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Why Don’t VSO Manufacturers Use Self Adjusting Bridges?
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Irv
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August 13, 2020 - 1:57 pm
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After spending many years looking at photographs of cheap string instruments (generally termed violin shaped objects or vso’s), I only came across one that appeared to have a bridge with self adjusting feet.  This type of bridge has three separate pieces, the main body and two feet assemblies.  The feet are joined to the body with a tight fitting circular joint.

Mass produced bridges are produced using high pressure water spray, laser, or cutter, under computer control.  I think that using a self adjusting would be less labour intensive than hand carving (and, yes, I know that hand labour is cheap in some countries).  And the end result would likely improve.  

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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Mouse
August 13, 2020 - 2:06 pm
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I seem to recall reading about these. Although, I my have read about a different type. The issue people had was that they broke and/or were not reliable with tuning. That is what I got out of it. Maybe the ones you are seeing are better than the ones mentioned in the article I read a couple years ago.

Cello and Viola Time! 

(Former Username - cid)

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Gordon Shumway
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August 14, 2020 - 3:50 am
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I've got a self-adjusting bridge. They are expensive (half the cost of the $50 VSO). Also they come in three different heights, so you have to measure what you've got very carefully. I forget where mine is. I think it's currently on my VSO with steel strings that I was planning to use for country music. But by the time I get that far I'll probably be using my Stentor instead. Or is it on the Stentor? I can't believe I kept that VSO. More likely the VSO is in the garbage and the bridge is in a drawer. So I can't even be sure the bridge is the right height for whatever it will end up on.

I've also got a bridge with an ebony insert where the E string goes. That was probably a silly purchase.

Andrew

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Irv
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August 14, 2020 - 9:09 am
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Gordon Stumway, thank you for posting.  

Did you experience any tuning issues involving the bridge?  I can’t fathom how that would be possible.

Since the goal is to meet the needs of beginners, ease of maintenance and durability are valid issues.  A drop or two of superglue at the pivot points once fitted would be an easy cure for those issues.

I do not know if bridge height consistency would be a significant issue given that the vso is a manufactured item using jigs and likely automatic carving devices.  

Likewise, the differential cost of manufacturing a standard versus adjusting bridge is likely measured in pennies.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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Gordon Shumway
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August 14, 2020 - 9:15 am
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Irv said
Did you experience any tuning issues involving the bridge?  I can’t fathom how that would be possible.... A drop or two of superglue at the pivot points once fitted would be an easy cure for those issues...the differential cost of manufacturing a standard versus adjusting bridge is likely measured in pennies.

  

I experienced no tuning issues, but then the bridge was $20, so I'm not sure what issues you'd expect at that price.

I suspect you haven't seen one and are assuming the feet are loose? No, I see you are aware they are tight. In fact the feet are so well engineered (and probably not cheaply) that you can't really see the join at the pivot, and they are quite stiff, so I wouldn't really recommend glueing them. You'd ruin their reusability. The shape of the violin combined with their stiffness and the string tension means everything is very stable.

I think we share the same ideas about economics and that's why I bought one of these bridges, but ultimately one gets sick of the sound of the VSO. The real question is how much do you have to spend on a Chinese factory instrument to get one that is well set up with a good bridge and a low nut? (I.e. an up-market VSO. My Stentor for instance. It's well set up and it sounds better than a really cheap VSO, although it's obviously not great)

Pierre will be able to advise on that one.

Andrew

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Irv
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August 14, 2020 - 11:46 am
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Gordon, the tuning issue was a (second hand) point of contention previously brought up in the thread by cid.  Having no horse in this race, I wanted your opinion.  The relative fragility of the device was also brought up by cid.  

A major objection to the myriad of cheap violins I have seen and own is ill fitting bridges.  I had an “oh how smart” moment when I saw one with an obviously oem adjustable bridge.  I doubt the lack of adoption is a patent issue, since I think that tribe is immune from such considerations.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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