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Best Bridges


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The "best" bridge depends a lot on the instrument. Do not put an Aubert DeLuxe on your cheapo violin... these are getting so hard to get anymore. No matter how good the bridge is, if it is not fit properly, or the instrument isn't up to those standards, you won't get any more out of it than with a modest one. Good student bridges are the Bausch, Aubert (available in several grades), Despaiu, etc. Price usually reflects quality, but it is best to find a luthier you can trust.

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Ok. I don't get this 'bridge' thing either. The Hill Bros state in the Strad book I believe, that if you use maple (acer pseudoplatanus) for the back of the fiddle, and it is properly aged, it does not matter if it is well-flamed or not flamed at all. To obtain a proper sounding violin, the secret is all in the carving. I will continue this line of thought when making bridges for the my violins. I use the scraps from the billets left over after sawing out the bottom plate from the block. True, my bridges are kind of funny looking as I can never get the eyes, ears etc looking very symmetrical. Nevertheless, I believe if I carve it right and it fits, on what basis can other bridges be that much superior?

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Bridges should not be flamed at all.

The Hills said it did not matter whether the wood was flamed or not, they did not say that it did not matter whether the wood was good or bad.

Maple can be fine-grained or coarse-grained, heavy or light, brittle or tough, dense or fluffy. A fine-grained, light, brittle, dense bridge seems to me to be the characteristics, generally, of the best bridges. Maple which may be of a sufficient acoustic and structural standard for backs and ribs can easily fall short of the minimum required standard for a properly-functioning bridge A bridge is so important in the setup, and a properly-cut and -fitted bridge so hard to make or expensive to have made, that this seems to me to be the very last place to start with experimentation. You can't test-drive a car with a faulty carburettor. Also, the fact that the grain in the bridge must run horizontally is a point which is often missed by first-timers at bridge-making. To get the back of the bridge exactly on the quarter is another.

I wish I could forget about the time and money I have wasted on inferior bridges. I dream about the extra and quicker progress I could have made in understanding violins if I had not been fooled into looking for the cause of bad-sounding violins in places other than the quality of the wood of the bridge. At least this is one lesson I won't forget.

[This message has been edited by Jacob (edited 02-26-2002).]

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I believe the statement about flame is referring to the back of the violin, and not the bridge, so you are comparing two completely unrelated things here. Making bridges is certainly much harder than it looks; as is fitting a blank.

Any decent quality commercially manufactured bridge blank that is properly fit, should work fine on a student grade instrument. Some are marginally better than others, but the setup and attention to bridge angle are probably the most important things to consider.

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