My bridge seems more bent/curved on the E string side than on the G string side. Is this usual or should I be concerned?
View post on imgur.com
View post on imgur.com
If you take it in to a violin shop/maker they can straighten the bridge a little, at this point, but you will be needing new bridge in the not too distant future. Straightening it can buy you some time.
And why did this happen? Maybe I was careless?
There's a lot more to getting a new bridge than simply ordering and installing one. You need a skilled luthier to fit the bridge to your instrument.
Until you've been trained to shape bridges properly, you don't want to buy a bridge online and try to slip it onto your violin. The feet of the bridge have to be shaped to match the exact shape of your violin's top. Then there is the question of how thin the bridge needs to be at the top, where the strings cross over.
It happens because you tune the strings with 1 or 2 fine tuners from that side and the bridge is pulled backwards each time. Loosen the strings and let the bridge relax for some time (minutes to overnight) before tightening the strings again. It works for me.
Do not loosen all your strings at once. You risk having the sound post fall over.
Bridges warp for all sorts of reasons, but without having the bridge in hand you really can't say why it happened. Generally, with a well cut bridge, if it warps it is because the player didn't properly maintain the bridge. The key here is the phrase, "well cut bridge". I've got fiddles with 50 year old bridges that are perfectly straight, and I have instruments that have bridges that were recently cut that have warped.
I have always checked the bridges on the instruments I am playing frequently, probably every time I have to retune close to 1/4 or 1/2 a half-tone and at least weekly regardless. As a result I have never had to replace a bridge because of bend or warp.
I had a bridge snap in two without warning when I was practicing a couple of years ago. The bridge was about 20 years old, certainly wasn't warped, and I had always made sure it was perpendicular to the violin's top. Close examination with a lens of the break, which was right across the middle of the bridge, revealed an internal defect in the wood which I don't think I would have spotted externally. When I had the new bridge installed I then got my luthier to replace the other bridge (also about 20 years old) on my second violin - "just in case".