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Violin bridge question [Oct. 25th, 2012|10:25 pm]
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violinists

[starrynight]
So I took my violin to a luthier because I wasn't able to fix two loose pegs and while that was being done, I was told I need a new bridge because the bridge was cut too pointy and according to the luthier, the bridge is acting like a knife and cutting the strings. So I need new strings and a new bridge. I was quoted $200, which is a lot for me since I'm on a fixed income.

Instead of getting a new bridge, is it possible to have the top sanded so that it's not as pointy? I wouldn't do it obviously, I'd have the luthier do it. If that's not possible, I am going to shop around and see if I can get a better price on a bridge.

This is my violin and the bridge:

LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: dinogrrl
2012-10-26 02:28 am (UTC)
Might ask the luthier. Depending on the amount of sanding, it could change the shape and height of the bridge and thus affect the violin's sound. I'm also not sure how well a bridge would hold up to being sanded, but seeing as they hold up to the tension of the strings that's probably an unfounded worry.
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-10-26 02:32 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, I am going to call another luthier tomorrow morning and ask.

This is what it looks like currently: http://oi49.tinypic.com/amuvjk.jpg
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[User Picture]From: dinogrrl
2012-10-26 02:40 am (UTC)
Hard to tell in that photo...but I think mine might be pointier than that! My violin's really pretty terrible though, it wouldn't surprise me if my bridge was too pointy to boot :p.
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-10-26 02:43 am (UTC)
Have you had luck with strings? I don't think they'll get cut asap but I do want to get the most out of the violin and if I need a new bridge, so be it. But it doesn't hurt to ask other shops what they charge.
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[User Picture]From: dinogrrl
2012-10-26 02:56 am (UTC)
Have I ever had strings break due to my bridge? Nope. Only ever had a string break once, and I think it was because it was way overdue for being removed anyway.

I've never had to get a bridge fixed or replaced, so I can't help you on what might be a fair price.
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-10-26 02:59 am (UTC)
Well it's good to know your strings haven't broken. I was just curious because I'm paranoid of the bridge cutting the string all the way through and then snapping while playing.
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[User Picture]From: dinogrrl
2012-10-26 03:54 am (UTC)
lol well, breaking strings while playing has happened to pros before :p (and breaking bows and chin rests...).
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[User Picture]From: dom_ino
2012-10-26 02:51 am (UTC)
That really kind of sounds ridiculous; I took mine to a guy in rural Tennessee for new strings, a couple new pegs and a bridge and it was like $90. I'd suggest finding some hometown fiddle/violin guy, but maybe I'm biased.
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-10-26 02:53 am (UTC)
I live in New York, so maybe that's why it costs more, but IA, that does sound really pricey. Hopefully I can get a better deal somewhere else.
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[User Picture]From: clockworkblack
2012-10-26 02:56 am (UTC)
I think it depends on the quality of the bridge and the quality of the luthier, honestly. I've paid around $120 or so for a professional bridge in the Austin area, but there's no reason you couldn't get a slightly less fancy and less... fussed over bridge for around $50 in most places.
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[User Picture]From: dom_ino
2012-10-26 03:10 am (UTC)
The guy did great work and was an amazing bluegrass player himself. I think sometimes the title "luthier" itself is what costs more.
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-10-26 03:16 am (UTC)
That could be. But you got a sweet deal! The luthier charges $8 for each string, which are Dominants. So the bridge is $125, new strings would be $32. That's if I go to the place I went to last time. I'll see what happens tomorrow morning when I call another place and see how much it is for a new bridge, just in case mine can't be altered.
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[User Picture]From: pirastro_tonica
2012-10-26 06:25 am (UTC)
I havent played in a few years, but I did have this problem too with the new violin i got. My violin teacher just used a soft pencil, and sorta made grooves herself into my bridge, and also got me those rubber round things that you can put your strings into, so that it doesnt touch the bridge wood directly.

If that doesnt make sense here is a photo: http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/ngarrang/DSCN1006.jpg

hope this helps!
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-10-26 02:38 pm (UTC)
Oooooh, that's a nice alternative! Where do you get the rubber things from?
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[User Picture]From: whaddit
2012-10-27 08:32 am (UTC)
interjecting here--but back in my beginning violin days i believe the strings I bought came with the little rubber guards already on them! It might have just been a cheap brand of string and that's why they came with them....not too sure lol.
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[User Picture]From: failed_letter
2012-10-27 05:54 am (UTC)
This is...inaccurate. First of all, that bridge is fine, based on the picture. Any thicker and you'll be severely stunting your resonance -- and frankly unless that picture is wildly misleading, you won't really find one much thicker!! ESPECIALLY for over a hundred dollars. I've been teaching for almost a decade and I've never heard such a quote for a bridge. Honestly, I was once told by a luthier that my bridge (which looked more or less like yours; frankly yours looks standard) was too thick and was muting my sound. The next person told me it wasn't a big deal. I wouldn't worry.

The suggestion of the rubber guards was a good one, though you need to make sure they're aligned so they don't touch the string on the side that's producing your sound. It doesn't matter, obviously, if they hang over the back side of the bridge -- but if they're touching the vibrating side of the string they'll likely start to buzz at an inopportune moment. :)
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-11-07 09:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the input, I appreciate it! :D
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[User Picture]From: downybearded1
2012-10-27 02:31 pm (UTC)
I have to say I entirely agree with the comment failed_letter has made. The photo of the bridge looks fine to me although as photo's can potentially not show the full story online it might be worth getting a second opinion. I would also say that the price does seem rather high for a replacement bridge and set of strings... I would be suspicious if I were you... I think he's ripping you off.

I too have those rubber band thingys on just my E-string which would be a good option if your worried about it but yes, be careful as to how you position them so that buzzing doesn't occur. I think they came with a Swedish or Norwegian brand of string in a blue and white packet. It was quite a cheep string but this didn't matter so much as it was just my E-string and just for practice so I didn't need too much resonance. I'm afraid I can't remember the brand name but I know that dominants don't come with this I think as all of the other strings I have are dominants. You can maybe put a picture of the string brands you can get hold of here and it might be interesting to kind of rate them online? I might do that when I next go to the music shop...

Anyway, back to the topic at hand! I can't even imagine that too thin a bridge would really matter much if you're just playing for pleasure and for practice. Plus, strings are pretty tough! Even if it was too thin which I don't think it is as mine looks a little thinner than that, then all it would mean is that your strings wouldn't last quite as long. Honestly, this might not be such a bad thing considering I don't know if you find this but strings loose their best sound after a while and as I'm just a novice I can't tell so easily so in some ways it would be helpful to know that your strings would run out sooner, giving you probably a better sound on average, if that makes sense.

In any ways, I understood that the major problem with bridges is if they start bending and the thinness isn't really an issue.

As for strings breaking, I've had one break on me whilst I was getting into this really loud and fast gypsy piece. It broke right at the tail-piece and touched my cheek as it pinged off. It was very scary I can tell you but it didn't even scratch me or hurt me at all and I play with bad posture and my face REALLY close to the bridge so my point is if a string breaks at the bridge it'll be scary but you'll be ok, don't worry.

Good luck and I hope I may have helped :)
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[User Picture]From: ldygrinningsoul
2012-10-28 12:16 am (UTC)
This sounds like a scam to me. If your bridge is pointy and cutting your strings, you'd be going through strings...are you? I've never had this happen, myself, and if it was pointy, yeah, sand it down a little with fine sand paper. A new bridge is way less than $200, and while it's better to have it seated, you can play on them out of the wrapper just fine. So, are you a pro looking for the perfect setup, or an amateur just trying to play? If the latter, just play on it - I've never seen a bridge cut metal strings - usually the strings bite into the bridge.
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-10-28 03:18 am (UTC)
Well, I've had the violin for two and a half weeks now and no, I haven't had any strings break or snap. I'm an amateur looking to play but am starting violin lessons soon.
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[User Picture]From: evil_winky
2012-10-31 02:36 pm (UTC)
I've never heard any luthier or shop owner say "your bridge is too pointy." I would agree with some of the above comments supporting the integrity of your bridge. It looks very normal to me. The only problem I have ever had with a bridge was the placement on the fiddle. Sometimes they get knocked around and over time they can tilt. This extra tension can damage the string and if you haven't been paying attention, the bridge can just pop off at an untimely moment!

If you are concerned about your more delicate E string getting too much tension from the bridge and unraveling, you can purchase E strings with a small, plastic "tube" of sorts on it. That part of the string sits right where the string is on the bridge and adds a bit of protection from the string experiencing unnecessary pressure.

I also think the bridge cost he quoted you was too high. Over $100 is ridiculous.
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-11-03 04:19 pm (UTC)
It seems that the majority agrees and thinks a new bridge is unnecessary, so I won't get one. Which is good, because I don't want to be ripped off or pay out the wazoo for it, especially since I'm just an amateur violinist.
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