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Cutting a Cello Bridge to Accommodate a High Arch


The Violin Beautiful
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I have a fine old cello on my bench right now that needs a new bridge. It’s in now because the cello was bumped and the bridge was broken.

I had cut the previous bridge for it and put my usual spread in the feet, but I found that the feet spread wider as the months went on. I suspect this happened because this cello had a rather barrel-like arch and string tension and the arch shape encouraged more spread than usual. 

Now that I’m cutting another bridge, I’d like to avoid this issue if possible. My question is as follows:

Would you put extra spread in the feet when cutting this bridge or leave it alone?

I’m concerned about overloading it with too much pressure and I want to avoid using a wider bridge because the bass bar is far enough in that I really don’t want the feet any farther apart. 

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If the player is game, I'd be tempted to try a French bridge. Using a small scorp or hook knive (or ball router in a rotary tool) to flute the inside surfaces of the legs, as well as garden variety bridge trimming techniques, can bring a French bridge closer to a Belgian sound/response, I was taught, and it bears out in my limited experience.

I've seen baroque bridge designs that include an integral crossbar between the legs. Maybe as an option of last resort? 

Hoping other more experienced setup folks will chime in so I can learn something.

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4 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

I have a fine old cello on my bench right now that needs a new bridge. It’s in now because the cello was bumped and the bridge was broken.

I had cut the previous bridge for it and put my usual spread in the feet, but I found that the feet spread wider as the months went on. I suspect this happened because this cello had a rather barrel-like arch and string tension and the arch shape encouraged more spread than usual. 

Now that I’m cutting another bridge, I’d like to avoid this issue if possible. My question is as follows:

Would you put extra spread in the feet when cutting this bridge or leave it alone?

I’m concerned about overloading it with too much pressure and I want to avoid using a wider bridge because the bass bar is far enough in that I really don’t want the feet any farther apart. 

It's standard procedure to spread the cello bridge feet about 2 to 3 mm with a patent device or a judiciously cut wedge before fitting....Spread them to 3mm for this job

 

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