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Saturday - 10 am to 5 pm
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Tel: +61 (0)3 9417 4930
Care of Bridges
Good quality violin, viola and violoncello bridges are relatively easily damaged and expensive to renew.
They are expensive because, in addition to being made from a costly, especially dense type of maple wood, each one has to be specially fitted and customised for your instrument. Each bridge can take several hours to carve and as the special bridge wood is expensive and the fitting labour intensive, the eventual cost is high.
Violin, viola and cello bridges are very slender, considering how tall they are and the enormous load they have to bear, so care is very important.
The back face of the bridge (that facing the tailpiece) should be at 90° to the belly of the instrument, even leaning very slightly backwards is normally OK. As the instrument is tuned the strings have a tendency to pull the top of the bridge forward (or backward if the tuning is done mainly with the fine tuners on the tailpiece) and it is crucial that the bridge is straightened after tuning. It is very easy to check that the bridge is straight and it is recommended that this is done daily. The string grooves in the top of the bridge are lubricated with paraffin wax or graphite from a pencil so the top of the bridge can be gently moved to ensure that it is standing upright. If this movement gets more difficult over a period of time, re-lubricate the string grooves. Do this one string at a time, do not slacken all the strings off at once.
If you care for the bridge in this way it will give many years of service.