Some thoughts on fiddle bridges
I’ve been told more than once that a fiddle bridge loses some of its sonic quality after a few years and should be replaced with a new one. Is there any quasi-scientific evidence for this, or is it one of those bits of received wisdom that goes forever untested? I know that many thousands of violinists and luthiers believe it to be true, just as millions of drivers believe that their car’s oil should be changed every 3000-7000 miles. [A fairly decent scientific study found no benefit from it. I have my oil changed regularly because the warranty requires it and … just in case.]
Thought Number 2: Does your luthier tune your bridge, other than to set the height and gross thickness? Or does s/he adjust the thickness of specific parts or alter the “heart” and “kidneys” (those openings in the bridge) or any other such subtleties?
Eons ago, I saw some documentary filmage about a physicist who studied the vibrational characteristics of the fiddle bridge and claimed to be able to adjust the sound at will by sanding a little here and there. I couldn’t tell any difference through three-inch TV speakers, but the violinist he was working with seemed to believe he was giving her the changes she specified. I’d love to find some information on that kind of fine tuning.