Chin rests!!!!!!!!!!

June 6, 2005 at 04:39 AM · I'm taking a closer look into the technicalities shoulder rests, and chin rests. I am not trying to start another thread on with or without shoulder rests. We all (I think) can agree that a chin rest is pretty necesary. I am about 5'11" with a longer neck. I currently use a kun, that is maxed out heightwise, and a boxwood chinrest on the left. I am willing to give playing without a rest, a whirl, but something has to fill the space. I will have to order online. I need a boxwood chinrest to match everthing else. Why would anyone want a hump in a chinrest. Is with or without the hump better. Check out this site:

I'm thinking of giving the sixth item down a try. (Flesch Violin Chinrest-Rosewood-Ctr Mount-No Hump) Can I have some input.

Replies (31)

June 6, 2005 at 08:30 AM · Taylor - I'm about the same height as you and have had the same problem. I'm using a Wolf rest which has, at times, been maxed out. However, I have found it ok to play without a rest in some pieces. However, you must take a line from Auer's "Violin PLaying as I Teach it" to understand it a bit better.

"[The second important point is this:]avoid resting the violin on the shoulder, or vice versa, shoving the shoulder underneath the violin. The placing of a cushion beneath the back of the instrument, in order to lend a more secure support to the chin grip, should also be avoided."

When we use a shoulder rest, it is placed on the shoulder. However, when we do not use one, the violin must rest higher up, towards the collar bone and the base of the neck. By doing this, almost no part of the shoulder touches the violin. Just make sure you hold the violin up.

These are just my observations on what I have been doing, and I have no idea if they are correct or not. However, I would advise that you start with pieces that require no or limited amounts of shifting, so that you can get used to the new action needed so that the violin doesn't fall down.

One possible option for you is a small grip pad - something like a jar opener (small cloth type thing that will grip onto jars that are hard to open). These are quite thin, and provide just a bit of extra grip to get used to the action. Might be worth considering.

June 6, 2005 at 01:18 PM · Just curious as to why you are trying to play restless? Is there some problem now? Or are you just curious?

June 6, 2005 at 04:45 PM · I can't see my self playing restless, but I have not quite satisfied myself on the way I hold the violin. I haven't tried very many rests, but I figured I would try it restless first. The bigest question I have now, is what is better, a humpless, or humped center mounted chin rest.

June 6, 2005 at 05:20 PM · Someone yesterday said something abut using a flesch chinrest making it more comfortable to play with no shoulder rest. Mutter uses one...

When I found out Mutter uses a flesch I also found out they are in the middle of the violin instead of the side, I then tried holding the violin near the middle and thats when I when I started wanting to get one.

Maybe you should consider getting one, I decided I eventially will get one.

June 6, 2005 at 06:40 PM · Thanks for the lead on the flesch chinrest, but it is also sold with, and without the hump. What do most people find comfortable.

June 7, 2005 at 01:22 AM · in a matter of comfort, only you can decide that. what I find comfortable, you may not. Best to see if you can try both.

June 7, 2005 at 02:46 AM · i have a flesch with hump... and i also use a comford shoulder rest... the shoulder rest provides the extra height i need, and that combined with the chin rest makes playing extremely comfortable.

June 7, 2005 at 02:14 PM · If you want a centre chinrest. I would go for the ohrenform, it is much more comfortable than the flesch in my opinion

June 10, 2005 at 07:56 AM · Taylor, sometimes when I play, everybody watching gets restless ;)

July 31, 2005 at 06:42 PM · I recently switched to the flesch chinrest. I tried the ohrenform but it didn't feel very comfortable. I think the reason Mutter uses a flesch chinrest is because she was trained in the Carl Flesch, and Otakar Sevcik "tradition".(both her teachers Aida Stucki and Erna Honigberger were noted pupils of Carl Flesch and Otakar Sevcik). Interesting most of the other famous Flesch pupils Henryk Szeryng, Ida Haendel, don't use a flesch chinrest.

August 2, 2005 at 07:07 PM · Hi,

Rick, that is incorrect. The chinrest used by Szeryng was the original Flesch model designed by Hill (and I guess used by Flesch). The Flesch model available in most catalogs is something else. I think that Mutter uses what works for her.

If you do want to take a look at the Original Flesch model, there are nice copies available from Beare's in London. Here is the link.

The Flesch Continental and Old English models available through Beare's were the original Flesch models designed by the Hills. Szeryng used one of those two.


August 2, 2005 at 07:18 PM · Those chinrests looked nice... But the "Flesch" chinrests normally seen today are indeed inspired after the Flesch 'Continental', which is centered over the tailpiece, but they are not the authentic original Carl Flesch chinrests.

August 2, 2005 at 07:22 PM · From what I've seen on DVD, it appears Szeryng used the "Old English" Flesch.

August 2, 2005 at 08:30 PM · Are there any places in the US where one can purchase an "Old English" Flesch rest?

Shar and SW Strings and the like don't have very many quality rests, IMO. I like the Hill style feet even for side mounted rests. I have a "Low Flesch" chinrest now that I had to order from the UK. It ended up costing about US $150.00!

Update: I answered my own question.

Here's a link I found (I had it bookmarked, thanks to someone that posted this info awhile ago).

Anyway, pretty good selection and prices.

Note: Teka is the same as the "Old English" Flesch.

Check out the tailpiece/chinrest in one. Interesting....

August 3, 2005 at 10:19 PM · Hi,

The Teka model is similar but not identical to the Flesch style rests sold by Beare. I own and used for quite a while a Flesch "Old English" made by Hill. I have tried the Teka's and they are different, though similar. The quality of the wood and workmanship from Beare's is unparalleled, hence the price.

I am not quite sure what the modern Flesch model sold in most catalogs is based on, but it could be a variation of something. However, I have seen and tried the Flesch Continental model sold by Beare, and it is very different from the modern so-called Flesch rests. Both the Flesch Old English and Continental are side mounts with an extension over the tailpiece.

Here is a link to a site that sell's what they call the Original Flesch Hill Model. It is the closest that I have seen to the ones made by the Hills or the copies that Beare sells.


August 3, 2005 at 10:46 PM · Hi, Christian.

The rests on the link you gave look like very low quality rests compared to the Beare rests.

The reason I said that Teka's are the same as the "Old English" Flesch is because of this link full of very high quality chinrests:

Please check this link, second row. At second glance, all of the Flesch rests are called Teka.....interesting....

The "Old English" Flesch (Teka) looks eerily similar to the Teka at Shar design wise, but it's quite obvious the quality is superior at AA as well as Beare. However, the following link for a Teka also looks like good quality, maybe not quite as high quality, but close IMO, and it also looks just like the "Old English" Flesch:

Compare them side by side in separate windows.

I own a "Low Flesch" chinrest which I purchased from "AA." The Hill feet were even dipped in silver! It's an outstanding rest. I just ordered the Teka from Dov Schmidt for $15.00. I'll let you know about the quality.

The photos of the chinrests from "AA" are almost identical to the photos on the Beare site. The chinrests are even facing the same way in the photos. They must be the same rests.

I wish I owned one of each rest from either AA or Beare!


August 3, 2005 at 11:51 PM · Hi William,

You are right. The stuff on the link from AA looks identical to the photos on the Beare site. I guess that they refer to the Flesch as the Teka. I have a Bergonzi model from Beare. Cost me a fortune, but it's beautiful (and comfortable).

The link I posted was the cheap alternative. I did order a rest once from Dov, and there was a reason why the price was cheap - so was the rest!

I wish I had the money to get several rests from Beare or AA, but, well... dre-e-eaming, dream, dream, dre-eam...

Thanks for that link and Cheers!


P.S. How is the low Flesch from AA?

August 3, 2005 at 11:58 PM · Christian--

I love my low Flesch. It has an outstanding look, and the feel is quite comfortable.

So I guess I should prepare myself to be disappointed in the Teka from Dov? Oh well...they can't possibly be worse than Shar, can they? At least it has the separate feet.

On second thought, maybe you shouldn't answer that. I'm already getting depressed.

Thanks again.

August 4, 2005 at 12:13 PM · Hi William,

Thanks for the info. As for the chinrest from Dov, I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise! ;)


August 4, 2005 at 02:38 PM · Christian--

I don't suppose you would be interested in selling your old English rest by Hill, would you?

Does it have separate feet?

August 4, 2005 at 09:16 PM · Hi William,

It does have seperate feet, but no, I don't think I want to sell it. First, they are collectors items, and it cost me a considerable sum to get it, and they are worth a lot. It would come out to much less to by Beare by a long shot, but in those days, I didn't know about Beare, so... Sorry!


August 4, 2005 at 09:32 PM · Well, you can't blame me for trying. I have some old Hill rests as well, the same rest used by Rosand. I have two. They're great rests, and you can't find them anymore.

August 4, 2005 at 11:04 PM · Hi William,

That's true. They are great rests and incredibly hard to find. A dealer friend of mine has a whole collection of them. What is the Rosand rest like?

No problem for trying. The reason I want to hold on to it is in case I go back some day as it is a good rest.


August 5, 2005 at 12:02 AM · Rosand's is a side mounted Hill rest, with a lip or ridge close towards the tailpiece. If you have the Rosand Sarasate lp, you can see it in the photo.

August 6, 2005 at 01:14 AM · Hi William,

Thanks for the info!


August 6, 2005 at 07:27 AM · Hey everyone!

Ok, so, a lot of people have been asking why to ditch the shoulder rest and I used to wonder about this too. I've been hearing about it for some years now and I always wondered why people would encourage this, when I (six foot one) with my giraffe neck (well it's not that long but it's the length of a six foot tall person) find a shoulder rest much more comfortable. Well, recently I changed teachers to someone who went to meadowmount for 5 years and graduated from Julliard after spending 8 years there with Mr. Ivan Galamian as a teacher. So, here is why he made me throw away my shoulder rest (and get a much higher chinrest).

The philosophy behind a higher chinrest rather than a shoulder rest actually has a lot more to do with tone and right hand. When you play with a shoulder rest, what you are doing is you are raising the violin to your chin and playing it there. While this seems like an obvious solution to a person with a long neck, it's really impractical. See, when you raise the violin up say an inch (or two in my case), what happens is you have to compensate when you bow by raising your right shoulder to play on the same height as the violin. Now, to make a forte, you have to dig in with your right index finger, to get "weight". But what's really happening is you're just using your little muscles, the little index finger muscle in your forearm. Now, when you play with your violin on the collarbone (where it should be, not the shoulder, not anywhere else, just collarbone), the string height makes it so that when you put your bow down, your shoulder is not raised at all. This allows you to play and bow with WEIGHT. Imagine instead of using a small wimpy muscle to play, using the entire mass of your arm to make a powerful sound. And I have to say, after having a shoulder rest for 5 years, and changing to this new method, I can't understand how I ever played with a shoulder rest. Your tone honestly is significantly more powerful when you take away the shoulder rest and lengthen the chinrest. Also, it corrects a surprising amount of things in your right arm. Bowing a full bow (not 95% of the bow, but using all 28 inches (yes I had to measure)) including the metal tip of the frog to the ivory tip on the ... tip, becomes very natural. It's also much easier to bow a straight bow. So yeah, it's really good stuff.

Now here are the things to be careful for. It's very important that all the area between the collarbone and your chin is filled up almost perfectly. If it's not, then your playing will hurt. It will be incredibly difficult to shift down or vibrato. Also it's probably important to find a teacher who doesn't use a shoulder rest, so that they can give you tips when you are not playing without a shoulder rest correctly.

It sounds kinda far fetched, and the shoulder rest market is pretty huge, however, there are some pretty heavy advocates of it. I know Heifetz wouldn't let his students play with shoulder rests, and neither would Nathan Milstein. I'd assume, if my teacher wasn't allowed to, that Galamian didn't recommend using a shoulder rest either. Judging from pictures (so I'm not sure!) It looks like Oistrakh, Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern didn't use shoulder rests either. Still, there are fine vioilnists who do use a shoulder rest, like Joshua Bell. So, whatever. There's good points to it, if you're willing to change, I guess. I still haven't had many lessons yet, so I'm no good without one yet, but I think there are some hefty advantages that I would be foolish to not try. That's what I have to say about it.

- Wenhao Sun

August 6, 2005 at 07:46 AM · See last two paragraphs before blue quote on page 3:

August 8, 2005 at 10:03 PM · Hello,

"It looks like Oistrakh, Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern didn't use shoulder rests either." You are right: the pictures are actually deceiving. It is true that they attached nothing to the violin(though not of Oistrakh), but they did use padding. For example, Mr. Stern used to put a kitchen sponge under his coat that was held by his suspenders. Mr. Zukerman uses a cushion made of foam covered with silk that he puts under his jacket or shirt – he always has. David Oistrakh had specially made jackets with extra padding in the early part of his career, then began using a pad (Poeland Model C) in the 1950's. So they did use support, though not shoulder rests (the Kun was not invented until the 1960's or 70's). However, Mr. Perlman does use nothing.

As for what Mr. Rosand says, I know that he is a big advocate of using nothing. He doesn't himself. However, I am always careful of grand statements such as "none of the great violinists did" because what is mentioned in an article needs to be taken carefully unless you know all the details, and even more so, if the point the person is trying to make is a grand statement to support his/her own personal views. This is not to contradict or take away from Mr. Rosand who is a fantastic violinist. But, just a word of caution into grand affirmations...


August 9, 2005 at 09:36 AM · Hi Christian:

I think you are right on. I watched Perlman closely from a close distance last year (cost me megabucks for the concert ticket). One thing I noted is that he has a rather short neck. I wonder if this is the reason he can get away with only a light pad. Oddly enough, I haven't seen any tall (ie +6ft) violin players. I conclude the anatomy is a big factor.

For me (6ft and long neck) I simply can't get by without a shoulder rest. There is simply no chin rest high enough (like about 3 inches high). No shoulder rest means I must tilt my head greatly to the left, causing great stress to the vertebrae. Very painful in only a few minutes. I might carve my own chin rest someday soon!

thanks for reading my 2 bits.

August 10, 2005 at 01:06 AM · Hello,

Ron, that is a good point. I think that in the end, it is an individual matter.


October 8, 2005 at 08:05 PM · Make the shoulder rest higher...thats what I've found I too have a long neck. Try the Bon Musica shoulder me it is great even though it is a little pricy. Also, try a center chin rest

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