How to Have a Comfortable Violin Hold when You Have a Long Neck

by | Feb 12, 2014 | Play Comfortably | 6 comments

Phung asks:

Dear Ms Zlata Brouwer,

 I watched the video of yours about bow straight a couple days ago and i would like to consult your advices about playing violin. The most frustuating problem that i dont know how to deal with is: although i’ve play violin for 3 years, i have never felt comfortable when holding my violin. I have a long neck and a thin body and according to Maia Bang’s violin book, which is the only one I consult besides my teacher, I suppose that my long neck is the obstacle. Also in the book, the Author said I should find the solution in raising chinrest instead of trying higher shoulder rests. However, raising chinrest seems impossible because all the violin shops i’ve visit refused to do that and suggest me to higher my shoulder rest, and they had no idea about raising the chinrest. My teacher thinks that I could use tower or handkerchief, but they just ease the problem rather than solving it completely.

I think that problem is the mother one, causing many other minor effects. When i play, my right shoulder holding the bow just keeps raising up, making me feel tired of that shoulder. For now i’m trying to balance my way of playing, and i think that you could suggest me some solutions.And for the last, I’m kind of curious about how can some violinists like Itzhak Perlman or Jascha Heifetz hold the violin without shoulder rest, evenmore, Heifetz’s violin seemed to point up a small angle. I just want to feel comfortable and can play it with joy just like they did in their videos.


I would be very appreciated if you could help. Thank you and happy new years !

Best wishes,

Phung Quoc Trung

How to have a comfortable violin hold when you have a long neck?

Making your shoulder rest higher and higher is not the solution and can even cause injury on your right shoulder and arm.

Watch this video to find out what’s an easy solution to this issue (and it involves wine):

Is this video useful to you? Please let me know in the comments!




  1. Mareike

    I use the chinrest Augsburg from Wittner, because I have a very long neck. You can adjust this chinrest in high and tilt. It is a centered chinrest, made of antiallergic material. I would recommend this chinrest to everyone with a long neck.

    • Violinist Zlata

      Hi Mareike,

      Thanks for your tip! I happened to meet another violinist last weekend who used exactly that chinrest. It looks very good. Have you also seen the shoulder rest that you can click on it?

      All the best,


  2. Michael

    I am tall 6’2″ and have the same problem. I ordered a SAS chinrest which are the highest I could find. I talked to them and special ordered and even taller one than they normally sell. Mine is 41mm and I love it. It’s very easy to install and you can position it in 2 dimensions. I even stopped using a shoulder rest completely for over 9 months (I am recently experimenting with using one again but I have it set up so the violin is as low as possible).

    People laugh about my chin rest but it’s really nice for me. I had to modify my case by cutting out foam to get it to shut so keep that in mind if you order a tall one.

    Another trick is to order “the impressionist” which is a gel pad. You warm it up in boiling water and then put it on the chin rest and mold it to the shape of your jaw. And it stays on without any tape or glue and comes off without a trace. I highly recommend it as an easy way to add some height to a chinrest.

    Another option is to buy cork and put extra cork to raise a normal chinrest but that can make it unstable so better to use the other methods.

    I hope this helps someone. And if the chinrest is high enough try without shoulder rest, it’s a real feeling of freedom.

  3. Irene

    Here in our town, the luthier changed my chin rest, after looking very good ergonomically what’s best for me. So he made a chin rest especially for me, higher (20 mm) and placed on the right position on my violin.
    Still I have to make my shoulder rest quite high, but now it works fine for me. I can play for hours now!

    • Violinist Zlata

      Hi Irene, good that you have found a solution!


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