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Fiddle Lovers Online


Sep 5, 2021 - 4:45:35 PM
1481 posts since 7/26/2015

Are there any fiddles/violins with a built-in non-floating bridge?

Sep 5, 2021 - 4:54:11 PM
likes this

9490 posts since 3/19/2009

I've only heard of built-in bass bars..!

Sep 5, 2021 - 10:51:06 PM

567 posts since 3/1/2020

Do you mean bridges that are carved out of the top? If so, I haven’t seen any and don’t expect to find any, as the grain orientation would be prohibitive as well as the softness of the spruce. Maple is carefully selected for bridges and cut in a specific way to ensure structural strength and transmission of vibrations from the strings to the top.

Sep 5, 2021 - 11:02:30 PM

1481 posts since 7/26/2015

Not necessarily carved out of the top. I suppose it could be, but I'm also speaking more broadly about bridges that are held in place by something other than the strings. I've heard of fiddles being made of woods other than spruce and maple. I met a guy in Alabama who was selling fiddles made of (if I remember correctly) apple, walnut, oak, cedar, and persimmon. I think the bridges were all maple, though.
quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

Do you mean bridges that are carved out of the top? If so, I haven’t seen any and don’t expect to find any, as the grain orientation would be prohibitive as well as the softness of the spruce. Maple is carefully selected for bridges and cut in a specific way to ensure structural strength and transmission of vibrations from the strings to the top.


Sep 6, 2021 - 5:11:12 AM

kjb

USA

732 posts since 6/8/2013

electric violins ?

Sep 6, 2021 - 6:30:34 AM

5501 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by kjb

electric violins ?


This was my first and only thought smiley

Sep 6, 2021 - 6:42:01 AM
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567 posts since 3/1/2020

Yes, many electric violins have bridges that are attached or they have tracks that hold the bridge feet, but those violins don’t produce any real sound without amplification.

It’s important for the bridge to only be held in place by the pressure of the strings. If the feet are attached to the top, the bridge can’t vibrate properly. If you look at a 3-D model of a bridge in motion (George Stoppani has written some great software to allow this), you can see just how much a bridge rocks side-to-side and back-and-forth. This is why a bridge stops working well if the feet become stuck in the varnish.

Sep 6, 2021 - 1:03:37 PM

1904 posts since 12/11/2008

Violin Beautiful -- Thanks for explaining why fiddles and their bigger brethren use such a precarious perch to suspend their strings above the body cavity. I'd always thought the design was simply a quirk of history. I never thought there might be tonal considerations.

Sep 6, 2021 - 9:16:28 PM

567 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

Violin Beautiful -- Thanks for explaining why fiddles and their bigger brethren use such a precarious perch to suspend their strings above the body cavity. I'd always thought the design was simply a quirk of history. I never thought there might be tonal considerations.


You're welcome! The bridge really does a lot of work toward informing the sound of the instrument. Since it only fits by pressure from above, getting the feet to fit to the top is critical, which is just one aspect of cutting a good bridge. If it doesn't fit it can damage the top or move in ways it shouldn't under normal playing conditions. 

Oct 1, 2021 - 7:38:55 AM

868 posts since 1/25/2008

As a luthier, I have seen a couple where some "dad luthier" has glued the bridge in place. Luthiers will generally curse the person who did that, and charge a lot extra to repair the damage that has been done.

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