How much does it cost to shave down a bridge?

July 29, 2017, 10:44 PM · Hello, so my teacher says that my strings have cut too deep into my bridge and I've also been reading around. My strings are supposed to be sitting about 1/3 of it inside of the bridge's notches, right? as well as the nut? Right now, it's about halfway or a little more inside of the notches and I was wondering how much a luthier would charge to do this fix on my violin.

Thanks,
Lotan

Replies (7)

Edited: July 30, 2017, 2:37 AM · $10-20 at my shop, assuming the strings aren't sitting too low now, otherwise its $60 to fit a new higher bridge.
July 30, 2017, 1:57 AM · I had a similar problem many years ago with my cello. I solved it by cutting the bridge notches into V shapes, filling them with hard-setting binary epoxy resin (mixed from two components and takes 24 hours to set hard), rubbing the hardened resin inserts smooth with fine grade emery, and making new grooves in them with a fine rat-tail file. That setup remained in successful use for many years until I had a new soundpost and bridge fitted.
Edited: July 30, 2017, 8:11 PM · Peter Sargent, MN Luthier since the late 40`s.
Like Lyndon said, it depends upon if the bridge is at the right height in the 1st place. 3 1/2 mm at the E string and 5 1/2 mm at the G string is correct for most strings.
If the grooves are lower then that, you can put some raw hide above the existing groove. Strike a line with a good curve from the proper E and G heights. A pencil with tape to get it to 9 mm will work as a finger board tracer to the bridge. 5 by 10 mm is a good size for the finish raw hide. Soak the raw hide in water until soft and pinch it around a small amount of super glue on both sides of the bridge. Push your fingernail into the string groove while the raw hide is still soft. It will be rock hard in a short time and be ready for a soft file touch up and pencil graphite placed into the finished groove. I use the clear stuff. You can do one or all of the grooves and get by til the next bridge cut.
You can get the raw hide at International Violin or Metropolitan Music Co. I agree with the prices stated above.
July 31, 2017, 8:08 AM · Assuming the string clearance above the fingerboard is still acceptable to you (no buzzing caused by the strings bouncing off the board), the only downside to the strings sitting deep in a notch is a tuning issue.

The strings may tend to bind to the bridge when you adjust the tuning. You can work around this releasing the tension in the strings with a peg until the tuning drops a quarter or half a step, and slowly tuning up.

If you have no problems tuning the strings, then there is no real rush to correct the notches.

If the strings are sticking, you can get a three-sided (triangular) jewelers file and gently work the notches so they widen a tiny bit. This will cause the strings to sit on the bridge with only the lower third touching the bridge. A little sandpaper or the file can be used to lower the top of the bridge so it looks prettier.

If you do not feel comfortable tinkering with the bridge, then assuming the string clearance is ok, a luthier should be able to clean up the bridge in just a few minutes.

July 31, 2017, 8:16 AM · I like Trevor's idea. Presumably drawing strings up to tension does not pull out the inserts. Did you take any special precautions for that?
July 31, 2017, 9:07 AM · Paul, the hard epoxy is pretty tough and smooth stuff. Years later, none of the inserts on my cello bridge had shifted. Perhaps it could be compared functionally to the old ivory inserts (which you couldn't get now!)

PS Anyone who wants to try this must use hard epoxy, even if it takes a day to set (I used the Araldite brand). I don't think the softer quick-setting (20 minutes?) variety would be up to the job long term.

July 31, 2017, 10:57 PM · Thanks so much for the replies! I don't think I'll be able to try my own repairs before I start school so I'll bring it to a luthier. I'll keep these solutions in mind though :) Happy practicing!

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