New bridge!

New Vitar bridge The output on my Vitar was so low that it was actually equal to the hum of the electronics, making it very difficult to play quietly. I finally realized that the pickups are in the last 1/2″ of the fingerboard and that the problem was that my bridge was too high. I have a neat smoked gray one and didn’t want to modify it, so I dug through my scrap and managed to find a sheet of 1/8″ Acrylite FF plexiglass… I had some clear plexi but why would I use that when I also had purple? Cut, sand, flame polish, buff… bang! 10x louder output!

Update – 12/3/09 – I put my original bridge back on but moved it way down to make it a 13″ scale length. The string heights are all good now with good output and a seemingly better tone (to this violists ear anyway). The new bridge idea is still valid if you want to go for a shorter scale length to match an existing violin or to change up the tone a bit.

    • Mark
    • December 3rd, 2009

    The traditional violin scale length is 12.8″ (327mm)… which is almost but not quite up against the control plate (for me anyway). All the bridge marks on mine are about halfway between the plate and the end of the fingerboard, so that’s where I’d always left it, but that’s at about 12.5″. I tried putting my original bridge back on and moving it down as far as it would go and it fixed the string height problem I’d had, and it sounds better to me… although I am a Violist officially… so longer scale lengths are always better for me. So final placement ended up at 13″.

    As for strings, I have a 10-year old set of Super Sensitive steel strings on mine (embarrassing I know). I’d like to try putting Thomastiks back on, but A, I’m afraid that the silver/perlon won’t have much output through a magnetic pickup and B, I’m a cheap bastard and they’d be about $80US. The literature also recommends the little rubber washers… mine are all missing but I’m going to scrounge some up and put them on to see how it changes the sound. I’ll post any significant results. :)

    I’m constantly fiddling (no pun intended) with my volumes… my E is too loud and my C is too woofy… so I have them in a little arch shape. I keep my mute/tone in about the middle.

    • vitarman
    • December 3rd, 2009

    Just curious about best placement for the bridge. I moved mine further away from the frog to make it about same string length as my acoustic violin. Notice that Marc Belanger appears to have his in the same spot. Would having 5 strings make any difference as to where you place the bridge? Does anyone (well, all two of you!) have any recommendations for strings for the Vitar? I seem to have trouble getting a good balance between strings (tone and volume) even with the individual volume adjustments.

  1. yo,
    If you tune your A to 426.7. the note B on will be tuned to 60 cycle hum. then you can drone with the florescent lights all day. wexler!

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