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Pencil lead in bridge notches
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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Feathers
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December 21, 2012 - 8:56 pm
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I've read here that it's recommended to coat the bridge notches with some pencil lead, and have a question:

Do you do this with every string change, or does once last awhile?

I'm getting ready to change some strings, and appreciate any and all advice on this.

Thanks,

Robin

"Music is what feelings sound like." ~ Author Unknown

 

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DanielB
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December 21, 2012 - 9:20 pm
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It lasts a while, but I do it any time a string has come out of tune enough to really need tuning from the peg.  I loosen it enough to lift it out of the grooves and color them in, then put the string back in the groove and tune her up. 

That may seem a pain to do, but it really doesn't take long, and a pencil line is considerably cheaper than buying strings more often or having to replace a bridge or nut because the strings cut into it.

I made a little tool for it, that is just a piece of thin mechanical pencil "lead" taped to the side of a popsicle stick. 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Barry
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December 21, 2012 - 9:21 pm
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I do it every time I change strings, the main reason is the graphite lubes the slots and helps to ease the tendency to pull the bridge towards the neck while tuning.  You should always make constant checks on your bridge while restringing. If you look closely at the bridge feet you will see a slight gap at times from the strings pulling on the bridge, grab the bridge with both hands and gently tilt it back towards the tail piece until the feet are level on the violin top.

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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Feathers
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December 21, 2012 - 10:01 pm
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Thank you both so much!

@DanielB - I agree, if the extra effort prolongs the life of the strings, then I like it.

Your lead tool sounds like a great idea, might have to try that if a regular pencil doesn't cooperate. I can almost see the point breaking off as we speak.....lol!

@Barry - I'll definitely keep an eye on the bridge feet. I caught the top of it leaning the other day while tuning, and had to loosen everything to re-adjust it. Was thankful it wasn't permanently warped.

I'm also gonna re-visit FM's string change video, and hopefully spare myself that "oops" moment!

Thanks again, your combined knowledge has been a tremendous helpsmile

"Music is what feelings sound like." ~ Author Unknown

 

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DanielB
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December 22, 2012 - 4:56 am
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Well, your mileage may vary, of course, but I haven't broken any violin strings at all yet. Knock on wood.

 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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