Is your violin, viola, cello, or bass rattling or buzzing? Does it make these noises only on certain strings or notes?
Many of us don’t pay very much attention to our bridges unless they fall down, go askew, or break. But do we realize how important the violin bridge is to the setup of the instrument and how much its position can affect our sound? Here are some notes on violin bridges to help keep you informed and sounding your best.
The Purpose of Your Bridge
First of all, the violin bridge suspends the strings above the instrument in their proper playing position. The height and shape of the bridge are thereby very important for the setup of the instrument. Secondly, the violin bridge conveys the vibrations from the strings into the body of the instrument. A string vibrating by itself doesn’t produce very much volume, but “plugged in” to the resonating chamber of the violin through the bridge its sound becomes so powerful that it can potentially be heard over an entire orchestra.
The violin bridge is strategically positioned so that the foot on its G-string side sits directly above the bass bar, which extends nearly down the length of the strings and conveys the vibrations through a greater area of the top of the instrument. The E-string side of the bridge, meanwhile, sits closely above the sound post. The sound post acts both as a pivot for the bridge’s vibrations as well as a means of conveying the vibrations to the back of the instrument.
What About Setup?
The shape and placement of the violin bridge are critical for maximizing the instrument’s potential.