Right hand Pizzicato displaces the string on the bridge

Edited: May 24, 2020, 8:29 AM · Hello,
I'm currently going through passage that requires right hand Pizzicato on my violin and it seems that A string pops out of its place on bridge each time.

It wasn't the case before Today, and it seems to only happen for on my practice violin (Yamaha YSV-104). I swapped out the A string to a higher tension string but the problem persists. It just started doing this today, but I could go through the same passage Yesterday without an issue.

Is there a particular trick that I can do to improve this?

I should mention that I lubricate the string groove with pencil graphite.

I can potentially take this violin to a local luthier but I'm not even sure what they can do for it.

Replies (19)

Edited: May 24, 2020, 1:32 PM · The groove in the bridge is too shallow. You can deepen it with a very narrow file. Keep in mind it shouldn't be any deeper than the radius of the string.

If you're going to try DIY'ing it, just make sure you file the *towards* the tailpiece at a downwards angle to prevent any buzzing, and to lubricate the groove with pencil lead afterwards.

Edited: May 24, 2020, 10:53 AM · I also suspect you are "hooking" the string excessively: try "brushing" it with the pad of the finger. "Bloom" rather than "twang"!
For a clear sound, remember to hold the string down on the fingerboard more firmly than usual.
May 24, 2020, 11:33 AM · Thanks Adrian and Cotton.

Adrian, yes, I am "hooking" with my right middle finger (I am missing the tip of my index finger so I can't really "brush" using the index. I will try to train myself to do that with my middle finger).

Cotton, I have experimented with my equipment in the past, but considering that I can never really get a replacement bridge, I think I should take it to a luthier before I do any kind of DYI.

May 24, 2020, 12:05 PM · If you're missing the tip of your index finger, then I think you should definitely trying learning to use your middle finger for pizzicato. Adrian is completely correct about brushing vs hooking.

I do not recommend any DIY efforts on your bridge.

May 24, 2020, 12:34 PM · Don’t do Bartok pizz.
May 24, 2020, 3:19 PM · Okay, one thing that I am not sure of, am I supposed to pluck over the fingerboard, or where I normally bow?
May 24, 2020, 3:44 PM · Over the fingerboard.
Edited: May 25, 2020, 6:29 PM · It’s hard to say whether it’s the technique of the pizzicato or the string groove in the bridge without seeing a picture. Putting pencil lead in the groove isn’t a problem, and it’s good for both the bridge and the string.
May 24, 2020, 4:48 PM · Rich, there is practically zero groove for the A string, especially compared to my main violin. Pictures seen as follows: photo 20200524_234241_zpsxn08xxye.jpg

Displaced A string left dents that are possibly even larger than the groove.
 photo 20200524_234306_zpse9xgwvr6.jpg

May 24, 2020, 6:26 PM · The bridge doesn't seem very well-cut regardless. Is it one of those "pre-fitted" bridges? I see the wings haven't been shaved down at all, and it looks a bit thick.

Those grooves ARE pretty shallow.

May 24, 2020, 6:39 PM · Cotton, This bridge probably left Yamaha factory like this. The setup of the entire instrument is "pre-fitted" as you may call it, but everything "works" but nothing amazing or bad.
May 24, 2020, 8:13 PM · I agree with Cotton about the bridge. It looks very thick and clunky.
May 24, 2020, 8:17 PM · Yes, that bridge needs work. You can thank your pizz displacement for the clue!
May 24, 2020, 8:43 PM · Obviously an electric violin. The bridge is nothing like you would see on an acoustic instrument. Apparently your A string has been all over judging by the marks on the bridge.
May 25, 2020, 12:47 AM · Roger, the A string has been all over since the Pizzicato passage.
May 25, 2020, 6:32 PM · I would definitely recommend a new bridge. The one that’s on your violin is not cut to a good standard and the wood looks as though it’s pretty soft. The grooves are too shallow, so I can see how you’re having trouble with the A.
Edited: May 26, 2020, 4:30 AM · Rich, I cannot replace the bridge. I can have a luthier reshape it, but that's the best I can do. I will probably do that when something else more serious needs to be placed. I will get it done when I want replace the pegs with geared pegs also (I have them on my regular violin, I need it because I physically cannot turn the regular pegs with my left arm while holding the violin in playing position).

For the time being "brushing" technique certainly works.

Edited: May 26, 2020, 9:42 AM · Notification: What we have here is the very definition of a VSO. This "violin" is not designed for acoustic performance at all, which is why the bridge is super thick. This Yamaha YSV-104 is an ELECTRIC VIOLIN so it is not surprising that it has not been "set up properly by a luthier" etc. It's confusing because the OP's avatar shows him playing an acoustic violin, whilst the pictures on photobucket are so close-up that it's hard to tell what kind of instrument he has (except that you can't see through a normal violin all the way to the floor).

Steven should not mess around with his bridge. Yamaha has intentionally designed this thick bridge for this violin's purpose. If he ruins his bridge, a replacement is going to expensive, because he has to buy that from Yamaha. He cannot cut and fit an ordinary blank. If his string grooves are so shallow that he's pulling the strings out when playing pizzicato, then he should contact tech support at Yamaha for a suggestion or to ask whether they can mail him a replacement bridge with slightly deeper grooves, for free, on the grounds that his violin is not functioning as advertised.

Steven: The following video has lots of close-up shots of pro orchestral violinists executing RH pizz. Your question about whether to pluck where your bow would normally be suggests that you have not done this before and have never seen pro violinists playing pizzicato up-close. In orchestral playing, it is possible to adjust the timber of your pizz by moving away from the end of the fingerboard (like you see the cellists doing in the video) but eventually you run into the problem that strings are getting too close together -- obviously not a problem for cellists.


May 26, 2020, 1:57 PM · Hello Paul,
I actually will contact Yamaha about this. That's a great suggestion. I have seen professionals performming RH pizz but obviously I am not trained properly on this yet. I just wasn't sure if the issue is due to my technique or something has been set up wrong.

At least for the time being, adjusting my technique seems to work but I will contact yamaha to see if they have a suggestion regarding the bridge.

I am sure a local luthier who carries the same violin may have his own suggestions as well.

Also to be clear, Paul is right, YSV-104 is a silent electric violin dedicated for practice. In my profile picture, I'm holding an acoustic violin and I do own a proper well set-up acoustic violin. This thread is about my practice violin, Yamaha silent violin YSV-104.

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