Finding The Right Shoulder Rest or Chin Rest for You and Your String Instrument
Simply for Strings stocks Australia’s largest range of accessories for violin, viola, cello and double bass. If you are a violinist or violist looking for the perfect chinrest and shoulder-rest combination, read on!
The correct combination of chinrest and shoulder-rest is crucial to comfort and proper relaxation when playing the violin or viola.
Professional violinists and violists have, for the last century, been divided over the use of the shoulder rest. Early during the 20th century, some violinists objected to the use of the shoulder-rest because the use of padding against the violin dampened the resonance of the instrument; today’s shoulder-rests, however, touch the instrument only at the edges and actually let the instrument ring more freely than it does when pressed directly against the player’s body. Other violinists object on the grounds that it promotes incorrect left-hand technique, or limits the freedom of motion available to the left hand and arm, or causes the bow to contact the strings at the wrong angle.
The vast majority of professional players today use a shoulder-rest, including most of the soloists. Like everything else involved in playing the violin, using a shoulder-rest is a matter of personal choice – do what feels comfortable to you.
Most of the models have adjustable-height legs; you should do some experimentation to see if you can find a height and angle of placement that feels right. Popular brands include Kun, Wolf, and Bonmusica.
It is usually advisable to begin by finding a chinrest that is comfortable for you. Chinrests vary in height, width, curvature, and placement; some are centred over the tailpiece (Flesch), some are mounted to the left of the tailpiece (Teka), and some are mounted to the left of the tailpiece but extend over the tailpiece. You should try chinrests until you find one that is comfortable.
Chinrests can be made more comfortable by the addition of a “Strad Pad” or “Gel Rest“- padded material that goes over the chinrest area and can provide a more comfortable cushion.
If you need help finding the right rest for you, visit our experienced staff in store with your instrument – we can experiment with every combination in store with you personally to find your perfect fit! For more information about visiting our Red Hill store, click here.