Cello bridges, when to act, when to wait.


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It's that time of year again. As the weather changes the calls come in about bridges being too high. Knowing full well that they will be fine in a month or so, when it dries out, and too low if I cut them down now, what does one do? This is particularly irksome on rental instruments, as they may come back in a month anyway. 

Would you lower them, or advise waiting a couple of months? Of course, if the instrument is unplayable, I would act. Thanks.

 

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17 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

On inexpensive instruments (like your rentals), have you thought about using shims under the bridge feet for seasonal adjustment?

I've occasionally seen this on better cellos too....

My worry is that many people (teachers) will see that as a cheap, ham-fisted way to fix the problem, and take it as a reflection of my, and the shops, work standards. Of course, it is actually a viable option and works just fine when done right, but the appearance could be off putting.

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1 hour ago, Brad Dorsey said:

Would you glue the shims to the bridge feet or let string tension hold them in place?

String tension.

1 hour ago, arglebargle said:

My worry is that many people (teachers) will see that as a cheap, ham-fisted way to fix the problem, and take it as a reflection of my, and the shops, work standards. Of course, it is actually a viable option and works just fine when done right, but the appearance could be off putting.

I can see that happening.

1 hour ago, Joey Naeger said:

Surely someone has tried installing bridge adjusters on cellos.

They change the sound quite a bit.

19 minutes ago, Lawrence Furse said:

Cut the shims out of carbon fiber sheet and call them seasonal tone enhancers.   They might catch on.

There ya go. Or they could be cut from a wooden tongue depressor, colored with a black magic marker,  and called the same thing. :lol:

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On 9/28/2018 at 8:59 AM, arglebargle said:

My worry is that many people (teachers) will see that as a cheap, ham-fisted way to fix the problem, and take it as a reflection of my, and the shops, work standards. Of course, it is actually a viable option and works just fine when done right, but the appearance could be off putting.

This was regular practice at the Francais shop, the work standards there were pretty high.

The best practice would be to educate people about relative humidity and how to control it.  String height is one thing, but removing shims cannot fix the cracking that can be caused by the same thing.

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Guitar players often have two bridge saddles, one for winter, other for summer... Once the action goes down they change the saddle together with fresh set of strings and later switch back.

You can also have two bridges cut for each instrument and switch according to season.

Keeping instruments at proper humidity would help (though sometimes impossible or very impractical)

BTW: do cellos really go UP in the winter with dry air? Guitars or mandolins go down with wood drying out.

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53 minutes ago, HoGo said:

Guitar players often have two bridge saddles, one for winter, other for summer... Once the action goes down they change the saddle together with fresh set of strings and later switch back.

You can also have two bridges cut for each instrument and switch according to season.

Keeping instruments at proper humidity would help (though sometimes impossible or very impractical)

BTW: do cellos really go UP in the winter with dry air? Guitars or mandolins go down with wood drying out.

Fingerboards go up, string height goes down.

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A lot of shop celli have very high bridges that I’ve ever seen.  I’d just keep them high and explain that climate requires them to be so.  It can also help the promote sales of your better purchased celli with the understanding that the action is more comfortable and will come with a summer and winter bridge :ph34r:

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