It would probably cost around $125 to have a premium bridge installed. The improvement would be slight. The existing bridge was probably chosen to match the quality of the other woods. If it was me I would put that money in the savings toward a future violin or bow upgrade. Now if you have the skills to install one yourself that changes things. I'd probably go for that.
I currently have an Artist Violin and absolutely love it. I'm not at a skill level yet that would require upgrading the instrument but was wondering about upgrading the various parts. How big of a difference would upgrading the bridge make?
If it's the Fiddlerman Artist then I wouldn't touch the bridge...
At least Pierre says in his demo video of the instrument that they're set up professionally, which pretty much means like zpilot said: the bridge is tailored to complement the sound of the violin and not just there as a means of holding the strings and transferring sound.
Bridges can affect the sound in various ways.. for example the thinner the bridge is the more loud the violin becomes (practice mutes essentially do the opposite: add weight to the bridge, dampening the vibrations and reducing the volume). Furthermore the higher and larger the cutouts are (including the one between the feet), usually the more warm / muffled sound you get and the smaller and lower they are the more clear / sharp the tone. Luthiers use this to their advantage to make something that counter-balances excessive brightness or warmness from the violin body itself, then lastly they fine-tune it by tapping on it in different locations and checking the frequencies to make sure it's even (a quick thinning with a file in certain locations can fine-tune these for example)
Most of this information I 'remembered' while gathering data last week, since I just made a new bridge for my cheap Chinese violin so they may not be as accurate as a proper luthier could explain... but the purpose was to point out that if the instrument was set up like that.. you don't really want to mess with it and unless you're a luthier, chances are that everything you could replace it with at home, even if the wood is better, will probably just make it worse.
I'm curious though, what kind of improvement are you actually looking for? Because I just re-watched the Artist violin demo on Fiddlershop while typing this... and Pierre does make that violin sound awesome
He makes them all sound awesome. They just sound "different". That is the upside AND the downside of those video demos. You get to hear the instrument at it's best. Not how it sounds when played by a hack like me. There's no misrepresentation there. I've noticed the mic setup they use. They make a good effort to give you an accurate impression of the instrument. They do their part. We still have to do ours.
I agree with the above peeps. I would Save the money for an upgrade in violin further down the line.
however if you're really wanting to put some money into it work on getting better fittings....get a titanium fine tuner, titanium chinrest legs...that kind of thing. the more weight you take off a violin the more it can vibrate...and the best part is you can transfer these to your new violin! But know that these upgrades RARELY have huge affects on the violin...it maybe a little more resonance or a bit more vibrations. so you have to justify the cost of titanium fittings for barely noticeable changes...and if fiddlerman set it up i'd really be saying like minuscule changes.
Over all really I'd save your money on "upgrades" to the violin and buy more lessons and/or books(however your learning to play) or stash it away for when you get good enough you want an upgrade in violins
The more you play and practice the better you'll sound!!!
Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!
~General George S. Patton
One violin came with a tailpiece that with its fine tuners weighed 42 grams. I removed the tuners and drilled a bunch (technical term) of holes ending with a weight of 22 grams. The weight of FM Soloist tailpiece is 12 gram. Lighter is probably a good thing.
Having said that I have a mandolin that purposely has a very heavy tailpiece which causes the sound to equal and surpass many highly sought after instruments.