chinrest without a shoulder rest. To my amazement, it was so easy to play without the contoured support of a shoulder rest. AT that point, i realized how restrictive those shoulder rests actually are. Granted it was a little uncomfortable playing without a shoulder rest because of the hard surface of the violin, I went around looking for my elastic attached suzuki sponge (back from the olden days) (all it is is this 2x6 inch sponge covered in liek black corduroy and has 2 elastic bands to attach to the instrument. no contours, nothing fancy. costs about a dollar). THIS COMBO WAS AMAZING! secure as a rock and so very very comfortable. I could wave my hands like a mad man and the violin was not going anywhere.
I now can FINALLY understand when my teacher says to free up my left hand and get rid of all that tension. It's amazing how much difference the shoulder rest can make. I strongly suggest this set up to anyone who is playing as I have previously described (guarneri, over tailpiece). i assure you it will change your life.
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