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.


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.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    +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
  • 2
    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

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.

| improve this answer | |

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.

| improve this answer | |

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.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.