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Shimming the Bridge Foot


AsaBB
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Greetings,
I am a longtime reader and not much of a poster, as so much is already written!  I have searched as best I can, but am looking for general perspectives on the subject of bridge height amendment.  I realize there is only one ideal, which is never to adjust or amend.  When faced with a rather lovely fresh bridge that was set with an aggressive string relief only to find the customer has become dissatisfied and would now like it raised slightly, will I be forced to make a new bridge, or is there any allowance for shimming from the foot? 
 

This is in regard to a cello bridge.  The clearance from the fingerboard end is 4.3 at the A and 5.7 at the C.  It plays well but can occasionally buzz on the C when targeted aggressively. 

Beyond the personal circumstance, I see little example or precedent for shimming, and am curious how the professional community views it.  Thanks, all.
 

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The only times I've seen this is with the cheapest student level instruments, mainly cellos and basses.

 

If its on his dime, make as many bridges as he wants, its always good to have multiple bridges for seasonal neck shifts anyway, so the old bridge might not go to waste.

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4.3 on the A and 5.7 on the C are closer to violin heights than cello. I use 7,5 to 8.75 on the C myself depending on the type of string. If this was a seasonal drop in height and the client didn't want to pay for a new bridge I might shim it as a temporary fix but even that wouldn't get it to normal height. I think they have to go with a new bridge.

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Do you know the heights or neck extension when the bridge was made? I always date bridges and note neck extension on new bridges or cut down bridges. I also make note if it was stabilized at shop humidity of 40% at the time of measurement if it is a winter bridge. Depending on how reliable the customer is about humidity control it may change a lot as it settles in to their home environment. If the customer's home environment is too dry, then this may be a temporary seasonal low, and better humidity control may help limit the seasonal change. Also, if you note the weight of the instrument you will have some sense of whether moisture content is up or down since the last time you saw it. That can help you recognize the difference between a changing neck angle and a seasonal shift.

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AsaBB,

 

Lurker makes a good point. I always take measurements of the instrument before the strings come off and then note all the work done and the final measurements after the work. This is very useful for tracking the "habits" of the instrument such as how much it moves seasonally and gives some idea of how it is doing over time.

 

Rereading your post you are saying you made the bridge? What were the measurements in the first place?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the feedback.  Yes, I do believe seasonal changes have played a part.  The instrument itself is not too old either.  The action has come down a bit.  I remember having the A near 5 and the C at 6.something.  I should have written them down.  I have been taught to keep a range of 4 to 5.5 for the A and 6 - 8 for the C depending on model and strings.  I don't see loads of cellos though, so feedback is appreciated.  Nathan, what are your accepted ranges? 

 

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