How To Carve A Bridge?

Edited: March 20, 2019, 9:38 AM · I bought my toddlers a $30 violin from China. The bridge was destroyed the moment i put tension on the strings. They love the violin and fight over it constantly. But I'm pretty sure it's not even possible to tune, the scale seems wrong. But i bought some replacement bridges, and want to try carving them for placement. Just to get a basic sound, nothing professional. How can I do this? What tools do I need? I uploaded pics online.

Replies (22)

March 20, 2019, 9:38 AM · Given the tools and time you would need to do it properly, it would be much cheaper to take it to a violin shop, that's what they're there for!!
Edited: March 20, 2019, 9:49 AM · It will cost $80 to setup a bridge on a violin that costs $30,and cant even be tuned. That is ridiculous. If I can set it up so that it makes sound it is good enough for my 2 year olds who will smash it to pieces within a year anyways.
March 20, 2019, 9:49 AM · It will take you at least 10hrs, do you work that cheap????
Edited: March 20, 2019, 10:21 AM · You can buy self-fitting bridges with movable feet... they don't make a wonderful sound, but they also don't require carving..
March 20, 2019, 10:29 AM · 10 hours? Geez. I just want something to slap on there that kinda works. It doesn't have to be even close to perfect, just functional
March 20, 2019, 11:21 AM · I agree with Katherine that in this special situation a self-fitting bridge is the way to go - if the right size for a child's violin is available. But it is not something I'd normally advise except possibly as a backup bridge for an emergency.
March 20, 2019, 11:56 AM · Seems like we are discussing a VSO
March 20, 2019, 12:33 PM · Perhaps you could live with a less than perfect fit? In that case carve the feet as closely to the right shape as you can and do the final fitting with a piece of sandpaper placed on top of the vso.
March 20, 2019, 3:59 PM · @Bo Pontoppidan but how do know what height to make the bridge?
Edited: March 20, 2019, 4:02 PM · No offense but i don't understand why everyone is being so puritan about bridges. Its a $30 violin for 2 year olds to fool around with. If it eeks out basic violin sounds its good enough.
March 20, 2019, 4:52 PM · You are absolutely correct. However you have to consider the perspective.
The people here are either professionals in music and/or instrument creation, sales, etc. So the perspective taken is that of a functional instrument that enables learning of the instrument as well as playing. Thus you received valid answers relative to playing, owning, maintaining an instrument vs essentially a toy
March 20, 2019, 5:10 PM · Yeah I understand professionals take pride in a well set up violin, and we'll get there soon I hope, but at 2 years old I just want them to grow an interest into violin. Honestly I tried to get them into ukulele, decent ones are really cheap. But they love that darn "vso"!
March 20, 2019, 5:10 PM · Yeah I understand professionals take pride in a well set up violin, and we'll get there soon I hope, but at 2 years old I just want them to grow an interest into violin. Honestly I tried to get them into ukulele, decent ones are really cheap. But they love that darn "vso"!
March 20, 2019, 5:28 PM · You DON'T want your children to pursue violin? Blasphemy!

It's a 30 dollar hunk of firewood. Just buy another one. A self fitting bridge, including shipping, will cost almost as much as the whole instrument...

Edited: March 20, 2019, 6:48 PM · Start here:

YouTube Search for How To Carve A Violin Bridge

To determine the height, glue the old bridge back together, if possible, and use it as a pattern to mark up the new bridge.

March 20, 2019, 11:27 PM · There is no shortage of YouTube videos on the process. All you really need is a sharp small knife and sand paper for what you are trying to do. Won't be fancy, but it's better than no bridge!
March 21, 2019, 5:58 AM · I suggest going back a step and try to work out how the original bridge broke. Was it leaning or already bent as the strings were brought up to tension? Were the strings being brought up to tension too quickly? Is there evidence of a flaw in the wood?

When bringing a set of strings up to tension do it in stages, and work slowly, no sudden fast movements when turning the pegs. The first thing to do is to apply pencil to the notches at the nut and on the bridge. This is to lubricate the movement of the strings through the notches and stop them from sticking.
Take the strings slowly up to a tone below concert pitch, check the bridge to see if it is leaning, and if so gently correct it. Let the strings settle for 10 minutes and then repeat the process by taking the tension up another quarter tone. Check the lean of the bridge and let things settle for a few minutes. Repeat the process until the strings are up to pitch. There may be more a little more stretching and settling of the strings over the next few hours. Correct as necessary.

There are two main reasons why new strings take a while to settle down. The first is natural stretching of the string, the second is movement and settling of the strings on the pegs, which can be reduced by aiming to get the windings on a peg up close to each other. Don't let windings touch the inside of the peg box, that causes problems when tuning.

March 21, 2019, 7:27 AM · If you're not trying to do a creditable job, then you can figure this out for yourself. Just buy a couple of blanks and start cutting. And a few wiffle balls so they can use the violin for maybe a couple of different purposes.
March 21, 2019, 1:09 PM · Honestly it will probably take an hour or two, but just take a frickin' kitchen knife or carving knife and go to town on that thing. A metal file will probably help too. A Dremel tool will be even faster.

It's not rocket science as long as you don't care how it sounds or works.

Make it so the feet are sort of flush with the top of the violin, and so that when strung, the strings aren't crazily high above the fingerboard.


March 21, 2019, 1:12 PM · By the way, has no one invented an "invincible" violin yet with like, a permanent, unbreakable bridge?

Someone really needs to do that for super young kids. Doesn't matter if it sounds good or not, it just needs to keep working after they drop it a hundred times.

March 21, 2019, 3:08 PM · Those bridges don't even look like they're made out of the right wood nor grain orientation. They are likely to break again if you carve a new one out of the spare.

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