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just curious!


Janabanana
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As Andres says, some old violins will show the effects of sweat from placing their chin directly on the violin. More commonly seen in the merchandise that turns up on ebay are factory violins that have been antiqued to replicate that chin mark. I haven't seen the paddah_hound fiddle you're talking about, but sometimes the antiquers would get carried away and put the stains (actually the removal of finish) on both sides of the tailpiece. You also can find sellers who put the chinrests altogether in wrong place (not paddah_hound, I'm sure).

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Am I the only one who finds the sight of a chin rest on a violin about as attractive as a wart on the face?

I have systematically removed all chin rests from my violins and am constantly apalled at the damage they have inflicted on varnish and edgework over the years.

A good shoulder rest and soft cloth to protect the varnish works well for me.

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Generations of violinists played before the chin rest was invented (about 1880, I think).

I used to get rashes on my jaw before I stopped resting it on chinrests soaked in other people's sweat, and maybe worse. A nice, soft chamois leather does the job for me; it protects the violin and my face and allows me to appreciate my instruments to the full.

Those rests make me think of pirates and eye patches hiding who knows what

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Andres --

You're right! I have everything backwards, don't I? However, if you look at the time of my post (2:14 a.m.), you'll see why I was a little nuts! (To be honest, I'm always a little nuts, as I have no short term memory whatsoever. I was seconds away from being dead 3 years ago, so from what they tell me, I'm lucky to even know my name!) So, just translate (which I think you all have:)

Thanks for the info. That was very interesting to learn! (I'll see if I can remember it.) Maybe I'll try going without a chinrest and see how I like it. If nothing else, it will make everyone else ask questions, right?

Jana

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After noticing a substantial improvement in tone upon the removal of the chinrest from my primary instrument, I never use one anymore, on any violin. Like Glen, I just use a shoulder rest and a cloth. The odd time I will play a fiddle with a chin rest, I find it very uncomfortable now that I'm used to playing without.

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Hi Japes,

You made a good point there about the effect of a chin rest on tonal performance.

I think the type of rest that straddles the tailpiece and effectively clamps on to the lower block probably doesn't have much effect on tone but those that clamp to one side definitely do.

I've had violins where the lower rib has buckled under the strain of such clamps so it's no wonder they have a damping effect on tone.

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Quote:

I think the type of rest that straddles the tailpiece and effectively clamps on to the lower block probably doesn't have much effect on tone but those that clamp to one side definitely do.


There was a thread here in the last year or so where several knowledgeable people (you know who you are) stated that the Guarneri style chinrest--clamps over the end block-- does more to damp sound than one that clamps over the ribs beside the tailpiece.

I actually started experimenting with different tailpieces, having always favored the Guarneri style for structural reasons, but I can't say I noticed a lot of difference.

I wonder whether the advent of the chinrest wasn't also to protect the table of the violin as well as to aid in holding it. ?

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Hello All - I studied for many years with Louis Kaufman (for those of you not familiar with his playing Naxos just released his recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons). He was totally adament in his belief that the Guarneri chinrest causes saddle cracks and exerts too much pressure on a small area, even if it is over the block. This led him on a quest for an ideal chinrest (for him) and he ended up designing what we now know as the Kaufman chinrest. They are widely used, but he never bothered to patent it, thus the ones made today are not really the same in all respects as his original design which was lower and flatter than you see now. He also felt that his chinrest minimised neck and chin irritation. He never used a shoulder rest either,pointing out that they can also cause damage to the instrument. Maybe that is for another thread. Best to you all, Larry.

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Jack, I don't think the original idea of the chin rest was to protect the table. The early ones are a rather minimal crescent then they got steadily larger.

I recall something of the earlier thread on this subject but don't remember that the Guarneri type allegedly had a greater dampening effect than the rib type. Maybe because it seemed so improbable to me, my brain just dismissed it.

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Hi Larry, Having gone this far, one is bound to follow up with a question: Where and how did the Kaufman chin rest attach to the violin?

It's true that careless use of shoulder rests could case damage but only by putting it on and removing it. Chin rests go on exerting their forces for as long as they remain on the instrument, often years, so I don't think the comparison is a fair one.

Some support is necessary for some (perhaps most) people but I don't believe anyone truly needs both chin rest and shoulder rest - one or the other, and I still contend that the shoulder rest is the lesser of the two evils.

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Guta, That's an interesting piece of information. I didn't know anything about the origin of the Kaufman model chinrest until this very moment, but I have been using and recommending it for a couple of years.

One reason is that a side-mounted chinrest does not have the restrictive or disruptive affect on the vibrational patterns of a violin's body that an over-the-tailpiece kind commonly has. The other reason is that among readily available side-mounted chinrests, the relatively low, broad, and flat Kaufman model seems to fit more people better than other models. If it doesn't fit perfectly, it can often be easily reshaped so that it will. A well fitting chinrest makes playing comfortable and can eliminate the need for a shoulder rest. Another important advantage is that it will not cause a "violin hickey" on the player's neck.

On the violin I play most of the time, there is a Kaufman model chinrest that is made of very high quality ebony, but the bottom side that goes against the neck was originally too high, making the cup too deep. I lowered and adjusted the bottom side to make the cup more shallow and fit the contour of my jawbone better where it makes contact. After rounding the edges and polishing the ebony back up, it looked good again and is definitely the most comfortable chinrest I have ever used.

If you have any communication with Kaufman in the future, please relay my appreciation.

- A thread on chinrests affecting sound quality:

http://forums.maestronet.com/forums/showfl.../fpart/all/vc/1

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Hi Glen- The Kaufman rest is a rather flat and shallow cup, usually about 4.5 across and is mounted with a conventional bracket to the left of the tailpiece. they are very comfortable as Nicolo points out, providing that the cup is not scooped too deeply. There is no standard way of shaping them any more, and they are manufactured mostly in India. I agree with your point that a shouledr rest if used properly should cause no damage to the instrument. When they first began to be manufactured there were problems with the rubber covering at the ends of the prongs wearing out, causing the metal to dig into the lower sides and back near the lower edges. I have seen many violins with this kind of damage. One of the biggest culprits as I remember was the Menuhin shoulder rest, I don't know if they are still made. Also your point about tight chinrests causing damage is well taken- they should really be tightened only enough to keep them in place. Any further tightening is a hazard, especially if the air turns warm and humid causing the rib to expand. Hi Nicolo, thanks for your input. the way you modified your Kaufman chinrest probably brought it to the original form which Kaufman designed. The whole point of the design which he explained to me was that there should be no parts of the chinrest which stick out ,poke, dig or cause any friction with the chin or neck. Unfortunately many of today's Kaufman chinrests do just that because of the deep scoop. Louis Kaufman died in 1994, after a long career as concertmaster at 20th cent Fox and other studios. he made many interesting recordings for various labels, and the Vivaldi Four Seasons, made in 1948 was the first complete recording made ot this work. There's more about him on Google for anyone interested. Cheers, Larry.

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Not relevant to the chinrest discussion, but for those interested...the NY Times on February 27 did an interesting article about Kaufmann's recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons--and the surprising fact that its first American recording was in 1948--a seemingly recent date for such a ubiquitous piece of music.

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I, also, have a long neck, but it's the shoulder rest that offers the violin up to the chin avoiding the shoulder scrooching, not the chin rest.

The chin rest won't even give you and extra inch of height

whereas the shoulder rest may give up to 2".

The shoulder rest will also put the violin at a better playing angle for you. You should try it, but remove the chin rest and you will hear your violin give an audible sigh of relief!

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