Bridge differences?

April 9, 2018, 11:10 AM · I have 7 bridges. Two are very thin and lower by 2-3mm. One thin bridge is labeled "H Heinz". The other bridges are routine Teller or Despiau.
Should I try one of the thin bridges

Replies (16)

Edited: April 9, 2018, 11:52 AM · Wow these are a lot of bridges...Are all of these fitted for this instrument or you are going DIY?

Every bridge is so different and it makes a huge impact on tone and playability. What I know is that a certain bridge, if thinned down should make a certain instrument more bright/penetrating. There are some minium thickness limits however. So we could say (?) that generally speaking a thinner bridge could sound more "trebly" but there are so many other factors, like wood quality, and the parts of it that have been carved out...

Disclaimer: I am not a luthier, not even close to it. Just what I have experienced...

April 9, 2018, 1:57 PM · Do you have a problem with the current sound/playability of your violin?
Edited: April 9, 2018, 2:13 PM · I have never been satisfied with the bass of a violin I've owned but I don't know if that is because of the bridge (?)

April 9, 2018, 3:43 PM · The bridge height is determined by how much clearance you want between the fingerboard and the string. The height varies at each string.

If the strings feel comfortable under your fingers and the strings do not rattle off the finger board, then you have the correct height for you.

The thickness (thinness) of the bridge is a complicated topic because it affects several functions.

First, the bridge must support the strings in a stable fashion. As one thins the bridge, it becomes more unstable under the pressure of the strings and may suddenly crack or snap, or slowly warp. The mere act of tuning the strings may draw a very thin bridge enough out of alignment to cause it to break.

If the top of the bridge is too thin, it causes increased pressure in the string grooves which can cause the strings to seize in the groove. This can make tuning a real pain as well as gradually damage the bridge.

The bridge generally acts as a "low-pass" filter, meaning it tends to prevent higher frequencies from traveling from the strings to the violin body. How a thin bridge affects this depends a lot on where the bridge is thinned, as well as the properties of the wood.

After much experimentation with bridge trimming, my feeling is if a violin has tone or playability problems with a well-fitted, standard dimension bridge, then you will not cure the problem by tinkering with the bridge.

April 9, 2018, 4:10 PM · If you are planning to try different bridges, I suggest you look into acquiring a bridge jack. They can be bought, but it is not that difficult to make one based on the designs you can see in a catalog or on line (maybe even ebay) (a couple of thumb screws will be needed). This way you can replace a bridge without fully releasing the string tension on the previous bridge and risk toppling your soundpost.
April 9, 2018, 7:01 PM · Why would there be historically a trend away from the lower bridge? 2 or 3 mm in bridge height is a big number. Maybe the thinner bridge kept breaking !

April 9, 2018, 7:53 PM · The bridge height is set to have the E string clear the end of the fingerboard by about 3mm and the G string by about 5mm. You might get a variance of 0.5mm to 1mm.

If the height of a bridge varies 2 to 3mm from the installed one, then you might be looking at a bridge that was used with a different finger board projection.

If you get a 12 inch ruler and place in along the top of the finger board, you can slide it forward until it touches the bridge. The distance from the top of the violin to where the ruler touches the bridge is called the projection. Classically, this is about 27mm.

Add to this the typical string clearance about the finger board and you get the bridge height at the center, say 32mm.

If the finger board projection was set too low, say 25mm, but the bridge was cut to keep the standard string clearance, then the bridge height at the center might be 30mm.

Is there a shim set between the finger board and the neck? Does it look like the neck was adjusted at some time in the past?

April 10, 2018, 2:24 AM · "I have never been satisfied with the bass of a violin I've owned but I don't know if that is because of the bridge"

Maybe a silly question: have you tried viola before?

April 10, 2018, 6:13 AM · I have 2 cheap violas and really enjoy the extra "room", but .....

Would not a different bridge mean a different violin (design)?

April 10, 2018, 6:27 AM · A violin bridge has to be custom fit by a qualified luthier to each individual instrument, you cannot take a bridge off another instrument and expect it to fit.
Edited: April 10, 2018, 11:10 AM · Well, when I need the perfect fit, I use the adjustable feet version but you will probably call that "cheating". ( or something worse! ).
April 10, 2018, 12:22 PM · thats because they sound worse, and they're not good quality wood
April 10, 2018, 12:49 PM · Don't burn your bridges.
Edited: April 11, 2018, 8:25 AM · My confusion grows. Amazon offers a bridge called "1/16" size ? What violin is that size? (Cremona VP 203-3)

And there is a "low boy" in the Amazon mix. (what I thought! )

April 12, 2018, 9:08 AM · Violin Size Chart:

Violins made in a "baroque" style have fingerboards with a smaller projection, so they require a bridge that is shorter in order to get the spacing between the strings and the fingerboard to something useful.

April 12, 2018, 2:03 PM · Not true, Baroque fingerboards are not standard at all, and can have bridge projection just as great as a modern violin, or lower projection, there is no set standard.

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