Chinrest modification to improve violin and viola sound
I recently replaced the cork on chinrests for my two violas and two of my 4 violins with 2mm thick rubber sheeting. The improvement in tone was immediate and noticeable whether play with the instruments under my chin or in cello position.
This was not a stroke of genius but inspired by my previous years of experience with RESONATION CHINRESTs on my 4 violins ( www.resonationchinrest.com ).
More in my post below:
I’ve had (left-mounted RESONATION CHINRESTS (RC)- on my 4 violins for a decade and a fellow violinist then put a Guarneri model RC on his Enrico Rocco violin with good tonal improvement. My only disappointment was that I had to go to a different model chinrest from my favored 50 year old Original Stubers. The RC incorporates a patented rubber connection between the chinrest and the violin corpus.
Sorry, but that's total bollocks.
This was discussed on Maestronet today. For myself, I would hold off
Cotton, have you tried it?
"Sorry, but that's total bollocks.
Yep, anything touching the violin affects the sound.
Respectfully, Scott, the rubber would likely have a different transmission of vibrations than the cork, either natural or composite, probably more longitudinal than torsional, near the main point of transmission- the saddle. In my experience, the mass and density of wood of the chinrest (I prefer center mount Flesch but have tried plastic Wittner and others) has had major affects on the tambre of several instrument, not just the resonance. Cotton, it’s not the clamp, it’s the contact point of the rest which transmits to it. The chinrest does, in my experience, dampen with various affect. It would make sense that a different material with different characteristics would have some effect.
So Cotton, Are you the same person as
For the chinrest to damp the violin, the whole instrument would have to move as one solid mass on one axis. Which it doesn't!
Edward so far I found enough rubber in some 2mm thick pieces that were part of packing for some small elex stuff I bought. But I just received some in a roll from Amazon that I will use for the last two chinrests when they arrive.
Andrew ... thanks for the tip, I see no harm in trying it.
I think the Kreddle uses rubber instead of cork. Switching to Kreddle did not improve the sound of my violin.
Back in the early 1990s I used try out violins (both in the white and finished) that a fried of mine (Charles Woods) made - both in his studio and in the large sanctuary of the church he belonged to. Most (not all) of the violins sounded much better both under the chin and projecting in that large room with side-mounted chinrests than with center-mounted ones.
It would be messy to computer-model the effects of rubber and cork chinrest mountings. I think the rubber is acting as a shock absorber to isolate the chinrest from the motions (vibrations) of the instrument so less energy is lost to moving the chinrest - to put it in simple terms. Cork may be a good thermal insulator but it is mechanically stiff compared to rubber.
Oh dear, another crucial factor to add to the list
How does rubber behave with varnish, especially antique?
The proper way to get back to the original tone as envisaged by the maker is to remove CR and SR. It works.
I have only ever noticed a sound change when removing a shoulder rest (though I struggle to play indefinitely w/out a shoulder rest).
Half an inch of rubber sheet is not gonna mechanically insulate ****. The chinrest will still vibrate with the instrument.
Anything that touches the violin (or viola) can have an effect... only if that area of the instrument vibrates... and every part of the violin vibrates at some frequency or another.
To help with the dampening effect of the chinrest you can cut back the cork so it just makes contact on the edge, the cork doesn't need to extend onto the top. Depending on the kind of rubber, I wouldn't recommend it, it'll mess up the varnish more than the cork. Neoprene or something like it would probably be okayish.
Anthony, cork can mess it up too. With the violins I've owned for 50 to 70 years (3 of my 4), changing chinrests makes it obvious that if you want the varnish virgin to the edge you will need professional refinishing. I can't see that rubber removal will be more of a problem.
Andrew, I'm a stuber fans too. And "edu", which is quite similar to stuber.
Chinrests have a huge effect, and a player who is looking for a certain effect might conclude that all of his instruments have been improved by a chinrest that gives that effect on them, but that doesn't mean the violin is better or worse for someone else who isn't looking for that effect. . . and tonal and instrument behavior preferences (very often players are sensing things that don't reach listeners) are far from universal! I see this all the time with various modern innovations--that they work with a certain type of violin or player, but are not useful for anything else. Kevlar tail guts on violins are a really good example of this, as are "harp" cello tailpieces. I can hear the difference, and know where they are useful, but that benefit is very specific to certain types of instrument, not universal. It depends entirely on what areas that specific instrument needs to be accentuated or subdued to work better.
Andrew! You’ve inspired me to try it. Why not? I was going to order what you listed in your earlier post on amazon. Can you explain a little how to put it on the chinrest?
Nice and very valuable post, Darnton.
Thank you Andrew! I think I bought the last one :) It's to arrive tomorrow! But thank you for the offer. I'll let you know my results
Who unlocked the looney bin?...
Looney bin? My money is on Victor, Burgess and Darnton any day.
Andrew is correct! There IS a difference. Wow, I wasn’t expecting that much of a change but a change for the better it is. Andrew, do you think doubling the rubber might be helpful?
Jamie, you certainly have enough material to try it.
Chin rests and shoulder rests are called boundary conditions in the science of mechanics. They form rather complex restraints on the violin and interactions between the violin and the contact points on the body.
And - are not the chin/jaw, collarbone, shoulder (or other flesh-covered contact) and the mass of the head on the chinrest or bare violin body part of it all too?
I feel it my calling in life to pour scepticism on all claims that depend solely on the accurate and unbiased opinion of the claimant. I certainly wouldn't trust my own judgement to be free of subconscious bias, but for £2.99 I thought I might as well order a roll of neoprene rubber anyway. Just hope it turns out to be the right thickness, brand, colour...
Andrew, I can not find a left-handed chinrest high enough to suit me; I wonder if adding a rubber strip or two would do the trick? Also, I am wondering if you tried leaving the cork on and adding the rubber? Thank you!
Andrew, is it possible to post a picture to see what your chinrest looks like with your 'rubber adjustment'? :)
I tried this today with my guarneri chinrest as the original cork had already had an accident when a luthier tried to change chinrests. (Never offered to re-cork it either)
"Cotton Mather" is completely wrong here. The bottom rib area of the violin is tremendously important to sound production, and anything that touches the ribs in that location is going to have an impact.
Thomas, I bought the rubber for my 4 most recent installations from Amazon using the descriptor in "quotation marks" in one (or 2) of posts above in this thread.