How to Straighten the Bridge of Your Violin or Viola and Prevent Damage
One day a customer walked into my violin shop. She was panicked, because the bridge of the violin had fallen down and damaged both the bridge and the violin. This happened right before she went on stage to perform.
This is what happens when you tune a lot, but you don’t check if the bridge is standing up straight.
In this case the reparation was quite easy, but the damage can be worse.
When you tune your violin, it’s important to check if the bridge is standing up straight and adjust it if it isn’t. Luckily this is easy to learn.
BTW: When you are looking for a video that teaches you how to tune your violin, check out these:
How to Tune Your Violin or Viola with an Electronic Tuner (or app)
How (and WHY?) to Tune Your Violin with a Tuning Fork?
You might already know that the bridge is not glued onto your violin or viola. When it would be, it wouldn’t be able to transfer the vibrations (sound) from your strings to the soundboard. Glue would block the vibrations and work like a mute.
This means the bridge has to stand loose on the violin or viola.
When you are tuning, the strings can pull the bridge on it’s toes or on it’s heels.
Check this with your own violin or viola. You can see that the bridge is not straight by looking for a space between the feet of the bridge and the soundboard. Also the back of the bridge is not straight up. The back of the bridge should make a straight corner with the soundboard. Don’t mind the little belly the bridge on the front.
When the bridge is standing on it’s toes or heels, it means it cannot properly transfer the vibrations from the strings to the soundboard. Worst of all it that it can fall down and cause damage!
As their is quite some pressure of the strings on the bridge, the bridge will go with a bang! With this the tailpiece and the finetuners will hit the soundboard and the soundpost can fall down because of the sudden release of pressure on the soundboard.
When you straighten your bridge, grab it with both hands. When you gently push it, the bridge will easily go in it’s feet again. You will feel it when the bridge is on it’s place. It feels stabilized and can’t be moved very easily.
Certainly when you have to tune a lot, make sure to check your bridge often.
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PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to email@example.com and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!