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Author Topic: finding a comfortable chinrest...as important as a comfortable shoulder rest?  (Read 4965 times)

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Offline Nicole Federici

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I find that a balanced marriage between chinrest and shoulder rest is essential to comfortable, physically healthy, injury free playing, and that a properly fitted chinrest can totally eliminate that violin hickey altogether. (I used to have one)I am wondering how many violinists are uncomfortable with their chinrest setup. I know many violists are miserable, especially those who place their jaw over their tailpiece. What are people thinking of the Gel Rest? After many years of trial and error with every type of chinrest on the market, I simply had to make my own, and I am wondering what others have done. I believe that a good chinrest can eliminate the need for a shoulderest entirely, although I am very intrigued with the bel suono shoulder rest and its twin, the libero. I have not yet been able to try either of these, but since they do not touch the body of the violin, they may argue in favor of learning to use a shoulder rest- I mean, they may tear some purists away from the notion that "bareback is best". I am intersted to see what others think.
Nicole


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Offline Steve_W

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Regarding the GelRest, there was some discussion several months ago here: http://www.fiddleforum.com/fiddleforum/index.php?topic=11057.0.

Offline Nicole Federici

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Thanks a lot- I read about the gelrest, and I have a solution to the problems of the slipping off gelrest:
I am assuming that the gelrest is made of silicone.
If it falls off again try an RTV silicone adhesive such as Dow Corning 732, and I guarantee it will work like a charm. (if anyone still wonders since those posts were a while ago)
Basically, I think I have a solution to the problem of ill fitting chinrests, but I just want to have an idea of how many violin players suffer with this- at least on this forum.
Nicole

Offline corien

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In this post I briefly talk about my experiences with chinrests and shoulder rests.

Offline apollonike

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I was comfortable putting my chin over the tailpiece.

Although my new professor changed the way I hold the instruement, which necessitated changing chin rests for comfort.  Now I actually use the chinrest :) and I do play noticeably better now with just that small change.

Offline Steve_W

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I agree the chinrest-shoulder rest combination is important; I think it's necessary to find the proper height so that the neck isn't contorted or the shoulder lifted to support the violin.  There are a couple of good videos demonstrating fit on the Violin Masterclass website here: http://violinmasterclass.com/stance.php.

I have 3 different chinrest styles on my violins: Guarneri, Teka, and Weisshaar, but what's common between them is that they all extend at least a bit over the tailpiece and allow a grip near the center of the instrument.  I think that whatever shoulder rest (if any) is used, greater adjustability will improve the chances of finding a fit that works with any particular chinrest, so I like rests like the Kun or Viva that allow a lot of flexibility in setup.  A couple years ago I spent several weeks learning to play without a shoulder rest, and although I eventually decided that my neck was too long to do this comfortably for long periods, the experience was valuable because it helped me to find a better position for the instrument.  I realized that the shoulder rest was acting as a crutch and aiding me to maintain a bad position, with the violin shifted to the front instead of more on top of my shoulder.  Without the shoulder rest I was unable to maintain that position and had to shift to a more "classical" stance, which not only felt better but had the side-effect of improving my bowing geometry!  When I started using the rest again, I adjusted it to allow me to maintain that position.  I now have less tension in my neck and jaw when I play; I think that the key is that my chin no longer clamps down on the rest all the time as it needed to in order to support the violin in my old playing position. -Steve

Offline woodwiz

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I read something by either Menuhin or Heifetz to the effect that you shouldn't grip your violin with your hand or chin, but rather cradle it in a stable position, but still be able to rock it with the thumb and finger of the left hand.

I took that to heart.  I rest the tail of my fiddle against my neck and on my collarbone, and cradle it between the pad of my thumb and the base of my index finger.  My chin only touches the chinrest hard enough to keep the violin in place when I shift down.  The violin doesn't touch my shoulder at all, and there's really no difference in sound with or without a shoulder rest. I never found one I liked, anyway.

I'm still learning and discovering about a lot of things, but I'm pretty sure I've got a good thing going with the way I hold a violin. I use a very flat chinrest with just enough of an edge to allow a little purchase when shifting down, and my touch  with my left hand and fingers has gotten very, very light, making it a lot easier to play faster. FWIW

Offline fiddlejen

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I'm not satisfied with my chinrest but doubt that I ever will be.  I don't bother putting on the shoulder rest when practicing, but I do use it when playing with others.  And I often change the angle & position of my fiddle for, really, no other reason than that I can [/i.] (see what 5 years of Suzuki - "only stand this way. only hold the instrument this way" - can do???)  So, most likely a chinrest I would love one day I would hate the next.  Sometimes I want my chin over the tailpiece, sometimes more off to the left.  (I do use a fairly wide one to allow for changes.)

Some time ago I got (from Shar or Southwest) a little piece of leather with an adhesive back.  Just stick it on the chinrest. (Stays stuck but lets you move it if you want.)  Does wonders for someone like me with sensitive/allergic skin!  The chinrest pressure was never the problem, rather the non-breathable material.  I also got a little piece of leather that hangs down from chinrest to clothe the chinrest legs.  (It's pretty good too, but sometimes shifts and leaves the legs exposed instead.)
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Offline swarbrules

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Look at the sponsors on the left and try Gelrest.

Offline GelRest

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I might jump in here and point out that the problem of the GelRest slipping off was corrected quite a long time ago.    The new adhesive works great and we've had no returns or heard reports of this problem for over a year now.  If anyone has had the adhesive fail it is likely the older version and I'll be glad to replace it.  Just let me know.

As the inventor of the GelRest, one thing I have noticed is there are *many* excellent, professional violinists who experience pain at the chin/neck area.  So, this can and does occur even if you're holding the instrument properly.   In fact, this misconception  even prevents some players from talking about their problem and seeking relief - they're afraid they'll get lectured on how to hold the instrument.   

Rather than improper technique, it seems to me the problem is a combination of physical characteristics - height of neck, position of collar bone, jawbone, etc - combined with each person's unique style of holding the instrument.

Heck, most of us wouldn't choose to sit on a hard wood chair for hours every day, even with nature's built-in padding, would we?

Stephen   

 




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