F-holes bridge notches not aligned
When the F-hole notches for the bridge aren't aligned, on a handmade violin from a good maker (not amateur), do you think it was intentional or by accident?
Could be either one. A maker might have been copying a Strad on which the ff-holes were not perfectly aligned (of which there are many) or have applied a preference for machine-age standards, including symmetry.
I've heard that the f-hole-notch-align-with-bridge thing is largely nonsense. Which of the great early makers cleaved to this practice, if not Stradivari?
Don't worry about it. F-holes on handmade instruments are almost always asymmetrical anyway.
David wrote: "There might be some issues here. Typical scale length is more around 327-329. I will also disagree that the backside of the bridge needs to be perpendicular to the top."
@Scott "Should one align one side or another of the bridge feet? Should one split the difference and align with the exact middle of the bridge thickness?"
Backside of the bridge: I have been told as well to keep the backside perpendicular to the bridge.
I agree completely with what David has said. First, a stop of 195 plus neck length of 130 equals 225mm, but that's not a straight line through those measured points--it's a diagonal upward to the top of the bridge well above the line measured on. . it's the distance of "c" in a standard right triangle formula, a2+b2=c2, thus longer than the baseline. Like 327-329, as David says.
The fact is that the violin could not care less about whether the back of your bridge is (<)90° with the top or if it's centred on the line between the f-hole notches. The only things that matter are the stop length and that the bridge feet make full contact.
No, not really.
The bridge needs to bisect the angles of the strings, that is best done by fitting the back side at a 90% angle, is quite logical.
Mine has the same "issue", my Luthier said it's not a problem, you have to find the violin "G spot" for the bridge anyway, the feet has to be near enough the bass bar(or else almost no sound on the D and G strings), sometimes it doesn't align with either F-holes.
Re: angle of the back of the bridge, my experience has taught me that Michael Darnton is correct. I'm engaging in self deception when I imagine that I can judge that angle with my eyes alone. First my eyes have astigmatism which my eyeglasses correct for in terms of sharpness. But that correction causes distortion in my ability to judge things like perpendicularity. So I take my glasses off to make geometric judgements. Without my glasses my vision becomes less sharp but better able to judge that angle. Still, it's not really reliable. For proof of this I can look at the bridge from the bass side, then turn the violin around and look from the treble side, and my perception of perpendicularity will be different in each case. So, mostly by necessity (or is it perfectionism) I've fallen into the habit of using a two foot (60cm) machinists ruler to measure from the nut to the bridge top. Then I know unequivocally that it's right. Everyone doesn't have machinists rulers around, so I'm not sure my suggestion is applicable to everyone's situation, but you could always go and get some.
My luthier, who fairly recently installed new bridges on my violins, carving each bridge to fit accurately, gave me a mini-lesson on how to spot if a bridge is starting to lean. If it leans this means it is starting to lose full contact with the violin, so affecting the tone.
I should have been more thorough in my description. Thanks for giving a lot more detail, Michael.
David, that looks like a useful way to detect if a bridge is starting to bend (an "Oh dear!" scenario), even though its feet are still in full contact with the front plate.
@Mark Is that the case with all people who have astigmatism? I have it and I've never heard of that.
It is a characteristic of how brains work: they consider things in context. For instance look at your soundpost through one f-hole and decide if it is straight or leaning upstream or down. Then switch to the other hole and see if you come to the same conclusion.
I find that
I check the the angle of my bridge in front of my music stand. The page break in the music (to which I align the back of my bridge) is perpendicular to the stand's shelf (to which I align the violin's table/top). I've had bridges on 2 different violins for 50 years with no bending whatsoever. Close enough!
@David Duarte, my astigmatism is "diagonal," as it was explained to me. So maybe my experience isn't the norm. I guess I'm not really sure.
Hmmm... I have had some nice success with backs of bridges being perpendicular, but others have said with some certitude that the real game is for the bridge to bisect the angle outlined by the strings.
I am pretty sure no one's bridge bisects the angle of the strings. Close but not exact. Folks are welcome to get out their protractors, not their eyes and imaginations, and check. That would be entirely sacrificing the bridge's relationship to the top.
Now I feel better. That’s a hard goal to reach!
"Is that the case with all people who have astigmatism? I have it and I've never heard of that."
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