Help Me Choose a Chin Rest

Edited: February 4, 2019, 4:58 AM · I think after many struggles I have found the optimal position for my shoulder rest, but I think my chinrest is the real issue. The chinrest I'm using is the stock chinrest that came with my violin and I think that it's the wrong shape for my jaw. (I use an Everest shoulder rest at the lowest setting if that helps. Also I believe from doing research that my current chin rest is in the Guarneri style)

I have a short, fat neck like a football player and when my jaw should be fitting OVER the "hump" of the chinrest to keep it secure, my jaw is resting ON the hump which doesn't feel good at all, causes pain in my jaw, and causes my violin to slip when I try to hold it without using my left hand.

To get my jaw over the hump I have to really push the violin deep into my neck which feels awful.

So I think I'm looking for a chinrest that has a shorter (not as tall), and smaller hump so that it catches my jawbone better. It should also be noted that I have a roundish face and a protruding chin.

Does anybody know of any chinrests that might suit me?

Replies (16)

February 3, 2019, 10:20 PM · Go to a violin shop and try a few. It’s such a personal thing that any forum recommendation is as good as guessing.

If you can’t get to a shop, order a few from a store with a good return policy and try a few, keeping the one you like.

Edited: February 3, 2019, 10:58 PM · A low left-side mounted Dresden chinrest** might be just right for a person with a short neck. A low Dresden is only about 1/2 to 3/8 inch high and its "hump" is very slight. Unlike the over-the-tailpiece chinrests, the left-side mounted rests can be moved to find an ideal placement.

But if you can follow Dimitri's suggestion, that is the way to go. A non-height-adjustable Wolf Secondo shoulder rest might also be worth your consideration when visiting a violin shop - I used them for years on my violins - mostly to get the tilt angle I wanted.


** I use such a Dresden chinrest on my viola to compensate for the extra thickness of the instrument.

February 4, 2019, 3:28 AM · I have the absolutely same problem. I have a thin neck, but very very short. And the hump is right on my bone. I use Dresden chinrest but it is not enough. My wife has Dresden which is flat absolutely with no hump and it is super comfortable for me. But I cannot find such on any store, there are still the humps and different shapes :(

She has violin from luthier built in 2003. I don't know what the chinrest is.

Edited: February 4, 2019, 3:39 AM · This is the lowest I found

https://www.thestringzone.co.uk/kaufmann-chinrest-in-ebony

But my wife's one is flatter, it is simple design, shape of an oval "saucer" I don't know how to describe, simple pad, not some kind of waving.

It is called Kreisler, cool, I will try to find one.

Edited: February 4, 2019, 5:11 AM · I probably have a similar neck to OP.

I used a Kaufmann on my viola for years, and even that was too high; I literally couldn't fit my viola between my jaw and collarbone. I tried a Kreisler chinrest briefly; it was low enough, but too flat, and wouldn't stay in place with a lot of head pressure.

What eventually worked for me was a modified Brandt chinrest. At the bottom of the cup, the Brandt has a similar height to the Kreisler (slightly lower than the Kaufmann); the lip is about the same height as the Kaufmann's but is thinner and found only at the inside corner. I had Frisch & Denig cut the inside edge of mine to allow it to be placed about a centimeter closer to the tailpiece. You may be able to use the Brandt without modification. For me the modification was necessary because I also have short fingers and need a greater tilt.

EDIT: I also use an even lower shoulder rest, a Mach One with shorter Everest feet, which I believe is as close as I can get to the instrument with a hard SR.

February 4, 2019, 4:44 AM · I'll call my local shops tomorrow and see what they have and if I can try them out. Hopefully somebody in my city has what I'm looking for.
Edited: February 4, 2019, 5:57 AM · Thanks for the great advice, I will try to find one. I feel bad that I have these troubles and still thinking about it. Feel like I am oversensitive, but it is hard to hold violin properly without it

EDIT:

I have found this
https://www.paganino.com/accessories/violin/chin-rest/pacato-flat-chin-rest-4-4-ebony.html

Brandt is almost impossible to find in Europe, this looks like my wife's one. I will try her violin today with more deep focus on this

February 4, 2019, 7:07 AM · Try a low Teka while you are in the shops-if you are not averse to side-mounting chinrests. It should go a little bit over the tailpiece, so your chin or cheek (either, depends on player and violin position) rests on it rather than that not so comfortable edge of the Guarneri chinrest. Some Teka do not extend as much, so I would recommend one that extends to the right at least a decent amount.

I do not use Everest, but since even without SR Teka feels comfortable, I would keep it in mind (I use VLM Diamond at a very low setting.)

Very few players use the Guarneri chinrest as intended, and most players (soloist or not) just learn to be comfortable with that odd positioning. I am sure some players use it normally, but just watch your peers or a few videos. Most people's chins/cheeks/combination thereof do not take advantage of the Guarneri chinrest's shape.

(Not saying the Guarneri is wrong for you or others, or trying to get into a "side vs center-mounted chinrest" argument, or which one makes the violin souns "better", etc. The above is a suggestion based on experience and experimentation, not a dictate.)

You can also try center mounted chinrests too, but they tended to feel "blocky" and obstrusive for me at least (I used one for a few years, long time ago.)

February 4, 2019, 7:26 AM · I have Teka now, but it is too high for me and I have a problem with the hump, of the side. Guarneri is too high for me I am unable to put my head too high :) I like the side mounted, I think it is lighter and cleaner.
February 4, 2019, 7:40 AM · Not saying Teka is the solution, but there are lower models. I do not think I would use a high Teka myself-especially if it resembles a big, center mounted chinrest in its comfort (some do look too tall or big for me).

Unfortunately, unlike with the Guarneri chinrest, I find there's too much variance with the Teka model, so the advice "use a Teka" is not as helpful as "use the Teka that works for you."

Alexander Accessories has a few pictures of different sorts of Teka or "Old English" chinrests. Mine is not as good, but it's low and I got it in a violin shop in NYC. Once I was going to get a Teka from them (AA), but they never replied to my e-mail, so I assumed they were not interested.

Best wishes on your quest.

February 4, 2019, 1:04 PM · Adalberto Valle-Rivera: yes I know, there are lots of Teka style. I was not able to find smaller, but I found one, it is only 1 cm high, so I hope for the best to work. I hope that it won't be shallow too. I will see, I will order it from Germany and try it.

Thanks all :)

February 4, 2019, 3:03 PM · Thanks for all your suggestions. I ended up getting a Wittner after trying several others (Kaufman, Dresden) at the violin shop. The luthier there even let me come in on his day off and helped me adjust my shoulder rest to better handle the new chinrest. Great guy. I'm not really in love with the look of the plastic, but my violin isn't exactly a Stradivarius so it doesn't matter too much.
February 6, 2019, 11:56 PM · I use, I think, a Kaufmann style, because I had the same problem-- my neck is thin and longish (I like a tall shoulder rest), but the edge of the chin rest simply digs into my jawbone-- as in, I literally had a spot that was always sore to the touch (so, I don't need *low* so much as *flat*). Even the Kaufmann hump is a bit much, but it was the lowest I could find (this thread made me think, maybe I should have the shop shave off a bit of that hump; I'm not worried about the instrument sliding if I don't have it).

This won't help for those whose neck is simply too short for a chinrest, but for those like me with "hump" /sharp jawbone issues, maybe adding one of the chinrest pads, to bring the hollow of the chinrest up to the height of the hump, could help? (or, just having a luthier shave the hump down.)

February 7, 2019, 12:11 AM · That is cool, yes I was thinking about shaving shoulder rest too, it is just shoulder rest for a few bucks so don't worry. But I think I found shallower and flatter, there will be on a stock in a. few days so I will try :)
February 7, 2019, 9:58 AM · I am trying a Kreddle with a Bon musica shoulder rest using long Everest shoulder rest legs. A bit of hybridization...
February 8, 2019, 8:27 AM · I have a frisch and denig chinrest. You should contact them to find someone who can fit you for one. Thouugh its a little expensive, it is really worth every penny.

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