Seeking Technical Information On Three Chinrests (comfort is relative to the user)

November 2, 2018, 7:12 PM · I have a question about chinrests. I know preference is personal to each person, I am asking more about shape and quality. It is hard to tell, when looking at photos, how deep the cup is and how the edge of the part that grips the jaw is, and the height.

I always end out with a chinrest that grips too aggressively under my jaw. I am looking for a flat or flatter chinrest. I also usually end out with my jaw or chin over the tailpiece. When I had the Guarneri my jaw started in the side in the cup, but ended out over the tailpiece, so center mount, or one with the jaw piece over the tailpiece, even thought it attaches to the side, SAS chinrest does that.

The other issue with them is the height. Being over the tailpiece is an obstacle, but the ones I keep getting are too high. I actually think that issue is because the edge that grips under the jaw is so tall and the cup part is actually lower.

I have been looking at the Flesch wood center mount, Wittner Hypo-Allergenic Plastic Center Mount, and SAS wood side mount with one post and the cup goes over the tailpiece or the side.

The Flesch was recommended by a person at an online store I emailed a question to. She said the reason she uses the Flesch is because she, too, has issues with the edges gripping the jaw too aggressively. She also prefers center mount.

Then, on the same site while checking on the Flesch, I saw the Wittner Hypo-Allergenic Center Mount. It was actually a couple dollars more than the Flesch, so the contact person did not mention Flesch over the Wittner to try to sell the more expensive one because the Flesch was less money.

Then, again on that site, I saw the SAS chinrest. This one actually looks promising because I can order the short 24mm. It is side mount, but actually goes right over the tailpiece too. If my positioning changes over time, I will still be able to still use this. I will start lessons soon, and who knows, maybe my position of my jaw will change as my posture and hold is tweaked. Maybe then I will be more comfortable with the side, who knows? I will have that option with this chinrest.

Has anyone any experience with any or all of these chinrests? How much do the edges dig into the jaw? Is the edge high? Are they really high in general (bottom of the cup part)?

I have read where people sanded the edges down, but that would create a very thin section of wood over the tailpiece section on the center mount. The Flesch is wood and the Wittner is plastic, so the Wittner could not be sanded anyway. The SAS is side mount, but looking at it, it looks like the wood would be weakened by being made too thin if it had its edge sanded. So, I do not really have much faith in altering these by sanding the edge down.

I use a Bon Musica Shoulder Rest and have it as low as I can go without risking the back of my violin being damaged by those hard parts on the Bon Musica. It makes me very nervous using it, but it cups my shoulder and supports the violin nicely on the upper chest. Have not found another that will do that.

Does anyone have any experience with the Flesch flat center mount chinrest, Wittner Hypo-Allergenic Center Mount chinrest, or the SAS side mount single post chinrest? Quality, description of the edge that grips the jaw, height? Comfort is relative to the user. I don’t know why they do not have profile photos of the chinrests attached to violins so you can actually see the profiles and edge depths. I have not found any info with photos like that.

Thank you.
Cynthia

Replies (21)

Edited: November 2, 2018, 7:59 PM · I hope you'll forgive me for going outside of the three chinrests you're asking about, but the Wittner Augsburg center mount model is an upgrade from the standard model. It's adjustable in height and inclination, and has a similar but larger and more comfortable cup. The edge is beautifully formed. (My opinion, obviously.) The hypo allergenic quality of the material is a valuable feature, as is the comfortable texture. And they're lighter than wood chinrests too. I have them on all three of my violins, two acoustics and an electric, and I wouldn't hesitate to highly recommend them.
November 2, 2018, 8:01 PM · My advice, go to a shop that has a good selection and try them all. Any one of those you mentioned may or may not work for me, but I am not you,so what I feel won't be what you feel, so anything I say doesn't matter. Chinrests are very personal, and also dependent of your SR situation, but you know already that you personally favour fairly flat designs, so try those first.
November 2, 2018, 8:11 PM ·

Get some play-doo for a dollar or make your own and press it onto a piece of wood(2x4). Now place the wood under your chin in the violin's angle and make a chin imprint. This should give you an idea of what chinrest to buy. Once you purchased the chinrest you can take a knife and sandpaper to it, so it is close to the play-doo imprint.

November 2, 2018, 8:18 PM · Hi Cynthia (from a fellow beginner and kindred soul in search of comfort and stability :-)

Over the past 7 months I've gone through 5 chinrests: two different Guarneris, a Flesh, a Wave II and the Kreddle. I've also tried the SAS. It's embarassing if you think about how much cash I've thrown at this issue.

As you already know, we're all built differently so what and why some worked better or less well for me will likely not apply to you. But the general lesson I've gotten which may well apply to you is that as we beginners learn, our chinrest /shoulder rest desires evolve. In my very first months, I wanted the most solid, cemented-in feeling I could get (and also used a Bonmusica.) Then I stumbled across some of Jordan Hayes Youtube videos where he pitches his recently developed Kreddle chinrest. He's a big advocate of playing rest-less. Mostly, his videos introduced me to the idea that maybe if I learned to hold my violin more gently between jaw, collarbone and left hand, my playing would become more relaxed.

I've been experimenting with the Kreddle for a couple of weeks now. If you check it out online, you'll see that it's actually multiple chinrests in one (4 different height attachments with tilt, rotation and lateral adjustment options and two snap-on surface pieces with more or less of a ridge.) It's pricy at $89 but would have been a bargain if that's the one I had started with. It (and Jordan's videos) have taught me a great deal about how I would like my posture and violin/bow hold to keep evolving.

P.S. I love the way the Wave feels under my chin/jaw but the 1.5 inch model turned out to be way too high (even if it enhanced that initially coveted, cemented-in feel :-) Maybe when I know more about my preferred posture through more Kreddle experimentation, I'll cut the Wave down to emulate that height and angle. Crazy hobby!


November 2, 2018, 9:03 PM · Roger, I forgot to mention, the option to go to a shop with a selection is not an option for me. I have stated in other posts that I am in a violin shop desert. So, I can’t do that. I am hoping to be able to limit a number of purchases and returns.

Charles, upon looking at the chinrests, it seems to me that any knifing and sanding will weaken the chinrest. I thought of that but looked at the photos of thw chinrests and there doesn’t look to me like that would be a very good solution because the wood would be weakened.

Mark, I just checked a YouTube on the Wittner Augsburg Center Mount. That is quite interesting and seems to have a few options. I have moved that option to the top because it seems very adjustable.

I have removed the SAS as an option because upon looking more closely, the shape seems to be more suited for side even though the rest does go over the tail a little. Anyone have experience with it before I nix it?

Thank you Mark, Roger and Charles. Very helpful and kind to reply, and so quickly!

Cynthia

November 2, 2018, 9:56 PM · Holly, I just watched a couple YouTube videos on the Kreddle. It really sounds like another good option and is vary adjustable. Thank you very much for the info. I read about it a while ago but couldn’t find much info on it from someone who actually used it and used others, good comparison info. I didn’t bother looking for YouTube back then because I wasn’t finding enough info from users. Thank you.

Cynthia

Edited: November 2, 2018, 10:01 PM · I am not familiar with the SAS chirest, but I have used both the Flesch flat center mount and the Wittner center mount. They are quite similar in shape and I personally like them both equally. The Flesch flat is probably one of the flattest center-mounted chinrests out there. Its cup is very shallow with minimal curvature and a very small edge to hold onto. The Wittner center mount (and the side mount too, by the way, which actually goes slightly over the tailpiece) has a somewhat deeper cup than the Flesch, but the cup is not nearly as deep as many other models. I'd say its cup is neither too shallow or too deep, making it a very neutrally-shaped chinrest. Its edge is quite smooth and is less likely to dig into your chin than many other models. I'm also someone who prefers flatter chinrests for myself due to my chin shape.
November 2, 2018, 10:18 PM · Thank you, Ella. That was very helpful. They are both a lot less than the Kreddle, so maybe trying one of those first would be wise.

Cynthia

November 2, 2018, 11:47 PM · And one more thing to warn you about: There are two models of center-mounted Flesch chinrests. One is the flat Flesch I mentioned earlier and the other is a Flesch model with a hump. I've never tried it but I had the opportunity to feel one so I know. I wouldn't say its cup is particularly deep, but it has a significant raised bump in the middle. I don't think someone who prefers flatter chinrests would like that. So to sum up: if you are going to choose the Flesch model, choose the Flesch flat model, not the one with the hump.
November 3, 2018, 1:05 AM · I am not sure if the Flesch I used was the flat or the hump. It may have been the hump as it was a viola chinrest. I didn't care for it much. I remember it being uncomfortable but like I said it may have had the hump.

The Wittner center I liked. I have not used the new Augsberger or whatever it is. I have always been surprised at how soft and comfortable the Wittner's feel. I have used them with a lot of young students.

I used SAS for a lot of years. I liked it. After a number of years, I had to have my luthier put a piece of leather or wood under it as it was damaging the top of my instrument. I had the SAS more over the middle. You can angle the rest in different directions and control how much and where.

I recently switched to the WAVE chinrests. I am very happy with it.

Edited: November 3, 2018, 5:04 AM · I've got a Teka and an all-plastic shoulder rest that cost me about £1 on Amazon, lol. Only last night I realised I could screw the shoulder rest height down to rock bottom, so I did. I've got a Hidersine shoulder rest coming in the mail. I might go back to a Guarneri.
November 3, 2018, 5:54 AM · I was chasing this dragon for a while, but what ended up working best for me was changing not the chinrest, but what went on the chinrest. I added a Stad pad, and that made the center-mounted chinrest I settled on feel perfect. It's soft and keeps any edges from digging in anywhere. And it's cheap! I had one back in the 70s and finally remembered how much I liked it and went searching. The only thing I don't like is that it affixes to the chinrest with Velcro instead of an elastic band like my 70s one.

I do use a Bon Musica and refuse to feel badly about that. It allows me to hold the violin easily, without either scrunching up my shoulder or clamping down my hand. I can't believe I ever played without it back in the 70s when few people used SRs. Seems to me it's pretty obvious that a violin is thinner by a good bit than the space of most people's necks, so there is no shame in filling that space!

Edited: November 3, 2018, 8:29 AM · Gel is becoming popular. I've got some thin gel pads, but they are (insanely) sticky on both sides, so I'll have to think about how to make them one-sided.
I've got some chamois leather. Something will be possible.

The Bon Musica looks good. My Hidersine Maesbury arrived half an hour ago. It's perfect for me and probably more violin-friendly than the Bon Musica.

@elizabeth "back in the 70s when few people used SRs" I remember my friends had them, but they resembled pieces of Victorian furniture, lol!

November 3, 2018, 8:58 AM · I have heard of the Flesch with the hump. The customer service rep who replied to my email I submitted to the store said she used the flat one. They had both. I sent the photo and info of the flat one when asking. I couldn’t figure out the purpose of the hump when I saw it.

I tried adding the gel toe insert they sell for shoes to the top of the chinrest to soften the jaw grip but then the chinrest was a lot too high. I had to stop doing that. Then I tried fastening layers of quilting batting (I have a bunch of that). That did not help and it was slippery. I tried that rubbery shelf liner and couldn’t get that right. So, I guess I just have to find the right chinrest.

I think I will try the Flesch and see how that feels and go from there.

Thanks, everyone.

Cynthia

November 3, 2018, 11:05 AM · Cynthia I am just curious. With the CRs that you find uncomfortable, if you change your instrument position, is there a position where the CR will feel comfortable? Often the fit of the CR depends on how you hold the instrument and fit your Shoulder Rest. You do remark that some CR were too high, although you could lower the SR. A slight change of position of the scroll to the Left or to the Right makes a huge difference how the CR feels, especially if you have a bony jaw sructure. Everything about the CR presumes that you positionned the instrument in the optimal position, and finding that optimal position is itself often not that easy, and depends on each individual physionomy. Just saying from my own personal quest for the ideal position and setup combination.
November 3, 2018, 2:00 PM · Roger, I always tend to move the jaw or chin to the tailpiece, so the center CR is what I am looking at. I have 2 guarneri(sp?), as they came on the less expensive violins I purchased. The more expensive violin that I bought at a violin shop had a side CR, can’t remember the brand. I migrated to the center when playing it for a while after I decided that was the one. I played with it for a while with the few songs I know, while I was there. They swapped out the side mount for a center mount. I can’t remember what brand or type they said it was. It was better. I know it is not a Flesch by the looks. Also, it is ebony, not plastic. At home I played it more and I am really bothered by that aggressively shaped edge under the jaw. I also end out tilting my head backwards. If I shave it down like was suggested, that section over the tailpiece will be weakened due to the thinner wood, so I don’t want to do that and risk it breaking.

The sr is at its lowest position. The BonMusica has a lot of gap between the back of the violin and the lowest part of the shoulder rest, but it can’t be lowered further. The Bon Musica has the hook over the shoulder that the other SRs do not have. I also have a Kunn and Everest SR.

My thinking is that I need as low a chinrest I can get, center mount, and rather flat. The edge that grips under the jaw is just too much.

I have not had a lesson yet. As I stated either in this post or another post with a question, the instructors in my area are no where at what I am reading here. I am in an orchestral strings desert. Nothing I can do about that. My instructor, from what I was told by the owner of the music shop she rents a studio from, does not do setup assistance. He said that I have to have that before my lessons. I have read posts here where everything is done by the instructor. Take the instructor to get your violin, have the instructor tell you what set up to get (to me, maybe assist, but most likely (s)he would lead you to what (s)he uses and that would not necessarily work for you), the instructor tells the parent to upgrade the violin, etc. That does not happen here. The violin instructor I am starting lessons with in a couple days also did cello with me for a while. Also, the music shop is not orchestral strings. He sells violins and cellos and violas, but is mostly the guitar, drums, etc. Not a big selection of SRs (sells the Everest, which I bought before the Kunn), not a big selection of CRs. So, that is not an option, either. Great store other than not the instruments I am interested it right now. Love the people and we always have fun there. I mentioned that to eliminate having to post that I cannot use the instructor for assistance in case it is suggested.

I have been using what is similar for the cello (not much) and what I have been able to find out about the violin to get familiar with it. I know my posture (due to issues that cannot be changed, my lessons will have to be sit down), and bowing need tweaking. But, when I hold the violin I gravitate to the center every time.

I tried to force myself to be comfortable with the side mount, but you can’t force it.

I do have issues with the BonMusica. It does tend to cause my violin to angle downward too much, even with bending the section on the front to support the violin at less an angle. But I like the shoulder hook.

This morning I played some more with the Kunn ST. Seems the layer of clothing makes a difference. It is chilly now and I have an oversized denim shirt on over my shirt, the Kunn is really nice now. It also makes the CR better, except for that jaw grip issue. I lengthened the leg on the non-shoulder side as long as I could, while keeping it from being wobbly, so that front edge of the violin would not dip too much and cause the violin to angle towards the floor too much. This worked nice and it was really comfortable this morning, except the jaw line. It may not be the denim shirt, maybe I am just more secure with holding the violin that caused the Kunn to feel better. I just love my Rudolph Deutcsh.

The Kunn is a lot lower than the BonMusica. What I found this morning tells me a few things. If I use the BonMusica, I need a lower flat CR. If I use my Kunn, I can use a CR the same height that I currently have, the lower one could also be used, but it still needs to be flatter at the jaw edge. In warmer weather when lighter weight clothing is worn, the BonMusica is good. In chillier weather where I am wearing a sweater or denim shirt over my shirt, the Kunn is beautiful.

I also noticed that I could feel my violin vibrate a lot more with the Kunn SR than with the Bon Musica. For some reason, I think that helped me play better. I have “English Country Gardens”, “Danny Boy”, and “Amazing Grace” memorized and was playing those. Maybe the vibration feedback? It also sounded better, but my ear placement was a little different due to the difference of the SR heights and position, and may be the cause for that. But, given there was much more vibration, maybe there was a better sound.

I then tried my viola. It has a side mount CR. I kept using the tailpiece. I will have to get a center mount. But, I tried the BonMusica SR and the Kunn. The sound difference and vibration was the same as it was with the violin, as was the better sound and easier playing. I do the same songs on the viola for now.

I think I prefer the Kunn SR and need to get a CR that will work with the Kunn SR. Does this make sense? If this is the case, that I can make this Kunn work, it will be much easier to get a CR because the center over the tailpiece really makes the center mount CR higher. With the Kunn, it doesn’t seem to be an issue. Any direction I go will require a flat CR.

Cynthia

November 3, 2018, 3:25 PM · Hi Again Cynthia :-)

From reading a bunch of posts on chinrest / shoulder rest issues here and on other forums, and from watching those Jordan Hayes videos, my understanding is that getting the right chinrest comes first.

Especially from those videos, I learned that the chinrest height is ideally set so the violin rests on your collarbone. After that, you deal with filling the gap under the violin with a shoulder rest or pad which should be low enough so that the bottom edge of the violin can still make contact with your collarbone.

As you know, I'm still trying out different combos but I'm liking that collarbone contact feel (not digging in, just a bit of contact.) The secondary effect is it makes me aware of sharing a bit of the violin's weight in my left hand (away from holding only by clamping the violin between chinrest and shoulder rest.) I got into the nasty habit of having a tense left hand in my first months of playing. That gentle weight is increasing my left hand awareness and helping me let it relax.

November 3, 2018, 4:44 PM · It sounds like the Flesch flat or the Wittner are both good choices for your needs. Unfortunately, center mounted chinrests can only go so low or otherwise they won't fit over the tailpiece properly. With the viola, I think you should absolutely get a center mount, as the viola is bigger and it needs to ppoint more in front of you than the violin. Your setup would also have to be lower on the viola than on the violin because of the thicker body. Unless you have a long neck, your shoulder rest would most likely have to be quite low.
November 3, 2018, 7:39 PM · Well, I ordered 2 Flesch flat center mounts for 2 of my violins. I am looking for a Flesch flat for my 16” viola. The place I purchased my violin ones did not have viola ones. Another place I looked had Flesch flat center mount CR’s for a viola, but it did not state if they were specifically for a 16” one. I will look elsewhere where they might be described clearly as for a 16” viola. I hate returning things and usually just take the hit and don’t, so I will make sure first.

Thanks, everyone.
Cynthia

November 3, 2018, 8:02 PM · When looking for viola chinrests, don't worry about the size of your viola. Viola chinrests will fit all sizes of violas.
November 3, 2018, 8:36 PM · Thanks, Ella. I did not know that. I know where to order it now.

Cynthia


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