The musicians in the research were of all sizes and the final custom made chin rests reflect the unique differences in the players. However, it was remarkable that all players, except one, needed a chin rest higher than store-bought models.
This is reflected in their final custom chin rests. Since the length of the neck* determined the height of the chin rest, there were also short and middle-sized players who also required higher chin rests. The total height of a musician did not determine the height of the chin rest required. Aspects of playing style were also taken into consideration when altering the height of the chin rest, allowing the players plenty of room to move. Violists required less alteration in height, because the instrument itself is thicker.
1. Iren’s final adjusted chin rest
2. Iren and Huug
3. Huug’s final custom chinrest
Our shortest and tallest player in the research: Iren and Huug.
Iren is just 1 meter and 58 centimetres tall, and her neck is a short 8 cm* so she needed a lower chin rest to match it. Her final custom made chin rest is ½ cm lower than the standard Flesch chin rest.
Tall people have the hardest time finding a chin rest that fits. Huug is tall, 1 meter 85 cm, and his long neck of 13.5 cm* meant that he needed a tall chin rest to match. His final chin rest was an average of 2.3 cm higher than his original model.
1. Huug’s final custom made chin rest
2. At the end of the research.
A low or high chin rest looks natural when matched to the size of the player.
Even this tall chin rest looks normal when seen under Huug’s chin, and it means that he can keep his head up when playing, decreasing neck and shoulder tension. We changed the shape of the chin rest by rounding and smoothing the edge near the throat to prevent it from pressing in there. This is a step which is often necessary when raising chin rests.
Short and middle-sized players can also have long necks.
Fiona is just one centimeter taller than Iren. We were surprised to find that despite her total height of 1 meter 58 ½ cm her neck was long enough (11 cm*) to need a heightened chin rest. Her final custom chin rest, allowing for tilt was 1.2-2 cm higher than her original model. She reported that the changes we made helped her to eliminate persistent long-term neck and shoulder pain.
1. Huug’s final custom made chin rest: Total height 4.4 -5 cm
2. Fiona’s final chin rest, Total height: 3-3.5 cm
Even thought Huug is 26 cm taller than Fiona, their neck lengths differ by only 2.5 cm. The difference in the height of their chin rests is just c.1.5 cm.
*Neck measurements were made in a straight line down from upper edge of jaw to the collar bone with the musician facing forward.