How To Find The Perfect Chinrest

Finding the right chinrest can be a daunting task…

Robyn discusses the use of the chinrest and how you can ensure a perfect fit, every time. Last week we introduced the shoulder rest to the equation and how both must be selected together for optimal comfort. 

This week we continue our look at the perfect set-up focussing on the chinrest.  Many customers come into the store to look at a new shoulder rest only to realise that it is, in fact, their chinrest that needs to be looked at.  In his book, The Violin Lesson, Simon Flesch concludes that the chinrest should really be called the ‘jawbone rest’ as that is a more accurate description of the contact point on the rest.  It is also important to realise that there should be no gap between the instrument and the neck of the player.  The tension caused by this incorrect posture would undoubtedly result in overall discomfort.

Some points to look for in a correctly fitting chinrest include:

  • HEIGHT: No more than one finger’s distance in between the point of the chin and the chinrest when the eyes are looking directly forward and not up or down.
  • HORIZONTAL POSITIONING: Depending on the player’s preference (which is usually due to their flexibility in the shoulder or balance of the instrument), the chinrest should be positioned in the correct position ‘horizontally’.   It has become quite common for violists to compensate for the breadth of the instrument by using a chinrest that will extend more over the tailpiece of the instrument.
  • TONE: A chinrest that allows proper positioning next to the neck will allow for a more resonant tone by allowing the instrument to ‘ring’ to its fullest. The SAS Chinrest is renowned for providing great tone, comfort and height options.

Without a doubt, one of our customers most common concerns is what to do when your skin has a reaction to the chinrest.

strad_pad

The Strad Pad is a great option for removing discomfort and irritation from use of the chinrest.

Whilst we stock a range of  Strad Pads to be placed over the chinrest as a protective covering, the new Wittner Space Age Chinrest can overcome this issue.  It is made with hypoallergenic material and comes with a screwdriver to attach the cork-lined rest to the instrument.

Violinist Hilary Hahn talks about how she developed her perfect set up

The Teka Chinrest is still our most popular chinrest as its shape, bakelite construction, and medium height are considered the most comfortable for the majority of the population.

teka

The Teka chinrest is a popular favourite for comfort and design.

Important points to remember in regards to your chinrest includes:

  • Ensure an experienced repairer fits your chinrest.
  • If your instrument is ‘buzzing’ it could be that the chinrest is too loose and is rattling on the tailpiece
  • Ensure your tailpiece is not too tight as it may restrict the resonance of your instrument
  • Only use equipment specifically designed to adjust your chinrest.  Other implements may damage the varnish of the instrument.

Hilary Hahn performs Paganini Caprice 24 with her optimal set up

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