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Michael K.

90 Degree Bridge holder

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Does anybody use that holder or something else to keep the Bridges perfect 90 degree on the tailpiecesite during the fitting on the Top?

This one is using by the makers of the Yamaha company, and is clamp and fixed to the Body. Never have seen this or others before.

 

 

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I was shown a device much like this in Alf's shop 20 or so years ago. It had a small sliding attachment to control the lateral placement of the bridge. I can't recall much more than that.

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Here's my jig for fitting cello bridges. In addition to maintainig the angle mine also fixes the position side to side. It takes a bit of fussing to get it set up in the right place, but thereafter its so easy to get the bridge back in exactly the same spot. I feel like it allows me to trust the 'chalk' marks more. It also eliminates any twist, which is sometimes a problem for cello bridges.

After the cello jig worked out so well, I made one for violin bridges too.

M

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I saw something like this in a European website for violin tools, a small one that looked more like a violin dealer dabbling in tools.  I have tried to find it since thinking it would cut my time down with the consistent placement.  If anyone knows of it, let me know.  It was plastic with a wire frame that attached with "closing like" clamps at the corners.  jefff\

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I do not make the side facing the tailpiece exactly 90 ° but slightly inclined toward the fingerboard, so I prefer to do it by eye.

In my opinion, as rightly says Bruce, train the eye allows to reach a greater precision in less time.

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As on many parts on the Violin or Cello, the results are important, not the performance how it was done.

Or we all use f- hole template because our eyes will never reach the level to work without?

But I see David do it also without a jig.

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I can fit a bridge without this jig just fine, but I like using it and I think it saves me time.

I imagine you all would use some sort of cleat system while fitting a bassbar or a soundpost patch- why do this one job without some reference?

M

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Perhaps it is just an optional accessory to the famous “Sawzall” bridge fitting method?

This could be useful. It's not easy to check vertical alignment visually when the bridge is moving at a blurring speed. :)

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I do not make the side facing the tailpiece exactly 90 ° but slightly inclined toward the fingerboard, so I prefer to do it by eye.

In my opinion, as rightly says Bruce, train the eye allows to reach a greater precision in less time.

First we have to have a big thread to discuss where on the bridge it has to be 90° and in relation to what. Let alone why.

 

That to me sounds like an impossible task. :lol:

 

Bruce

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This could be useful. It's not easy to check vertical alignment visually when the bridge is moving at a blurring speed. :)

Well, that depends entirely on how quickly one can turn ones head from side to side, doesn't it?

With some practice, one can learn to move the head from side to side at a blurring speed also.

Or would you automatically dismiss this ability, as being impossible, for the aspiring luthier?

Luthier... is that spelled correctly? My computer always warns me that I've made a spelling error...

(plus I'd better say now, that this is a JOKE...)

Craig T

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Well...

In my opinion;

A 90 degree bridge holder, of any type, might just be useful for somebody that fits bridges as a part of their routine job, where they rarely fit bridges, but where the job is needed at times - for example, in a generic music store where violins are simply an occasional part of the job, as in new cheap school fiddles where the bridge fitting would be mandatory occasional work.

It could possibly help such a person, where this (fitting the bridge) was simply an occasional part of the daily routine.

Yes, I can see it.

But for a luthier, or, a violin MAKER, or even for the enthusiast, where bridge fitting is a part of their claim to being an expert practitioner - fitting the bridge is absolutely something that should be learned, by doing it over and over, BY HAND, training the eye and hand to work together to get an absolute perfect fit, on the feet bottoms...

And that's only part of it...

Sounds simple?

It's not.

It's (abysmally) an absolute nightmare to accomplish, at first -

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First we have to have a big thread to discuss where on the bridge it has to be 90° and in relation to what. Let alone why.

 

That to me sounds like an impossible task. :lol:

 

Bruce

 

Exactly!!

Working by eye allows to keep in mind the whole picture, mediating the various aspects without falling into errors of incorrect references.

However, I have always interpreted the "90 degrees line" as the resulting line bisecting the angle of the strings at the bridge, trying to bring down this within the thickness of the feet.

But I never figured this geometrically due to the different angles from string to string, the difficulty of establishing a straight line reference for top (or back?) and the three-dimensional environment that creates additional problems.

So I think that using the eye (and brain) is still the most reliable and advanced tool available.

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Dear Michael,

I hope you´re all well and happy in Murnau!

 

I´ve made this jig a couple of years ago, I thought this might interest you....

 

The pics won´t need much explanation.

Two old style closing clamps (spool clamps) are used to fix it to the instruments body (I only had this front on hand now to shoot the photos).

You first attach the wooden part to the instrument, then you use the lever on top to adjust the bridge position.

The sideways tilt of the bridge is adjusted by the small angled acrylic glass sheet. For fitting the feet the bridge is easily placed into position as its back and one side are fixed.

For new instruments it works well once it´s adjusted but I rarely use it as I´m more comfortable with free hand fitting.

I don´t take credit for the design, not my idea but my execution at least :)

cheers

Martina

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Craig, I'm hardly in the category of the home hobbyist, or the music store guy who occasionally has to cut a bridge.  It just seemed like a faster way(using the jig). I understand the  deal with fitting it freehand as that's the only way I know and have done tons of  bridges.  I am just trying to come up with a faster way in that I alone am keeping bridges on over 600 rental instruments, not to mention customer work.  Just looking for a possible faster way.  Seems I could shave off a little time by getting the bridge down exactly every time, maybe not but I am thinking it's worth a try.  I'm looking at a pile of 67 violins that the summer rental crew triaged as needing bridges and if I can shave off 5 minutes on each one (without it taking me 5 minutes to set up the jig each time), then it will pay for itself in that I will get a lot more paying customer work done.  Just gambling on the numbers.  I'm just looking at it like  I look at the bass bar jig I made, ala Bert M, via Sharon Q.   jeff

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Craig, I'm hardly in the category of the home hobbyist, or the music store guy who occasionally has to cut a bridge.  It just seemed like a faster way(using the jig). I understand the  deal with fitting it freehand as that's the only way I know and have done tons of  bridges.  I am just trying to come up with a faster way in that I alone am keeping bridges on over 600 rental instruments, not to mention customer work.  Just looking for a possible faster way.  Seems I could shave off a little time by getting the bridge down exactly every time, maybe not but I am thinking it's worth a try.  I'm looking at a pile of 67 violins that the summer rental crew triaged as needing bridges and if I can shave off 5 minutes on each one (without it taking me 5 minutes to set up the jig each time), then it will pay for itself in that I will get a lot more paying customer work done.  Just gambling on the numbers.  I'm just looking at it like  I look at the bass bar jig I made, ala Bert M, via Sharon Q.   jeff

Jeff,

You're right. I have tried to put forth the idea that there are situations where, I believe jigs are, or can be, of some real use to the aspiring luthier. Or even an, as you mention here, accomplished luthier, with certain tasks ahead of them.

There is the other side of this coin, in a manor of speaking, where the accomplished luthier, is sort of expected with the idea and the task - of taking extreme care with individual instruments that he or she services, and carving a "masterpiece" bridge, unfortunately or fortunately,

It's part and parcel of violin making and repair - at certain levels only though.

Oh well... so it goes.

 

I do know, as I was guilty of setting many many hundreds of school bridges, for many years, with the slightest level of "professionalism" involved. 

I'd get ten instruments in, while still working on the last ten, (sounds like you've got a bigger" problem") with the instructions to get them all out to the school within the week please - if I could...

 

and I can only imagine what someone having to go through some large number (say... even just 100) of beginning or intermediate level violins for sale, and having to 'set them all up', for sale, themselves.

With violins of this level, it is sort of a different thing, setting them up . They do need to be set up with an eye towards play-ability AND technical correctness. 

In such a scenario, I believe that my first concern would be that the soundposts were fit, a bit more correctly than they usually come from the manufacture, since this is critical to the longevity of the instrument, & all the other etc's. Then, perhaps, the tailgut length - and the bridges general height and curvature should be looked at..

 

The bridge feet bottoms can also be roughly fit anytime in this general process, as, it is an important thing to include.

But finishing the feet bottoms to an "extrodinary degree" is a thing where - on a student instrument in particular - a great professional job is not really required or needed. There is going to be no one to pay for such a thing, nor does anyone really care - nor is there the time available. 

 

Close enough, is, and must be, close enough. Thinking any other way, is sort of setting the standard to a much higher level than is required, or possible, for such instruments.

 

But your absolutely correct - when you have, perhaps a half an hour, to get everything done; (never mind having five minutes) per instrument, on a large number of NEW student instruments - the requirements and the techniques used in the "set up" of such instruments, can, and should be, radically different than, if you've got a rare single instrument that needs a bridge. 

Or, that needs anything.

 

OK, enough of my endless moralizing - I would like, to see exactly what you come up with, for getting this level of instruments done, Jeff

 

Craig T

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Hey, if you show me yours - I'll show you mine.

 

(Meaning, I'll go ahead and show exactly what I used, to set many many hundreds of bridges - oh so long ago. If you post what you either come up with, or now use)     And I did use a simple "jig" for most school instrument bridges.

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Yeah aok, one more thing, just to clarify what I'm saying here;

There are also some primary considerations having to do with 'setting bridges' generally, that I would actually like go a bit further on, in such a discussion as this.

There are people who will have to look at say 600 violins in a week (gak! I'm just guessing about the time period here - but you get the idea) - and there are people who will have one violin, and a year, if that's what's needed, to work on it.

 

So - bridges aside for a moment - the idea that there is a or one "correct way" to even look at how the job, pretty much any job, should be done, will depend to a large degree on who you are, what you're working on, and who your customer is... and, I must add - how much you're getting paid to do the job.

Because it is absolutely OK for the guy that is getting one, old, precious, violin to work on, at a decent wage, to prescribe one thing, while the guy that has to get a hundred violins finished and ready for the students, in the same amount of time, for whatever pay, is obviously going to have to use different means, different standards, of accomplishing whatever needs to be done.

 

90 degree bridge holder - why not?

 

Right?

 

In many ways, we cannot forget that there are 'opposite ends of the spectrum', with regard to some (many actually) of these things we talk about here.

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