There are a lot of factors that go into making a violin sound its best. The placement of the bridge is one of the most important things to consider. Unlike other accessories found in a violin, the bridge should be placed carefully to function properly. In this blog post, we will discuss the different aspects of bridge placement and how you can find the perfect spot for your instrument!
Don’t Mess Up with a Violin’s Bridge
You should never remove the bridge from your violin. It is the luthier’s job to do that. Strings should not be removed all at once because if the bridge falls off, it might not be glued back on, and your instrument might break.
The soundpost is placed by the pressure of the strings on the table. That pressure slightly compresses the violin arch. The soundpost is squeezed between the bottom and the table. If there are no strings, then there’ll be no downward pressure. The table will naturally slightly go up; the soundpost will come loose and fall. A bridge is an important part of a traditional violin or an electric violin. So besides checking out the cost of your electric violin or traditional violin, you should also know the price of your violin bridge.
Without a special tool, it’s difficult to put the soundpost back in place. If you notice it, go to your luthier right away. He or she can install the bridge and soundpost quickly.
If you don’t notice that your soundpost falls off, it can cause problems. If you reinstall the bridge and wind up the strings, the table might break because it can’t hold the pressure without the sound post. The repair could be expensive, and you might even have to replace the table.
It is a long and expensive process to fix a violin. If you just messed up with a cheap violin you bought online, you can change its destination right away: it could do an excellent decoration on your wall or light the barbecue with it.
A New Bridge has to be Prepared for its Violin
There are things you need to do in order to put a bridge on an instrument. The first is to sand down the bridge feet so they will fit snugly against the body of the instrument. You will also need to make notches in the bridge so that it fits securely on top of the instrument’s soundboard. Finally, you should check the thickness of the bridge to make sure it is appropriate for your instrument.
There are things you need to do the first time:
- The bridge feet must be flat on the instrument. But the table has a curved shape that goes up in the middle.
- The bridge height is at its maximum. A luthier adjusts the height of the bridge to the angle of the strings on the violin so that they are in the right position on the fingerboard.
- The luthier cuts the spaces in the bridge for the strings to go through.
These tasks are challenging and are not meant to be done by the end-user. If they are not done well, they will be worse than if they were done averagely.
You can prepare the bridge’s feet like this:
- Place a piece of sandpaper (with the sand side facing up) on top of the violin, directly in the spot where the bridge should be.
- The sandpaper will naturally take the shape of the arch. Sand the feet of the bridge to fit perfectly on the table.
How to Place the Bridge on Violin or Viola
To place the bridge, but one string in place and keep it loose. This will help you keep the bridge in its position when you put it in place.
Put simply; the bridge is located between the tailpiece and the fingerboard. Let’s assume that the bridge has already been prepared for this very violin.
There are two reasons to consider why you might need to put a bridge in:
- If you receive a violin by mail and the bridge falls off, or it wasn’t put in place before transport, it is likely that the soundpost is glued in place. This means that the violin will not sound as good as it could.
- You have removed all of the strings from the guitar at once, and as a result, the bridge has fallen off.
Be extra cautious when you are holding the violin. Do not shake it. If you move or shake the sound post, it could fall off and break the table of the violin.
- To avoid damaging the varnish, put a soft cloth under the tailpiece.
- The bridge should be in the correct direction. It’s higher for the G string than it is for the E string. The bridge also forms a triangle: the feet are flat on the violin table, the side of the bridge to the tailpiece forms a 90° angle, and the third side of the bridge is oblique.
- Look at the F-holes. There’s a small notch in the F-holes that indicate the position of the bridge. You should align the bridge with those marks and center it perfectly. Put a minimum of one string on top of it to hold it in place, preferably two or more. Measure the distance between the bridge and F-holes on each side and make sure it is precisely the same. Gently tap on the bridge to make it slide slightly if needed.
- Make sure the bridge is straight. It should be at a perfect angle to the table on the side of the violin’s tailpiece. If it leans a little bit, it should lean towards the tailpiece, as it will correct its angle when the bow applies pressure to the strings. Plus, the bridge has a tendency to lean towards the fingerboard. We don’t want this because it can cause problems with the strings and the bow. In fact, the repeated pressure of the bow and the pegs winding the strings can make the bridge lean to one side. So, regularly check if the bridge is straight or inclining slightly towards the tailpiece.
To straighten the bridge on your violin, sit in a chair and hold yourself straight. Put the violin between your knees. With your back straight the violin secured between your knees, you’ll have great force with both hands to move the bridge firmly. To change position, the strings need to slide on top of the bridge: this is when the graphite you have placed in the strings slots on the bridge will prove to be helpful.
You should check your bridge regularly. And always clean it: remove rosin dust, allowing it to vibrate at its best.
If you need to place your bridge in place, it is important to have it checked by a luthier as soon as possible. He or she will check:
- The height of the strings
- The actual place of the bridge
- The position of the soundpost
A Violin Without a Bridge
If you have or have the opportunity to buy a violin without a bridge, be careful. A musician cannot adapt, add, or modify it without help from a professional. This is because of the height of the strings, arch of the table, and place of the soundpost. Also, this is not the ideal design for beginner violinists, since bridges are used to attach practice mutes for violins.
If you don’t have the bridge or if the bridge is sold with the violin, then you will need to pay for a luthier’s work. You should expect to pay $20-$50 for a new bridge, plus an additional $50 for labor.
You can check out this link to learn more about the basics of violin.
Frequently Asked Questions about Violin Bridge Placement
Where should a violin bridge be placed?
Your bridge should be in the middle of the violin. It shouldn’t be too far to the left or right. If your violin bridge is leaning to the right or the left, push it until it is in the center of the violin.
Which way does a violin bridge go?
The bridge should be straight and parallel to the fingerboard, and it should be centered between the f-holes. The bridge feet should lay flat on the belly of the violin. The bridge can lean because wood expands and contracts.
Should a violin bridge be symmetrical?
The top of the violin bridge is not symmetrical. One end is higher than the other. The higher-end goes on the G string side of the instrument, and the lower end goes on the E string side.
Should violin bridge be tilted?
The bridge should be placed at a right angle with the violin face on the side where the tailpiece is. You can use a business card to check if it is at a perfect angle. The front of the bridge should be at a slightly obtuse angle going away from the fingerboard.
How much pressure should a violin bridge have?
The vibrations from the strings on a violin are transmitted to the body of the violin through the bridge. The bridge is a thin piece of wood with two feet that stand on the top of the violin. The whole tension in the four strings is roughly 50 pounds, about 20 of which is directed straight down into the bridge.
Why are violin bridges shaped like that?
The violin bridge is a device that supports the strings and transmits their vibrations to the body of the instrument. It is usually made from maple wood, and the shape of the bridge varies from one violin to another. The placement and fit of the bridge have a significant impact on the tone and playability of the instrument.
Should a violin bridge have notches?
The bridge of a violin should be fitted with notches so that the sound from the strings is correctly transferred to the body of the violin. The notches help to set the string height correctly.
What do you do when your violin bridge falls out?
In case the bridge falls, loosen the strings and put a soft cloth under the tailpiece to protect the top from the tuners. Put the bridge back in place, making sure that its lower side is under the string with the highest pitch. The middle of the bridge foot should be aligned with the center of the inner f-hole notch.
Why is the violin bridge asymmetrical?
Some fiddlers want a flatter bridge because it requires less arm motion to cross strings. The flatter the bridge, the more skill you need to stay on the string you want to stay on.
What is violin bridge?
A bridge is a device that helps the strings on a stringed instrument vibrate. You can find a bridge in various stringed instruments. There are bridges for mandolins, cello, viola, and violin. The vibration of the strings makes a sound, which travels to another part of the instrument and then into the air.
What causes a warped bridge?
There can be some reasons why a bridge might warp. If the wood is thin or not very strong, it will bend more easily. The best bridges might warp if people don’t pay attention to the angles and make sure they are still at 90°.