Luthier recommendation in Oregon for a new bridge?

July 2, 2021, 1:49 PM · My bridge is slightly warped. It's not obvious without measuring, but when I place a card in the corner to check the bridge, I can see the warp then. My violin has had this bridge for probably over 20 years and I don't know if the warping is my fault or not, but I'd like to have a new bridge cut.

I really want what's best for my violin (if I had my wish, I'd take it back to the Spidlen family shop where it was made, but unfortunately a trip to Prague is not in the cards for me right now). So I'd really appreciate your recommendations of a great luthier to cut a bridge for me in Oregon. I know it'll involve leaving my violin with them for a few days and I'm fine with going back to retrieve it when they're finished. I just want it done right and I'm willing to pay for fine craftsmanship. Taking it to just anywhere is not an option. Thank you.

Replies (7)

July 2, 2021, 4:35 PM · There are many fine violin makers in Oregon. Where are you in Oregon.
Edited: July 2, 2021, 5:56 PM · I'm in Corvallis visiting my parents until July 20th, but I'll also be spending some time in Portland and I have transportation.
July 2, 2021, 11:14 PM · Caitlin Pugh, Paul Schuback, David Kerr can all do an excellent work. I think it is really worth your while to visit all of them if you want really fine work and find the person that suits your concept of setup. Spend some time with them so they really know what it is you want from your instrument. I have found with skilled luthiers that if they know what you want from them, you are much more likely to get what you want.

If you drop the violin off and say you want a new bridge, you will get a new bridge. If you spend some time with them and say you want a new bridge because you didn't get something that you want from your old bridge, then they can tailor their work to what you want. The more specific you can be about what you are looking for, the easier it is for them to make something that you will like.

If it has been a really long time, consider some fingerboard work (planing/smoothing) if it needs it.

Also, if you really like your current bridge and it is in good shape, maybe they can fix the warp.

July 3, 2021, 12:07 AM · Thank you, I appreciate that. Since my violin had this bridge when I got it and it was my first full-sized violin, I've never actually done this before. I suppose I could describe what I play and what qualities in the sound I enjoy. Would it be rude of me to inquire even if I end up taking the violin to another person? I suppose I could start with asking them if they think the bridge is warped enough to merit a replacement since I'm still pretty happy with the sound. To be honest I don't think the warp is affecting my playing, and my main priority right now is just wanting to make sure the feet aren't being affected. The violin sounds great, but I want it to be healthy and safe.
July 3, 2021, 9:17 AM · It's hard to imagine taking your violin to a luthier, asking them to fit you a new bridge that will give you a little more power on the treble side (or whatever it is that you want) and having them say, "Nope, can't do that. Go up the road to Jeff's place. That's his thing." Just can't see that happening. Of course, if you tell them you want a bridge cut so that your violin sounds like Perlman's violin, then you know NOT to give your business to the one who promises that outcome.
July 4, 2021, 8:40 AM · Jenelle Steele in Portland.

July 4, 2021, 10:34 AM · The Spidlen family has made some really fine instruments over the years. Enjoy!

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