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Alternative bridge materials


Deo Lawson
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7 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Just an update on the pernambuco bridge...

One of the wings broke off again (attempting an impact spectrum), so I thought it was time to do some modifications.  As a reminder, even with the lightweight-looking cutouts, it was still extremely heavy at 2.42g due to the dense wood.

Further lightening required Curtinification, i.e. removing almost everything not immediately necessary for holding the strings up.  The final bridge came out at 1.92g (still slightly heavier than my normal), and I checked the rocking frequency at 2795 Hz.  Even with the heavy bridge, this fiddle was loud and bright.  Now it's even more "unmuted", just the thing if you want to overpower an orchestra. Maybe I'll enter it as a "tone only" fiddle at VMAAI.

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Interesting.

If you are concerned about weight I would recommend 1mm carbon rod reinforcements which make it possible to thin the bridge down to almost no thickness and it won’t warp. 
 

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On 12/16/2018 at 8:51 AM, Deo Lawson said:

Anyone ever tried to fit a violin family instrument with a bone or ebony bridge? What were the results?

Violin bridges are pretty much universally maple, which is weird. Have people tried other materials and find that they didn't work, or what?

FYI I tried plywood not so long ago. For this purpose I glued 3 boards of 1mm birch plywood together. The sound was too dull. 

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1 minute ago, Andreas Preuss said:

FYI I tried plywood not so long ago. For this purpose I glued 3 boards of 1mm birch plywood together. The sound was too dull. 

Do you think your birch plywood bridge had too much damping or was it too heavy or something else?

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37 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Do you think your birch plywood bridge had too much damping or was it too heavy or something else?

Without trying to figure out what was really wrong I suspect that the wood was too soft. The weight was a little heavier than a normal bridge though it was only 3mm thick at the feet. Otherwise I don’t know what glue the manufacturer used to sandwich it together and bond forming a rubber layer is probably not so good for a violin bridge.

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Along similar lines, my experiments with 3D printed plastic bridges also ended up sounding dull (at best), even when I got the weight and rocking frequencies in a reasonably normal range.  High frequencies were weak.

With the pernambuco bridge, with similar weight and rocking frequencies, the high frequencies (especially 4kHz and above) are relatively strong, giving a very (overly?) crisp and snappy (harsh?) tone.

I suppose that's all reasonable for a bridge, where vibration transmission is its main function... soft, high-damping material preferentially absorbs high-frequency energy, and the opposite for hard, low-damping material.  Mass and bending frequency matter as well.

Maple is good.

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1 hour ago, Andreas Preuss said:

what happens if a layer of Fernambuko is sandwiched in between two layers of hard maple?

It will get heavier and a pain to carve.

Maybe it will give a brigher/harsher tone... or not... depending on what the glue layer does, or possibly some funny interaction between the interfaces of the wood.

Maple is good.

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