Does a glued broken bridge drastically reduce the tone of a violin

October 17, 2016 at 06:47 PM · I have a student violin (made in Germany), which has an Aubert bridge. However, due to some courier mishap, the bridge broke into two pieces. Rest of the violin/case/bow etc seems fine. I then took it to a local violin repairman who used a hard wood based kwik fix gum to glue the pieces. I intend to buy and set up a new bridge sometime soon. I could do it now but there aren't any notable luthiers nearby. How long will this bridge last.

Will this drastically reduce the tone? Or are there any serious repercussions if I play on a glued bridge?

Here is a photo of it

Replies (24)

October 17, 2016 at 06:49 PM · Shouldn't effect the tone much, just a tiny bit maybe, but how long it will last is entirely another story??????

October 17, 2016 at 08:59 PM · Make sure the bridge does not start to lean, though, and be very cautious when pulling it back upright after changing a string.

October 17, 2016 at 09:18 PM · If the bridge breaks under tension, the tailpiece with string adjuster(s) will come crashing down on the top, with a lot of potential damage resulting. Did that already happen when the bridge first broke? I would make every possible effort to get a replacement bridge right away.

October 17, 2016 at 11:51 PM · I have no idea what a "hardwood-based quick fix gum is." But I would be confident using a CA glue, which is a miracle for wood repair (as long as permanence is the goal) or Titebond.

Both will make a very strong bond, probably stronger than the wood itself. CA can be instantaneous with an accelerator. Both can be used in hi-stress areas in a piano that endure much higher shear forces than a bridge. I doubt a CA glue would have any acoustical effect.

Bridges just don't break by themselve.

October 18, 2016 at 12:34 AM · My husband fixed one of my daughter's bridges with Gorilla Glue. It did not affect the sound and the bridge remained together for over a year and was still together when my daughter moved up to the next size fiddle.

October 18, 2016 at 12:39 AM · I agree with others, the glued joint shouldn't affect vibration transmission in a significant way I would think, and should actually be the strongest point of your bridge if glued properly, your G string on the other hand, not sitting in its groove is another story!

October 18, 2016 at 12:43 AM · I guess so long as it doesn't look like this, you should be Ok...

Also, your strings don't seem to be on the right place they should be.

Scott, what's CA glue?

October 18, 2016 at 06:44 AM · CA glue = Cyanoacrylate Glue = Super Glue

October 18, 2016 at 09:16 AM · Oh! Duh! I derped out there. Thanks! :)

October 18, 2016 at 11:45 AM · Note, however, that luthiers and repair people in general tend to get cross (not necessarily in the presence of the customer) when presented with a violin, guitar or similar where damage to the body or neck of the instrument has been "repaired" with one of the high-powered adhesives we've just been talking about.

The important property of the glue used by a luthier is that builds or repairs made using it should be reversible without causing damage.

October 18, 2016 at 12:00 PM · Trevor, I agree. But that is to be able to undo bonds for fixing the body of the violin. For the bridge, CA is fine because it is supposed to be permanent. I superglued a bridge just like shown by the OP. No problemo.

October 18, 2016 at 12:24 PM · As long as the bridge is not superglued to the violin! As has been done in the past and doubtless will be done again in the future.

October 18, 2016 at 01:17 PM · Since the bridge has the job of conducting sound from the string to the body, it is hard for me to believe that interrupting that transmission with a glue joint, making a non-linear transmission, won't distort sound. The OP has a nice student violin and a good bridge which is cracked and glued in the worst possible place; the tone has to be adversely affected, and the bridge may be unstable. If glued joints are "perfectly ok," why should we be picky about bridge stock? Why not use a laminated wood bridge? It is surely cheaper than Stamm or Aubert and would work just as well? No way. I think when the OP gets a nice new Aubert properly fitted he will hear the difference.

October 18, 2016 at 01:58 PM · They glued a conductor to the rostrum once, but it made no difference, he still could not conduct in 7/8

Also, it may be true that a violinist who sniffs glue might have a wonky sound ...

October 18, 2016 at 02:07 PM · I think we ought to remember that a bridge breakage is intrinsically less likely to occur in the hands of a professional than much lower down the playing scale. In which case, does it really matter if a bridge breaks on a cheap violin used by a beginner or near-beginner, and is inexpensively and quickly repaired with superglue? That violin will then be usable for quite a while by that player until they upgrade (or give up!); we're not talking here about violins for recording studios where top-of-the-range quality is the order of the day in all departments.

October 19, 2016 at 04:57 PM · While a perfectly glued join is theoretically possibly as strong as the wood itself, in real life its highly unlikely that this actually happens, a glued bridge should be looked at as a temporary solution until a proper new one can be fitted IMHO.

If a customer brings me a broken bridge, I recommend fitting a new bridge, then glue the broken bridge together for free, and let them keep it as a spare.

October 20, 2016 at 01:08 AM · "it is hard for me to believe that interrupting that transmission with a glue joint, making a non-linear transmission, won't distort sound."

CA glue is brittle when dry, and I doubt anyone would notice a change in sound. Aliphatic glues are a little more flexible when dry--maybe that would absorb a tiny bit more of the sound. Gorilla superglue is a longer-setting type, but I'd want a very quick set on a bridge.

Personally I avoid regular Gorilla Glue. As it dries it kind of foams and spreads out. It always ends up where do don't want it

October 20, 2016 at 01:34 PM · It's hard for me to believe a bridge with a glue joint won't distort sound as it is analogous to a string with a knot in it; the path of direct sound wave transmission is interrupted. Plus, the folding of the bridge just prior to breaking has stretched the wood fibers on the outside of the break and crushed the fibers on the inside, so the density is altered all along the break.

October 20, 2016 at 02:12 PM · Does it make a difference?

-Yes, it probably does.

Will anybody be able to discern the difference?



October 22, 2016 at 01:15 AM · A friend of mine, studying at the London College of Furniture (under people like Pat Naismith and Mark Knight) had as his project comparison of bridges made of different materials. I was involved, as his violinist (not that he wasn't able to play himself). Sound transmission varied widely, with maple and, I think, boxwood giving the best sound transmission, by quite a margin. Metal bridges were absolutely useless.

In view of this I would say that if the glue is very thin,it might not affect the sound much, but it's unlikely to help.

You don't need a luthier to fit a mail-order bridge adequately to a cheap violin - My father did it frequently and taught me how to do it. The clue is that you get the shape approximately by conforming sandpaper to the top of the violin and rubbing the bridge up and down it. Then you have a basis from which you can refine the shape, but a class teacher can get away with using what has resulted from the above simple process.

October 22, 2016 at 11:45 AM · The first thing you do when instructing someone in the sandpaper method is to tell them not to have the sandpaper side in contact with the varnish of the violin. Seems obvious, but you never know with some pupils . . . ;)

October 24, 2016 at 11:17 PM · My electric sort of fell apart and the bridge became two pieces.

The dealer told me it is supposed to be in two pieces with the piezo element in the middle of the "sandwich".

Seems to work that way. No glue.

October 25, 2016 at 01:38 AM · You essentially have two bridges, not one broken bridge. Not the same thing at all.

October 25, 2016 at 10:59 PM · I am only surprised that bridges might still work even without being homogeneous.

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