A few months ago I had a local luthier put a new Superieur Despiau bridge on my fiddle. Since then, the A-string has sunk into the bridge to the point where it is difficult to play the A-string by itself when fretting it up past about an F. Also, the treble-side kidney cutout has collapsed so that there is no longer a gap in the cutout. I figure I can fix the A-string sinking by putting a tiny piece of plastic tubing under the string as one often finds with an E-string. Is it common for the A-string to cut into the bridge like this? What about the kidney cutout collapse? Is that common? My last bridge also had the same collapse. The collapse hasn't affected the sound of the fiddle but then again I'm not sure I would have noticed a subtle difference...
Edited by - bees on 02/12/2017 16:43:19
That's weird. No, the A string does not commonly cut into the bridge. (Nor, in my experience, does the E string, though potentially that is more likely). I've also never seen a bridge collapse like that. Take it back and have the luthier replace the bridge again - for free. The fact that your last bridge also collapsed like that must be a weird coincidence, unless that bridge was installed by the same luthier. In that case it's possible he or she is thinning the bridge too much.
I too have never seen a bridge with that problem and I have made fiddles and repaired many more. I'm not familiar with that make and the thing that comes to mind is that the bridge manufacture isn't cutting out the proper amount of material in that location. Also the luthier always has the job of trimming the bridge at many locations before calling it done. It is one place in fiddle making where he or she leaves there signature so to speak. The area with the appearance of collapsing can be made to look like the other side with a small specialty knife and small files. Maybe these were seconds and sold for less money but still it should have been trimmed out. Also the string notches might have been cut a little deeper than intended and also could have a little wedge of wood added to bring the A string up higher. I hope the truth comes to light and good luck on the fiddle journey!
Looks like toast to me. Suggest taking it back. Shouldn't happen.
How tight is your violin case fit on top of the bridge.
I'm with Steve: take it back.
Every piece of wood is unique, and bridge wood is selected visually. Dud bridges happen, even with top of the line bridge blanks. Despiau Superieur is a fine bridge, you just had bad luck.
- the wood is soft or
- like Charlie said, the case is digging that string into the wood and pushing down on the kidney space when in the closed case.
In either case, you need to address the issue.
Thanks for all the responses. So, both issues are not 'normal' and should be addressed. I did wonder about the case. The fiddle spends very little time in the case as my philosophy is that a fiddle in its case doesn't get played as much as one that is freely available but it does do some traveling at times in the case and the case is a tight fit. Rosin from the strings gets onto the inside of the case where they meet but I can't tell if the case puts a lot of pressure on the bridge. If it did that could be the reason for the kidney collapse but I am doubtful about it causing the A-string to sink. I suspect just a bit of soft wood allowing the string to cut across some of the grain at that point.
I'll take it back to my luthier for his perspective and to ask for a new bridge.
Might want to get a suspension case, one that velcroes the fiddle to the back so it doesn't flop around, also has cushioning on the backside. I have dropped one of my fiddles about four times from a 4 foot height without damage in a suspension case, and it would also prevent the bridge being pressed on.