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MikeV

Bridge shape to suit music style?

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The bridge should be what the player wants, IMO.

As an old-time player myself, I prefer lower string action, but close to normal bridge arc.  I like to be able to play cleanly (not that I can), don't use a huge dynamic range that would need classical string height, and with my wrist problems, the lighter fingering force helps.

Most fiddle players I know prefer similar things, perhaps slightly less arc to minimize bow movement between strings, rather than try to get triple stops (btw, double stops have nothing to do with bridge arc).  There was one fiddler I came across with a very chordal style, and had a very flat bridge for triple (and even quadruple?) stops.  But that was unusual.

When a fiddler is called upon to play a dance for a few hours, all very fast, bow-intensive tunes, saving energy can become important.

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1 hour ago, Bill Yacey said:

Chardonnay sounds so much better than Bug Remover.

I don't know. Around here, there seems to be a fashion trend toward strange names, like "Bitchfest",  "Grumpy Old Man", and "Hot To Trot".

I think Bug Remover might do quite well.

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35 minutes ago, duane88 said:

I would have thought you a Merlot kinda gal...

Not really - but I do like Port! :)

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On 8/29/2018 at 8:40 AM, Don Noon said:

The bridge should be what the player wants, IMO.

(btw, double stops have nothing to do with bridge arc).

I play old time as well. The myth that it's easier to play double stops on a flatter bridge is alive among old time players, but, as you say, it has nothing to do with it. It does have something to do with double stops played between adjacent pairs of strings though, the same as single string playing. Why someone wants to try to play triple stops I don't know. Also requires slack bow hair. My bridges are just slightly flatter than a classical set up, but much flatter than that and I have trouble playing clean single notes.

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35 minutes ago, bkwood said:

The myth that it's easier to play double stops on a flatter bridge is alive among old time players, but, as you say, it has nothing to do with it. It does have something to do with double stops played between adjacent pairs of strings though, the same as single string playing.

It is easier to "rock the bow," that is, play rhythmic old-timey shuffles with a flatter bridge because it requires less vertical movement of the bow to move quickly on and off an adjacent string. 

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24 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

It is easier to "rock the bow," that is, play rhythmic old-timey shuffles with a flatter bridge because it requires less vertical movement of the bow to move quickly on and off an adjacent string. 

It''s very risky to do a setup which benefits from more motion, thus elevating the heart rate of them old-timey players. ;)

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On 8/31/2018 at 2:33 PM, David Burgess said:

It''s very risky to do a setup which benefits from more motion, thus elevating the heart rate of them old-timey players. ;)

Yeah, if the heart rate goes up and they get all excited they might learn a second song.

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On 8/31/2018 at 11:05 AM, GeorgeH said:

It is easier to "rock the bow," that is, play rhythmic old-timey shuffles with a flatter bridge because it requires less vertical movement of the bow to move quickly on and off an adjacent string. 

Just because Tommy did it and had a bridge hacked out with a pocket knife doesn't mean that we have to!

I encourage fiddlers to try a normal curve with the strings lower. Many, Bruce Greene for example, use a flat bridge with the strings widened quite a bit at the bridge-same difference, no?

point of reference: From East Tennessee, learned to play the fiddle in Southeastern Kentucky.

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23 hours ago, duane88 said:

Just because Tommy did it and had a bridge hacked out with a pocket knife doesn't mean that we have to!

 I encourage fiddlers to try a normal curve with the strings lower. Many, Bruce Greene for example, use a flat bridge with the strings widened quite a bit at the bridge-same difference, no?

point of reference: From East Tennessee, learned to play the fiddle in Southeastern Kentucky.

 

The —just because Tommy (Jarrell) did it doesn’t mean we have to— point is a really important one. For those non-old time folks, Tommy is one of the most beloved and oft imitated of the southern American fiddle players. He also played a truly awful instrument.

 

Just because someone who’s playing you love managed to sound like themselves in spite of the limitations imposed by their instrument doesn’t mean you should subject yourself to those same limitations. 

 

I have studied Tommy’s playing and bowing very closely, and can manage a serviceable interpretation of his music. I also play Bach on the same instrument, and see no reason to change anything about the setup.

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2 hours ago, Jack Devereux said:

The —just because Tommy (Jarrell) did it doesn’t mean we have to— point is a really important one.

While I completely agree with this, there is also the reverse:  Just because we use a more or less standard setup doesn't mean we should force it on a player (like Tommy Jarrell) who want something else.  

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On 9/3/2018 at 12:23 PM, duane88 said:

Just because Tommy did it and had a bridge hacked out with a pocket knife doesn't mean that we have to!

Some people cross-tune to A-E-A-E and play mostly while rocking the bow across 2, 3, or 4 strings, and therefore like a flatter bridge. Some people never cross-tune, or are fine and dandy with a classical-cut bridge. Some people use both.

Nobody has to do it one way or the other.

4 hours ago, Jack Devereux said:

I also play Bach on the same instrument, and see no reason to change anything about the setup.

How about putting a rattlesnake tail in your violin? Might help Bach sound better, too! :D:ph34r:

4 hours ago, Jack Devereux said:

He also played a truly awful instrument.

In your opinion, but not his. He preferred his fiddle to the Stradivarius that he tried, and his Mittenwald violin gave him the sound that he wanted. And now it is part of the collection of The National Museum of American History.

Quote

"With a very flat bridge for chordal playing and machine tuning pegs for steel strings, the violin is preserved as used by Tommy Jarrell until his death in 1985. Like many country fiddlers, Tommy never cleaned or repaired the gradual elements of wear to his violin, choosing to use it as seen in the photos, believing that the wear and buildup of rosin on the varnish enhanced the musical quality of the instrument. The instrument also has two rattlesnake rattles placed inside and a string tied to the soundpost to make it easier to adjust. "

http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_606731

 

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