Talk:Bridge (instrument)

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WikiProject Musical Instruments (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
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Photographs of guitar bridges are very poor. Can anyone provide better pics?--Light current 22:56, 23 December 2005 (UTC)


Assessment, stub class for now[edit]

I assessed this as a mid-importance article for the Wikiproject Musical Instruments, because it covers an important feature on many stringed instruments. I rated it a start class because, although it has good information, organized in sections with picture, it lacks clear inline references. If you improve it and want reassessment or need help or have questions, please drop me a line.Jacqke (talk) 20:34, 9 May 2018 (UTC)

To Do List[edit]

  1. photos of different bridges - bass, electric and acoustic guitars
  2. research different types/styles of bridge
  3. describe a piano bridge — Preceding unsigned comment added by PabloStraub (talkcontribs) 11:14, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

Selphie 10:04, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC) *suggestions*

First draft is kinda complete - see [here] to read it, is it too techie, not in-depth enough? Hope to have some pictures after the weekend. Selphie 14:28, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)*suggestions*

Ok pictures now too, am gonna finalise wording then copy it over here with correct titles on the pictures Selphie 11:21, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC) *suggestions*

Merge[edit]

I believe that Bridge (stringed instrument) and this article both contain information that the other does not. Needless to say, having these separate articles is confusing. "Bridge (stringed instrument)" is redundant. If I have time, I will attempt to merge them myself. --Bryan Nguyen | Talk 01:34, 10 November 2005 (UTC)


Bridge mechanics[edit]

Bearing in mind that there is a node on a vibrating string where it passes over the bridge, how exactly do vibrations get to the body. There arent any vibrations at the bridge cos its a node. Anyone know the answer to this paradox?--Light current 14:42, 12 November 2005 (UTC)hi

The answer is that it is not a node. The strings are not actually fixed to the bridge, just in heavy contact with them. The two fixed ends of the strings are where they meet the machine heads at the top and the pegs at the bottom. This is where they are actually attached to the instrument. --kikumbob (talk) 16:39, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
The lower end of the vibrating string pulls variably on the bridge. This causes the bridge to rock on its long axis with each half vibration of the string. This causes the attached body top piece to flex along with the vibration of the string. My Flatley (talk) 05:27, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Thank you My Flatley for your clarification. The bridge on acoustic stringed instruments is a mechanical transducer. One small correction to the statement by kikumbob. The fixed node points of the strings are generally taken to be the nut at the top of the neck and the string anchor point at the tailpiece. While arguably it is possible some energy is lost behind the nut and even at the tuners themselves, and also along the floating tailpiece to its point of attachment to the body, these are not considered significant. The degree to which these factors beyond the node points affect the violin's playability is directly related either to the quality of construction or maintenance of the instrument. BellwetherToday (talk) 17:59, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
For a first approximation, I believe it is perfectly acceptable to consider the contact point of a violin string with the bridge to be a node. Serious investigation of violin dynamics must consider the motion of every part between scroll and endpin, inclusive; it is all vibrating. The tailpiece has its own modes of vibration, being suspended between the strings and a flexible tailgut.
The afterlength, or that part of the string between bridge and tailpiece, plays a part in the sound and response of the instrument, more so with a sensitive one (i.e, high quality of construction.) Tuning the afterlength by adjusting the tailgut length is part of a careful violin setup. Sometimes a small mass is added to the afterlength of one string, to reduce or eliminate wolf tones.
The majority of a bridge's action is a transverse rocking. I have read about claims that some overtones pull the bridge along the axis of the string, with some effect on the timbre of the sound, but have not verified that in experience. It is customary to lubricate violin bridge notches with graphite, to make adjusting the bridge's stance easier; since tuning with the pegs tends to pull the bridge toward the fingerboard, angle adjustments need to be done under full playing tension. Even so, the tension of the sounding length and afterlength come to equilibrium, and the forces generated by bowing the string are hardly enough make it slide it in the bridge notch. I have seen strings act like a wire saw, cutting down into an ebony nut when tuned, but this does not seem to happen at the bridge. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 20:43, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Miscellaneous questions[edit]

Some violins have a little collar-like pad around the E string between the string and the bridge. It seems to be to protect the string and the bridge from each other. Could somebody mention that (and, most importantly, the name of it)? Thanks.CountMacula (talk) 10:01, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Some kind of image or a link to one would be useful in identifying the specific thing you mention. One possibility, this is simply a mute to damp high overtones from the string. It is an accessory placed there by the violinist. Violin string mutes are always placed near the bridge. The closer to the bridge the greater the effect it has. There are other possibilities besides a mute. Ideally nothing whatever should interfere with the full clean contact of the vibrating string and the saddle portion of the bridge. Occasionally there is a defect in the bridge. For instance if it fails to match the curvature of the fingerboard or it is not setup correctly for the player, a violinist may wrap a piece of tape or other material on the string as compensation before visiting the luthier for a repair. Some players break a lot of E strings either due to technique or instrument setup. A little wrap at the bridge may ameliorate this for some. BellwetherToday (talk) 18:53, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
Two tone filter types: tube and "doughnut"
Plain steel E strings may sometimes cut into the maple of the bridge top, simply because their gauge is narrow enough that they crush their way down into unreinforced wood. Some people believe that the "tone filter" sleeves help delay that. In reality, I believe they are meant to damp some of the higher harmonics, to keep the E from sounding too zingy. Rubber doughnuts or felt washers are supplied with some strings for the same reason, to damp higher overtones. I will dig around for some pictures. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 20:43, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
The opportunity arose, and here is the picture. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 21:38, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Incorrect claims about Bridge mechanical impedance[edit]

Under the section Vibrato bridges, this claim is incorrect ' Generally, the more contact the bridge has with the body (i.e. the lower the position), the better the sound transfer will be into the body. A warmer sound with increased sustain is the result.'


An increased sustain means that the string is able to keep its energy for a longer time. If you claim that the better bridge transfers the energy from the string to the body..., it means that is going to be less sustain for the string. This has to do with the bridge and body impedance.

Take for instance, the difference of sustain between an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar. For an acoustic instrument, there most be a balance between impedance and volume, since some of the energy of the string most be able to be transferred to the soundboard to make it vibrate.

Generally, a better contact between the bridge and the body doesn't means more or less sustain. Is more a matter of impedance