Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Chin rest dilemma


mmmm

Recommended Posts

I much prefer the feel and comfort of a side mounted chin rest, particularly a Dresden model. All three of my violins sound much better, however, with center mounted chin rests...which I assume is because the pressure is being put on the center block. And I think I've tried most every brand of chin rest there is, except for the custom made ones. So, I've been making due with center mounted rests...

My question is - which would you chose: comfort over sound, or sound over comfort?

I play without a shoulder rest, btw. I think the reason I like the Dresden most is just the way is grips under my jaw and the angle at which the violin seems to come out. I can't seem to replicate that angle with any center mounted chin rest I've tried...suggestions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, comfort is more important than sound. If the fiddle gets uncomfortable, you won't be able to make any sound, even a bad one.

The SAS chinrest is side-mounted, but barely so in that its right foot is on the lower block while its left one is very near the block. So, acoustically it might behave more like a center mounted one.

Concerning feel: While the cup on the SAS does fit over the tailpiece, there is enough of the cup to the left of the tailpiece that you can play on the left side, and the chinrest is adjustable for tilt.

If you do find a wood chinrest which you feel sounds better but isn't as comfortable, try sanding down those places where you feel the chinrest digging into your neck and chin. It's surprising how sanding down just a little bit here and there can improve considerably the comfort factor of a chinrest.

But if you have to choose between comfort and tone, go with comfort. You'll produce a better tone for it.

____________

Here's another strategy: Put on the chinrest which is most comfortable for you, disregarding tone entirely. If you feel that the tone has suffered, take the fiddle to a good repair person to see if the tone can be improved with setup adjustments, while leaving the chinrest alone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your listeners will never hear the difference unless you tell them, in which case they will take cues from you and hear whatever you say you are hearing.

The changes from end mounted to side mounted, as well as changed weights of them can make quite substatial changes to the signature mode frequencies and levels looking at impct hammer spectra. The changes are large enoug to be audible both to the player and the listener. And the changes can also probably be large enough for the player to feel the slight difference in playability.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Anders - this is a big issue for sound.

My experience is that a side-mounted chinrest tends to inhibit a bit of low frequency, but it also puts your ear in a different place, so there's an objective modification and a subjective one - very hard to figure out what's happening, and no hard and fast rules about which will be better in a particular case.

I go with the sound - if it sounds better I will play better!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I admit I haven't tried the SAS, but will probably give it a whirl now... And in support of what Anders said, I have found the change in sound very significant, especially high on the G string. It may not bother a listener, but it bothers me! So far I've chosen sound over comfort...but I'm going to try hard to merge the two!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've found that almost no chinrest straight out of the box has enough padding (cork, leather, or other material) to ensure that chinrest feet against the top won't compress or deform the spruce. This may be especially true with chinrests which have metal feet. When metal and wood are pressed together with any force, wood, especially soft wood, like spruce, will show the wear.

The SAS's I have (and I've got about 15 of them I got about a dozen years ago) all have metal feet and came with about a mm of padding. I would definitely recommend having about 3 to 4 mm of padding against the top. You can pad the contact points yourself. Cork works fine and you can even shape the cork to fit your channeling.

PS: If you have to choose between the two, stick with your emphasis on comfort over sound, and you can enjoy playing the violin into old age, instead of quitting prematurely because of neck or back pain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would go with sound first, always. You can adapt to most chin rest types, if you give it a few weeks, but your audience won’t adapt to poor tone.

That being said, I just went back to a Dresden, because the Guarneri was muting the high end enough to bother me. I get good lows with either one.

There is also a brand of Guarneri that has a smaller/narrower contact surface, and narrower screw placement. I know International sells it. It has Hill screws. I think that would be worth a try.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The changes from end mounted to side mounted, as well as changed weights of them can make quite substatial changes to the signature mode frequencies and levels looking at impct hammer spectra. The changes are large enoug to be audible both to the player and the listener. And the changes can also probably be large enough for the player to feel the slight difference in playability.

I can confirm this.... It's worth comparing different chin rests to see what effect they may have on the sound. Marginal as the difference might be..........

Or just do without.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a link to some research on chinrests for different body types, etc. Very interesting.

http://www.violinistinbalance.nl/index.html

It's revealing to see how much better the tone of the tall young man (Sibelius player) got after he got the comfort factor right. That should be a reminder that the most important factor in the tone of any violin is the player, and not the chin rest or the shoulder rest. Make the instrument more comfortable for the player and, lo and behold, tone improves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is one of the fields where measurements are very effective in determining the effects. One of the interesting aspects of it is that there not necessarily are general rules to follow. I know the effects are substantial and I can document it.

The effects of being uncomfortable in playing the violin are also substantial on the most important component of violin playing, the player.

If the violin were an instrument played by a motor driven mechanical bow arm which sawed back and forth on strings stopped by artificial fingers, then numbers about the effects of chin and shoulder rests on tone would be important. You could use the chin and shoulder rests on this mechanical contraption which maximize tone. You'd never have to worry about this playing robot getting tired or being in pain.

Let me suggest a common sense solution to selecting a chin and shoulder rest combination:

Step one: With your current instrument, find the most comfortable arrangement of chin and shoulder rests you can, disregarding any assumed effects on tone.

Step two: If the resulting tone with this most comfortable chin and shoulder rests arrangement isn't to your satisfaction, take the fiddle to a good setup person for string, bridge, soundpost, tailpiece, etc, adjustments, while leaving the chin and shoulder rests as they are.

Step three: If step two doesn't bring satisfactory results, look for another fiddle that does, using the most comfortable chin and shoulder rests combination you can find.

I suspect that in most cases you wouldn't have to go beyond step two, but the comfort factor is so important that going to step three is worth it, if you're doing any serious playing and want to do that playing over the length of your life.

I would add that Gowan's link, above, shows that getting comfortable with the instrument affects more than the tone you get by sawing back and forth on the strings. It affects your vibrato, your shifting, and the ease with which you can execute all the different bow strokes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...