Are shoulder rests for left side chinrests?

Edited: May 16, 2023, 5:32 AM · I've just been trying some and not happy with any. The wide bit goes under the chinrest - but mine is a center chinrest. Is that why I prefer a pad?

Replies (13)

May 16, 2023, 5:41 AM · Depends on the shoulder rest. Mach One, for example, seems to be made for centered chinrests and at least in my experience is poorly suited for side mounted chinrests,
May 16, 2023, 6:56 AM · Center chin rests are typically a lot higher than a side chin rest. That could be why you're struggling to fit an SR under there. I believe this also explains why the Guarneri Chin Rest is so popular -- people ignore the "cup" of the chin rest altogether and just rest their jaw on the small "knob" that crosses the tail piece. Initially that's going to feel weird and maybe even uncomfortable but if you watch a lot of top soloists that's what they're doing.
May 16, 2023, 10:49 AM · There isn't such a thing as particular shoulder rests being more compatible with particular types of chinrests. Yes, center mounted chinrests are taller than many side mounts purely because they must be a certain minimum height just to fit over the tailpiece. If you have a short neck, you may run into issues with your setup being too high unless you make a concerted effort to get the lowest chinrest (almost always a side mount) and a low shoulder rest.
Edited: May 16, 2023, 1:13 PM · Advisors on the web always say the wide bit goes on the side where your chinrest is inferring that chinrest - shoulder rest - shoulder are acting as a unit. That's obviously out of the question with a center chinrest.
Edited: May 17, 2023, 3:40 PM · I have been using a Guarneri chin rest for several years and am convinced that the unwritten purpose of the wide left-hand bit is to improve the resonance of the instrument. Furthermore, the left-hand bit also behaves as a mute when I contact it with my chin, although not to the same extent as the standard bridge mute, but useful in my experience when some unthinking arranger or composer fails to give enough time for a standard mute to be brought into play.
May 17, 2023, 9:07 PM · I use a left side chinrest that clamps over the tail piece, and I find the mach one quite comfortable.
May 20, 2023, 8:55 AM · Some players, especially on viola, have their instruments resting entirely in front of their shoulders, in the pectoral muscles: they surely have their chins or jaws well to the left of the tailpiece.

The Mach One, whether normal or hooked, sits higher on the shoulder itself, suggesting that the chin at least must be over the tail piece, whatever the model.

I have a Teka-style chinrest, much carved in the spirit of the Wave chinrest, so my chin is over (not on) the tailpiece and my jaw "escapes" via the dip in the edge. I use a Kun bravo, but I wish to try the Mach one for its "hook".

Edited: May 20, 2023, 10:05 AM · I do not play with my chin over the tailpiece.

Anyone who wishes can look me up on Facebook and see my public profile picture in which I am using, though you can’t see it, a Mach One.

Edited: May 22, 2023, 8:41 PM · I can't answer the question about the shoulder rest, but I wanted to comment about the centre chin rest.

I used a centre chin rest on my violin up to Toronto Conservatory Level 10. I quit after this and didn't touch the violin again for almost 3 decades. When I started again, I was using the standard left side chin rest, and found this completely comfortable. However, when I restarted, I bought the extra long arms for the shoulder rest. As my skills developed, however this became uncomfortable. Now, I make the legs as short as possible and was seriously considering removing the shoulder rest altogether and just using a pad so as to avoid wood against bone. I no longer feel the same need to grip the violin and there is much more freedom. My desire for this isn't about comfort but rather, I'm finding more range on the violin freeing that space that is "closed" with a standard shoulder rest. My wife told me I'd have more range high on the g-string if I brought violin more forward, only to discover I couldn't because shoulder rest was in the way. It helped to lower the legs. It also helps to put the shoulder rest deeper into the body of the violin for some people, crossing the widest point on the violin body. This offers the same support, but gives more range of motion. You barely feel the shoulder rest, but it stops the violin from sliding.

Anyhow, don't assume that the non standard centre chin rest is the best option for you. You're obviously not comfortable with your current setup. What is the shape of your upper body? Do you have a long neck and a rather underdeveloped chest and shoulders?

May 22, 2023, 12:54 AM · I suppose the answer is in the name - shoulder rest. The left placed chinrest is directly above the shoulder while center mounted is directly above the collarbone (requiring a pad).
May 22, 2023, 8:26 AM · hi Bruce, about the "wood against bone", actually, that would be not that bad, it's the metal clamps of the chinrest that are a pain, literally, if you play w/o a shoulder rest. it's a mystery to me how Anne-Sophie Mutter deals with these metal clamps, playing in gowns where everything around the neck is open. if someone has any insight on this, I would be interested to hear it.
May 22, 2023, 12:16 PM · @ Jean
Mach One makes a nifty chinrest clamp cover
Edited: May 22, 2023, 8:37 PM · Interesting Jean, it never occurred to me that the discomfort was caused by the metal instead of the wood. However, I still question this since, I would have thought that pinching thin flesh between any two hard surfaces is going to cause discomfort.

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