Centre chinrests (again?)
I've got a feeling there was a thread about centrally mounted chinrests somewhere. I don't know where. At the time it didn't interest me, but since then I have seen the vibration patterns in the Cambridge Companion to the Violin, and it seems there is some antinodal activity where a chinrest normally goes, to the left of the tailpiece; whereas in the middle it is nodal. I was wondering if anyone had noticed better sound from their violin when using a central chinrest as a result of employing this more nodal position? (I'm wondering about getting a Flesch or a Berber)
And while I'm here, is boxwood better than ebony?
I have a centre chinrest on both my violin and viola. It suits my playing style a lot better. I find it comfortable. I can't say about the sound because I changed the chinrest before really playing them properly so the sound I know is the centre CR
When I tried center chinrests around 30 years ago they dimmed the sound of my violins compared to left-mounted chinrests. But in testing them with a violin maker friend I found that is not true for all violins.
When choosing a chinrest, the number one deciding factor is comfort. There is a lot of controversy with regards to how chinrests affect sound, of much of that is related to the altering relationship between the ear and the sound holes. I think the difference in sound between side and center is so little that it doesn't matter anymore, although sometimes it is onsiceable. I think a player in comfort will sound better regardless.
The debate over acoustic impact of center/side-mounted chinrests has been going on for a long time.
For me, comfort is most important. While many people are comfortable with the Guarneri chinrest, I find them to be very uncomfortable overall for my build. Some variants feel better than others, but they are by no means ideal for me. If you want to read some of the past discussions on center chinrests, just use the search box.
I'm completely with Ella. Comfort is the most crucial factor. And, no matter the instrument, Guarneri style chinrests are worst for me.
For me, what matters most about the chinrest is the shape. The position matters too, but the shape is also a crucial factor. Some people prefer flat chinrests while others prefer models with a deeper cup. My jaw shape, for example, favours relatively flat chinrests (my brother, for instance, is the opposite). On violin, I need something very close to center but not quite, so right now I'm using a center-mounted Wittner shifted a little to the left. Its extra-wide tailpiece opening allows for this. I think the side-mounted Wittner (which extends over the tailpiece a bit) and other similar models should be a good fit as well. On viola, I need something that is dead center. At the moment I have a flat Flesch, which is pretty comfortable. I have contemplated switching to Wittner on viola because it has a slightly deeper cup (good for stability), and the fact that it's a bit tilted (lower on bass than treble side) is nice as well. It all comes down to personal preference, but that's what I'm using fyi.
I have a constellation of chinrests sitting around that I've tried on several violins and a viola. Do some of them make an instrument sound different? Mostly, not much. The changes I hear are subtle to non-existent, regardless of the instrument.