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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Why are chinrests so cheap?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/54010

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 09/05/2020:  18:00:05


I want to replace a small chinrest with a "Guarneri-style," which I prefer. Ebony is listed at around $15 with clamp. In fact, they are all around that price, except for the hypoallergenic, etc.

Tailpieces, pegs, same thing--low cost. Why is this? I figured a nice ebony chinrest would set me back a little more. Aesthetics, etc. OTOH, shoulder rests can go for $100s+, yet nobody sees them.

Caveat emptor, or what?

BTW, Sharmusic.com has 20% off for Labor Day. Have a good weekend.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 09/05/2020:  18:42:16


Yeah, the costs of the things are refreshingly low. But remember to buy the chin rest wrench so you can easily get the old one off and the new one on. To be sure, it's possible that you already have the proper size wrench in your garage tool box, but you might as well just get one and keep it in the case. They're as inexpensive as most of the rest of the fiddle peripherals seem to be.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 09/05/2020:  19:36:03


Thanks for the advice, Ed. But I wonder if these things are just black-spray-painted Poplar, or something. Advertised as "ebony". What is "ebony" anyway? Fingerboards are said to be ebony, but I'd bet they aren't cheap.

Fiddlemaker5224 - Posted - 09/05/2020:  21:48:10


That is mostly true Scott. Many items are spray painted black and passed as Ebony. Ebony wood is expensive to some extent but not as expensive as most other woods. Size and shape also have an effect on the pricing. Chin rests, and pegs can be produced on automated machines making them very inexpensive to produce. Ebony also has a purpose in the instrument, one is the longevity, resistance to distortion due to humidity and temperature. Ebony is a dense and stable wood, the US Navy still uses it in some underwater applications (propeller strut bearings). The other aspect is the density of ebony and Rosewood that require more energy to be vibrated. Thus allowing more energy to be transmitted to the corpus and increasing its tonal output volume. The other good thing about it is that it has not been placed on the endangered list like Rosewood.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 09/06/2020:  06:54:03


Chinrests can be purchased at a fairly low price because they’re mass produced in India and China and can be made quickly by workmen with only a little training.

You do need to be somewhat careful in buying to avoid a badly made product, but most of the ebony chinrests are genuine. Wood quality does vary. At the shop, we’ve gone through a few vendors over the years. We’ve settled on two that provide consistent results and can supply the amounts we need.

If you want the best quality fittings, the price is considerably higher.

RobBob - Posted - 09/06/2020:  07:24:37


More and more the natural variegation in real ebony is being accepted by luthiers. About one in ten trees has real black wood. Most have other colors mostly yellows in them. This makes it look more like the American ebony, persimmon. I love the variegation myself and will look for it.

Most often there are names used for fake ebony like Ebonizied, Ebonite, and other things. But most of what is called ebony is most likely ebony. They can use smaller pieces of almost scrap wood for chin rests. Buying online you can't really see the grain of the wood or the color. Remember too that India and other Asian countries make these parts and they are about 1/4 of the cost of one made in the USA or Europe.

Earworm - Posted - 09/06/2020:  08:32:09


I have a feeling that if really want to spend $100+ on a chin rest, there is someone out there who will sell it to you. laugh

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 09/06/2020:  11:26:27


quote:

Originally posted by RobBob

Most have other colors mostly yellows in them. This makes it look more like the American ebony, persimmon. 



 




You know, I did not realize this.  I knew persimmon was used for golf club heads back in the day, and that the wood is greenish-yellow and dense.  About impossible to split for firewood.



Persimmon is a menace to a mountain farmer's pasture, we constantly have to beat back the sprouts from taking over.  They sucker out from the forest edges and also spread by wildlife.  I spend a lot of $$ every year spraying the fields, maybe I should just let it go and start a "native ebony" stand.

RichJ - Posted - 09/06/2020:  12:40:50


The chin rest is a truly misnamed part of the fiddle.
It has nothing what so ever to do with your chin.
If you use it for this you'll be in for a mess of pain.

Don't ask how I know this.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 09/06/2020:  20:05:40


Some players use the jawbone more than the chin, but the name is not a mistake.

RichJ - Posted - 09/07/2020:  04:58:19


quote:

Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

Some players use the jawbone more than the chin, but the name is not a mistake.






TVB - As an experienced luthier you're in a far better position to know than I. Still, it might be interesting to know where most fiddlers put the "chin rest" when they play. Think I remember hearing somewhere these things were not attached to violins until sometime in the 18th century. Is that correct?



Rich

WyoBob - Posted - 09/07/2020:  08:44:32


quote:

 

You know, I did not realize this.  I knew persimmon was used for golf club heads back in the day, and that the wood is greenish-yellow and dense.  About impossible to split for firewood.



Persimmon is a menace to a mountain farmer's pasture, we constantly have to beat back the sprouts from taking over.  They sucker out from the forest edges and also spread by wildlife.  I spend a lot of $$ every year spraying the fields, maybe I should just let it go and start a "native ebony" stand.






Pisgah uses Persimmon for fret boards on some of their banjo models.  I owned one, briefly.  I didn't care for the smell of the Persimmon and the banjo had several other, real problems, so I sent it back for a refund.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 09/07/2020:  15:08:33


TVB - As an experienced luthier you're in a far better position to know than I. Still, it might be interesting to know where most fiddlers put the "chin rest" when they play. Think I remember hearing somewhere these things were not attached to violins until sometime in the 18th century. Is that correct?

Rich






The chinrest was developed in the early 1800s in response to developments in violin technique. Previously, shifting into higher positions was not very common, and the composers who did write music that ventured up the fingerboard were mindful of the difficulties of making rapid shifts (most were players themselves). With players like Spohr and Paganini expanding the limits of technical ability, it was necessary to have a device that would allow players to handle the large and rapid leaps in the literature. 

Johnbow - Posted - 09/08/2020:  07:35:06


I once purchased a half-dozen or so chinrests from a popular online violin site, with the idea that I would trial them and perhaps buy a few of them (I have 3 fiddles). If I remember correctly, they were all in the $15 - $30 range. I ended up sending them all back as they were all warped and wouldn’t make complete contact with the tops of my violins. I wonder how typical it is to have such poor production quality?

This was a couple years ago and today I’m still using the original chinrests that came with the instruments when I bought them. Also, agree mostly jaw not chin.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 09/08/2020:  13:19:04


A good half of my chin rests on my chin rest (ah, the ambiguity of that statement!). Maybe not the chin's dead center, but still a good deal of chin real estate. Yeah, a goodly portion of my left jaw does sit on the rest, as well, but let's give the moniker "Chin Rest" its due and allow it to remain.

captainhook - Posted - 09/08/2020:  15:14:47


No chinrest will perfectly fit all fiddles. Many fiddles are warped, too. Virtually all new rests require some degree of modification for most fiddles. It isn't that hard to do.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 09/08/2020:  19:24:54


quote:

Originally posted by Earworm

I have a feeling that if really want to spend $100+ on a chin rest, there is someone out there who will sell it to you. laugh






Yes, in that there are folks that make custom chin rests, that measured and designed for the individual player and instrument... it's just a part of  a better ergonomic set up. (of course there is perhaps aesthetics/art aspect as well). Might be worth the $$ , still pretty small cost compared to everything else.



As Lyle mentioned... having a luthier involved can be worth it to make good fit to the instrument.



But this brings up point... on ergonomics.  Often people use a bit of whatever, and end up with the wrong size or shape... and adjust their head to the chin rest; or use a shoulder rest to elevate.  Creates a bit of out balance in players body, starting with head/neck. The main idea is the violin should rest on the collar bone for best position; the chin rest needs to fit to fill in the gap, and match the chin.



Not that needs custom made nor expensive though... in pre-made are a lot of different designs, shapes heights, angles... available that should provide a reasonable good fit.



Trick is figuring out what is best fit for individual (without buying a bunch, or random trial and error.) Some sites offer good general concepts about chin rest set up for different folks; one was something like "violin in balance".  As well some places will let you try different ones, send back. 



shoulder rests can go for $100s+, yet nobody sees them.



Added note... it's about comfort and ergonomics... but as many point out (that some get backwards) - that should spend way resources on getting the right chin rest set up than the shoulder rest. It can make much more difference.



 


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 09/08/2020 19:39:29

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