Problem with center mounted chin rests.

Edited: June 7, 2021, 8:09 AM · I had another go at fitting a center mounted chin rest tonight. They get my violin in a more natural horizontal position for bowing which is I why I sometimes experiment with them. The problem is the chin rest touches the tailpiece.

I have tried gluing extra pieces of cork to raise the height but even 5mm is not enough. I need about 8mm so I may have to glue some timber to the chin rest base. Do all center mounted chin rests require this or have I just ended up with a couple of duds ?

Replies (25)

June 7, 2021, 7:34 AM · My centre mount is a Wittner Augsberg (I think thats what its called). It doesn't touch the bridge on either my violin or viola that I have noticed and that is using just what came with it (i.e. no extra cork etc.)
June 7, 2021, 7:46 AM · By bridge, I assume you mean tailpiece. I take it you haven't got a viola tailpiece on a violin?
Edited: June 7, 2021, 8:25 AM · Thanks, I have been sick for two weeks and my brain is bit scrambled. I edited the original post to read 'tailpiece'.

No, it is a Wittner violin tailpiece.

June 7, 2021, 8:23 AM · I also use Wittner Augsburg chinrests, and the height is adjustable by design. There’s no need to introduce extra cork or anything else to raise them up. I think they are very comfortable too, which of course is why I use them.
June 7, 2021, 8:26 AM · Yes, I was just looking at the Augsburg chin rests online. They are not only height adjustable but tilt adjustable too. Probably worth a try !
June 7, 2021, 10:17 AM · Instead of raising the center mounted chinrest-which are generally on the tall side already, you can always have a shop professionally shave some wood from the bottom of the chinrest for a more precise fit.

My non-center mounted Teka needed a few mms shaved off at the bottom, as I fit it close to the tailpiece, the chin cup extending a bit over it, and the tailpiece would also touch the chinrest. No big loss in having someone (or yourself if you are well-equipped to do it-I am not) take some wood off the bottom of your favorite chinrest.

Be well.

June 7, 2021, 11:35 AM · I suggest trying the SAS chin rest(https://www.viva-sas.com/chin_about.htm). It is very configurable, and functions like a center chinrest even though the mount is slightly to the left. I have tried a variety of center chinrests, and this is my favorite.
Edited: June 7, 2021, 11:50 AM · I like the Kreddle adjustable chinrest. If you enjoy your current cr I would recommend taking out some wood on the underside to accomodate the tailpiece.

PS the answer is "no", centre chinrests should not be able to touch your tailpiece ever.

June 7, 2021, 7:25 PM · OP, I'm assuming you don't use a shoulder rest?
Edited: June 7, 2021, 8:01 PM · Adalberto : There is not a lot of timber there to shave off. I estimate the thickness of the timber at its thinnest point as only 3mm or 4mm but I need to raise the height of the chin rest another 4 or 5 mm.

Erik : I use a shoulder rest. Why do you assume that I do not ?

Charles and Cotton : I am comparing the Kreddle and the SAS now.They look quite similar but the SAS is made of timber and available in ebony, rosewood or maple. I am not sure how to choose the height though ?

June 7, 2021, 11:36 PM · I generally have not had a problem with center-mounted chinrests, and more often find that there's miles of clearance with the tailpiece.

However, there are many types of chinrests, some more problemmatic than others, and lots of different manufacturers. In addition, violin specifics matter too... saddle height, arching height, bridge height. Photos of the particular violin and chinrest might help decide where the problem(s) is/are.

Edited: June 8, 2021, 12:46 AM · I’m suddenly feeling like there’s a need to clarify something here. A “Guarneri” rest is center mounted, but the chin cup is left of the tailpiece. I was assuming that our OP meant a center positioned cup, like a Flesch or Wittner Augsburg, when he referred to his chinrest as being center mounted. (Yes/No, Brian?) When the cup is center positioned there can be interference with the tailpiece, and there’s not miles of clearance unless you have an unusual chinrest design.
Edited: June 8, 2021, 12:51 AM · I prefer centre-mounted rests and have perhaps 3 different ones and no problem with any of them. Although I admit, I like the centre-mounted ones that project out to the left.
June 8, 2021, 4:07 AM · Brian, if you go into a well-stocked violin shop, they will probably have a variety of chinrests that you can check for comfort and tailpiece clearance, and can also determine whether there is anything unusual about your violin which makes chinrest clearance problematic.

If you don't have access to such a shop, posting photos (as Don suggested) might be helpful.

Edited: June 8, 2021, 4:28 AM · On mine the bridge would have to be more than an inch too high for it to be the problem. Maybe the tailpiece is connected to the pin wrong.
June 8, 2021, 4:36 AM · Yes Mark, this is a center mounted chin rest like the Flesch and Wittner Augsburg. I am thinking of buying an Augsburg : I like the way I can adjust both tilt and height.

The violin was set up by a professional ; there is nothing wrong there. I am now sure that the chin rest has not been carved correctly.

I am a long way from a violin shop : it is 1700km to Brisbane !

June 8, 2021, 8:14 AM · I am not an expert, but is your violin an older instrument? If so its possible that the fingerboard has gradually developed a too-steep angle. This would result in a corresponding steeper string angle and a higher bridge - resulting in an equally steep after-length - and less clearance.

I hope that makes sense. It definitely requires evaluation by a luthier but others here should be able to provide the fingerboard and string clearances.

June 8, 2021, 8:14 AM · I am not an expert, but is your violin an older instrument? If so its possible that the fingerboard has gradually developed a too-steep angle. This would result in a corresponding steeper string angle and a higher bridge - resulting in an equally steep after-length - and less clearance.

I hope that makes sense. It definitely requires evaluation by a luthier but others here should be able to provide the fingerboard and string clearances.

June 8, 2021, 10:03 AM · With a Flesch model chinrest, since it extends a long way over the tailpiece, geometry is much more critical. Presumably the interference is not so much at the tailgut, but farther out over the tailpiece. Small differences in the angle of the holes drilled for the hardware, or the bend angle of the bracket will make a large difference in the clearance or interference... it might not be so much about how the wood was cut.

I have occasionally had to re-bend the hardware "L" pieces. The safest way is to unscrew everything from the chinrest, and use a piece of hard maple to drill a hole, screw the "L" into it, and use that as leverage to adjust the bend.

I have also had to remove some wood on chinrests that extend out over the tailpiece, and usually use a spindle sander for that.

June 8, 2021, 5:52 PM · Elise : it is a not an old violin. Less than 10 years old.

Don : it is a cheap chin rest and therein lies the problem. It is not worth mucking around with any more.

I am calling Sydney violin shops today to make enquiries about the SAS chin rest and the Wittner Augsburg.

NOTE : how do you post photos on this website ? I do not see any 'click to add photo' button when posting messages.

June 8, 2021, 7:09 PM · Mr. Kelly,

The problem does sound odd, as if there was a problem with your setup (as in a possibly too high bridge). If indeed all is fine, that is a pretty strange chinrest. I did use a center mounted Flesch eons ago, without issues (other than realizing I did not need it later on.) Hopefully the violin is fine-I find the Flesch quite high as it is, so I would not advise additional height unless needed, though perhaps it does not matter with your particular physical features.

June 8, 2021, 10:35 PM · Brian, I assumed you didn't use a shoulder rest because you said:

"They get my violin in a more natural horizontal position for bowing which is I why I sometimes experiment with them. "

Generally, players who use SRs tend to adjust their SRs in order to change how horizontal their violin is, rather than changing their chinrests. So I assumed you were probably a "restless" player. I am curious if you have experimented with that?

June 8, 2021, 11:36 PM · A word of caution about the SAS rest. It has a single pillar clamp which can easily be over tightened and damage the violin. I love mine but am not sure I would put an SAS rest on anything valuable, or honestly even half decent unless I had someone very experienced mount it for me. I know a number of luthiers who won't have anything to do with SAS rests because of the damage they have seen.
June 9, 2021, 7:08 AM · Erik : I use a FOM shoulder rest which is set to its highest, most 'horizontal' position ie. chest foot on high and shoulder foot on low. I have long ago given up mucking around with various shoulder rests. Some of them are so expensive it is silly !

I have done some research on the SAS chin rest today and I am not all that keen on it now for various reasons.

I am thinking that the Wittner chin rests which are less than half the price of the SAS are the way to go. I might even buy the Wittner standard chin rest, which mounts to the side, as well as the Augsburg and give them both a go.

One very experienced violinist said to me today 'Don't buy any chin rest that is adjustable. You will be forever adjusting it ! '

Good advice :)

June 9, 2021, 6:31 PM · Reply to Mr. Kelly re SAS height: I am tall and lean, and find the 32mm option very good. This height was recommended to me by a sales person at Johnson String in Boston. They did not equivocate about this choice. I use a Bon Musica SR if that makes a difference to your evaluation.

Reply to Mr. Nichol: I agree that it is unfortunately too easy to over-tighten the SAS chin rest. I replaced the synthetic pads with a somewhat more resilient but thin material (silicone), and I tighten it only enough to just make it stable. A “real” Torx wrench with a standard handle, rather than the supplied tool is preferred. When I change my strings, I include tensioning the clamp in my general once-over of the instrument. So far I have had no problems, but thanks for the warning.


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