View Full Version : John Ely

John Ely
Apr-19-2004, 4:32pm
I bought a cheap Chinese fiddle and it arrived with the bridge not in place. How do I locate it properly? Thanks.

Apr-19-2004, 5:17pm
Check out this site:
I think it's more for classic violin setup but it gives you a lot of information, for sure http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif



Lane Pryce
Apr-19-2004, 8:39pm
John set the bridge about 50-52mm in front of the tailpiece. That will be close to the center notches on the inside of the F's. Also about a 4-6mm or 1/4-3/8" in front of the soundpost if its still standing. Pm if you need additional info. Lp

Apr-20-2004, 12:25am
The nicks in the f-holes are usually the guide. Back of the bridge in line with the rear-most set of nicks. Front nicks probably line up with the front of bridge. Back of bridge should be square to fiddle top.

But... has the bridge been fitted, or is it an unfitted bridge blank? Most important is to make sure the feet of the bridge have been fitted to the contour of the top. If it isn't, tape some sandpaper to the top of the fiddle (grit up! :-) and >> while holding the bridge exactly square << sand the feet on the paper by moving fore-and-aft until they match the top. Most bridge blanks are cut "tall" to allow for carving down to the height the player prefers. The strings might end up awfully high unless you do this. The bridge might also be cut "thick" so that it can be thinned per player preferences.

While you are at it, check the nut. Fiddles straight off the boat from China often are pretty high at the nut. A business card makes a quick and dirty feeler gauge for string height at the nut.

Nut height and bridge height make a big difference in playability.

You might check in at fiddleforum.com or rec.music.makers.bowed-strings -- you'll find folks that know way more than I.


Apr-20-2004, 12:39am
by the way -- what brand of instrument is it?

John Ely
Apr-20-2004, 9:44am
Thanks. The label in the fiddle says Cremona, made in China. #I got the bridge on and got it making fiddle noises, and it sounded okay to me. For $45.00, it'll be fun to fiddle around with.

One more bridge question. The bridge was higher on one side than the other. #It was pre notched. #It seemed to fit the top pretty well, if not perfectly. #I put the higher side on the bass side. #Is that correct?

And finally, for now - the pegs kept slipping. #I pushed them in tighter, but I don't want to split the head, so I was careful. #Is there any trick to keeping the pegs tight?

Lane Pryce
Apr-20-2004, 10:28am
Sounds OK for now. Pegs are held in place via friction, bridge is in the right place. Rosin up the bow for a bit of "Turkey In The Straw!" Lp

Apr-20-2004, 10:31am
Yes, the bridge is asymetrical. "Peg Drops" are useful for slipping pegs. Some folks might tell you to use chalk, but stay away from that... it is too abbrasive.


Jim M.
Apr-20-2004, 10:41am
Is the sound post still standing? You have to worry about that when the tension from the strings and bridge is released from the top. If you don't know, the sound post should be standing about under the foot of the treble side of the bridge. If it's down, you can get a sound-post setting tool or take it to a luthier. For the pegs, you can put bee's wax on them to help them stick. There is also a more expensive "peg compound" you can get at a violin shop.

John Ely
Apr-20-2004, 11:16am
The soundpost is in place. Now I just have to learn to play the thing. Oh, one thing, they left off the frets, but maybe they don't use them in China. ;)

Apr-20-2004, 12:17pm
Sound posts: usually a little *behind* the E foot. It should *not* fall over when the strings are off, if it does, it is a sign of a poorly fitted soundpost and that needs to be corrected before the instrument is damaged.

Frets: Get hold of some bright yellow pinstriping at the auto parts store and slap that stuff right across that ol' fingerboard. It will help you find your way around until you are more confident. I would suggest 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th "fret" as good tape locations. Also, on my 5 year old daughter's violin I put a tiny patch of moleskin on the left of the neck just beside (on the peghead side) of where the thumb should be in 1st position. If the thumb finds home base, all the other fingers have a much easier time.