Frisch and Denig: Violin and Viola Chinrest Fitting System


As Performers/Teachers

 -Albert Meisenbach, MD, violinist and baritone, Austin, TX:
          I have been playing for the past several weeks with
the custom chin rest you recently designed for me.  It is an excellent
product, very helpful to my playing.  I recommend it to all interested
          One specific issue it helps me with: I am a 6 foot 6 inch+ ectomorph
with a long thin neck and not much chest.  Your chin rest greatly
lessens my dependency on a stratospherically tall shoulder rest and
puts the instrument lower down relative to my shoulders.  Everything
feels and sounds more natural.  It helps to lessen muscle tension
overall.  Thank you!!!  But first we must have sound ergonomics, which your chin rest promotes.  "Better living thru more physiologic violin paraphernalia"

 -Melissa Allen, violist and teacher, Knoxville, TN:
          My chinrest has definitely made a difference for the better for me, and I'm enjoying the freedom that the absence of the Kun gives me.

-Bill Alpert, violinist and teacher, Alpert Studio, California
          Most of all, I want to thank you for convincing me to stay the course. When I first tried my new chin rest, you might remember that I had some second thoughts. But I've made the transition and have built a new, more intimate relationship with my instrument. Furthermore, it’s enabled me to release tension through the neck, jaw and face. Lynne, I’m honored to evangelize your product and your concepts to any/all teachers and violinists who will listen!

 -Mei Chang, violinist Long Beach and Pasadena Symphonies, California:
          I thought that it would take me a while to completely adapt to it, but to my own amazement, in about one week after I started to play with it, it already felt very natural.  In 2 weeks' time I was playing concerts and feeling no insecurity at all with the new set up.  I'm only sad that I did not know about this possibility earlier!  My shoulder, arms and hands thank you.  I have definitely fulfilled my longtime pursuit to free my left shoulder, but little did I know how much the new set up would actually improve my bow strokes and general tone production.  I realize that the muscles are happy and everything is just more fluid.

 -Anthony Gilbert, violist, Memphis, TN:
          Thank you so much! The chinrest that you made for me is magic! It’s the best thing to happen for my playing in years; it is unlocking many doors for me. I appreciate your patience, helpfulness with supportive ideas, and your fine craftsmanship. Many thanks… 

 -Eric Gorfain, The Section Quartet, California and Japan:
          My vibrato is stronger. My neck pain has largely been alleviated. I haven’t felt the need for a chiropractic adjustment in months. I’ve had a few massages but even my regular body work practitioner feels that my body is more balanced than ever before.

 -Erik Klevjer, violist, St. Charles String Quartet, Baltimore, MD:
          In the last few days I’ve been noticing huge improvements and how much easier it is to play.  I’ve just been practicing scales while my muscles adjust to the new position.  I did a gig earlier tonight and I noticed how much easier it was to play in tune, and with a fuller/louder sound.  That chinrest is making it a lot easier to keep the instrument locked into the right position.
          Thanks so much for all the info. I have studied with a lot of people and they were all so vague about posture/chinrests, so this has been a huge help.  Playing was becoming incredibly frustrating because things never really felt quite right.

 -Lucy Manning, Director, Paul Rolland Workshop, violinist and Professor of Violin, retired, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA:
         [After being fitted with a Frisch and Denig Chinrest], I had to take a break from the violin while moving, but 3 weeks ago I was told I had to perform for the opening college meeting yesterday, so I methodically started practicing.  At first, I could only handle about 10 minutes at a time and was getting very discouraged!  I think I was over-compensating for the change and likely raising my shoulder too high causing pain.  Then I practiced several times a day, but still only for 10 minutes while constantly checking in a mirror and periodically dropping my left arm to swing it from the shoulder.  After 2 weeks, I could practice up to 1 hour, and though not convinced yet, I was encouraged by the progress.  I nearly gave up and switched back to the old chinrest and shoulder pad just to get through this performance, but the 3rd week everything started coming together!  Now I just played part of Autumn - Vivaldi, so lots of shifting was not an issue, but I tried playing the opening of the Bruch g minor yesterday and shifting on the G string was not a problem.  So I'm sticking with it now and can't wait to share this with my students!

-Gilles Rullman, Fiddle Player and Teacher, Haarlem, The Netherlands:
          I already feel a great freeing up, amazingly enough not only of the left shoulder (lots more agility in the fingers, better shifting), but also in the right arm, leading to more stable and more precise bowing.

-Mary Alice Rich, violinist, teacher, and composer, Dallas, TX:
          Lynne, I need to report to you that my chinrest continues to be working out very well. Yesterday, I had a 2 hour rehearsal where I was playing almost the whole time and I did not experience the usual painful knot at the base of my neck just to the left of my spine. That is new to me, not to feel that pain after playing for any substantial length. This is looking more and more positive thanks to you and Gary...

 -Marilynn Kregal, former Principle Second Violin, Buffalo Philharmonic, NY:
          It was a great afternoon with you.  But I know that our good relationship started several months ago with the emails that you sent.  They were detailed about the work that you do, and you understood about the frustration of not being able to play the way one has been used to playing but not really knowing why.  You accurately pinpointed why I was getting pain in different areas, and relating it to what was going wrong between me and the violin... a partnership that had existed for a lifetime, and had experienced a divorce!!  I am grateful for having met you. 

-Teri Lee, violinist, National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, DC:
           I am so comfy, and pain-free.  Would be happy to be a spokesperson for your company!

 -Andrés Ortiz Sauco, violinist, Duo Animacorde; teacher; co-head, CEPIC; Madrid, Spain:
          I just got the chinrest and I have never been more comfortable holding the violin with my head as needed. Also, it is very pretty. A big thank you for this wonderful job.

 -James Przygocki, violist and Violin and Viola Professor, University of Wyoming: 
          I am really liking the chinrest I am using on my viola. I think I can honestly say it is the most 'at home' I have ever felt! Thanks!

-Catherine Farley, fiddler, Flat Run Ramblers, Fredericksburg, VA
          I have SO been looking forward to using the new chin rest. Now that my fitting for it showed me how much easier it will be to play in proper form with the instrument lowered, I'm just giddy to get started! It's not just the greater comfort throughout my upper back, shoulder, and arm, although all of that's good stuff, it's the visual. Somehow the fiddle (as we call it in my circles) seems more a part of me when I can look down at the strings rather than sight along them.

As Teachers

 -Raffaela Acella, Performer and Teacher, Conservatorium of Music, Irún, Spain:
          I would like to let both you and Gary know that a while back I ordered a kit for two students of mine who were not properly set up. I was very frustrated with all the usual products on the market because nothing seemed to work adequately especially for my adolescent boy-student who has a long neck and towers over me!!!! Then I came to the Detroit ASTA conference and discovered Gary's and your work and I just knew that this was the solution for my kids. Anyway, since setting them up with your chinrests, everything else just fell into place, most especially their sound and of course their posture!!!!!!

 -Brenda Brenner, ASTA President, Professor of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington:
          Last week I spent my studio class experimenting with my chin rest kit.  It was WONDERFUL!  The students were so appreciative and it was really helpful for several of them.  I have one student who would like to order one from you.  She is playing with a 25mm lift and a Donaldson, and looks good (her neck is very long and she also has sloping shoulders).

-Paul Scimonelli, Director of Strings, The Landon School, Bethesda, MD:
          I would like… the telephone number of the person who has worked on Alex's neck position. I would like to invite her to Landon to look at my LS strings and make recommendations to me. Watching Alex play last week, he has made remarkable strides with this new position. I tried unsuccessfully to get him to change for years; I want to know … what I can do to avoid things like this in the future.

 -Julia Sun, violin teacher, Fairfax, VA:
         After going to Lynne and Gary for a custom made chinrest, my student is now pain-free when playing the violin. His posture is also much better than before. Thanks to Lynne and Gary's effort and detail work.

 As University/Adult Students

 -Annie Tagg, visual artist and fiddle player, Nashville, TN:
          I cannot thank you enough for the fitting you did the other day!! It has made a world of difference! I had no idea how much. The only way I can explain it is that with my previous setup it felt like I had a pebble in my shoe.  At first you notice it, but after a while you get used to it. It hurts, but you learn to ignore it. Well, you removed the pebble! Actually pebbles!!! Playing now is so comfortable! And you were so patient and sweet!  Thank you!!!

 -Carl Johnson, violinist:
          The chinrest arrived (just two weeks ago), and am very pleased with it. My tone has improved dramatically, and my teacher has noticed significant improvements in my posture and tone quality.
          I really noticed the effort and quality of your craftsmanship, esp. as it pertains to the quality of the Rosewood and wood did a fine job!
          So far, my teacher is absolutely convinced that losing the shoulder rest was for the best! Just this afternoon, I had taken care to ask my teacher if I was still hunching my shoulder...this is now a thing of the past! 
          Thanks for changing my life (in all seriousness) and being a blessing! Looking back, I was dead set on quitting violin (even though I am at an advanced level and continually receive good compliments for it) because of the stress, anxiety, and pain (and financial burden of damaged property...all the nicks from my shoulder rest) if you were unable to help. This was my last resort.
-Tabea Merkel, violin, Halle, Germany:
           [The chinrest] fits perfectly and feels very stable, which makes practicing really enjoyable. I am glad to have found the right chinrest for me, as it has a positive impact on both the left- and right-hand technique. Even the neck mark which I had while playing with a non-lifted chinrest has become almost invisible.

-Matt Peebles, violin student, University of South Carolina:
          I'm not going to stir the pot about whether a shoulder rest should be used or not, but I'll say that I personally play without one. I gave it up a couple of years ago, but always had neck pain problems stemming from a standard height chinrest. I discovered Frisch and Denig custom chinrests at the ASTA convention in Detroit 2 years ago, and haven't looked back. I use their 25mm Donaldson style rosewood model - I think it cost around $50. It has solved the drooping scroll problems and the left hand tension problems I had been fighting since I gave up the shoulder rest. This is just my two cents, but it worked for me - maybe it's the solution for you if paired with either no shoulder rest, or a reasonably low one...I used a Kun Bravo (the wooden one) for a while before I gave it up entirely. I hope this helps!
         6 months later: I have had a Frisch and Denig chinrest for 6 months or so now...It's one of the best things I've ever done for my playing. I have played without a shoulder rest for several years now, but always had some drooping scroll problems and in the past year or two started having some severe tendonitis issues stemming from tension in the left hand. Since I switched to the raised chinrest, I have no problems keeping the scroll high, and my hand problems have been almost completely alleviated. I highly recommend you go see them… to get fitted. You won't regret it.

 -Sima Sekhavat, Violin Student, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA:
           The new chinrest is so helpful and is doing wonders for me and my tendency to tense up when playing. I just wanted to thank you once again for helping me and being so patient. I must have tried over a dozen chinrests and retried them until I finally found the one that fit best. I will never forget your help!

-Theresa Soto, MD, Fairfax, VA:
          I have noticed a definite difference. My left hand is much more comfortable and freer. Subsequently, I have been able to pay more attention to my bowing and my tone is better - even [my teacher] noticed. It does take some getting used to. At first my thumb was cramping - this has resolved.

 -Gregory Durozel, masters student in violin at The Juilliard School, NY, NY:
          I just wanted to say thank you again for the chinrest. It is a beautiful rest and it is extremely comfortable to play on. Not to mention, it has eliminated the pain I was having in the back of my neck from having to tilt my head too far and I have a relaxation in my playing that was not there for a long time due to lack of comfort. The chin rest even helps the fiddle sound better and more focused and the response of the fiddle has increased greatly. For instance, the sautillé stroke speaks effortlessly now. Again, thank you for your excellent work. I appreciate it very much.

 As Young Students

 -Angela, age 7, quarter size violin:
          It feels like there's nothing there!

  -Joseph, age 12, three quarter size violin:
          I feel like I'm floating!

 -Lauren, violist (age 12): 
          Finally, my back doesn't hurt anymore.

-Mike, violin student (age 15):
          I can see from the pictures how the instrument is arranged on my shoulder, and my body's reaction to it was the cause of the pain I experienced.     It's obvious that you put in a lot of time on this - thank you very much for helping me to be pain-free. Thanks a lot.

 As Parents

-Debbie Potts, mother of a university violin student:
          Got the chinrest on yesterday and all I can say is WOW.  Even the amount of sound that came forth was significantly increased...a more mature sound.  All that shoulder rest stuff really muffled the sound.  The chinrest forces her to do the right thing and the thing her teacher wanted.  We are totally impressed with this FIX for lack of a better vocabulary...I hope many serious and not so serious musicians will find you and get fixed before serious and painful injury....  P.S.  It's also quite beautiful!!!!

-Erica Buckley, parent of a university violin student:
          Lynne Denig has designed these chinrests to properly align the player with the instrument. Our daughter suffered from pinched nerves in her neck until this chinrest eliminated that pain! And her playing also sounds better than ever because the violin is positioned properly.  Check this out! You'll be glad you did :)

-Barbara Lehto, mother of a 16 year old violinist who was fitted three years ago:
          Her current chinrest is still working brilliantly.  Her posture has improved and she no longer has any pain in her neck and shoulder from playing.

 -Annie Song, mother of a violinist, age 15:
          Thank you again for taking the time to assist Evelyn in finding a chinrest that works for her.  This is a priceless gift you have given her, and I am very, very thankful.

 -Theresa Soto about her 10-yr old daughter:
          My daughter (age 10) has noticed a difference - she doesn't complain of arm or neck pain, although I have to keep on her to lift her left arm more often. She practiced for 35 minutes on Monday night without a complaint!
          I cannot begin to tell you in words how grateful I am as a mom of a young musician who has struggled with aches and pains periodically for the past 2 years.  Today, when she played on the new chinrest, she truly looked relaxed, and even taller!  You should have seen how happy she was.  :-)



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