How to Shape a Violin Bridge

Written by cee donohue
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How to Shape a Violin Bridge
The bridge has a significant effect on the sound of the violin. (violin image by Mateusz Papiernik from Fotolia.com)

The origin of the violin can be traced back to Italy in the 16th century, but the inventor is unknown. It became a regular part of orchestras in the 17th century, and composers started using the violin as a main instrument in their compositions. The sound of the violin is greatly impacted by the shape, fit and angle of the bridge. The goal of a violin maker is to make a bridge that will transmit the highest vibration of energy from the strings to the body of the violin.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 180- or 360-grit sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • Knife

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Loosen the strings enough to lift the bridge. Keeping the bridge vertical, sand it enough so that the flat feet of the bridge match the curved top of the violin, which will prevent any sound loss. Keep the abrasive side of the sandpaper up so that you don't sand off too much wood. It is recommended when sanding to use a circular motion.

  2. 2

    Mark the proper position for the strings with a pencil. When shaping a new bridge, you can use the old one as a model. Sand the bridge down to slightly above the profile. This may take more than one time to get it to the desired height. Using a sharp knife, press V-shaped notches into it that are about half the depth of the strings. This will prevent sideways movement. Erase the pencil marks.

  3. 3

    Sand the bridge profile on the side closest to the fingerboard. This will allow the sound energy to transfer from the strings to the bridge with the proper tone. One side of the bridge rests on the sound post and the other side rests on the bass bar. The treble side acts as a pivot for the rest of the bridge, and the bass foot of the bridge has more motion, which balances the loudness.

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