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Benefits of Hill Feet on Chinrests


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I was just curious as to what the benefits of the Hill feet on chinrests were? I personally own a Gotz Strad chinrest with the separate feet, but I only got it because my teacher told me to. A person at orchestra rehearsal started an in-depth discussion on chinrests (SO BORED!!! ). None of us could seem to summon a reason for the Hill-style feet! For myself, it seems to prevent the skin on my neck from getting pinched. Are there any other benefits to having these feet?


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This is another one of those personal preference items. For you, the Hill feet don't irritate your neck as much. For others, the Hill feet irritate the skin on the neck more.

A new violin (first full size) for the 12-year old came with a chinrest with Hill feet. I have to change it because he complained about how the feet irritated his neck. The Hill feet stick out more.

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For me, the Hill style chinrest clamps are really uncomfortable on my collarbone since I do not play with a shoulder-rest. From my observations:

The advantages of Hill style chinrest clmaps:

1. The way that the clamps are attached to the wooden part of the chinrest are more secure and less likely to cause cracks on the wooden part of the chinrest.

2. Again, becuase of the design of the mechanical parts, the chinrest is more secure in maintaining overall form and thus have a longer life.

3. The two screws are independent and it means that adjusting and tightening are easier to perform.

4. The two barrels can be placed farther apart and stability could be improved for a particular chinrest design.

5. The overall design helps the chinrest to stay on the instrument better and thus could prevent overtightening especially evident with older conventional chinrest clamps.

The disadvantages:

1. The Hill style chinrest clamps feet stick out more and could be uncomfortable to some players.

2. The overall robust structure could cause someone unfamiliar with this type of chinrest clamps to overtighten initially.

3. When the positions or the angles of the two legs do not match or are not correct, they are harder to repair than the conventional type.

4. They are a little heavier and add weight to the instrument.

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This is certainly interesting! But is the improvement in sound significant? I mean all improvements in sound are important, but is the improvement in sound worth purchasing a new, side-mounted chinrest? Also, does the "quality" of the chinrest impact the sound? Are the higher quality (more expensive, though not always true, I know) chinrests better for your violin's tone?



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I can't tell you if you're going to hear the difference, and I don't know if you'll like it, either. Come in sometime and we'll do a switch, and you can find out. I don't think the "quality" of the chinrest has much to do with it, but the weight might. I notice that the way a lot of players use over-the-tailpiece chinrests, with their chin hooked over the bar, and not touching anywhere else, you could cut the cup off (and the attendant weight) and most would never notice. :-)

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Among the disadvantages of the Hill clamps you might add the danger of using a regular screwdriver that close to the wood at the bottom of the instrument. At the very least Phillips-head screws should be mandatory - but the most recent Hill clamp I've seen had simple slotted screws - any safety engineer can tell you that is an invitation to disaster.

I think the regular chinrest calm and the $5 tool that safely adjsuts it is far preferable..

For discomfort from skin touching a clamp, I use a bit of velcro to fasten a suede patch to the chinrest in such a way that it will cover the clamp - especially on over-the-chinrest models.

Regarding the problem of not resting on the collar bone, the violin should rest there with or without a shoulder rest.

People should be MUCH more careful in selecting chinrests - it can make all the difference to your playing and the development of technique. I have found that the wrong chinrest can prevent a player from ever developing a decent vibrat.


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Oops, sorry for the ambiguity..

You wrote, that you are "getting up a definite preference for the sound of side-mounted chinrests as opposed to the over-the-tailpiece type." and my question was, if you are judgeing the sound by playing the instruments yourself. In this case, are you sure, that the sound of the instrument is really changing, or is the difference probably caused by a slightly different position of the instrument in relationship to your ear and/or the fact, that the side - mounted chinrest covers a different area of the belly?

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I'm a cellist. I play the violin between my knees. It's got certain advantages, one of which is I can hear how the instrument sounds a bit away, from the listener's point of view. So... the chinrest is there, but I don't use it. I'm referring only to the sound of the instrument, then, not my interaction with it. I've confirmed the same thing, though, by listening to customers. But whether you like that sound is another issue, and for some violins (like one I set up yesterday) it is a move in the wrong direction.

Daniel, I don't have data on weight, since I only use two styles of chinrest. I suspect, however, that where the clamps are is the major component of it all, not the weight.

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Ah, I see..

I personally prefer the Flesh style chinrest. It is mounted in the area of the upper (?) block and seemingly covers less of the ringing belly (part of the belly in this area is already covered by the tailpiece)

Also, when I play an open string on my violin and I touch the belly in the area left of the tailpiece the sound changes noticeable, but there is (almost) no change, when I touch it near the tailpiece.

(I play the violin, but use a shield between my ear and the instrument in such cases)

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"Yes, you're right in all respects, but are you sure that stopping something that's vibrating will lead to a *worse* sound?"

No, of course not, I think it depends totally on the instrument. On my good violin the Flesh chinrest causes a little bit more "woodiness" in the sound and on my "church fiddle" all bets are off (it's a cigar box with steel strings, I don't like the idea to take my good instrument into an ice cold church at christmas, tuning at such low temperatures becomes a nightmare, and the change in temperature of some 20 degrees celsius causes the pegs to slip when it becomes cold, then I tune, and when I get back into my warm house the pegs are sitting very hard. My good violin has a very light pegbox and I fear it may break sometimes because of that)

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