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The Chin Rest Testing Kit

By Servaas Franssen, chin rest and shoulder rest technician
and Crissman Taylor, researcher

3. Angle

(towards bridge or away)



It was much more difficult technically to angle the cup of the chin rest towards the bridge or away from it. We decided to solve the problem by attacking it from the top, instead of from under the chin rest as we had done with the corks. We changed the angle of the chin rest using latex inserts on top of the cup of the chinrest that could be fixed in place with spray glue. These inserts work like shoe-sole inserts, changing the angle of the top of the chin rest.

The inserts gently filled the cup of the chin rest, creating a slope. The insert raised the part of the chin rest nearest the bridge, leaving the edge near the violinist the same.*   Different degrees of slope were possible, from a gentle slope of 0 to 1 mm, to a more extreme one of 0 to 4 mm.  

For a nicer feel to the skin the latex inserts were covered with chamois leather. For reasons of hygiene the leather needs to be replaced every time it was used, and we found the students a bit reluctant to use them for longer periods as they preferred the feel of wood. But by placing the inserts one by one on the chin rest during a lesson, it was possible to get feedback from the musician if an angle in this direction should be made by the technician.

* When a chin rest angle needed adjusting, experience had taught us that if a change in this direction was necessary, it would always be away from the bridge, slanting down towards the violinist. This insured that the sharp edge of chin rest didn't push into the violinist's throat, which would otherwise happen when we raised the original model straight up.

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