Help!!! Chin Rest Broke!!!

February 8, 2018, 1:10 PM · So I am the clumsiest, stupidest person in thr world, and I stepped on my chin rest and it broke off. It didn't just fall off, it broke. Everything else seems to be intact, but the tone sounds horrible now. Will my violin's tone sound better if I get a new chinrest and will it be restored? Please help and tell me what to do!

Replies (27)

February 8, 2018, 1:21 PM · ...how did you step on it?
February 8, 2018, 1:22 PM · I suppose I would take it a luthier. I haven't heard of a violin sounding worse after the chin rest was removed. I would think it would even sound a little better (one less clamp on the table).
Edited: February 8, 2018, 1:32 PM · Was the chinrest attached to the violin at the time? If it was, then there is the real possibility that the soundpost and/or the bridge may have moved, and that would affect the tone. In that case take it to a luthier to have the whole instrument checked out.

If the chinrest was separate from the violin at the time of the accident then it is unlikely that the violin's tone would have been affected, expect perhaps for the better. In that case, it is possible that your perception of the tone sounding horrible may be more because of you rather than anything else - wobbly fingers on the bow from the trauma, that sort of thing. Anyway, playing the violin without a chinrest and without prior preparation means re-thinking left-hand hold, posture and supporting the violin on the collar-bone, a useful exercise in itself because you'll learn a lot from it and you'll know how to cope should the chinrest fail during performance (I had that happen a few years ago).

Edited: February 8, 2018, 1:55 PM · Many violins sound and perform best WITH a chinrest.

Now stop placing your violin on the floor, chairs and couches. ;-)
Hanging it from a music stand is also asking for trouble. Violins are best placed in the case with the lid closed and latched, when not being used.

Edited: February 8, 2018, 4:58 PM · In some of the orchestras I play in, the number of violins (and violas) I've seen being left on the floor or on the chair during the coffee break is legion! There's no excuse for it. At one rehearsal I did an informal count and out of 18 instruments only two were in their cases - the CM's (he's a retired pro) and mine. There'll surely be an embarrassing incident one day. On the other hand, in my chamber orchestra everyone automatically puts their instrument safely away during the break.
February 8, 2018, 2:06 PM · I find it hard to conceive that a violin will change it sound to horrible simply because of the chinrest.

Did you step on the chinrest, or did you step on the violin?

Edited: February 8, 2018, 3:34 PM · I stepped back on the violin accidentally while talking to a friend. I stepped on the violin, on its chinrest, which broke. I played it for a bit, and the sound is weirdly a lot better, but I cannot tell if it is better than before I stepped on it. The instrument is now under less pressure, and I guess that made it sound different. I think it might sound more resonant than it did when the chin rest was still on, but maybe that is just because I am closer to the violin and can feel the vibrations better. I won't know until I take it to the shop. Should I take it to a luthier asap, or can I wait (I think I can do it on Saturday)? Maybe the temperature change today did this to my violin? I don't know... And I exaggerated on the "horrible" tone of my violin. It is now a couple hours after the incident, and I think it sounds a lot better.
February 8, 2018, 3:27 PM · Oh, and do you think a chinrest with a different weight will influence the tone of the violin?
Edited: February 8, 2018, 4:10 PM · Damein wrote:
"I find it hard to conceive that a violin will change it sound to horrible simply because of the chinrest."
_____________________

Depends on your perspective. High level players can mostly notice changes like that in a heartbeat. Lots of people will not.


Edited: February 8, 2018, 5:28 PM · David Burgess said “Many violins sound and perform best WITH a chinrest.”

I think there's something in that. My experience is that it is dependent on at least two factors – the violin, the type of chinrest, and also within the type. For example, I use on my violins two centrally mounted chinrests, each with a “wing” extending to the left. With one of the rests the “wing” is larger than on the other, and I think it acts as a further resonating surface. A reason for thinking this is if I lightly rest my jaw on that chinrest the sound is slightly muted, particularly in the lower register. The other chinrest, with the smaller “wing”, and which is the heavier, does not have this effect to the same degree.

I also have two side-mounted chinrests that I have used in the past, but, on trying them out for that extra resonance effect during the last day I am not convinced the effect is at all noticeable. These side-mounted rests are smaller than the centrally mounted ones, so my jaw tends to touch most of their surface. If anything, they tend to slightly reduce the tone, but certainly not t unacceptably, and playing without them does give a more resonant tone on my old violin, but the difference is not quite so apparent on my modern "battle" fiddle – which is perhaps what I would expect.

February 8, 2018, 5:34 PM · Harrison, if I were you I'd hie thee to a luthier PDQ - you don't know what can happen inside a violin if you step on it and break a chinrest while it is still attached!
February 8, 2018, 6:02 PM · The chinrest should not affect the tonal quality of a violin because I used to play on a violin without a chinrest until I bought one because it's original one cracked. No sound difference was heard until I moved the bridge.
February 8, 2018, 7:03 PM · I played it again, and compared to my violin before the chinrest broke and fell off, it sounds less mellow and more hollow. I kinda sound more like a cardboard box if you know what I mean... I would try to get it to a luthier asap, but it is 9:00 at night right now, and tomorrow it wouldn't be possible. I think the soundpost may have shifted a bit. If it has, I am worried that my violin's sound would never be the same. Have you guys ever had a soundpost moved, and how did it go? Was the tone better or worse? And how do they do it, do they keep until adjusting it until it sounds better?
February 8, 2018, 7:03 PM · I played it again, and compared to my violin before the chinrest broke and fell off, it sounds less mellow and more hollow. I kinda sound more like a cardboard box if you know what I mean... I would try to get it to a luthier asap, but it is 9:00 at night right now, and tomorrow it wouldn't be possible. I think the soundpost may have shifted a bit. If it has, I am worried that my violin's sound would never be the same. Have you guys ever had a soundpost moved, and how did it go? Was the tone better or worse? And how do they do it, do they keep until adjusting it until it sounds better?
February 8, 2018, 7:07 PM · I wouldn’t worry about sound post adjustment, and more about damage to the instrument itself if it were me.
February 9, 2018, 2:21 AM · Every time a student tells me they damaged their instrument, I just shake my head and sigh.

Violins sound different when a chinrest isn't on. Significantly so, in my opinion. I've experimented with this a lot.

The sound tends to be more resonant under the ear and the response tends to be better, but the sound is less focused from a distance. So it's a trade-off likely anything else.

February 9, 2018, 5:29 AM · Harrison, a couple of months ago I had to have a new bridge fitted as a matter of urgency when the one on my old violin snapped in two during practice. The luthier located the new bridge 3mm away from the fingerboard towards the tailpiece, and relocated the soundpost slightly so as to be in the right position relative to the new bridge. I think his reason was the violin is slightly oversize at 14.25" (instead of the usual 14"), and, because the previous owner (my Mother) had small hands, at some time in the distant past the bridge had been placed closer (possibly too close?) to the fingerboard. Anyway, as a result of my luthier's attention the old violin now sounds, projects and plays better than it ever has before.
February 9, 2018, 11:29 AM · I realize that the horse is out of the barn here for the OP, but for the rest of the world...

Never, never, NEVER set your violin down anywhere where it could be stepped or sat on. Do not leave it on the chair during a rehearsal break. If you're not actually playing it, put it in the case and close (and latch!!!!) the lid.

Edited: February 10, 2018, 10:16 AM · And for heaven's sake don't forget the blanket! Otherwise in a few years time your violin will look like the surface of the moon because of the dozens of times that you'll forget to twist your bow spinner.

Seriously, though, when I was a kid the "thing to do" was hang your violin on your music stand by the scroll. Of course I was taught to never ever do that.

Edited: February 10, 2018, 12:01 PM · If you play regularly in a dance band then you'd probably be using one of those specialist stands for violin and bow. When I play in a dance band I don't have one although one or two others do, but I always use my "battle fiddle" (aka the Jay Haide) with a CF bow. It still goes back in its case during intervals.
February 10, 2018, 7:49 PM · Update:
Well, I totally freaked out, but now it's okay. I got a new chinrest that seems a bit more comfortable, and the soundpoat was adjusted a bit as well. The luthier said it is possible that if a chinrest comes off it can change the tone. I am still not sure what caused what it to sound so horrible that day, and I'll probably never know...
February 10, 2018, 8:34 PM · Funny enough, I have never once forgotten to turn my bow spinner, and yet students show up every week having forgotten to turn it. I don't understand.
February 10, 2018, 9:01 PM · Haha, I forget like 80% of the time... You guys already know how bad of a violin owner I am... >_<
February 18, 2018, 1:39 PM · I play (at the moment) without a chin rest.
The sound for me is considerably different, as some people have said.

The violin is a bit faster, more responnsive. The sound is much woodier, richer. The lower frequencies are far more resonant and louder. The frequencies around g above middle c are also a bit louder, more penetrating. When you go far up beyond that however, the violin is more powerful and penetrating with my chin-rest. (And Erik said - it can have better focused sound at a distance - that would fit with me too)
I am worried that my chin on a cloth above and sometimes on the tail-piece would dampen sound, but it doesn't seem to .
I may try the wave chinrest some time - and see what that does to the sound/performance.
Edited: February 21, 2018, 6:55 PM · I have been looking at the wave chinrest site. That is very interesting. The inventor says you should not put weight or lean over the violin, with chin. He right.
I have been holding my head on its axis cradle where is the atlas, and being very aware of NEVER leaning onto fiddle. Very hard to do if you are trained by ordinary chin-rests to do just that to make contact. He is quite right. Evrything opens up when I hold head properly lying on its own weight on cradle of atlas etc. Extraordinary. A whole life-time playing wrong.
I have been doing the same with cradle of pelvis, thinking of Alexander technique . The result if the same - everything open up. Movement can be there , but IN movement rather than tension of holding off alignment (big, big difference) things are ok.
This has been very interesting. What are we talking about - ah yes, cracked chin-rest. Look at the opportunity . Try chin-restless, or perhaps the wave. You want the violin to meet the chin and face , not the other way round. Then you are laughing. Do not assume this is what you have been doing anyway. It most probably isn't. You want to move from the place where the head rests on the neck - atlas etc, and lower down where the pelvic cradle is . Hold with no tension, no torsion, - movement yes,
within the sense of those things never losing their balanced and un-tense
nature. Then everything opensup. This at least is what I have experience. Suddenly you can climb towards the sky. Any wrong tension will bind up something in your shoulders or arms or fore-arms or fingers, even if your sensorium does not notice that this is happening. You only notice when the binding is unwrappred and taken off.
February 21, 2018, 7:06 PM · I have not bought the wave. Looks wrong for what the inventor describes.
If you need violin to come and meet face and chin and not vice versa, and my experince says he is right - you should not have tapering off of height as the bowl of the rest goes off towards the left shoulder. Just the opposite. So I have no rest ( just cloth) and put two pads velcro under rubber band holding on also the cloth, mounted one further out towards my shoulder on the other - to give an increase in height climbing towards my ear. This then meets my chin and face better. Hie rest (the wave) seems to slop[e the wrong way for what he describes. Aye oop.
February 21, 2018, 7:08 PM · I do use a shoulder rest though.

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