The bridge of the violin is the wooden wedge that supports the strings. It is important to the playability, sound and structural nature of the violin. The bridge transfers sound vibrations from the strings to the soundboard down the sound post to the back of the sound box. Improper placement of the bridge will greatly impair tone. If the bridge falls or becomes loose, the sound post beneath it becomes dislodged and the violin’s body may collapse.
Bridge Placement Tips:
- The violin bridge is held in place by pressure and proper placement, not glue.
- The bridge is evenly lined up with the fingerboard, and stands straight up, perpendicular to the violin.
- The feet of the bridge should be aligned with the interior notches of the F-holes. The lower side of the bridge should be placed under the E-string, which is the string with the highest pitch.
- When adjusting or putting a bridge on the violin, it’s very important to slightly loosen the violin strings before the bridge is placed, centered, and kept perfectly straight.
- To adjust a tilting bridge, first slightly loosen the violin strings, then grasp the top of the bridge at its upper corners with the thumb and index fingers of each hand and gently pull or push the top of the bridge until a 90 degree angle is achieved.
- If your bridge has become warped, or if you simply feel uncomfortable adjusting it yourself, take your violin to your local violin shop or instrument dealer for professional assistance.
Common Violin Damages
You should not worry too much if your violin suffers from one of these common violin damages:
- An unglued fingerboard
- Snapping/collpase of the bridge
- The snapping of the bow
How to care for your violin
- Avoid extreme climate temperatures – Do not store a violin in or near areas that are subjec to extreme changes in temperature, such as a basement or attic. When violins are continually exposed to extreme temperature changes, they eventually break and fall apart over time.
- Proper storage – When not playing the violin, store it in its case at all times to ensure protection.
- Too much rosin – In light of my last post on violin rosin, avoid putting too much rosin onto the violin bow. If too much is applied, the rosin will drip onto the violin and cause straining.
- Quality strings – Cheap strings, like the ones that usually come with a beginner’s violin, will bring tension on the violin and cause cracks and warping on the instrument.
If you ever feel that there is something wrong with your violin, even minorly wrong, it is important to get it checked out by a luthier, an experienced professional in repairing stringed instruments. Most little damages will eventually become bigger problems in the future.