Having trouble finding a chinrest

April 26, 2012 at 09:09 PM · I posted a couple of weeks back about stiffness from having a long neck, (http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=22279) and I am still having trouble finding a chinrest that would fit me.

I have had trouble with stiffness in my neck, shoulder, and back for several months now, and only recently realized that it was a result of accommodating for too much space between my chin and my violin by raising my left shoulder and bringing my chin down slightly.

I am currently using a Bonmusica shoulder rest (seen here: http://www.amazon.com/Bonmusica-Violin-Shoulder-Rest/dp/B0002FORLG) with a generic chin rest (the kind that always comes with the violin, no modifications). When I stand as I normally do with my head straight, and put my violin on my shoulder, there is about an inch of space between my chin and the instrument. I took a picture to clarify:

Replies (22)

April 26, 2012 at 10:33 PM · Something went wrong with the formatting and the above isn't the full message I entered. Here's the correct version:

I posted a couple of weeks back about stiffness from having a long neck, (http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=22279) and I am still having trouble finding a chinrest that would fit me.

I have had trouble with stiffness in my neck, shoulder, and back for several months now, and only recently realized that it was a result of accommodating for too much space between my chin and my violin by raising my left shoulder and bringing my chin down slightly.

I am currently using a Bonmusica shoulder rest (seen here: http://www.amazon.com/Bonmusica-Violin-Shoulder-Rest/dp/B0002FORLG) with a generic chin rest (the kind that always comes with the violin, no modifications). When I stand as I normally do with my head straight, and put my violin on my shoulder, there is about an inch of space between my chin and the instrument. I took a picture to clarify:

April 26, 2012 at 10:34 PM · Ignore this topic, I'll try to repost later, sorry.

April 27, 2012 at 08:08 PM · If you can purchase a dremel and a chunk of Rosewood, Ebony or Boxwood you could carve your own chinrest to fit. I made my own just a bit taller than the standard Del Gesu model. But in all, I would say to look more into a shoulder rest that adjusts higher.

April 27, 2012 at 09:59 PM · Don't worry about 14 types of glue and carving stuff, unless you want to.

Take some plasticine clay, and stick it to your chinrest. Add and subtract, and indent with your chin as needed to get comfortable. Then take it to a woodworker or a violin shop, and show them what you need.

April 28, 2012 at 05:06 AM · There are two phenomena with the chin rest as I have experienced it. I would suggest you try different ones and even jack them up a little bit with extra cork underneath until you get to a situation that you are happy with. Unfortunately neck strain/back strain is not one of the two things...that you just have to live with:

1 - facilitation of a nice vibrato

2 - ability to easily hear when you are in tune or not in tune

There is something about the way the jaw bone grabs the chin rest that will make the left hand more pliable or not. Also there is something about the position of the head relative to the violin that can facilitate good intonation or obscure it. To me these are the most important things in a chin rest.

April 28, 2012 at 06:07 AM · I think you are on the right track--trying to adjust the chin rest rather than raise the shoulder rest: raising the shoulder rest raises the violin, which affects bow arm, left arm, and a whole plethora of things. Raising the chin rest simply gives your neck a break.

May 2, 2012 at 07:14 AM · Very tall chinrests put incredible torque on the top plate of the violin. A wire will put more stress on the base of a fence post if it is attached to the top of the post than if is attached near the bottom. An inch of height added to a chinrest is a huge amount of leverage. Don't take advise over the Internet. Take yourself and your fiddle to a good violin shop and ask what would help. Go to http://www.afvbm.org and see what luthier is nearest to you and ask them. They don't let luthiers in to that organization if they aren't qualified to answer your questions.

May 2, 2012 at 04:03 PM · John, Eric Meyer is a highly regarded full-time professional instrument accessory maker, who has regular interaction with some of the best makers and restorers in our business.

May 2, 2012 at 08:26 PM · i recently got kun super, canada, and I recommend after playing three years as a student I am finally satisfied

May 2, 2012 at 10:30 PM ·

May 3, 2012 at 12:05 AM · Then use a higher shoulder rest. Not a two inch tall chinrest. I had a big name player ask me to make a super tall chinrest for his Guarneri. He sent a photo of his already extended chinrest on the instrument. There was already a significant top distortion visible. I told him the same thing I'm saying here and that this fiddle would be cherished long after we were both gone and forgotten. Kind of ticked him off to say the least. I'm no engineer but it still seems like a bad idea and I'm not alone in my belief.

May 3, 2012 at 12:38 AM ·

May 3, 2012 at 03:08 AM · Early chin rests (Hill, for example)used to be postage stamp affairs where most of the weight of the chin put a downward force on the ribs. The larger area of many modern chinrests seems to me to allow for more downward force further away from the ribs, creating a fulcrum of sorts, and potentially causing a "camming effect" on both the back and the top. It seems to me that too loose a bracket would be as bad as one that is overtightened. This is an opinion based on thirty year of instrument repair and a gut feeling. As I said I'm not a structural engineer. I could be wrong (there's a first time for everything :)). My opinion may be iffy but my advice is the same. When I am asked a question about violin set up I refer the questioner to either someone I know and respect, or a member of the Federation AFVBM located near the questioner. Often they are one and the same.

May 3, 2012 at 03:27 AM · Michael - I think that some players could also have stiff necks due to their technique. Some players support the weight of the instrument with their heads, and if that works well, that can be just fine, but if not, it may be worthwhile to experiment with supporting the weight of the instrument with the left hand.

May 3, 2012 at 06:23 AM ·

May 3, 2012 at 03:40 PM · I usually read a person's profile and go to their site, if they have one, if I want to respond to them in a discussion. John makes a good point, communicating via posts is fraught with opportunities to take offense because we lack the necessary visual cues and vocal inflection to determine the tone of the post.

I think it's best to give folks the benefit of the doubt in a forum such as this, both ways; don't assume people are ignorant and don't assume you're being attacked. At any rate, not until either becomes hugely obvious. And then, just DON'T RESPOND.

May 3, 2012 at 05:50 PM · I didn't take offence and none was intentionally given. I honestly don't think that I am any type of authority although I've probably thought about these issues over the years more than most. I'm still of the opinion that a very tall rest is not optimal for instrument health. My reasoning isn't as much scientific as intuitional. A very high stool is more tippy than a short one. The way these chinrests are clamped uses as small an area of the top and back as possible for acoustic reasons. The forces on this relatively small area or base would seem to me to increase in several directions with an inordinately high table, not only purely vertically.

I have no economic hat in the ring on this one, since I stopped making chinrests a while back. The smart move would have been to leave my two cents out of the discussion. I'm willing to take intellectual heat from someone who knows more about physics and certainly someone who can take the time to test this out empirically as a measurable quantity. Let's try this analogy and see where I am mistaken. I would be more comfortable with my baby in the lowest possible high chair with the widest possible base. Why is that?

BTW Amber's post is spot on. Without voice inflection you must read things a few times and especially read what you have written yourself to see how it might come across in unintended ways. I post to share my experience at the grateful risk of being proven wrong and thereby learning something new.

May 4, 2012 at 02:30 AM · Hello all,

My father-in-law used to make custom chinrests, and he never mentioned anything about my tall one. He's a professional maker. My instrument, however, is definitely no Guarneri!

I have a 6" neck and I use the Viva/SAS extra tall rest. You can order it from the website. Another thing to consider is jaw tension, if you are clenching it could cause the stiffness. Good luck!

May 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM ·

May 4, 2012 at 01:01 PM ·

May 4, 2012 at 06:02 PM · I think that I am concerned about forces other that The purely downward force over the clamp. I worry about the forces toward the outer edge of a chinrest toward the bridge and on this same edge towards the tip of the chinrest. I think of the baby in the high chair "squirming" or leaning out over the food tray for instance. This would not be a totally horizontal force but more of an angular one. To counteract this I would think that that point of contact would have to be overly or too firmly tightened and this also would cause damage. If the tightening was contrast marginally loose the force would go to the edges of the contacting area and once again do harm to the area.

I'm off to the beach. Ours is a wonderland I'll bet they are lovely in Belize.

May 4, 2012 at 10:53 PM ·

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