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Bridge Arching for Students


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I generally follow the fingerboard arching when making violin bridges, sometimes adjusting the D and A a bit for the player.

I use 36mm for the 1/2 violins and 39mm for the 3/4 ones.

I do some work for a teacher that prefers a bit more arch for her 1/2 size violins, this making it easier for the young players to master the bowing on a single string. I was curious if others have encountered such requests? I don't have a problem with this, but I would be curious if there is a MENC standard or some other recommendations by the teaching community for modified arching.



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I use standard bridge templates for most of my bridge cutting. I do however get requests from teachers to provide a bit more arching for beginners so that they have less problem with contact with two instead of one string. However, if the arching gets too high then it can lead to excessive arm movement when crossing strings. I find that as the students advance they have better bow control and can handle the standard bridge cut.


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It's not the arching (in other words, string clearance on the bridge radius) which is the potential problem - normal standard arching templates for the various instrument sizes provide adequate string clearance. However, when the fingerboard has a weird radius or a weird lateral slant, or the fingerboard projection is haywire, bowing problems can occur. Also, the depth of the notches on the bridge should be in relation to the thickness of the strings. A very thick C-string on a cello next to a thin G can render a standard bridge radius meaningless and ineffective if the thickness of the strings are not provided for in the depth of the notches.

It is therefore essential to actually measure alternate string clearances (for instance, on a cello, the clearance of the G string above the C/D strings, and the D above the G/A) when cutting the notches, just like you measure the string distance above the fingerboard for the outer strings. These are specific and easily-manipulated parameters to implement when finishing the bridge top.

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