Should You Get a Chin Rest That is Comfortable and Then Fit a Shoulder Rest or Vice Versa?
I have been reading about the Wave chin rest and believe it may be what I have been looking for. I do not want to develop neck issues. I have not found a good combination of chin rest and shoulder rest yet.
My question is this. I have found a chin rest I think might work for me. Just have read about it and watched videos, I have not seen it personally. I have still not found a shoulder rest I am comfortable with, either, but I am considering one. I do not want to raise my violin to my jaw. I want the chin rest to come up high enough so it aligns properly with my jaw, allowing my violin to stay lower.
Since I want to keep the violin low and am specific about chin rest height, should I get the chin rest first and then work on fitting a comfortable shoulder rest to it? Where I would get this chin rest, the Wave website, there are no shoulder rests, so I can’t get them together. These chin rests are not available at the violin shop and the type of shoulder rest I am thinking of is not there either. I will have to go online for the shoulder rest where they have a good trial period with return option. The Wave has a good one for their chin rests.
The chin rest comes in different heights. My current one, and all I have tried, are too short for my needs. They all seem to be the same height. Definitely not even the middle height of the Wave.
The wave chin rest is longer. In the video they have it shows this allows you wiggle room. I also believe it will alleviate the awkwardness I feel with the shorter ones just dropping off at the jaw, and the feeling of being confined to one position.
The lip that goes under the jaw is not as sharp as the one I have. Mine digs and is not very comfortable.
I know some of you will say, “Have your instructor help”, again, not feasible here and I won’t go into that. Some will say, “Have the violin shop help” The violin shop has a limited number of styles. Not what I am looking for. I have a Kun shoulder rest and not a fan. They have Kuns.
So, understanding that I am without assistance, would I get the chin rest and then a shoulder rest to match, or get the shoulder rest and then measure for the chin rest height.
In a video on the Wave website they say to measure from the jaw bone down to the collar bone. It would seem that the the shoulder rest could therefore be purchased after, correct?
I just want to get a better set up before I develop neck issues.
I think it would be ideal to find a good chinrest so you could play comfortably without a shoulder rest even if you go the shoulder rest route. I would encourage you to try various chinrests before actually ordering.
In my personal case, the chinrest was criticial. I bought them all , Wave , Kreddle, etc. I must also say I play without SR.
I actually just went through the process of getting a Wave and it was a great learning experience (via video call with Randy Olson.) The deal is that you order one chinrest (they come in 3 heights and 2 surface shapes.) You can additionally request up to three others for comparison. Either you return all 4 USPS (so cheap shipping) or you keep one and return the others.
CHINREST FIRST FOR SURE!!!
The ideal situation does not exist here. This is not annorchestral instrument area. There are not any stores in my direct town that sells these and the violin shops 60-70 miles away yo not keep assorted chinrests in stock. They have their brands that they prefer to sell. Pretty mich the same brands, the other violin shop about 50 mils away sells violins only. He is a luthier but makes and sells violins only. He operateds from his house. So, trying numerous before ordering will not work.
I definitely agree on fitting the chinrest first, since that seems to make more of a difference in comfort level than trying shoulder rests only. Keep in mind that the left arm/hand has a supporting role no matter what kind of setup you have, and you are certainly welcome to involve the left arm/hand in supporting the violin more than you were originally used to if you like. The Wave chinrest sounds like a great choice to try. If you think it's too expensive, one cheaper solution could be to order a Wittner Augsburg chinrest online. Its shape is neither too flat or curved, so it's more likely to fit you. Of course it's not for everyone. The main reason I'm suggesting it is because it's height and tilt adjustable and it's not very expensive. You could also consider the SAS and Kreddle chinrests, though they're probably a lot more expensive. Also keep in mind that while a good-fitting chin- and shoulder rest combo will facilitate good posture, there is still potential to misuse your combo, so I suggest checking yourself in a mirror to look for any slouching, tilting, twisting, and any other awkward postures and unnecessary tension. Also, have you considered sponge/pad/cloth solutions for a shoulder rest? You can customize these to fit your unique needs, although it can take some time. It's well worth the effort, however.
I have seen the sponge/pad/cloth shoulder rests. I am not sold on them, even with what little I know yet. It just seems to me that sponges/cloths/pads under the violin will muffle it. There is a big deal written about having as little chin rest and shoulder rest actually “resting” on the violin because it muffles it, prevents vibration(?), that I just can’t see even spending money to try those. I liken it to a constantly depressed damper pedal on a piano.
The unfortunate thing of the violin is as you’ve mentioned, certain factors in life make it difficult to find the right setup, and it seems that the issue of violin health is relatively new and still has lots of room for improvement. A lot of people even professional musicians are still unaware of how to find the right setup.
Yes, I am aware of each item’s use. Putting a “stack” of cork under my existing one and measuring is a good idea. I can, of course measure from the jaw to collar one and compare the two. The measurement you use for the Wave, if that is what I decide to try, is to measure from jaw bone to collar bone.
As others noted, chin-rest first, and then the shoulder-rest.
If you cannot get to a shop where you can try various chinrest styles, I suggest trying either:
I need to have a higher chin rest than I have so, the ones just mentioned really would not do it. I have to lower my head too much and I don’t want to raise my violin up to my jaw.
Cynthia, you can narrow your search putting play doh, or soft clay (inside a bag) on top of your current chinrest. Adjust until you are comfortable in your playing position and then get the overall height and shape as what you are exactly looking for. If you know the height and angle you need, there are many online sellers with quality chinrest quite cheap.
Great suggestions above. According to your descriptions, you seem to be (at least with the way I'm interpreting it) more suited to a chin rest on the flatter side of the scale, so look in that direction. The height adjustable Wittner Augsburg I mentioned above has very smooth edges so you might find that enjoyable. Chin rest pads are great for covering up sharp or hard edges on hard chinrests. Of course, the Wave is a great option to try too. I know this is very individual, but I generally recommend using side-mounted chinrests, namely those that go slightly over the tailpiece, unless you are very small with short arms. This has to do with the fact that center mounted chinrests facilitate a hold in which the violin points almost directly in front of you, which is not viable for most players due to arm length.
Ella, yes, side mount is what I am using now. The Guarneri(?) was on my violin originally. That is the one that was on the two less expensive ones that I have, also. Not a fan. My jaw is always on the tail piece, granted, I may be holding it slightly wrong, but I don’t think so. I brought my current more expensive violin back to the shop and explained that I did not care for that one and they put the current one on at no charge. I like this one. It is comfortable, but the lip is a little sharp for me. It is usable, but I am concerned that lip into the jaw will cause issues later because it is probably too high. Lower in this post, this is addressed. The shape and texture of the rest beyond the lip is very nice.
Not to be the pessimistic kind of person there, but sometimes instructors may not even be able to help you because violini health as i mentioned is still a relatively new concept. There are college students only finding out they’ve been playing “wrong” for the first time when they start college. But maybe I’m wrong and I hope your teacher can help you.
I have received a lot of feedback, thank you very much. I have discovered, through the replies, that I have many things to consider and will keep an open mind. I am not set on any particular model right now, just needed some incite on things to think about. My original post was just to find out if my search should be for a chin rest first and then shoulder rest, or the opposite, in case I could not get both at the same time. I was thinking the chin rest first, as was confirmed. Thank you.
I have to agree with Denis, except that I would say that some violin teachers are great about teaching technique that is healthy and helping students find a chin and shoulder rest solution that actually suits them, and others are terrible about this stuff. I'm very lucky to have a violin teacher who's very good about teaching healthy technique. Although she does try to talk students into using chin rests she personally likes, she is reasonable about it and values the importance of a combo that actually fits you because she won't force you into it if it really doesn't work for you. At one time she made me try her favourite chin rest model, which does not fit my chin shape. Thankfully, she did let me go back to my preferred model, and she was totally cool with that, knowing that it was not a good fit for me. My teacher is also quite aware of how violinists with different body types play the violin because she has observed a lot of performances over the years, analyzing how different violinists approach violin technique differently by linking certain body types to certain technique patterns. She actually finds this stuff very fascinating, which is a good thing for her teaching because that way, she is actually more able to help students with varying body types adapt to the violin. There's actually a lot more variation in technique among professional violinists than you may think.
I recently switched to WAVE chinrests on both my violin and viola. I had been using SAS chinrests if anyone wants to buy them. When I switched to the WAVE, I had to also change my shoulder rest. The chinrest feel changes for me depending on the shoulder rest.
About six months ago, I acquired the Chinrest Lip. The pros are that it does give my jaw something to grab onto and is of a material that provides good traction. The cons are that even the shortest was too tall with my chinrest. and the square edge of the lip was too much for my jaw. Both issues were resolved with a razor blade. The other issue is that once it is attached to the chinrest, removing it destroys it, so moving it one way or the other is not an option once attached.
I'm not sure if anyone mentioned this, but you could always try a Strad pad.
One very good and comfortable alternative to the shoulder rest that people might also consider is foam rubber. Mr. Stern was a big advocate of this approach over using a rigid shoulder rest.
Only do the shoulder rest first if you have an adjustable collarbone and swapable jaw.
One reason to consider the shoulder support (whether pad or rest) before the chin rest is to find an optimal tilt angle (analogous to