How Long Did It Take You to Find a Chinrest / Shoulder Rest Setup That Works?
I've been experimenting with different chinrest / shoulder rest setups and I was wondering how long it took everybody here to find one that works?
I've tried a few different things to try to get comfortable including:
Playing with an Everest shoulder rest set high, set low, offset (hi/lo) - Everything puts the violin too high and I feel restricted like I'm stuck in a box with a shoulder rest. It also makes my shoulder, neck, and arms tense up, and this may sound funny, but my eyes cross when I try to look at the fingerboard or bowing area. Not great for trying to learn. It just feels wrong.
Playing without a shoulder rest - I much prefer this, but my neck still comes down too far, so I just ordered a taller guarneri style chinrest (30mm). Hopefully that does the trick. My current chinrest is about 20mm tall, and I've been putting my wallet on top which is another 10mm to simulate the height of the new chinrest and that seems to work ok. So we'll see when I get it delivered.
I've also tried a Wittner chinrest, but since I stopped using a shoulder rest, it doesn't really work either. Plus I'm not really a fan of the plastic.
I've even tried playing without a chinrest. No chinrest and no shoulder rest is tough because of the head moving too far down, but no chinrest plus shoulder rest is actually not too bad, but my chin pretty much rests on the tailpiece which I can't imagine is very good for resonance.
I've also tried to make some rubber feet for my normal guarneri chinrest, but the screws on the clamp are almost bottoming out, so I don't feel safe leaving them on there. I was able to get a raise of 5mm (25mm total) which felt better than the stock 20mm, but wasn't quite high enough which hopefully the 30mm chinrest I ordered will do the trick. They also sell a 40mm and a 50mm but from the pictures, they look pretty ridiculous and I doubt my case would be able to close with them that high.
Overall, I'm really hoping that the taller chinrest and no shoulder rest will do the trick.
It took me about two and a half years or so. I have a centremounted Wittner chinrest on its highest setting and a Wolf Secondo s/r ^_^
Still looking for something that works after 18 years playing viola, because I have almost no neck, sloped shoulders, and extremely short fingers.
If - like me - you don't have somebody to guide you through more than trial and error in the interaction CR/SR-setup <--> posture, then this can be quite some challenging journey.
Judging by the multiplicity of SR/CR threads together with their comments that have been appearing on this forum over the years it would seem that the correct, and only, answer to the OP's question is "for ever" ;)
Trevor, weren't you using the Invisirest?
Roger, you're quite right, I use an Invisirest SR on both my violins- it's inexpensive, light, doesn't fall off, and never needs adjustment.
I think this is an evolving issue for many of us because our bodies change all the time. It took me somewhere around a week or two to find a chinrest and shoulder rest that suited me, but I still play around with the placement of the chinrest and the shoulder rest. After all, I started as a child and growth often dictates equipment changes.
It took me 25 or 30 years and I found the ideal chinrest first. And - Ella is right, our bodies do change with time, although, from my own experience I'd say the years between 20 and 50 may be fairly stable.
For several decades I used either the Kun or the Resonans #1 Shoulder Rest and a Chin Rest from Weisshaar, which I think is now called Hollywood. After age ___ the warranty on my moving parts expired, I started to have problems in the left shoulder or elbow. I did a lot of experimenting, including no SR. invested a couple of hundred dollars, ending up pretty close to where I started with the Morawitz CR and the inexpensive Everest SR. I think a developing student should experiment with their ergonomic set-up at several stages: when they change sizes of violin, start vibrato, start shifting, start the high positions, and of course, if they add a Viola to their skills. On Viola I use the center-mounted Flesch.
I had the same issues - the SR always felt like I put on a jacket that was a size too small :D I got rid of it and then spent months trying to find CR to fill the gap and more important to rotate the violin. Finally had a custom made one but one day that broke - and I discovered that while it is easer to play with an CR as long as it was a) at least 0.5 inches thick, and b) side mounted, it really didn't make much difference because the rotation of the violin is controlled by the L hand.
I have run through many chinrests, shoulder rests, no SR, etc. If I remember correctly, I have historically used (not in any particular order) Kun collapsible, maybe the regular Kun, Kun Bravo, Wolf Forte Primo e Secondo, and finally, Viva La Musica Diamond. Been tempted to try the basic Korfker, but the Diamond works too well for *me*, amd the price is not tenpting (I have indeed adjusted thr VLM a little since I first acquired it, but it has been at the same spot for many years-just in January changed the height a little bit, to even lower.)
Go to the upholstery store and buy a big chunk of ultra-firm upholstery foam. It cuts easily with a bread knife. If you cut a piece that doesn't work, just throw it away and try again.
Guarneri -> Berber -> Kreddle / Edu -> Edu
(Why double posting is so common here?)
Still searching, but I hope I find great chin rest, very flat, I have extremely short neck :) I am going to try Kun shoulder rest, I have wolf forte secondo now
Martin - do try without or with a pad. SRs are very popular but they are not obligatory...
"My current chinrest is about 20mm tall, and I've been putting my wallet on top which is another 10mm to simulate the height of the new chinrest and that seems to work ok."
I've used a Guarneri style chinrest (amongst others!), and a Wolfe Forte Secondo and Kun shoulder rest. I had a chinrest custom made (was extravagant!) and am now using a belvelin pad with a thick sponge on one side to create more balance. It's not perfect, but it's better than my previous setups and my violin hickey is slowly going away.
I thought it was a good idea too, wonder where you would get that type of more rigid foam? Isn't upholstery foam yellow and extra soft? I would want the grey semi-rigid foam. IOW I don't want it to feel like a pillow on my shoulder, more like a Kun minus the rigid holder.
The Belvelin pad is the harder foam, and Augustin Hadelich uses something similar to that but much cheaper (see the new Strings article). They make firmer upholstery foam.
Hmmmm...Thanks Pamela M. I will check that out! I'm not necessarily unhappy with my Kun, but I would like to be happier!
Horace, if you make your chin rest fit comfortably to your collar bone, what will be your approach for a bow hold? Or, in other words, isn't this some kind of situs inversus?
It took a while to find the right setup. I have a long neck so I tried building the height with my shoulder rest. It did put the violin up higher but it made it more difficult to play. I use the Wave chin rest and the Belvelin shoulder rest, a great combination for me. Good luck in your search. www.wavechinrest.com
Glad you found something that works Sydnie.
... and it also heavily depends on the instrument I'm playing. I regularly use 2 violins and 2 violas. The violins are pretty similar to play, but in one the angle of fingerboard and bridge leans more to the treble side. On this one (it's my better violin) its Teka + VLM, while I prefer the other one with Teka + individually cut piece of foam to give it more tilt but play it almost like restless. (It's the most "organic" of all setups I have found on any of my instrumens.) A third violin belonging to my skinny long necked son is used with Berber + VLM, and it also works well for me.
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