Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

Replacing a Violin Chin Rest

Posted on January 30, 2019

Once I had the new shoulder rest and spent some time with it (one practice session), I already knew that wasn’t enough to fix the comfort issue of my fiddle. That’s when I started looking at replacing the chin rest.

The chin rest that came with the violin rested mostly to the left of the tailpiece, but also fit over the top of it. I have a short neck and rather round face, so this caused a lot of comfort issues for me. Especially the taller part that fit up over the tailpiece. You can see a picture of it to the right with the problem area pointed out.

I guess this shape works for some people, but it certainly didn’t work for me. I knew I needed something as flat as possible, so I went on a search across Amazon, and finally came upon the Conrad Gotz ZK256 chin rest. It was somewhat hard to find, since the description doesn’t have the word “chin rest” in it for a search. It was also more expensive than most chin rests I saw, and only had one review, which made me antsy. But the picture included in the review is what sold me. It was a very flat and to-the-left chin rest, which is what I was looking for. So, I took the chance and ordered it.

Once I’d chosen the chin rest, I had to figure out how to take the old one off and put a new one on. This lovely video taught me all about that:

Taking the old one off wasn’t so hard, despite the fact I didn’t have a key tool to do it. I did have a tiny screwdriver that just fit the bill.

Getting the new one on was a little trickier. I learned that I had to unscrew both ends of the chin rest to full length, then tighten them together again, for it to all come together. It’s hard to explain, but would have probably been easier to do if I had the proper tool.

In the end, I managed it and I’m quite happy with the feel and look of my new chin rest. I’m still adjusting things between it and the shoulder rest, but my grip on the violin has very much improved, helping me work through tension issues I’ve had with my left arm.

Now that that was all sorted out, it was time to learn how to change the strings and get the new bridge on my fiddle!

Leave Your Thoughts!

Archived Comments

Jim - Thursday, February 14, 2019

I can relate to a short neck and a round face. I've only had my fiddle for two weeks, and I still don't feel comfortable. I bought a Fiddlershop Concert violin kit. It came with a Guarneri Model Chinrest and a Fiddlerman Wood Violin Shoulder Rest. I feel like I am trying to fit a beam under my neck! At first I thought it was the shoulder rest. I tried so many positions. The shoulder rest is comfortable, but makes the chinrest too high for me. Yesterday, I took the shoulder rest off, but it makes the fiddle harder to manage and hurts my collar bone, so I placed a sponge under the fiddle as a temporary fix. I am wondering if my present chinrest with a Poehland Shoulder Rest might be better, or should I switch to a Conrad Gotz Chinrest like the one you bought and my Fidderman Shoulder Rest. I'll have to give it a little more thought.

Aywren - Thursday, February 14, 2019

After practicing with the flatter chin rest, I can say that it really helped a lot of my issues with arm tension and comfort. Apparently it's not unusual for folks to go through trying out several types of chin and shoulder rest combos to find the one that works best for them.

I'm not sure if I've found "the one," but it was far superior to the one that came with my violin. I, too, tried without a shoulder rest and instantly saw that was a no-go. When I upgraded to my Bunnel violin, I immediately switched out to this flat chin rest.

I also decided to try out the shoulder rest that came with my new violin, and I find it fairly equivalent to the Fiddlerman shoulder rest I bought. I like that it has a tilt mechanism, so I'm going to try it for a while.

Amazon's pretty good at honoring returns, so if you decide to try out the chin rest and find it's not for you, I'm sure you could send it back. It's a little more pricey compared to other chin rests I looked at, but it feels like the quality is there and I'm happy with my purchase.

It's good to hear from you, by the way! I happily stumbled upon your blog last week, and thought it was interesting that we both started playing and writing at about the same time. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress! Thanks for your thoughts! :)

Jim - Thursday, February 14, 2019

I just ordered the chin rest. I'll try it out. I was looking at my stats this morning and saw a hit from your blog; that's how I found you. I have to read the rest of your posts, yet. I put a link back to your site, too. Stay in touch, and I'll let you know what I think of that chin rest when I get it on my fiddle. Use my email if you like at any time: jim at fiddlingforolderfolks dot com.

Aywren - Thursday, February 14, 2019

Sounds good! Hope you have luck with the new chin rest.

Just a note: I found the holes where you insert the tool to turn the little posts (see the video) on the new chin rest were smaller than that of the chin rest that came with my violin. I had a very tiny screwdriver (used to change screws on glasses) that fit for this.

Also, I had to completely unscrew the posts from the top and the bottom sections before I attached it. Then screw both top and bottom on in an equal measure when attaching it. Kinda hard to explain, but the take away is that you may have to work with it a little. If you have any trouble, I'll try to help!

Jim - Saturday, February 16, 2019

Just wanted to let you know, the new Gotz chinrest came in today. I put it on and immediately knew it was for me. I can use it comfortably with my Fiddleshop should rest without feeling like my neck is pushed up. I can also comfortably hold the fiddle in place without using my left hand...something I couldn't do before. Glad I found your post!

Aywren - Saturday, February 16, 2019

That's wonderful to hear! I'm glad to know this helped you out! It took a while to find a low chin rest like this, and I'm really pleased with mine, too. :)