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DougP

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Michael covered things well, and I assume you already know about spreading the feet... The bridge I illustrated has a longer bass leg than treble leg as well.

I, fortunately or unfortunately, already sent the bridge in question out the door with one of the Detroit Symphony 'cellists, so I can't sneak a profile shot. The bridge I have scheduled to cut next is a Belgian style... probably would tend to complicate things to show that at this point.

The front of my 'cello bridges are a bit more curved than my fiddle bridges, I suppose. This is partially as I start the relief of the outside edge just above the foot and progress to the top arch (the side itself is pretty straight). and I like to keep the center pretty firm (The foot is 10.5 to 11, the wood just above the "crotch" is 8 to 8.5 +). The outside relief makes the bridge look thiner than it is, in reality. To give you an idea of the curve of the face, the bottom arm of the kidney wing measures somewhere around 6 to 6.5 mm when I get done with it, so there is about 1 mm of relief on each side at that point.

The back is relieved slightly above the heart to the top, a tad bit more on the A side than the C.

BTW, I get to this shape by meauring the points I gave you. I measure the foot thickness and top thickness. The rest is by eye... I do tend to measure the closest point between the kidney and heart, as I like to keep this as full as possible while still giving the heart a nice shape (and most blanks have little there to spare).

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Jeffrey,

Concerning your comment:

  • "and most blanks have little there to spare"

I was wondering if you or anyone else would be willing to share your ideas about anything about your favorite bridge blanks that you would like changed or further improved in order to make your job easier. Obviously, please don't name any of what you'd concider faults of a particular maker, but rather word it in a way that it would describe what your "perfect blank" would be. If there are certain options that you would like which may not be typical please let me know about those as well.

To better clarify what I'm saying here:

If you find yourself consistently trimming .5mm or more from a particular place on a bridge blank or wish there was just a little extra at a particular location, you could take a picture of one that you've finished off with just a couple of precise measurements (usually just width and height is all) so that I can reproduce it to scale and I can make a precise copy within very close tolerances to which I could easily add a little here and there if you'd like so you'd have a little extra to work with - or not. Such an arrangement wouldn't really be worthwhile for only a few, but I think that some find themselves doing the same cutting at particular locations over and over. I'm just wondering if anyone would be interested in these kind of possibilities.

Tim

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Slightly off topic and if a moderator thinks it should be moved please do so??

I have just added a bridge with an unusual stamp, I think it is in hebrew but I could be very wrong.

Here is the bridge?

http://violinbridges.co.uk/bg/search3.php?bridgeID=706

and here is a close up of the stamp??

stamp.jpg

Does anyone reconise the stamp and where it came from???

Any help would be appreciated.

Regards

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I believe Despiau will make custom blanks to replicate what you send them, but I think the problem with this is that the way I cut a bridge is different every time, depending on the violin, so I'd be doing almost the same amount of work with a real custom blank, anyway. The only time I've ever really been up against the wall, it's been from inadequate foot height, for a violin with a very severe arch, but I think in 25 years that's only happened three times, so it's not a huge problem.

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I know that Despiau offers the same service (there are others who likely do too), but I also wonder if anyone makes use of it.

So, am I correct in assuming by these comments and previous comments that you are completely content with what is currently available in the way of bridge blanks and the businesses that produce them.

Tim

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Tim--I'm satisfied with what I can get. There are bridges already on the market that I haven't tried, too. I keep getting Milo Stamm mailings, for instance. Basicially, I can get what I want with Aubert blanks, without any difficulty, though. The real market in this direction would be a blank for people who aren't confident or capable with bridge cutting that was already to a completely finished look, without the top and bottom finished. It wouldn't give me the flexibility I want, but there are a lot of people who'd be better off using something like that (and probably unaware of that need, too, so I don't know if they'd become customers.)

Regis-The instruments that needed those bridges didn't have a whole lot of hope, no matter what I did, but they did come out sounding better. A lot of what I do is more intuitive than intentional, especially in the difficult cases, though, so I can't give a lot of detail. In the case of the cello, I cut the bridge with a wider, straighter stance, like the Hill bridge above, to try to keep the feet from spreading. That may or may not have helped the sound.

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Violinbridges, that is definitely hebrew. Unfortunately, my hebrew is not good enough to read it with out the vowel markings, plus it's kinda smudgy.

I think you could transliterate the consonants to: Ch-Y-H-M G-'-L-Kh (the ' is for a silent letter, it only sounds a vowel)

Anybody out there with better hebrew?

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Hi Tim;

When at Shar, we did have a "custom" bridge made for us by Despiau. Aubert used to, and may still, offer this service as well.

The goal was to produce a good bridge that could be used by the "production" shop for setups. Unlike the restoration shop, the technicians in the production shop were not "luthiers". The thought was that having a bridge designed closer to acceptable tolerances would produce a better setup and save some time. The best grade of wood was used for a few "runs" used by the restoration shop, but most of the luthiers there actually preferred the blanks they were used to in the end (more cutting, but habit ruled the day).

For me, the wood is the most important factor... and that the blank has enough "room" to do what I want to do with it. Third is "habit". ie. Knowing where I'm going when I start.

I know you are experimenting with modern bridge design, but where there is probably some room for design in the classical bridge venue is 'cello bridges. Belgian style bridges have become rather popular, especially for use on contemporary or semi-modern 'cellos. Problem is, some 'cellos really can't handle the "boost" in high end the Belgian bridge adds... and a "full" neck projection is vital to their proper use. Before I left Shar, we were experimenting with a hybrid style bridge that borrowed features from the French and Belgian styles. Basically, the crotch was higher, but the French style heart and kidneys were employed (with some scale modifications). I was pleased with the tonal results we were getting and the blanks were more forgiving of when there was a neck projection issue.

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Jeffrey,

It sounds like you'd like the best of both worlds Belgian/French and of course even a little more if you can get it, while still maintaining the classical look. I wish I had been presented with this issue sooner because it really doesn't seem like such a difficult task to me - I think I already have the solution.

I'll be back at a little later date with my results.

Oh, let me know if I'm correct in thinking that most people prefer the "appearance" of the french style? If not, please show me a picture of the style (one or the other or mix of anything) that is actually preferred by most based solely on appearance and that is the one I'll work around.

Tim

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Quote:


When you said that you use the "kidneys, ankles and lower arch to adjust the sound", do you have any standard rules for doing this?


Sorry Daryl... I missed reading this question when I saw your response.

Hmmm... Stating rules might be difficult... I can give you some general observations if you like...

I find that, depending on the thickness of the bridge, raising the crotch can bring out bright qualities of the instrument. I find also that on higher arched instruments, a hard, *slightly thinner* bridge cut with more open kidney areas tends to open up the sound. I notice the logic of "make the bridge thinner if the neck projection is lower" to NOT be true. Keeping healthy distance between the outer portions of the crotch and the lower portion of the kidney can enhance the power (presence) of some instruments. Reducing the distance between the kidneys can "warm" some instruments up a bit. Thinning the ankles can enhance the "color" available to some instruments... and can kill the response on others. Michael already mentioned the belly... and may have more/other/different views on "tuning" than I.

That's a start, but I warn you, it's based on the style bridge I cut... results may (will, should, must!) vary! I also think the old saying "to light a candle casts a shadow" is valid here... to get some things, you may give up others.

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This thread has become an on line class!! It's great! I've attached a picture of a bridge I cut after I saw the page of bridges you posted Jeffery. I took liberty to cut it with no constraints as to what will sound good and what will not because I don't know. Everyone please give me feed back if this bridge is firewood or worth trying.

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Barry, did you narrow those ankles or were they that narrow on your blank? I'm wondering what effect such narrow ankles might have, given that all of the vibration must pass through them on the way to the violin. Would the width of the ankles act as a sort of filter for different frequencies? I honestly don't know, I'm just wondering. Also, I think the heart carving looks cool as heck.

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