Why Is the Guarneri Chinrest So Popular?
I'm just curious about this. Why is the Guarneri chinrest (the one that's center mounted with the chin plate on the left and a leg over the tailpiece) so popular, and why does it come on so many violins? I know this is a personal opinion only, but its shape and curvature isn't really meant to fit a chin (I found a similar statement on chinrests.com). I'm aware that many players place their chin on the cross-over piece, but I feel like the chin isn't meant to be placed on it. Any thoughts?
Players get used to it (perhaps the most common chinrest?), and get to play at such a high level it even stops mattering much. Very rarely used as intended, but if it works for these players, it's fine I suppose.
Is it because it fits the shortest necks and will almost never be too high for anyone?
There is a chinrests.com??
Perhaps because it works fine for the average player? Anything too "fancy" will be way too specific, fitting a small subset of the population.
Contrary to current popular belief, many violinists do hold with the chin rather than the jaw (I wonder who popularized that notion of the 'jaw rest.') Of those who 'chin-hold', there are some who at times lean left and apply the jaw, but there's definitely a tucking of the chin (using AT's head 'forward and up') and there's no centre mounted chinrest which allows for that. So for those who like to hold with the chin and hold at the centre, or just left of it, there isn't a lot of choice. The bar of the Guarneri and Strad models work well to fill that void. Most chinrest cups also rise back to front, and so they push the chin up, preventing tucking. Also, I think the shape just looks right, but maybe that's because they're ubiquitous, and the names probably don't hurt either.
I think the guarneri works well for advanced players, but the teka is far better for beginners, on average.
Ella, the Guarneri might not be right for you and the way you hold the violin, but it is for a lot of people.
Side mounted chinrests also change the sound significantly, in my experience.
I suspect that historically, before the chin rest was invented in 1820, players would have naturally tended to rest their chin on the tailpiece, avoiding too much contact with the body of the instrument. Music of the period was usually scored for the violins so as provide little "escape routes" for descending from high positions - a half beat rest here, an open string or octave harmonic there, and other little tricks, all still worth utilising today.
A lot of players I see have a chinrest that is not mounted over the tailpiece like the Guarneri but, when they play, their chin seems to be centered over the tailpiece and almost off the rest. The Guarneri and Berber rests take advantage of this fact and center the chinrest where the musician seems to place his/her chin.
It might be due to the fact that it is the "usual" way, but in my opinion, at least in the collector part of mine, violins look best with Guarneri chin rest. For technical purposes, I currently use SAS (only touches the table where the block sits, is above the tail piece, and at least fits my chin quite well).
Thank you all for your interesting and informative responses. I realize this is a very individual issue. However, what I wrote in my original post was a personal opinion only. In my opinion, I think any other chinrest in the world is good and benefits people. What really interests me is: Is there a historical reason as to why the Guarneri became so popular?
I suspect that it is because the makers prefer the end-clamps to be over the tailpiece end-block, which is safer for the violin, and they would buy one variety in bulk for lower costs, so Guarneri is it. In one of Paul Rolland's books he describes an experiment where a large number of students were able to test a variety of chin-rests. The result was that most preferred that in-between style like the Teka and a minority preferred the Guarneri or the center-mounted Flesch. A some point I ask my students "Is that the chin-rest that came with the violin?" The majority say Yes.
Years ago I did a number of chinrest tests with a violin-maker friend of mine when sound-checking some of his brand-new instruments (and some of mine too). Most of the instruments sounded better with the chinrests not clamped on the end block; for a few it made no difference.
It has a "cool", famous Italian family name.
Why indeed? Probably because they approach ubiquity when purchasing and instrument. I started with one but fund that it was really uncomfortable for my jaw. A visit to the Luthier who restored my instrument took me on a search to find the one that works best with my jaw bone - The "Edu".
I think it is popular in part, because many people are able to adapt to using it in different ways. Since it has a ridge over the tailpiece, it can be used even if a center mounted chin rest might be more ideal, but it also fits many who like a side-mounted chin rest. It also is one of the more attractive chin rest styles, which is probably why many violin shops have them on the majority of instruments and why most instruments are photographed with it.
What David Burgess said. It works perfectly well for me. I've tried out a few different types, discussed them with my luthier, who made the violin, and this felt the most comfortable. I was persuaded also by the arguments for the way it is mounted over the violin's tailpiece (rather than on the left-hand rib), including the potential effect on sound. The shape of the cup gives me some freedom of chin placement, as I like to be able to shift around a little. It looks attractive too, I suppose, though that's not an issue one way or another.
Initially I didn't mind my new violin's Teka, but I think the more I use it, the more I wish it was a Guarneri. My neck is very short.
I have a long neck, and I have re-carved and re-tilted wooden and plastic Tekas with success. My chin is on the part overhanging th tailpiece, and my so delicate jaw hooks over the ridge but escapes via a much deepened hollow. However, it would not suit Charles Cook, or anyone who holds the fiddle more in front than I do.
I am amused that; many violinists are concerned about the effect on the sound of the position of the chinrest clamps or the shoulder rest touching the edges, but the no-shoulder- rest crowd ignore the damping effect of the the back plate touching the body. These alleged differences might be from the position & angle of the left ear to the top plate of the violin.
I switched to flesch so I could hear myself. A side benefit was that I can now play comfortably and securely without a shoulder rest on both violin and viola. That also improves resonance by removing a massive vibration dampening device.
"the no-shoulder- rest crowd ignore the damping effect of the back plate"
I was able to modify one Guarneri rest to my (near) satifaction.
A couple of years ago I got fitted for a Frisch & Denig chinrest and have been ecstatic about it. My posture is way better, no discomfort or pain because of bad posture, don't have to deal with shoulder rests popping off,etc. I can't imagine going back. It was about $300 for the fitting plus chinrest, but money worth spent. The person was a violinist and teacher herself and was very helpful and well trained. Took about 45 min for the fitting.
Oh the variability of ergonomics!
My centered chinrest is rather flat. With double-sided tape I attached a small rim out of firm foam material to the outer corner. Over that goes my strad pad. Very comfortable and the little rim gives me a slight hook for my skinny jaw.
Try it. It feels so good when complemented with the right shoulder rest. I grew up using the Kaufman style. Then I realized how much the Guarneri feels. Cups the jaw bone perfectly.
I have three good violins and they all behave differently when it comes to centre or side mounted chinrests. My Vuillaume will not tolerate a side mounted CR where the sound becomes too stiff. My modern violin is happy with either as is my Jacquot. So far I was using the Ruggiery but after watching a great violinist how he is holding the violin, I decided to emulate his placement position which meant bringing the violin a little towards the chest. This has freed up my bow arm and improved my tone. I realized though that the existing CR was uncomfortable, so I changed to the Gilkes Guarneri with the low scoop which I now find comfortable.
I said, "Initially I didn't mind my new violin's Teka, but I think the more I use it, the more I wish it was a Guarneri. My neck is very short."
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