Should I give up using a shoulder rest or consider buying a new one

December 27, 2016 at 08:20 PM · I currently use a Wolf secondo shoulder rest. In contrast, when I do not use a shoulder rest, I am able to feel the vibration in my bones arising from the back of my violin, which I consider soothing and satisfying. The vibration is lost and the instrument is dampened when I put on the shoulder rest. Since I have a long neck, I have to put more effort in keeping the violin secure by adding more pressure from my head onto the chin rest.



I have to tilt my head down even when I set the shoulder rest height to maximum. Could anyone guess the height of my Teka chin rest from the picture uploaded

Replies (25)

December 27, 2016 at 08:26 PM · oh no..... you should have waited until 2017 to start a new shoulder rest war!

December 27, 2016 at 08:48 PM · First check out different chinrests and try fitting them to your violin before buying. First step in fitting a violin (or viola) to your body is finding a chinrest that fits you and allows you to hold the instrument comfortably between your jaw and collar bone. Next step is allowing you to get some shoulder support (somehow) while playing. In my opinion a shoulder rest is for the latter purpose and not to serve as a fulcrum for failure of the first step.

That is my opinion - and how I've been doing it for 78 years (about half with a shoulder rest and half without). My shoulder rest of choice, most of the time I used one, was a standard Wolf Secondo (without extra elevation screws).

December 27, 2016 at 09:14 PM · I agree with the above: the key for a long neck is the correct height chin rest, not a different SR. Get the chin rest sorted first, and then you can address the SR support issues.

December 28, 2016 at 12:33 PM · I have a teka ebony chin rest and I must say that I have to tilt my head down to hold the violin.

Has anyone purchased a chin rest from this site

Their lifted chin rests are so expensive. Does anyone here have one of those?

December 28, 2016 at 12:51 PM · What Andrew said...

As far as I remember you don't have a luthier or violin shop nearby where you can try different models. So the best option might be to order a Kreddle chinrest, which is very stable, easy to install, and extremely versatile. Just check out the tutorial videos on, then you understand what I mean. It's not the most beautiful CR I've ever seen, but it dies it's job very well and really is worth the money. Although you might get two proper wooden chinrest for the same amount, what you get is litterally dozens of different setups you can try out then. I'm really very satisfied with mine. Maybe in a few years I might invest in a 100% custom made wooden model, but for the moment I have never looked back.

December 28, 2016 at 01:55 PM · If you feel confortable with your chinrest, try to put small pieces of cork glued under the foot (if side model) or feet (if central model), enough to elevate the chinrest closer to your chin.

This can help you to feel how is to play your violin without a shouder rest and with a elevate chinrest.

To me a central model like Flesch works better in order to play without a shoulder rest. But since I play viola, which has a higher rib than a violin, the chin rest doesn't have to be set as higher as in a violin.

Also consider to use some small pad between the violin and your shouder. You can fix it with an elastic. An example of pad is:

To find a confortable solution to play violin, or viola, is not so easy and demands time and patience.

December 28, 2016 at 02:44 PM · postimage


I have to tilt my head down a bit and add some pressure even when I set the shoulder rest height to maximum. Could anyone guess the height (mm) of my Teka chin rest from the picture uploaded. I would really love to play without a shoulder rest, but if I do that, the audience can probably see only my hair.

December 28, 2016 at 03:02 PM · First, no matter if you use a SR or not, the violin always has to rest on the collarbone. Raising it too high causes instability, and you also have to raise your bow arm too high then which may lead to tension and pain in the right shoulder and the neck.

Then you have to find a CR that fills the gap between chin and the instrument, it should feel secure without much gripping and tilting, just a slight turn to the left and a small nodding downwards.

If you prefer to fill the gap between shoulder / pectoralis major muscle and the violin with a SR, a pad or simply nothing is completely up to your personal taste. Each of them has some benefits and drawbacks, as you can read in ca. 999 previous threads. The only important message should be: down with the violin to the collarbone, and then find a setup which allows a relaxed and healthy position.

December 28, 2016 at 04:06 PM · The Kreddle chinrest doesn't work for me despite its many adjustments -- the lack of groove means that when I play (without a shoulder rest) I need more pressure to keep the violin in place, which is bad. I've had more success with the Wittner Augsburg, which has adjustments for height and tilt, and more shape to fit the jaw.

As for playing with or without a shoulder rest -- your choice of teacher also matters. If you have a teacher (especially one who's virtual) who plays with a shoulder rest, there's a good chance that their specific instructions might not work for you as they may assume that the shoulder rest is there to hold the violin. And as the majority of players and teachers use shoulder rests, the numbers favour that style.

I'm not sure that feeling the vibration transmission to the bone is a good reason to try to learn to play without a shoulder rest, but I think there are others (e.g. having more mobility, having freedom from yet another device if you don't need it).

December 28, 2016 at 04:50 PM · It looks to me like you have your shoulder rest directly under your chinrest. That's wrong. The violin has to rest on your collarbone like Nuuska said. There are a number of videos on youtube showing how to correctly place your s/r.

December 28, 2016 at 05:17 PM · I usually place the SR way further. The image was meant to show the screws.

I just measured my chin to collarbone distance and got a reading of 9 cm. I don't live near a chin rest tailor and have to order online. What would be the perfect chin rest height for someone with a neck length of 8-9 cm?

December 28, 2016 at 05:39 PM · As Leon, said, your shoulder rest is placed incorrectly.

Before you start the expensive process of buying new equipment, it's probably best to determine exactly what you need- In other words, how many inches needed to be added to the violin to fill the space between your jaw and collarbone. This process is a bit more complicated than it sounds. First, note that the distance is between the jaw and collarbone, not the length of the neck. Second, before you measure the distance, you have to determine whether head is positioned correctly on your neck. Because we spend so much time slouching in chairs and staring at computer screens, we tend to slump our back, which in turn causes us to tip our chins up in order to see straight ahead. When the head is too far back and the chin is tilted upward, then the gap between the jaw and collarbone is artificially high. We either slouch more and crunch down on the chinrest to close that gap or we close the gap by getting the highest chin and shoulder rests we can find. Both will cause pain.

When your head is forward and down (Alexander Technique term for a properly positioned head) then you can properly determine the distance you actually need to fill. When I slouch, I need 4 1/2 inches. When my head is properly positioned, it's 3. And I do have a long neck. I personally find a taller chinrest with a lip on the edge and a Kun on the low side fits best. I know it's a good setup because when I set my violin on a flat surface and measure, the distance from the center of the shoulder rest to the top of the chin rest is 3 inches. And of course, that's the exact distance I need to fill.

December 28, 2016 at 07:04 PM · Make sure you measure the part of your neck that lies right beneath your comfort hold zone. For me, this means violin about 45 degrees to left, leaving a gap of 6cm.

This means my ideal chin rest is probably about 1 cm shorter, with shape that allows me to turn my head slightly to each side without dropping the instrument.

Also, most people that use an Sr honestly don't need one. The only reasons I can think of is if you have a real giraffe neck that renders a tall chin rest unstable.

Otherwise, a correct chin rest and a bit of padding (for a bit of support/ to position violin at ideal angle) is perfectly sufficient. :)

December 28, 2016 at 07:54 PM · Simon Fischer, who did some masterclasses at Baylor Univ. recently recommended the Stuber chin rest.

December 28, 2016 at 09:15 PM · Bruce -- that's one I've never had on hand. Did he mention why he likes it, or what type of jaw shape / neck height it was good for?

December 28, 2016 at 09:49 PM · I use a Kreddle, which I like. I might suggest taking Alexander Technique lessons if you can find a teacher in your area. I play a lot less tense than I used to.

December 29, 2016 at 03:17 AM · Gautam,

Whether you use a shoulder rest or not, that chin rest is WAY too low for your physique. SAS makes chin rests of varying heights. Based on your photo, you may need the tallest one.

December 29, 2016 at 03:19 AM · BTW, I did a video a while back that you might find useful.

December 29, 2016 at 03:45 AM · @Smiley Hsu. Thanks.

That was a very informative video.

If I were to use both the shoulder rest and chin rest, is it better to compensate the overall height by adjusting the shoulder rest to a high position(i.e increasing the distance from the back of the violin to the shoulder rest) or by increasing the height of the chin rest and keeping the shoulder rest at a low position

December 29, 2016 at 03:59 AM · Take up the extra height with the chin rest. You want the instrument as low as possible. Having the instrument raised up via shoulder rest requires raising the bow arm. Besides losing power in your sound, it can cause injury to your bow arm. The violin should be on (or very close to) your collar bone with or without a shoulder rest.

December 29, 2016 at 05:40 AM · I can get a Teka high 40mm rest for just £24. I hope that would be suitable. But I have two questions

Will a 40mm chin rest fit in my Bobelock case?

Will a lifted chin rest cause damage to the instrument?

December 29, 2016 at 06:59 AM · Usually the height of a chinrest doesn't cause storage problems. Had my Kreddle to the highest position and could store it easily in a violin shaped Gewa case, which is one of the smaller ones... And no, the CR itself will not hurt your violin. Just make sure you use a proper tool like a CR key (easy to make one by yourself, or buy one for <10$), because if you use just solething like a simple nail you might damage the varnish.

December 29, 2016 at 02:30 PM · Agree with Nuuska. I use 35mm SAS and it fits just fine in my Bobelok case. As for damaging the instrument, just make sure you do not over tighten the chin rest.

Note: I have found that my instrument sounds better with a side mounted chin rest. When I used a center mounted (one that straddles the tail piece), it dampens the sound of my instrument. You can experiment to figure out which type of chin rest best suits your instrument.

December 29, 2016 at 11:05 PM · Simon Fischer said he liked the Stuber chin rest because it has a lip which gives the jaw something to rest on comfortably.

December 30, 2016 at 05:23 AM · Is the Stuber chin rest available in high sizes (35mm or 40mm)?

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