Which chinrest style do you prefer?

Edited: April 19, 2021, 6:47 AM · Another fairly elementary (or not) question. I'm in the market for a tall chinrest, as the limitations of playing without a chinrest became apparent to me again when playing non-baroque repertiore. My luthier has recommended a hollywood-style chinrest for the tall ridge along the tailpiece (my preferred chin position), though I'm still not too satisfied with its comfort.

There was a previous vote on which chinrest mounting position players here prefer, but not the exact style of the chinrest. For the sake of collecting more opinions, which chinrest style do players prefer?

chinrest styles

A Berber-style chinrest:
berber chinrest

Replies (57)

Edited: April 19, 2021, 3:11 AM · I have a Kaufman. It came with my violin, and I never bothered to change it. I can play Paganini Caprice 24 just fine on it. Future risk of injuries? The future probably holds nothing for me anyways.
April 19, 2021, 6:40 AM · On viola, I use a Brandt chinrest, modified to allow it to be placed closer to the tailpiece.

My violin still has the Guarneri chinrest that came with it, and it's too high, but I only play violin a few times a year so I haven't bothered to change it.

My ideal chinrest is physically impossible, because my arms and hands call for a centered chinrest, but my neck is short enough that I need my chinrest to be lower than the tailpiece.

April 19, 2021, 6:43 AM · Many players learn to play whatever came with their instruments. Often a Guarneri chinrest is standard, and many use the section over the tailpiece as the chinrest (as I used to do as well when young). Ultimately, it doesn't matter what others use, as you must come to your own perfectly comfortable solution.

I no longer hold the violin high on the shoulder-it is a bit more to the front (i.e. chin is more to the left rather than the center, which is very comfortable for the bow arm. Despite my long arms, I never found total comfort high on the shoulder, where many players usually place the violin at. Thus, the Teka chinrest (similar to the one on your pictures) has been my ideal friend for years now-it has a bit of the rest extended over the tailpiece, so I find it quite a bit comfortable-definitely more practical than the Guarneri in my case. But we are all different, and surely the Teka won't work for some.

April 19, 2021, 7:06 AM · I use Teka rests for the same reasons as Adalberto, but I adapt them:

- I file a dip in the left end of the "lip", to allow my jawbone to "escape", while the tip of my chin is in the "wing" over the tailpiece;
- I remove a wedge of wood from the base to tilt the rest, and thus the instrument, for easier access to the lower strings: 30° on violin, 45° on viola.

No hicky, no tension or stiffness at 72 y.o....

April 19, 2021, 7:52 AM · I bought a Wave. It comes in several heights and a couple of shapes. The one I have projects slightly from the left side of the tailpiece. They'll send you up to four chinrests at one time. This worked out great for me as the one I ended up buying was not the one I initially expected to work.
Edited: April 26, 2021, 4:08 PM · My personal favorite for the past 60 years has been the "Original STUBER made in Germany." Unfortunately when the "made in Germany" vanished from the market so did the "original" shape. (So you cannot buy a real "STUBER" without ordering from a special shop in the UK (e.g., Alexander Accessories) for at least 10x the typical US price for a chinrst - and you get a very uncomfortable (just my opinion) Hill-style clip with that expensive chinrest.
(EDIT: After originally posting this I glued a bit of leather across the bottome of the nickel chinrest fittings and no longer find this chinrest uncomfortable.)

In order to overcome this barrier what I have done more recently is to purchase the lowest, flatest chinrest I could find ("JOACHIM" from concordmusic.com) I use "IMPRESIONIST" to create a STUBER-shaped top that I fasten to the top of the JOACHIM chinrest. I cover all my chinrests with either a cotton or chamois cloth to prevent skin hickeys. With the covering, I cannot tell the difference betwen these faux Stubers and the real thing. (Because I do not want a high chinrst I use only 1/2 of the material in the IMPRESSSIONIST package.)

April 19, 2021, 10:31 AM · Of wooden chinrests, my favourite is the Berber, even though it's a little ugly.

The best chinrest I have ever used is the Kreddle, even though it's made of plastic.

April 19, 2021, 12:20 PM · Chinrest fit iis very very individual. I do prefer center chinrests because I'm small stature and I also prefer them to be relatively flat because of anatomy. On violin I could also use a side mount that goes over the tailpiece but on viola I need a center mount because it's big. I'd say the main factors to look at are height (based on the length of your neck), shape (based on what feels comfortable under the jaw), and position (which is honestly just whatever fits haha). If necessary you can also raise your chinrest by inserting cork or rubber underneath.
April 19, 2021, 12:53 PM · My older violins all seemed to have wound up with something very low that mounted on the left side-- which might have contributed to my shoulder tension while I was growing up. New instrument standards seem to be the Guarneri.

I have, in the last few years, swapped all of them out for the Flesch center mount. Adds height, and acknowledges that I usually put my jaw over the tail piece. Much improvement!

Edited: April 19, 2021, 1:26 PM · Andrew Hsieh wrote:

"My ideal chinrest is physically impossible, because my arms and hands call for a centered chinrest, but my neck is short enough that I need my chinrest to be lower than the tailpiece."

This was my problem as well. Short arms, no neck, bone spurs and arthritis in my neck from multiple whiplash injuries. I needed a centered, over-the-tailpiece chinrest because of my short arms, but none of them were low enough. They all tilted my chin up and my head back.

I finally did without a chinrest and shoulder rest entirely. Used a chamois cloth cupped loosely around the end to protect the wood and keep it from slipping. That was much more comfortable.

Now that I play vertically like a cello it's a non-issue.

Edited: April 19, 2021, 2:15 PM · I dearly love my Wave II (Tall) chinrest. I've need of a very tall CR, and this is one of the tallest, if not the tallest, and the wood is lovely. Check it out here:

https://www.wavechinrest.com/

The Wave 2 has a bit of a hook for the jaw, which I prefer, the Wave 1 is more flat. He allows you to buy 4 for the price of one so you can try them out at home and then send back 3 (or all of them).

April 19, 2021, 1:43 PM · Off topic, as an aside...

Ever since my painful, failed experiments with chinrests and shoulder rests, I find that I notice peoples' necks a lot more than I used to. When I see people with long, elegant necks, I wonder, "Does a chinrest even exist for a neck that long?"

Or when I see people with short necks, I'm like, "Good luck finding a chinrest."

Edited: April 19, 2021, 2:04 PM · I don't know why people would bother with anything beyond a Kreddle at this point. It's adjustable in just about every way, and it's way lighter than any wooden chinrest too.

I messed around with all kinds of crap for years, getting bizarre chinrest shapes and sticking cork underneath, and since I got the Kreddle, I haven't so much as thought about it.

See, I got this dancers' neck...

Edited: April 19, 2021, 4:42 PM · Christian is right, with a long neck the Kreddle is great. Never met anything more adjustable. I learned a lot from it.
One thing I learned was that the lowest position was still too high for me. Another thing I learned was that my preferred model didn't exist. So I made my own...

Now I'm using a homemade center mounted CR with a cup that's reaching about 60% over the tailpiece, but otherwise resembles a Guarneri model, but only at first sight. What makes all of the difference is a 75° angle to the side and a 80°angle towards the scroll. The violin model is higher than the viola model, while the latter is super low and *almost* touches the top plate. Now I can play viola without any pain, both instruments are stabilized at a similar angle that's ideal for playing without a SR, and the difference in height between the two models equals the height difference of the instruments' ribs.
It's so comfortable and ergonomic that I just cannot understand why this (or something similar) hasn't been on the market yet.
With cheap Chinese mini-planes (similar what luthiers use) and à good Japanese saw I brought the process down to 5 hours from the log to the polished product. The first I made took me 18 hours... Could still be done faster with power tools, but most of my instruments are equipped by now. I guess I will need only two or three more of them during my lifetime, and since no-one will be willing to pay the hours of work, I'm only making them for very good friends - only two until yet.

Among the standardized products, a (side mounted) Kantuscher model meets my individual needs best.

April 19, 2021, 4:50 PM · Andrew Hsieh, sounds to me like some small modifications of my personal model might be helpful to you. If interested, drop me a line and I'll provide you with more info and pictures. And as a physician I may not be the worst option to discuss ergonony issues, which may or may not turn into health issues one day.
April 19, 2021, 5:54 PM · I have several violins with different chinrest types (Kaufman and Guarneri). But I recently discovered Gotz Slim chinrest, which I really like.

http://conrad-goetz.de/en/conrad-goetz-accessories/premium-goetz-chinrests/original-goetz-slim-style-chinrests

April 19, 2021, 9:59 PM · I like the picture included in the original post! Nice to compare at a glance. I have a Kaufmann CR that I carved on the edge so that it looks more like a Hill chin rest. I think I might buy a Hill CR and see if it works for me.
Edited: April 20, 2021, 3:28 AM · I also use the wave and like it. I have the flatter model, but sometimes wonder if I should have had the one with more "hook". I have different heights on the violin and the viola to arrive roughly at the same overall height.
@ Nuuska - any possibility of some pictures of your rest?
April 20, 2021, 4:22 AM · I notice that of the many who use the Guarneri rest, most hook their chin over the "bridge" over the tailpiece, and hardly use the "spoon" on the left.
On the VSOs knocking around in my attic with such rests, I alter them as with my Tekas. But they are still too low for me.
April 20, 2021, 7:18 AM · The Kreddle looks interesting. It has been around long enough for people to try it for a while and form an opinion. Any positive or negative comments about it ?
April 20, 2021, 8:44 AM · I use the Berber. I find it very ugly looking, but it is the most comfortable for me. I normally play without a shoulder rest, and so I need this relatively high CR.

It is interesting to establish some sort of poll for CR, like on this thread, but besides this being a very individual decision, anyway, the matter of CR can never be regarded without keeping in mind the SR, at the same time.

April 20, 2021, 4:56 PM · I recently got the new SAS chinrest. I prefer a taller chinrest. I find it very comfortable. I have small collection including: Kreddle, WAVE I, WAVE II, Guarneri, Strad, Flesch, Teka, and a few others. It takes a bit of experimentation to find the best combination of CR/SR/violin.
Edited: April 20, 2021, 6:47 PM · I’d like to see a poll on chinrests too. I’m not sure what style would be the most popular (Guarneri perhaps?).
April 21, 2021, 3:17 PM · Bo Pontoppidan, would you mind to add a PM to your profile? I'll be happy to send you some pictures and videos, both the violin and viola model, plus a few extra thoughts why I did what - and eventually what I might change in the next model...
April 21, 2021, 3:25 PM · Added. Looking forward to the pictures.
April 21, 2021, 3:29 PM · I go back and forth between the old Flesch and the Berber. The last few months, I've been keeping the Berber on.
April 21, 2021, 4:25 PM · Bo, pics should have arrived.
April 21, 2021, 4:26 PM · Both Flesch and Berber would be even better if not that strictly horizontal...
April 23, 2021, 12:22 PM · In the illustration the last one is actually the Schmidt and the next to last is the Morawetz.
Edited: April 25, 2021, 10:04 AM · I do this as I can't abide the weight (my shoulder rest is about an inch and a half square of high density foam).
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April 25, 2021, 10:12 AM · The Guarneri chinrest makes no sense. It is the cheapest model to put on the instrument, not the most ergonomic or even sensible. If you put it up to your jaw and follow the line of your jaw and then the line of the chinrest, you will find them going in opposite directions. When you do this, it seems absurd. I use a custom from Frisch and Denig which works well for me. Many people use the Guarneri successfully, but I really can't see it's redeemable qualities that cannot be bested in another model.
April 25, 2021, 11:57 AM · My childhood full size violin has something like the Dresden or Schmidt, and I put a Wittner side mount on my acquired-as-an-adult violin. It's not elegant at all but the fit is good enough and I haven't been motivated to spend the energy to keep looking.

Whenever a student has a chin rest fit problem, it's always Guarneri. After "blindly" trying some others without success, I got a recommendation to try the Wittner and it worked for every single one. Guarneri has worked for some but if that's what the shop gives them, I now know that they are statistically more likely to have a fit issue than if they were given something else and I may be sending them back to the shop to change...so I preemptively tell them, if this is what you are given, ask up front to change it.

April 26, 2021, 9:54 AM · Roughly two weeks have passed since I installed the Hollywood rest, it's still rather low for me but my luthier don't have any other higher options. So I went for the low-tech solution of rubberbanding a folded up sock to increase the overall height, I'll try out this setup for a few more weeks before exploring other options. I really don't want to go back to using a shoulder rest.

I have wondered why Guarneri rests are so abundant despite not being entirely comfortable. My best guess is that it offers a bit of something for most players, the ridge over the tailpiece and the cup to the side to accommodate the widest audience possible. Perhaps it's a jack of all trades design, master of none?

April 26, 2021, 10:34 AM · Yeah for some reason Guarneri rests are basically ubiquitous for the reasons you mentioned above, yet many people find them very uncomfortable, so there's that.
April 26, 2021, 2:43 PM · I play with no shoulder rest and find the guarnieri the best...I seem to gravitate between the centre bit of it and slightly on the cup depending on what I am up to....I thought I may need a centred chin rest because of this but have tried 'all' centred ones (berber, old and new flesch, SAS, wave, etc) but they are ALL too high for me and uncomfortable and I sussed out why:

I only like/need the little 'lip' of the guarnieri over the tailpiece, all of the centred chin rests go further 'into' the violin body (over the tailpiece) and this gives me 'nothing' to gently 'grip on' with my jaw and chin and they add height I find extremely uncomfortable...

Guarnieri for me always wins hands down...all of the other chin rests stay unused in my violin spares cupboard these days.

I have a boxwood guarnieri with titanium hill style fittings from alexander accessories and love it.

April 26, 2021, 2:44 PM · I play with no shoulder rest and find the guarnieri the best...I seem to gravitate between the centre bit of it and slightly on the cup depending on what I am up to....I thought I may need a centred chin rest because of this but have tried 'all' centred ones (berber, old and new flesch, SAS, wave, etc) but they are ALL too high for me and uncomfortable and I sussed out why:

I only like/need the little 'lip' of the guarnieri over the tailpiece, all of the centred chin rests go further 'into' the violin body (over the tailpiece) and this gives me 'nothing' to gently 'grip on' with my jaw and chin and they add height I find extremely uncomfortable...

Guarnieri for me always wins hands down...all of the other chin rests stay unused in my violin spares cupboard these days.

I have a boxwood guarnieri with titanium hill style fittings from alexander accessories and love it.

April 26, 2021, 4:01 PM · Ah yes. "Alexander Accessories" WOW! Their prices have exploded. It may be 15 or 20 years since I bought my boxwood STUBER chinrest from them for about 1/3 their current US price.

I have had troubled with the Hill fittings (I'm sure it is nickel, not titanium) and I finally ceased the irritation by gluing a tiny leather covering on the bottom.

April 27, 2021, 12:11 AM · @Andrew

yes, the AA chin rests are not cheap, I first bought one 11 years ago but can't remember how much I paid for it back then...it was a 'John Dunn'which I still have in my famous violin spares cupboard...

I have the annoyance that 'any' chin rest fitting I will feel against my collarbone and will annoy me and feel 'sore' on my skin, regardless of material..it is the actual'bump'/edge that does that.

I have used cloths/sponges etc to try and solve this, it does solve the problem but I dislike the effect the cloths/sponges have on my violin and its resonance..my violin is so resonant and its so beautiful to my ears...any cloth or sponge I use (even the thinnest silk scarf) will take away some of its resonance..when I take the cloth/sponge away I immediately regain the beautiful tone

I think this is something only myself can hear and doubt an 'audience' would, however as I play mostly to myself and for my own enjoyment I decided to put up with the 'side effects' and even with the titanium fittings my skin over the collarbone which contacts the chin rest fitting is permanently light red now. Used to be sore, now I got accustomed to it and is no longer sore.

I will have to try the thin piece of leather glued to the actual foot of the chin rest like you have done :)

April 27, 2021, 12:24 AM · I have a "Otto Tempel model" from Tempel (Germany) that is a wonderful hybrid of the Guarneri and Flesch designs, and is the perfect height for me to play without a shoulder rest. The mounting bracket is titanium, so lightweight and does not cause any skin reactions!

A number of my students with longer necks have really benefitted lately from the Wittner Zeurich model chinrest, as well as the Kreddle.

Edited: April 27, 2021, 5:27 AM · I like Alexander Accessories in theory, as their selection is immense and one is bound to find a high quality option for most needs. They also have harder to find and discontinued models.

That said, I wanted to update my Teka chinrest many years ago, but since AA did not ever reply to my email, I gave up on the idea and just stuck to my old cheap "rosewood" faithful-it still is in good shape, though it does have the cheaper adjustment feet (not Hill type.) Since it only costed about 23-25 dollars, I doubt the rosewood is top quality, but the shape has worked, it looks reasonably fair, and still has not fallen apart. If it works, why change it? However, had they replied to my email, I would have probably tried their version, which on the website at least looks very, very good.

So in short, companies big or small, niche or common, answer to your potential customers' requests. I am more than willing to support specialty shops, but they should be reasonably accessible if they ever want to do business. With that said, how could I recommend AA given my experience? Still, the products do look good, and their users are usually happy.

(Mr. Wie, that Tempel model looks very good and practical. I have Tempel pegs and tailpiece, and they are amazing! Great quality company.)

April 27, 2021, 3:19 PM · I played on a Guarneri-style chinrest for decades. I recently switched to a "Gordon" chinrest and was instantly impressed. It's perfect for me.
April 27, 2021, 5:03 PM · Have I said how much I love my tall Wave 2? It IS very tall, the maker thinks it's the tallest on the market currently but I can't speak to that.

If you order direct he has a "buy 1 try 4" deal where you can try different models and sizes. The wood is lovely as well. Also, if you realize later on that you need a different size, he will just switch it! When I moved from a custom size to a tall I fully expected to be charged but I wasn't. Randall also helped me identify a better SR for my needs. I am a very satisfied customer indeed.

April 27, 2021, 11:27 PM · Brandt. It is built up a few mm for my violin. The one for my viola was fine as is. I used the kits from Frisch and Dening. After working on my body ergonomics I went from wanting a high chinrest (SAS, WAVE) to wanting a much lower one. I also was able to switch to a left mount from a center mount. Center mount is now too high for me. My instruments feel so much more secure now, lighter, better tone, not relying on a shoulder rest, have loose arms. Oh, and got rid of the persistent ache that made me wish I could unscrew my left scapula and stretch out below it.

Kredle did not work for me.

Edited: April 27, 2021, 11:49 PM · I suspect that one of the reasons the Guarneri is so ubiquitous is that it's one of the lower chinrests on the market, and so is rarely too tall. A too-low chinrest may be uncomfortable, but is at least still playable. But a too-tall chinrest is much more problematic because the violin has to hang below the collarbone.
April 28, 2021, 11:42 AM · I use a piece of rubber waistband (15-20cm length) tied around the tailpiece. It's comfortable, secure and washable.

I'm not a native speaker. Thank you for your understanding.

April 29, 2021, 12:12 PM · I used a Kreddle for about a year, and it was fine. However, fiddling (no pun intended) with the infinite customization possibilities was too much of a hassle, so I switched to a Berber. The Berber fits for me and needs no customization. Also, contrary to what someone said above, I don't think it looks ugly. :-)
Edited: April 29, 2021, 1:11 PM · I am seeing more of the Berber/Ohrenform in use. After some recent experimenting I also prefer the chinrests that are slightly over the tailpiece, have a ridge for the jaw to hang on to, and a gap on the left for the jaw to "escape". That would be CRs like Teka, Morawitz, Hollywood/Weisshaaar. In one of his books Paul Roland describes an experiment done with students. When they have the choice the majority prefer that style of CR, not the Guarneri or the centered Flesch. I often see players, even leading soloists, not using the Guarneri as it was designed. I ask a new student "Is that the chinrest that came with the violin" They usually say yes, and I say "then it is probably not the best one for you". I suspect that makers put the Gaurneri CR on their instruments because; the clamps are centered mounted over one of the wood blocks, they can buy one chinrest in bulk, and they don't want to get involved in the business of custom fitting a CR.
April 29, 2021, 5:58 PM · I have been following this forum for a few years and this thread is of particular interest to me right now. Finding the right chinrest can be a rather complicated process, and I am very curious to learn more about some of the customized solutions some of you on this forum have posted about in this thread. @Nuuska M, I am very interested in learning more about how you customized your chinrest, and seeing the photos that you have. For those of you who had difficulty finding a chinrest or chinrest/shoulder rest combination that worked but finally landed on something, do you have any advice? What was the process of experimentation that you went through?
Edited: May 2, 2021, 10:26 AM · R.M.-- If you live near a full service violin shop, the least expensive method would be try several chin rests already mounted on to instruments. Or, if you are in an orchestra that has restarted, look around the section and ask to test the CRs on their instruments.
The decision also involves the shoulder rest and your posture. The order that I would recommend is first decide on the optimum playing angles, horizontal, vertical, tilt. Then choose the CR that fits those angles, then find a shoulder rest to fill the gap between the back plate and your shoulder, and stabilize the instrument. Doing things in that order will avoid the expensive shoulder rests and the expensive custom ultra high chinrests
Expect to repeat the process whenever you have a major change in your technique, bow hold, posture.
April 30, 2021, 11:19 AM · Thanks Joel for the recommendations. I have actually tried quite a good number of chin rests and none have seemed right yet. I should check to see if my local shop is fully re-opened so I can try more options. First, establishing the ideal violin tilt/angle sounds like a good step, as I am not sure I have yet.

I'm curious about the Wave that some people mentioned in this thread.

My teacher actually has expertise in the area of setup, and I plan to address this in more detail in my lessons when meeting in person becomes an option again. We've discussed it some in online lessons, but this is one area where online is proving more difficult than in person.

April 30, 2021, 1:35 PM · "I don't know why people would bother with anything beyond a Kreddle at this point."

Because it's relatively expensive and doesn't work for everybody? I have a Kreddle, and never managed to get it to be comfortable despite trying a number of different configurations, multiple times. I wrote to the vendor and mentioned my issues. Some of the feedback (about the contour) might have been addressed in later versions, and perhaps that's some of the basis for the reference to "at this time", but the response I got was unhelpful and the device I have doesn't work for me, so it was a waste of time and money.

One design element that hasn't been discussed here much is the mounting hardware and location. The ubiquitous metal mount with pin tightening is not really a great design, but one that's almost universal for some reasons having to do with history, convention, supply and inertia I suppose. The Wittner screw mount works much better and needs only a standard screwdriver and doesn't risk harming the violin as much, and also allows contact to be made on the rounded wood of the violin instead of the metal of the bracket for those who play restless.

Edited: April 30, 2021, 8:06 PM · R M - You could contact Frisch and Dening to see if anyone in your area has one of their chinrest fitting kits. https://www.chinrests.com. The kits have a number of different style chin rests to try. There are also raisers in the kit that allow you to find the perfect height in the chinrest shape you find works for you.

I wish I would have done it a long time before I did. I would have saved scads of money and discomfort.

April 30, 2021, 9:16 PM · I’ll check this out as an option.
May 2, 2021, 3:28 PM · R M, if you add an email contact to your profile, I'll be happy to send you some pictures as a PM.

I don't know how to embed pictures here, and even if then I'd like to do so when I'm 120% happy with it, and not just 98%... ;-)

May 3, 2021, 1:35 PM · Thanks Nuuska. I sent you a PM via the contact on your profile.
May 3, 2021, 4:44 PM · R M Looking forward to!
Edited: May 5, 2021, 3:20 PM · Can't remember what I've got any more. I don't really like Guarneris, I decided - they are not great for receding chins. That Berber looks fabulous - I like to have the violin fairly low on my chest when playing the G string, and I'm fond of centre mounts - there's a node there. There aren't that many centre-mounted designs, so I expect to have one of each one day. I might get a Berber for my Breton, which still has the chinrest that was supplied with it. But I'm not really very fussed by their height, whereas some people are very height-sensitive.

Incidentally, Fiddlerman likes no shoulder rest and an extra tall chinrest, so you could get in touch with him for suggestions, unless you can find the answer readily on his forum.


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