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Don Rickert Musician Shop

19th Century-Type Violin Chin Rest by Don Rickert Lutherie


19th Century-Type Violin Chin Rest by Don Rickert Lutherie

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Product Description

ATTENTION!: You most likely got to this page via a search engine rather than visiting the Adventurous Muse Storefront. This is a custom-made instrument, available ONLY at our new store, Don Rickert Musical Instruments (

We at Don Rickert Lutherie have finalized our design of the "skinny chin rests" that were used by some players in the 19th Century, notably Pablo de Sarasate. These minimalist chin rests are targeted to Old Time fiddlers and 19th Century-style fiddlers, who really only use a chin rest for holding their fiddle when going back to 1st position from 3rd position. This is by no means an modern ergonomically-correct chin rest, but we did the best we could to make it so.

These chin rests look a lot cooler and are definitely more period-authentic for re-enactors than a bulky  modern chin rest. They are the ideal chin rest for:

The new chin rest, hand-made in our workshop of walnut, boxwood-stained maple, black-stained maple. The one shown is natural un-stained polished mahogany. See the article New 19th Century-Type Violin Chin Rest by Don Rickert Lutherie for additional information and photos.

Some Background

While the chin rest was not commonly used by violinists and probaby used almost never by fiddlers until well into the 20th Century, the chin rest was actually invented in 1820 by Louis Spohr (a.k.a. Ludwig Spohr...he changed his name from the German to the French version of the same name at some point in his life).

See the article New 19th Century-Type Violin Chin Rest by Don Rickert Lutherie for an image of Spohr's drawing of his chin rest. Spohr's 1820 chin rest somehow attached to the end pin of the violin.

The Other 19th Century Chin Rest

There is another type of chin rest that made it onto the scene later in the 19th Century that is often attributed to Spohr. Our research indicates that this attribution is probably incorrect...Spohr apparently had nothing to do with it. One notable user of this later 19th Century chin rest was the Spanish virtuoso, Pablo de Sarasate (1844 - 1908), whose playing years were from about 1860 until the early 20th Century.

We have heard a number of reports of the skinny Sarasate-type chin rest showing up on violins and fiddles made in the 19th Century. While not in common use, the fact remains that these rests DID exist in the 19th Century and at least one famous violinist used one. This should offer some solice to the 19th Century fiddle enthusiast that it would have at least have been possible to obtain a chin rest in the 19th Century. Our reading of the commentary on the many fiddle-oriented websites indicates some interest in this type of chin rest among players of pre-20th Century fiddle music, especially those who use other positions than 1st position.

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