The well-tempered bridge.

April 17, 2018, 6:36 AM · I was recently involved in a (friendly) debate about bridge design.
Self adjusting was a "no no . One interesting remark was about the bridge acting as a low pass filter.
I found a bridge on line that had "everything" wrong. Too fat. Lower than normal. Etc.
This new bridge was also at the limit of my budget at $29.

I installed the new bridge and could have guessed. Never better!
Never trust a violin.

Question . Separate question......
I have an Eastman and down by the button (outside) are 1/16" numbers 1415P
What's this. ??

Outside the violin not inside!

Replies (10)

April 17, 2018, 6:47 AM · Questions:.. How are you fitting these "new" bridges?
Are you buying bridge blanks or some advertised "pre-fitted bridge"?

The fitting/carving/setup of a new bridge is probably more critical than the brand/model/price point of the blank.

April 17, 2018, 8:36 AM · Teachers, pros, and luthiers are often horrified when amateurs start doing stuff like this, but I think there's a real value in learning about the instrument and getting a sense of how different things work. If it plays reasonably well for you, go with it. If you realize it's a barrier later on, get a new bridge carved and installed by a pro. Nothing ventured, nothing gained..
Edited: April 17, 2018, 9:21 AM · My "problem" with bridges and violins in general is the empirical pretending to be scientific. But don't get me wrong. I don't think there is anything wrong with the violin. It did however take a while to make a "truce"

PS . All my test bridges are the automatic fit variety.

Edited: April 18, 2018, 2:01 AM · Darlene, while this bridge may produce a sound you enjoy, on your particular instrument, finding one on the violin of a professional player would be extraordinarily rare.

"Scientific" explanations? That's what engineers and scientists tend to do. ;-)
In the luthier world, there are some who embrace it to some extent, and some who do not. People seem to like to have an explanation for things (whether the explanation is right or wrong), rather than making do with a mystical look or a shrug. LOL

April 18, 2018, 7:51 AM · Actually, my violin has yielded some modest rewards BUT did I really need a shoebox full of disappointing strings to make that happen?
Edited: April 18, 2018, 9:27 AM · In my 79 years of bowed string instruments I only tried a "self-adjusting bridge" once. I found it acted quite like a mute, filtering out much of the overtone spectrum that makes these instruments sound so wonderful. In my early years, as a kid practicing in his bedroom in a NYC apartment, playing with a mute was sometimes essential to keep the neighbors at bay, and at times (with my kid fiddles) I actually liked the sweeter tone. But when I was 10 or 11 and was given my last "kid fiddle," an antique Tyrolean "lady's full-size" I wanted to hear all that good stuff "up there." That violin lasted me through high school and served me as CM of the HS orchestra for 3 years.

I would think that a "self-adjusting bridge" might improve sound and balance on fiddles with too much high-frequency noise, such as found on some VSOs - either that or a mute!

April 21, 2018, 5:52 AM · I wonder if a self adjusting bridge might not be better than an amateur fitted version?
Edited: April 21, 2018, 9:05 AM · No! My experience has been that it is possible for an amateur (like me) to do a better job of bridge firing than an unfitted self-adjusting bridge. Now, if one were to taper the self-adjusting bridge and fit the feet - maybe that could be better. But if you could do that, you could also do it with a standard type of bridge blank.

I have fitted bridges myself with OK results - but not the kind of results that a real luthier gets. There are books about "home repairs" that give guidance on ways to shape the feet and how to taper the front and back of the bridge. But how to recut the "holes" and other finer details seem to be in the province of the pros.

Realize that even a violin maker (one who dos not also do repairs) may not make more than a dozen bridges annually, while a luthier who does repairs may do hundreds annually and have dozens of years experience doing that.

April 22, 2018, 7:01 AM · People all have their variously-informed opinions (often informed only by how much money is thrown at the problem), but when a bridge works, it works, and it's hard to argue against that.
April 23, 2018, 8:48 AM · "Hard to argue" and impossible to explain but nothing sweeter :)

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