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My violin bridge is slightly too short; if I place it between the f-hole notches as it should be, action becomes too low. I normally use heavy gauge strings to partially compensate for lost tension.

However, if I move the bridge slightly closer to the fingerboard, such that its tip is barely touching the furthest of the two f-hole notches (the one closest to the fingerboard), I regain a lot of the action.

The only trade-off I see is the slightly decreased clearance between the fingerboard and the bridge.

I can't notice any appreciable loss in sound (due to the increased distance to the sound post) or any change in finger spacing.

Is this a generally accepted solution? Or should I go to a Luthier and have them fit a new bridge?

I mostly play classical music.

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Optimum bridge position is all tied up with the position of the sound post (which can be moved) and the bass bar (which can't). There's also the matter of getting used to playing a fiddle with non-standard dimensions, which may be counter-productive.

A new bridge isn't expensive. Treat the violin to one, and a set of standard weight strings.

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    +1 for replacing the bridge! In my area, a bridge replacement is roughly $50. That’s not much in the world of violins, but it can be a significant amount for many people. It’s absolutely okay to ask the luthier how much they would charge. – Eliza Wilson Dec 16 '18 at 23:59
  • @E.A.Wilson the violin's sound will suffer terribly if the existing bridge is moved away from the optimum location (whether or not the sound post follows), and soundpost adjustments must be done by a luthier anyway, so I don't think there's any cost savings to not getting the correct bridge installed. – Carl Witthoft Dec 17 '18 at 13:39
  • @CarlWitthoft I totally agree that the bridge needs to be replaced, I just want OP to be aware of the cost. – Eliza Wilson Dec 17 '18 at 15:22
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    An acceptable stopgap measure would be to put the bridge in the right place, but prop it up a bit by putting thin shims under the feet. We do this in my shop all the time for people who can't afford new bridges. Ideally, you would make the shims of veneer, but thin cardboard (like shoebox thickness) will do quite well. – Scott Wallace Dec 17 '18 at 18:31
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Your problem isn't entirely clear: low fingerboard action is not solved by changing string tension. Why are you actually using heavy gauge strings? Is that in response to your poor bridge height?

Further, as LPayne suggests, moving the bridge any significant distance changes all the fingering positions, locations of harmonic points, etc., which will pretty much ruin your playing skills. Have a luthier inspect your instrument to verify that the bridge is in fact low (as opposed to perhaps an excessively low nut at the head, or bad fingerboard alignment), and suggest what work should be done to improve playability.

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I would be inclined not to try these adjustments yourself. Set up (position of bridge, height of bridge, strings etc) is a highly sensitive aspect of your instrument and is crucial to its tone. Luthiers aren`t cheap but a good set up should change your instrument for the better and get the most out of it. If you go down this route be sure to talk to the person who will be doing the work and explain what you want to achieve. I had to replace a bridge that had been part of a set up that had remained unchanged for 30 years, the effect was like playing a totally different instrument. Good luck.

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As mr.Laurence said, the position of the bridge on the violin is dictated by the internal structure of the thing- and from an engineering point of view, think of it like this : the top plate of your instrument is very thin and vibrates when pressure waves are passed from the bridge to it. It rests on the rims and articulates on the soundpost. The normal position for a soundpost is a little bit * (tunable to some degree) behind the bridge- but not too much. The reason has to do with both vibration transmission and top plate resistance, or efforts to which it is submitted. If (and I am amazed if so) there is no modification in sound quality with moving the bridge so far from its intended position, think of the top plate: a thin, veeery thin layer of spruce. In fact it is so thin that on not-yet-finished instruments, luthiers use a strong light to inspect for deffects ..by transparence!!! Now subject that thin of a spruce board (more likely a bit thicker than 10 sheets of paper pressed together) to intense effort and cracks will surely show up. The intended placement of the bridge is safer, and somewhat..reinforced ( there is the sound post there and usually the bass bar, a kind of longitudinal reinforcement pine stick, is at its thickest there). So yes, even on a cheap violin, get a new bridge fitted- or if feeling adventurous AND have a really really cheap instrument you can try to buy a few blanks yourself and carefully carve them to the required shape.

  • And if there is simply a matter of getting a higher action (most people want to lower it) a new bridge, with different height and also different profile is the answer. Get a few inexpensive blanks (there are such things) and trace the profile of the feet of the old one if it did fit correctly, but for the top add half a mm to the profile . Experiment with more profiles with slight variations, by cutting these with a very fine but sturdy x-acto knife. Finish carefully with sandpaper and even tune the thickness (there is some info on this on maestronet forum). – Axel Morisson Oct 30 '20 at 10:56
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That certainly is weird. You should get a new one, or be VERY careful and try to put something underneath to steady it, so it is not loose. When has that started happening? If you just got your instrument then that might be a small mistake or something.

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