Firochromis

Bridge for an Amateur Cellist

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Hi fellow maestros, I need your opinions about replacing the bridge on my cello.

 

This cello is new to me and my teacher recommends me a new bridge. In fact, even I can tell that this French bridge has unusually less material left above the heart. Next week a luthier will see my cello  and we'll decide if it needs a new fingerboard or just a neck arrangement.

I think what I need is an another French bridge since, I'm an adult student so this cello will not be in concert halls or quartets. I'm one of those lucky people who don't have the stress of being lost among other instruments. In fact a loud instrument is not preferable since I live in an apartment. And my teacher has commented that my cello's bass needs a subwoofer!

 

So I'm wrong to go with a French bridge?

 

Regards

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AtlVcl   

Speaking as a cellist, I wish I could help you, but then I'm confused as to your goal.  If what you're looking for is a less loud instrument, why don't you just put a mute on the thing?

There's nothing inherently wrong with a French bridge, and most players want a loud instrument that projects.  If you let your luthier work on your cello, that's just about the result I'd expect to get.

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duane88   

That looks like an awfully short bridge!

 

I agree with the above suggestion: Let the luthier do their work.

We like it when things come in in poorly adjusted/maintained condition. With that, all we really need it to bring things up to a state of proper set-up and adjustment and most players are tickled.

 

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Thank you for your help. The reason I'm inclined to a French bridge is because it seems that people find it is warmer than the Belgian bridge. I read that since the arc of the Belgian bridge is more elliptical than round, the sound of it is brighter and somewhat louder.

 

In my country we don't have many luthiers and they don't have many options. I want to have a Aubert Deluxe, and my luthier have Belgians in stock but not French. If it will be French than I have to acquire it from some other source. That's why I'm asking this question.

 

Regards

 

 

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AtlVcl   
3 hours ago, Firochromis said:

Thank you for your help. The reason I'm inclined to a French bridge is because it seems that people find it is warmer than the Belgian bridge. I read that since the arc of the Belgian bridge is more elliptical than round, the sound of it is brighter and somewhat louder.

I'm not sure this is true, although like a lot of other stuff re string instruments, I'm sure opinions vary.  I think warm v. loud is more a matter of what material the back is made of.

In any event, like Duane says, your bridge does look suspiciously short.  I'm thinking your luthier wants to raise your neck to specs, and then cut a bridge to match it.

Again, the best thing is to get the cello working properly, and if it's "loud" to your ears, wait until the neighbors bang on the pipes, and then put a mute on the thing.  No sense actively trying to make a softer sounding instrument; you'll just be in for disappointment when you get the opportunity to play with others who will no doubt drown you out.

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Not much to go on, and I"m am not certain that I understand what you are hoping to get out of this instrument. A French bridge will tend to be warmer, than a Belgian. A Belgian may also have a little more focus and projection, but it's not the best choice for every cello/cellist. There's so much room to adjust the instrument with the soundpost, though, that you can usually make either bridge work well. A taller bridge alone will have some additional damping in the upper register due to the extra material above the heart. Leaving that area somewhat thicker (within reason) can damp the upper register even more if that's a problem. I often leave this slightly thicker on cheap instruments because they tend to be a bit brash and that little bit of damping in that range makes some difference.

The photo of your bridge makes me think your neck angle is too low. You mention a new fingerboard or neck adjustment, both of which would help this issue, and require a new bridge. You should take the instrument to a well qualified luthier whose judgement you trust to address these issues.

As for a loud cello being a problem in your apartment, there are practice mutes that are large bits of metal or rubber that cover the entire bridge. You'll be able to hear yourself, but outside the room you'll be barely audible. The rubber mute will be less damping than a brass mute. 

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