Severely warped bridge - easy fix!
My bridge was very warped because of the humidity and time. Plus a bit of neglect I suppose! See pictures.
Yesterday I decided to do something about it. I concocted a temporary clamp from paint stirrer sticks and rubber bands to keep the post in place, see pix below. Once the bridge was free I put the tea kettle on and got it boiling. I held the bridge, using forceps, in the steam stream emanating from the whistler hole for about 5-8 minutes. Rotating it like a marshmallow over a fire and the bridge had relaxed back to its as new condition. I let it “dry” is a woodworkers clamp for a few hours and reinstalled it a few hours later. Now it’s perfect.
This is an easy repair that could be done by anyone.
Sorry that the pictures don’t show. The pictures really demonstrate the issue and how successful the fix was. I’ve tried a few times to get them to display but failed. Copy and past appears to work but it is a cludgy method.
The pictures show just fine!
Can also use a clothing iron. Just needs hot steam. Three cheers for diy, eh?
I wouldn't hesitate to try that if my bridge was warped. Unless I had a luthier handy who would probably take care of some adjustments and such while he was at it. But my luthier is moving to Philadelphia and I'll probably be forced to do more stuff DIY.
No no no! Please just go to a trained luthier and get a new bridge. This website unfortunately enables people to share their bad at home remedies for repairs that should be done by a trained professional. That bridge would never have gotten so warped in the first place, if it was properly maintained at a straight position. Sorry to be so brutally honest...
these quick fixes are temporary at best, they almost always warp back
Exactly Lyndon. Wood has a memory. This reminds me of seeing these ghetto at home remedies for straightening crooked teeth on YouTube by some amateur with no discussion about the most important thing: retention (after said treatment). If you want to have a perfect bridge, go to a trained luthier, if you want to have good teeth, visit a dentist or orthodontist.
Yes Lyndon and Nate--this easy (but temporary) fix reminds me of the TV ads that promise liposuction will remove fat cells permanently; the ads don't mention that new fat cells will immediately replace those that were removed. New bridge, better care, no more warping!
That bridge is in real danger of snapping in two! The distortion shown in the photos will have permanently weakened the internal structure of the wood, and will not be cured by the suggested diy "repairs". I go 100% with Nate's and Lyndon's advice on this.
Actually, that's exactly how I keep the rental fleet in our shop running. Fifteen years of experience says that the lore that it's not permanent is a myth BUT you have to correct what cause the original bending.
And by the way--that little string tube on the E should almost entirely be behind the bridge. The leading edge should be right at the front of the bridge, no farther, or it will damp the string. Sometimes that's a good thing, but not if it is happening just by accident.
I agree that this was not the best way to fix the problem but in my current situation both with COVID19 finances and having my 90 year old mother in law with a failing heart (she just got checked last week at cardiologist) just move in - visiting a Violin shop was not a viable option for a few good reasons. It’s always easy to spend other peoples money!
I agree with Nate and Lyndon. If I "fixed" my own bridge, it would only be until I could get proper professional care for my violin. One thing I'm worried about with these DIY bridge straightenings is that I'll weaken the material and it will fail violently causing even more damage. So I'd have to be desperate to do something like this on my own.
Michael can you comment on E-string tubes when one has a parchment? Does that change anything about how you would view the use of that tube?
I agree with Michael Darton. I have used a vegetable steamer to straighten bent bridges. A good bridge will usually just return to its original straightness by itself, no additional flattening needed. It then functions as normal; I have never had a bridge snap.
WOW! I have seen bent bridges, but nothing like that!
Also, these bridges that have been leaning forward and warped almost always have feet that no longer properly fit the top, all the more reason to get a proper luthier involved in the process.
If you have a skin under your E you don't need the tube. I'm not totally convinced by either and in some cases will harden the E groove with superglue and leave off the skin. Basically I make the decision on what I want to hear.
Thinking back, it appears that the tendency of the bridge to warp towards the fingerboard appears to have increased since I took off my fine tuners on all strings and switched to Wittner’s geared pegs. I have to do quite a bit of tuning because my fiddle goes from inside to outside every day and easily can experience temperature swings of 20 to 30F during the course of a summer day.
String players have been tuning exclusively with pegs for hundreds of years. They just need to be constantly cautious.
I have parchment on the E groove on the bridge of both my violins, and a plastic tube on the E string is therefore unnecessary. Without the tube the E string sound is at its best, for me. I believe there is a tendency for the tube to attenuate some high frequencies before they get to the bridge itself.