correct bridge placement
Dear all, this is my first post.
I'm trying to learn violin but I'm over 60 so its not easy. I just upgraded from a super cheap VSO to a 2nd hand Yamaha V5.
It sounds a lot better than the VSO but I noticed the bridge was not parallel with the nut (not perpendicular to the strings). It was however, exactly between the f hole notches. I thought I should move it so that it was perpendicular to the strings (keeping the 90 degree rear edge obviously).
I did this but it sounds worse to me and the G string now makes a horrible, pulsating, resonance . Obviously I'm going to move it back but my question is: aren't all f hole notches supposed to be manufactured so they are perpendicular to the strings? And I can't believe such a miniscule move caused this pulsating resonance, what normaly causes this noise?
In some cases the f-hole notches won't work. Certain Guarneri instruments have lopsided f-holes and violins modeled on those patterns strive for that asymmetry. The stop length is probably the best way to position it. You can google stop length and neck length, that that will give you a good indicator of where to place it. For most violins, the neck distance is 130 mm and the stop length is 195 mm, giving a 2-1 ratio.
Dimitri's post piqued my curiosity so I made the measurements and found that all 4 of my violins agree with his numbers as closely as I could tell. Aye! There's the rub, because a silly millimeter here or there may make all the difference to what we hear.
When the two notches aren't aligned, the one on the bass side takes priority.
If you live near a violin shop you could take it there and they could have a look at it for you. They might find some other issues that need attention as well.
David, I disagree. It’s all down to the 2:1 ratio. If you have a source to cite, I’d love to read it because it goes against everything I’ve read—but I could be wrong.
No you set the bridge by the notches on the treble side and ignore the bass side notch. that is if the sounding length is correct.
i think its a 2/5th and 3/5th ration
As I see it the notches are just a rough historical guide, cut pretty much at the centre of the f-holes largely for aesthetic reasons. F-holes actually vary quite considerably in their location vis-a-vis the body of the instrument; there's a full centimetre difference between two of my violins. The bridge position in relation to that of the sound post (which itself is able to float to a certain degree) is the critical determinant of sound quality.
Nut-to-shoulder/shoulder-to-bridge/bridge-to-tail "should" be 4/6/5.
While aligning the bridge with the ff hole notches is a "rule" I often hear, that's not really how it's done. But in an emergency situation, maybe it's better than nothin'. ;-)
So you're saying even on your own violins, the f hole notches don't indicate the correct position for the Bridge???
On my own instruments, they generally do. But on a lot of instruments, they don't, perhaps because the maker wasn't very invested in that, or because they weren't working to what are considered to be standard measurements.
We are almost always told to position the bridge where the outer f-hole notches are, but the question of how luthiers like Stradivari might have put the f-holes in the right place to begin with is more complicated than I realised.
Moving the bridge may require an adjustment of the sound post.
My suggestion is to bring your instrument to a luthier and have him or her adjust the bridge and then play the instrument (or have someone else play it) so you can judge the sound (before and after the change in position).
I strongly agree with Raymond.
I’ve read that the ratio between stop length and neck length is 2:1, I think in “The violin explained” but I would need to get back to my office to check. The f hole nicks are not standardized, and David’s point about standardization is well taken.
The correct neck length to stop length ratio is 2:3, not 2:1.
Professional violin setup involves a careful consideration of many measurements and relationships. It’s never as simple as just letting one number dictate everything.
Davide, thank you for the correction (and Lyndon). A week in the ice has frozen my brain. But the 195/130 lengths are a better guide than the notches, as I said.
On an existing violin, I use vibrating string length (VSL) as the main method to locate the bridge, because most users of 4/4 violins learned on instruments with a VSL of between 327mm to 330mm. Bridges located outside this range will make the notes occur at unfamiliar locations of the
I was always taught that the bridge should be aligned with the f-hole notches unless it shouldn't.
Correct bridge position is where it works. Likewise for the post. Anything that works is fair game.
Between the notches, giving preference to the bass side, but at the end of the day you want the string length you are used to playing (normally 328mm), because 1mm less or more will make a noticeable difference in intonation, so that's probably the most important thing. The sound doesn't change that much, and if does, you can always counter it with different strings.
Why do you keep posting BS, everyone goes by the treble side f hole notch
Dimitri Pappas, here's one source. I could get more, I've always heard this, including here in this forum:
Who the hell is this idiot?? Painfully obvious facts mixed with willful misinformation.
For instance you don't centre the bridge between the eyes of the f holes if this places the strings off centre on the fingerboard. When fitting a bridge you are supposed to place the grooves on the bridge so that the bridge is both centred between the eyes and centred on the fingerboard, but with crooked fingerboards this is not always possible 100%, I would place centreing the strings on the fingerboard as more important than centreing between the eyes, if a bridge is slightly off centre the soundpost position can be adjusted for slightly off centre bridge its not the end of the world, but on higher quality instruments this problem should come up much less often.
Mr. Duarte, I wish you would be a little more stingy with your advice, until you've had a chance to learn more, and learn it from better sources.
What's wrong with my advice? If you don't play the violin it's normal that you don't value string length.
Mr. Duarte, you can take part in reducing the spread of erroneous "common knowledge", or not. You can be part of the problem, or part of the solution. It's up to you.
wow, thanks for all the advice. Seems it somehow generated a bit of vitriol, sorry about that.
To me the video was a mixture of slime and glucose syrup.
the downward pressure of the strings usually stops the bridge feet from moving from there set position, but this doesn't mean their set position is always optimally centred between the f holes,