One for the luthiers: Bridge Position and Vibrating String Length
As this is the first thread I’ve started, first let me express my appreciation for all the helpful information I found in this forum. I have recently revived my love of playing violin. I hadn’t touched my instrument since starting college in 1981. Now that I have retired from my medical practice, I have time for my passion for the violin. My instrument is a student violin my father bought for me new in 1973, a Karl Meisel strad copy made in West Germany. It has no cracks, and when I tried to tune the steel strings, very carefully, I was amazed that it seemed to be intact, no buzzing or wolf tones, and the bridge was not warped. I have replaced the strings with Visions. I want to optimize the sound and have read about bridge position and vibrating string length. The back of my bridge is at 90 degrees with the top plate, the feet are such that the backs line up with the f-hole notches at 19.5 cm from the upper edge of the top plate. The original marks left in the varnish from the feet are exactly where the bridge is currently. In this position, the vibrating string length is 32.8 cm. I have read that the middle of the bridge feet should be at 19.5cm. This would extend the string length. Should I move the bridge or leave it alone?
32.8 is a good string length. Leave it there.
A conventional string length will be of higher value to most players, than whatever minor gains (whether real or not) which can be had from moving the bridge around.
I know of luthiers who will find the optimal bridge location by tapping on either side of the foot, in addition to the usual things with straightedges and rulers to measure side-to-side distances. By contrast, I also met someone who said that was nutty-- you make a string length of 32.6cm, get the bridge standing up correctly, and there you are.
I'd leave well alone! Moving the bridge will change its clearance from the sound-post, which matters more for tone than any absolute measurement.
The string length is perfectly fine. I ditto leaving it be.
Hi Jerry, congrats on your retirement!
Thanks for the input.
An amateur's input (bear that in mind):
That post, and the last paragraph. . . solid gold.
A related story:
Mr. Victor, thank you for your insight and experience.
Strings seem to me to give you maybe 5-10% variance in sound at max. (The rest comes from instrument, bow, room acoustic, and your playing. Oh, and humidity.)
The heavy Eudoxas have a slightly lower tension than the Visions I am using now. I’m considering those to perhaps provide a better bow response than the medium gauge.
Francis Browne wrote:
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