The bridge is the most important element of a violin's exterior. Its size and setting will have an impact on the overall sound of the instrument. The bridge is seated toward the lower portion of the violin's body and supports and provides tension to the strings of the instrument. Unlike a guitar, the bridge of a violin isn't fixed with glue or any other fastening device. The tension of the strings is what keep the bridge in place. Violin bridges are not expensive, but many players prefer to make their own.
Things you need
Draw a template for your bridge. With pencil and paper, draw several bridges until you have the template design you want. This will be the template you transfer to your maple veneer.
Buy a sheet of maple veneer. Purchase a piece as close to the thickness of the bridge you want to make. You can buy it at timber merchants and sometimes at craft or music shops. Place the maple on a flat, sturdy work area and secure it, then use your template to draw your bridge onto the maple.
Use a power saw or a small power cutting tool to cut your bridge from the maple. Use light grain sandpaper to smooth the bridge once you've cut it from the maple veneer.
Sand and shape the bridge to the appropriate measurements. Your may have to use a small metal file to refine the shape or remove excess wood. The thickness of the bridge can vary depending upon your taste. Some violinists prefer a very thin bridge, others think a thicker bridge produces better vibration and intonation. Pay attention to the spacing of the feet (the part of the bridge that rests on the violin) and the width of the bridge as well as string height. There should be a 4.3 mm (11/64 inch) spacing between the feet, and the top width of the bridge should be about 1.3 mm (1/16 inch).
Try the bridge on your violin for fit and proper intonation. Make any adjustments necessary and you're ready to play.
- Start with a thicker bridge and gradually trim it down until you reach the desired thickness.
Things you need
- Maple veneer
- Power saw