Raising the Chin Rest

April 13, 2005 at 11:39 PM · I have experiemented with shoulder rests as my neck is very long and settled with the PolyPad which is really comfortable however, i still have left shoulder pain. A chiropractor said that the more my neck has to bend to keep the violin in place, the more pain I will have so the higher the shoulder rest the better, A few people have suggested i raise the chin rest- how do i do this? can i do it or do i take it to a violin maker? Thanks

Replies (26)

April 14, 2005 at 03:00 AM · Yeah I seriously need one of these. Nothing works for me... shoulder rests, playonair, sponge.... I need a chinrest that's like at least 2 inches higher.

April 14, 2005 at 09:51 AM · Greetings,

I have had chinrest raised with cork. Its basically a good idea but two points. First, it is actually better to get a luthier to do itI wa ssurrised to find how much care mine took in matching the cork to the surface of the intrumenteven within such a small area. Second, there is a limit beyonnd which the sound of the instrument is affected and in one of my students cases it was just a couple of mms and it actually drastically muted the insturment and they had to be removed.



April 14, 2005 at 11:23 AM · I wonder why you, or your luthier, couldnt add a pair of wooden shims to the legs of the chin rest. Then the same amount of cork as now.

April 14, 2005 at 02:27 PM · Raising the chinrest rather than finding a better shoulder-rest sounds like the tail is wagging the dog (IMHO). I use a Wolf Forte Secondo shoulder-rest for my very long neck. Additionally, I use a Kaufman chinrest. Keep in mind that the chinrest must work in harmony with the shoulder-rest. Some chinrests force me to stretch my neck forward, but this chinrest is very comfortable.

April 14, 2005 at 05:08 PM · I'm sure I've seen some kind of strong argument in favourof a higher chinrest. Why would that be? What exactly is the advantage of either? The purpose of all of this raising and lowering has to do with creating a comfortable "violin sandwich" with the violin plus rests being the meat, and the shoulder and chin being the bread - you want the head to remain at a comfortable height instead of needing to slouch and the neck to twist. That's the rationale. However, the violin has a role to play, too. With all these worries about our heads and necks, we tend to forget the violin. Is there an ideal height for the violin? If the shoulder rest raises the violin past a certain height, does the violinist need to angle the bow up further - is there an effect on bowing? Would he/she then lower the violin scroll a bit to compensate for the higher angle? I'm honestly asking. (Supposing) we want the head to sit comfortably and we have a long neck, we also want bowing to be comfortable, and the violin height will be affected by the shoulder rest. In this scenario, what are the relative advantages and disadvantages of affecting height more through chin rest and shoulder rest? If the chin/jaw has a certain levering effect on the violin (does it? should it?) would chin rest height affect the levering action, since I think that a really high rest would create a different effect than a less high one.

My main problem with the Kun is that it bobbles. Either it's comfortable on the shoulder or on the chest, but not both. If I push up my chest to make it sit better, then I am arching my back, sinking downward in the back and in general compromising freedom of action of my right arm and to some extent of the left. Alexander Technique, if I ever get to it, could or could not help because if I still have to deal with a rest that doesn't seem to have the correct shape for me, I will still distort my posture to fit the rest. Or I can use it sporadically but adopt a more "restless" type of relationship to my instrument by getting more of a sense of it resting on my collarbone - or I might be fooling myself. The only time I've ever felt really comfortable playing the violin is when I was playing a viola and pretending it was a violin. The rest/height/balance/weight, something in there was ideal and I have yet to be able to duplicate it.

April 14, 2005 at 05:38 PM · If i take it to a violin maker- would they be able to "fit me" and reccomend whether my chinrest needs to be higher or if i need a new chinrest? Would a teacher be able to help me?

April 14, 2005 at 07:03 PM · I tried raising the chinrest with pieces of cork (did it myself). I think the idea of raising the chinrest rather than just the shoulder rest is so that the violin can still rest on the collarbone, while not needing to bend the neck excessively-- before raising the chinrest I found that I was always feeling as though my neck was bent downwards, and it created a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders and just about everything else.

part of the problem with raising the chinrest with cork is that you really can't add too much height. The posts that attach the chinrest to the instrument are often not long enough-- you end up with too much winding showing, or else you can't get them to attach at all.

For a while I used a Strad Pad (a foam rubber cushion that goes over the chinrest), and that tends to add a little bit of height as well as reducing the violin hickey.

Good point about affecting the sound production though-- I hadn't paid attention to that, but come to think of it the violin hasn't sounded as good lately-- maybe the cork under the chinrest is the reason (sigh).

I guess one could always have a special, high chinrest specially designed ($$$) for you. I know of a few people who have done that.

April 15, 2005 at 03:00 AM · Try the Comford Shoulder Cradle. You can buy them from Shar.



April 15, 2005 at 03:42 AM · Aaron,

I really do think the Wolf shoulder rests have a very long telescopic leg and may be what you need. The thing is TALL! Just by eyeing it, the leg can extend ca. 3" from above the shoulder rest pad.

April 15, 2005 at 04:22 AM · I have a Bon Musica...and it can be adjusted very tall and completely adjusted to you. With my bad neck, it minimizes the bending.

April 15, 2005 at 06:16 AM · The Mach One is another shoulder rest that has extra long forks available for people with long necks. I know that Quinn Violin stocks them.

The Vermeer is the tallest chinrest I know of. Or a luthier can put an ebony shim onto the chinrest to make it taller.

Good luck.

- Ray

April 15, 2005 at 12:38 PM · Has anyone ever heard of the Poly Pad? I use that now, any idea if the Match One or Comford are taller? I'd hate to go but it and then return it.

August 21, 2006 at 06:24 PM · try the Bon Musica Shoulder rest. they work miracles.

August 22, 2006 at 09:34 PM · Don't know where you're based Rachel but in London UK there's a freelance violinist/Alexander teacher called Bill Benham who - at any rate, used to - offers appointments for fitting custom chinrests that he'd mould out of fibreglass, this was about 15 years ago. They could be taken apart to fit into a case. He had an article about it published in the Strad. The British Music Yearbook should have his details.

The one I had gave me lots more freedom at first but I found problems with it later, principally I suspect because I hadn't followed his advice at the time to have it more chinrest-centred.

September 1, 2006 at 01:45 PM · I use an SAS chinrest raised a bit with some leather I had to hand. My violin teacher started to make some very tall chinrests out of clay or ceramic material but he never got round to doing one for me.

September 1, 2006 at 11:50 PM · My husband adds extra cork underneath the chinrest & uses a bon musica. I don't do anything to my chin rest, I just use extra long feet on my Kun. Before my husband got the bon musica, he wanted to buy 2 extra long feet for his Kun, and he actually had to talk to Mrs. Kun before they would allow him to buy more than one.

Patricia Baser

September 2, 2006 at 01:38 PM · Yes, extra cork or leather helps, although the shiny side of leather tends to be rather slippery. Maybe rough it up a bit.

If you want a cheap chinrest that is high enough to clear the tailpiece, try the plastic "Teka" type made in Germany and very widely sold. Rather strangely the wooden (ebony) Teka on the same model always seems to be a little lower and not clear the tailpiece, despite being more expensive.

I can never understand why Chinese violins are always sold with the "Guarneri" type of chinrest which makes you put your chin too much to the bass side of the violin and is also rather low.



September 2, 2006 at 01:52 PM · As a proud OG (Original Giraffe) I use a 35mm Viva la Musica chinrest with a maple Mach One that I frankensteined out with X-tall Kun legs. The Kun legs happened to fit the pre-drilled holes perfectly.

The tall Comford is great, but a bit heavy for my taste, plus it doesn't fit in my case. The Wolf Forte Primo is the tallest, and Bon Musicas are very nice.

I tried raising my old chinrest on my own with cork last year, but it kept falling off. Must be that these giraffe hooves can't do anything right!

September 3, 2006 at 04:58 PM · See my other post on shoulder rests today.

The length of your neck should influence your choice of shoulder rest or pad.

The length of your neck influences chinrest height.

September 4, 2006 at 04:19 PM · My previous post does not make any sense..did I type that?

The length of your neck should influence chin rest height.

The shape (or slope) of your shoulder and chest should influence the shoulder rest or pad thickness.

Whew...that's better

August 25, 2016 at 04:02 PM · Another really good shop that sells raised chinrest!

I just bought the 41mm teka model.


August 26, 2016 at 03:34 AM · I am surprised that no one has suggested the Kreddle chinrest. https://www.kreddle.com/ I don't know of any more "adjustable" chinrest on the market. It works great for me, is very light and I find it to be rather comfortable although more basic in shape than some sculpted wood chinrests.

August 26, 2016 at 11:59 PM · @Frieda: the Kreddle comes with 3 varying height posts, Low, Medium and High. I use the Medium for the moment, but had the High for quite a while, but felt a little constraint sitting, so I lowered the chinrest with the shorter post. Most who don't seem to like this chinrest often are those with shorter necks, who really don't need the versatility of the Kreddle as much.

August 27, 2016 at 02:25 AM · It takes a village to raise a chin rest.

August 27, 2016 at 01:17 PM · The resonation chin rest uses some kind of pads to "improve" the sound of the violin. I wonder if it is possible to get the pads alone, and let your luthier attach them to the chin rest and adjust them to your satisfaction, rather than buying a new chin rest altogether.

I have my doubts about their claims of getting a "richer, fuller tone instantly" attaching pads to the chin rest.

Doubts aside, It also looks as ugly as the very devil

August 29, 2016 at 06:05 PM · ... oh, never mind.

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