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Aug 2, 2022 - 8:28:53 PM
3 posts since 8/2/2022

I ordered and received a pack of new bridges. The new bridges have no string slots or logo. I can't figure which way it faces and what to do about the string slots. ?coping saw? ?chaindaw? Thanks for recommendations.

Aug 3, 2022 - 3:49:06 AM

2703 posts since 10/22/2007

My luthier merely presses the grooves in with a special device. I use a rifle file.
BTW I think the trade mark faces the tailpiece. Good Luck, and if not, make another.

Aug 3, 2022 - 4:54:55 AM
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kjb

USA

760 posts since 6/8/2013

go to u tube it is a process and not that easy to fit the bridge and shape it

Aug 3, 2022 - 9:21:42 AM
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768 posts since 3/1/2020

Bridges need to be fitted. This involves fitting the feet, establishing proper string heights, cutting the top to a proper curve, thicknessing, laying out and filing string grooves, and removing wood in key places to maximize response and power.

The manufacturer’s stamp typically faces the tailpiece (the back face), but what is more important is orienting the bridge so that there are long medullary rays on the back and short ones on the front. Looking at the sides of the bridge, the grain should run straight. Cheap bridges are often cut off quarter, which is bad tonally and structurally.

To make the grooves you need a fine mouse tail file. Do NOT use a saw or a triangular file, as string grooves cut that way will destroy strings. The strings themselves are round in profile, so the grooves should have a complimentary shape and be lubricated with pencil lead or something similar to prevent binding.

Please don't go to YouTube for information on cutting bridges--most of what's there is terrible and uploaded by people who know nothing about proper setup. For good information use this:

https://trianglestrings.com/carving-a-violin-bridge/

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 08/03/2022 09:25:10

Aug 3, 2022 - 3:54:19 PM

3 posts since 8/2/2022

I believe I received the new bridges in uncut shape. They're closer to blocks of raw wood, than the bridges I know. I just ordered a couple of bridges, pre-cut, with notches. (I'm lucky to even having a serviceable violin, so the ignorance is overwhelming). Thanks!

Aug 3, 2022 - 4:24:10 PM
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2231 posts since 8/27/2008
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quote:
Originally posted by Mofarmerbill

I believe I received the new bridges in uncut shape. They're closer to blocks of raw wood, than the bridges I know. I just ordered a couple of bridges, pre-cut, with notches. (I'm lucky to even having a serviceable violin, so the ignorance is overwhelming). Thanks!


Notches in an unfitted bridge are useless. As Rich said what you got is a standard blank. You must start with fitting the feet to the top then work from there. It's not unusual to have cut 3/16" or more from the height before you cut notches, depending on the blank.

Edited by - Brian Wood on 08/03/2022 16:24:54

Aug 3, 2022 - 11:42:57 PM

3 posts since 8/2/2022

I'll set the blanks aidefor another time. I ordered two bridges with standard notches, etc. I have the tools to customize the blanks, just not the time right now. Thank you to each for the gratis information.

Aug 4, 2022 - 5:02:50 AM

199 posts since 4/2/2019

I’ve always wondered how much difference there is between a well-fitted, refined bridge and a blank.

Aug 4, 2022 - 5:22:38 AM

2703 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by DougBrock

I’ve always wondered how much difference there is between a well-fitted, refined bridge and a blank.


The only commonality between a fitted and blank bridge are the wings and heart area are cut out for you. Blank bridge feet need to be matched to the top of the violin. (As been mentioned)  Also, the top (of the bridge) profile sets the string height. (Obviously, along with the nut)  Not difficult if you're a handy soul. But you'll be miles ahead if you watch it being done, a time or two.

Aug 4, 2022 - 6:35:30 AM

199 posts since 4/2/2019

Yes, I know how bridges are fitted and refined, but I was wondering how much difference there is in the sound.

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Aug 4, 2022 - 7:59:59 AM

199 posts since 4/2/2019

quote:
Originally posted by DougBrock

Yes, I know how bridges are fitted and refined, but I was wondering how much difference there is in the sound when the little pieces are carved down a bit.

 


Aug 4, 2022 - 8:40:14 AM

2231 posts since 8/27/2008
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In my opinion, not much difference. It's a finishing touch, lightens the bridge slightly. Most important is good fit of feet to top.

Aug 4, 2022 - 10:02:41 AM

768 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by DougBrock
quote:
Originally posted by DougBrock

Yes, I know how bridges are fitted and refined, but I was wondering how much difference there is in the sound when the little pieces are carved down a bit.

 


There's a difference when the fine cuts are made. This is what takes a serviceable bridge to the next level. Fit is critical, but the real tonal changes come from adjusting the waist. The VSA did an experiment with bridges at the Oberlin acoustics workshop years ago to see what made the biggest difference and how much wood could be removed while keeping the violin's sound recognizable or desirable. There were all kinds of experimental designs and some bridges were trimmed down progressively and tested. If you've ever seen one of Joseph Curtin's "ultralight" bridges, they were developed at that workshop. Not all cuts make a large difference, but everything contributes in some way to the overall sound.

A bridge blank will not give a good response because it's far too thick. The feet will be too tall and the curves will not be correct for the instrument. Blanks are left with extra material to allow for adjustment to fit a range of shapes. The "pre-fitted" bridges are made based on an idea of what a "standard" bridge height would be. That means they almost never fit well. Even the "adjustable" bridges with swivel feet don't really work well--they're more for school teachers to use in emergencies if they can't get to a shop.


Aug 4, 2022 - 11:27:09 AM

2703 posts since 10/22/2007

Let's just consider foot to top engagement. Take the total area of the feet as 100%. Using any number of methods, check the amount of engagement to the top plate. Obviously, one can't get more than 100% engagement, but easily achieve less. If the bridge is this the transmitter of the strings energy to the violin's top, one would want the most transfer one could get.
Aside from foot to top engagement, there's been, as mentioned, studies of what a bridge does when it works. Do it essentially flap? Does it quiver? Anyone is free to make there own theory. I believe "thin" doesn't always win. Sometimes mass is essential in optimization. If it were not true, there would be no scroll on the pegbox. The other issue is to capture a vibration that is mostly perpendicular to the bridge. Getting the bridge to transfer energy in its most rigid plane. Which makes me think a bridge "rings" more than "flaps." I would discuss this more, but I'm off to the dentist. Seriously

Aug 4, 2022 - 5:31:05 PM

WyoBob

USA

412 posts since 5/16/2019

To simplify things for those of us who live in "fly over" country and who is a person who's made a bunch of banjo bridges with great success, I like the idea of having a knowledgeable person making me a fiddle bridge for one of my fiddles.   But, where?  There's no one within several hundred miles of where I live who can do this.  The great fiddle players I play with have never discussed any problems with their fiddle set ups.  They just play their fiddles.

So, I can send my fiddle to someone, somewhere but, who?   And, at what cost?  It costs 40 dollars plus to send a fiddle to a fiddle luthier and there's the return cost and you still don't know what you'll end up with. Is the person I send my fiddle to able to get me the results I desire?  Who knows?  I have a couple of $400.00 Chinese fiddles so am not thinking that sending my fiddle to someone to work on is worth the time or expense.

I've made a couple new fiddle nuts, reduced (massive) relief on the finger board on one fiddle, installed Wittner mechanical tuners in two fiddles, installed a new tailpiece, made and installed a new sound post in my old, freebie, not to good fiddle (which turned out to work quite well), adjusted after length on a couple of tail pieces but, I'm not of a mind to carve a bridge.  I know one sound post is not ideal on one of my fiddles but am not up to messing with it.   So, what's a person to do in my situation?

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