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Fitting a Bridge - Chalk,Pigment, etc...??


Braintree56
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Hi Everyone,

I'm practicing bridge fitting. I'm looking for recommendations for what to use for chalk, pigment, etc. to use on the violin to see if the feet are fitted properly. All the articles I've read say chalk or pigment - one even says "burnt sienna" (which is a color not a material). Could you give me a link or something so I could find a particular product? What do you use?

Thanks.

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Carbon paper works very well. However, I tend to use baking parchment paper. I buy the softest artists’ pencils I can get at a local art store and put a liberal application on the paper, big enough for a cello bridge foot to fit inside comfortably. It really helps in fitting.

I prefer to approximately fit the feet with a chisel by eye, then switch to parchment paper and the knife for an exact fit. I like this method because it forces you to use your eyes more and to use the marking method as a way of fine-tuning. It’s too easy, especially when learning, to rely on the measuring tool more than the eye and spend too much time taking shavings that are too small for the job. Using a chisel, you can be way too aggressive if you aren’t careful, but learning to control your cutting on such a fine area will translate well as you use the tool in other projects. 

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On October 25, 31 Heisei at 3:46 AM, Braintree56 said:

Hi Everyone,

I'm practicing bridge fitting. I'm looking for recommendations for what to use for chalk, pigment, etc. to use on the violin to see if the feet are fitted properly. All the articles I've read say chalk or pigment - one even says "burnt sienna" (which is a color not a material). Could you give me a link or something so I could find a particular product? What do you use?

Thanks.

For training I suggest to start with simple exercises. Get an instrument with a clean surface and learn to fit the bridge feet WITHOUT any soft pencil or similar aids  first. 

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35 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

For training I suggest to start with simple exercises. Get an instrument with a clean surface and learn to fit the bridge feet WITHOUT any soft pencil or similar aids  first. 

Agreed.

An over reliance on chalk, pencils, or whatever will not necessarily result in a well fitting bridge. Much better to fit the feet well first, then use your chosen medium to confirm the fit & even contact over the whole foot, adjusting if necessary.

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23 hours ago, Brad Dorsey said:

I use carbon paper, under one foot at a time.  Under both feet at the same time would be a bit more accurate, but I  wouldn't know if I were putting the bridge in the correct location.

I cut out a small piece of the carbon paper to slip under the "other" bridge foot.   My bridge foot locating mark is still visible with the paper in place.

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I was taught using chalk. I do think it works better on worn or uneven surfaces. I once had to fit a bridge for an Irish fiddler living in the states for a while (now back in Ireland running a pub). His fiddle, which he loved, had an old repaired bass bar crack that essentially had a step in the middle of the bass foot. Bit of a challenge, but with chalk for the final fitting, possible. The point, though, is to get really close with just the knife, and use the chalk, carbon paper, whatever, just for the last tiny increment/confirmation of the fit.

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