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Identical or Different Bridges
Should 2 CVA-500 14" viola instruments have identical or different bridges when one instrument is strung as a violin and the other as a viols?
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Raywells
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September 30, 2013 - 9:47 pm
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Question: Should 2 similar Cecilio CVA-500  14" violas  have different bridges if the two instruments have different purposes?

I am experimenting with extremely dark chocolate sound in violin sized instruments.

I have qty 2,  CVA-500 14" Violas.

I have fit the 1st with Supersensitive, Sensicore, Octave violin strings E, A, D and G which tune one octave below regular violin strings.

I am in the process of fitting the 2nd with Supersensitive, Sensicore, Octave strings tuning A, D, G, and C for Viola range, also tuning one Octave below regular viola strings.

I bought a fitted violin Bridge and a fitted viola bridge,

the viola bridge holds the strings 4cm above the belly of the instrument while the violin bridge holds them 3.7 cm above the belly

The Viola bridge is wider 5.5 cm as against the Violin bridge at 4.8cm

The viola bridge takes the A and C strings closer to the edges of the fingerboard while the violin bridge keeps the outside strings a respectable distance from the fingerboard edges

String heights at end of finger board is .8-.9 cm above the FB on the violin bridged unit

String heights at end of finger board is .6-.8 cm above the FB on the viola bridged unit

There are minor differences in tone on similar strings but none are bad.

Which bridge would you choose, the neat orderly violin bridge or the wider bigfoot viola bridge

 

Ray

 

 

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RosinedUp
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September 30, 2013 - 10:51 pm
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Raywells said
String heights at end of finger board is .8-.9 cm above the FB on the violin bridged unit

String heights at end of finger board is .6-.8 cm above the FB on the viola bridged unit

I've seen viola measurements by Alan Goldblatt, Luthier (web search for it) that indicate string heights of 4-6 mm for synthetic strings and 3.5-5.5 mm for steel strings.  That is for a 14" (3/4) viola.  So your strings are now ridiculously high compared to ordinary 14" viola strings.  IDK the implications of using the heavier strings relative to string height.  Maybe they need more room to vibrate, implying that they have to be higher than ordinary strings.

What does it mean that you "bought" "fitted" bridges?  You had a luthier fit the bridges?

Anyway, with your strings as high as they are, I think you would have trouble selectively bowing a middle string that you are fingering, since when its neighbors are high it gets pushed down a lot relative to its neighbors.  There is a point where the strings are so high, fingering a string pushes it lower than its neighbors and it's not possible to bow that fingered string alone.

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Fiddlestix
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October 1, 2013 - 6:53 am
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@ Raywells: I would also like to know what, "fitted", refers to ?

Did you buy them from the internet and put them on without cutting and shaping ? or like RosinedUp asked, did a luthier fit them.

Your string height does seem a bit high. The height from violin belly is determined by the angle of the fingerboard in relation to violin body with the correct clearance from string height to fingerboard which is determined by bridge height.

My 130 year old Da Salo violin has a bridge height of 29mm from the belly, my FM / Concert Master has a bridge height of 32mm from the belly. The angle of the fingerboard to the violin is greater on the Concert Master and produce's more volume than the Da Salo. Both have the same distance between f/b and string's.

Perhaps, Ray,, you should take both to a luthier and get a professional opinion, if not let him set them up for you.

 

Ken.

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Kevin M.
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October 1, 2013 - 9:58 am
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Here we go. Both sets of strings are tuned one octave below. This means the amplitude of the vibrating strings will be greater than normal thus needing greater clearance of the fingerboard. The viola strings, which on a 14 inch viola, have about the same length but have a C string as the lowest string. The C string will be farther from the fingerboard than the G string on the violin. These are all things that have to be taken into account when the bridge is fitted to the instrument. A fitted bride is, although they are sold, impossible since all violins are different. By going one octave lower on a string instrument the bridge would no longer be optimal for the instrument and require a new bridge be made.

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Raywells
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October 1, 2013 - 3:50 pm
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@RosinedUp and Fiddlestix, thankyou for your responses. Looking at the "fitted" bridges I have in hand, they are fitted in that they already have grooves for the strings already pre-cut into the top of the bridges. I do notice that both bridges are a bit too tall and I do run into the situation where " a fingered string gets pushed down lower than a neighbour".

I cannot afford the luxury of a Luthier to set things up so I carve the feet of the bridge to fit the tops and thus fit my own bridges. I have ordered a couple of blank violin bridges were I will adjust the feet to fit the top and in the process remove some of the height of the bridge. I can then use my tiny round file to create appropriate grooves in the top pf the bridge for the strings. I still have the option to adjust the location/height of each string while accounting for the larger diameter of these strings and accomodate the increased amplitude of especially the C string on the viola and the G string on the violin as graciously mentioned by Kevin M. It won't be done in a matter of hours, probably over a day or two to adjust for the changes demanded by these strings.

I have the violin string change done over the violin bridge and it sounds pretty good so I think I will use violin bridges on both instruments. They are closer to the size of the bridges that shipped with the instruments as violas and they dont spread the strings so wide as the full size viola bridge.

Thanks to all who have had a look and commented so far.

Ray

 

fingering a string pushes it lower than its neighbors - See more at: http://fiddlerman.com/forum/fi.....spPostForm
fingering a string pushes it lower than its neighbors - See more at: http://fiddlerman.com/forum/fi.....spPostForm
fingering a string pushes it lower than its neighbors - See more at: http://fiddlerman.com/forum/fi.....spPostForm
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RosinedUp
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October 1, 2013 - 4:22 pm
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Not sure whether you know the basics of fitting a bridge, Ray.  One way to fit the feet is to use something called a redressal tool.  The string height is adjusted by trimming the top edge of the bridge blank.  A new blank is almost always going to be too tall.  I usually end up cutting close to 1/4" off the top of the blank, using a coping saw with the bridge blank in a vise, but that isn't the only way to do it.  @Kevin M.  and @cdennyb have each written instructions for fitting a bridge.  Web search also for "FITTING A BRIDGE TO A PROFESSIONAL QUALITY INSTRUMENT".

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cdennyb
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October 14, 2013 - 12:36 am
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