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Replacement Bridge
A short write up of a DIY bridge fitting!
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Jim Dunleavy
United Kingdom
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September 26, 2015 - 2:49 pm
Member Since: April 19, 2015
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I decided to cut a new bridge for my violin, and I took a few pics so I could do a short write up. It's really not that difficult to do, and (surprisingly) has made quite a difference to the sound and response of the instrument.

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/0-blank.jpgImage Enlarger

The bridge 'blank' is an 'Archetto', and cost about £3-50.

.

The first thing I did was shape the feet to the belly of the fiddle. I used a craft knife to rough it out, and finished with fine sandpaper taped to the belly of the violin.

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/1-height-marked.jpgImage Enlarger

The next job was to mark the height of the G and E strings, for which I used a gauge inspired by Kevin Healy's article on FM.

Next I marked out (again following Kevin's advice) and cut and filed the top of the bridge to the correct curve.

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/2-curve-drawn.jpgImage Enlarger

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/3-curve-cut.jpgImage Enlarger

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/4-curve-smoothed.jpgImage Enlarger

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/5-profile.jpgImage Enlarger

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/6-compare.jpgImage Enlarger
A quick reality check against the old bridge!

The top of the cut bridge was too thick and not even accross the width, so I used a fine file to even it all out to a thickness of about 2.4mm. Then I used fine sandpaper to smooth out any ridges left by the file.

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/7-thinned.jpgImage Enlarger
http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/8-top-profile.jpgImage Enlarger
http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/9-side-profile.jpgImage Enlarger
http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/10-smoothed.jpgImage Enlarger

I marked out the positions of the string notches next, then cut them out with a small needle file.

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/11-slots-marked.jpgImage Enlarger
http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/12-slots-filed.jpgImage Enlarger

The last photos show the fitted bridge - it sounds great!

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/14-fitted-side.jpgImage Enlarger
http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/picture_library/15-fitted-2.jpgImage Enlarger

EDIT: Sorry, can't seem to get the photos and text lined up properly - is there a way to stop the text wrapping round the pics?

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AnnyJ
Ga
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September 26, 2015 - 3:07 pm
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Good job! Although I don't know what I'm talking about. But it does look goodsmile. Thank you for sharing!

 

I had absolutely no idea that it needed grooves for the strings to sit in though, mine just sit on top. Would that affect the sound any?

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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September 26, 2015 - 3:47 pm
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Great job, Jim!

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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Jim Dunleavy
United Kingdom
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September 27, 2015 - 4:36 am
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Thanks @AnnyJ and @damfino.

AnnyJ, I'm pretty sure yours will have grooves (otherwise there would be nothing to stop the strings moving about), but they are probably shallow and when the strings are on you can't see them.

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cdennyb
King for a Day, Peasant for many
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September 29, 2015 - 4:51 am
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How does your creation doc compare with mine I made a few years ago on here?

http://fiddlerman.com/forum/th.....ridge-pdf/

I also did one on making the proper feet curvature here.

http://fiddlerman.com/forum/fi.....-to-do-it/

hats_off

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Jim Dunleavy
United Kingdom
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September 29, 2015 - 5:13 am
Member Since: April 19, 2015
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Nice article @cdennyb!

It would have been useful to read that before I started but I didn't know it was there! http://fiddlerman.com/wp-content/forum-smileys/facepalm.gif

I like your jig for holding the bridge vertical while sanding as well - that's quite tricky to do by hand.

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cdennyb
King for a Day, Peasant for many
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September 29, 2015 - 6:01 am
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Glad you liked it! I was in need of a new bridge just like you were and decided to make it a DIY project for the group here. I tried to get Pierre to make a "Library" of sorts to put all of the really great pdf's like you and I have created but I guess it's just too difficult to achieve, so unless someone remembers and has it kinda saved or bookmarked on their profile to share when the time comes, they are all lost to time and get pushed further and further away.

The little clamp I made from some scrap aluminum is also bought on ebay if you find the right seller. They aren't very expensive either.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-vi.....3d02b88d60

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-vi.....5b189b92c3

Here's a couple I see just today that are very similar.

hats_off

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Jim Dunleavy
United Kingdom
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September 29, 2015 - 6:19 am
Member Since: April 19, 2015
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I need one of those! lol

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 5, 2015 - 6:03 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

AnnyJ said
Good job! Although I don't know what I'm talking about. But it does look goodsmile. Thank you for sharing!

 

I had absolutely no idea that it needed grooves for the strings to sit in though, mine just sit on top. Would that affect the sound any?

Grooves are dangerous. They tend to get deeper and deeper.  A string should rest into the bridge half of the thickness of the string or less. As soon as they start digging into the bridge they will be pinched and the vibrations will be lessoned. We don't like making much grooves when we fit our bridges because the grooves come over time. Also, the sound is better without. You have graphite and slight indentations from the strings pressure coming down though. 🙂

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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