Callier-Scollard Violins
Craig Scollard

50 E. Green St. Suite 142
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 795-2870

Mon, Tue, Wed 10:00-1:00.
Thu, Fri, Sat 2:00 to 5:00

Intercom Access Code, Press:
142 and then the CALL button:

Cello and Bass Bridge Fitting Guide

Fitting Cello and Bass bridges need to be done usually on a bench. Here are the general steps.

  • The first step is selecting a bridge. For most instruments I prefer using a Aubert #16 bridge.
  • Generally a high projection sounds better with a Belgium style bridge and a lower projection sounds better with a French style bridge.
  • After your bridge selection, thin out the thickness of the feet using a hand plane.
  • The next step is determining the bridge placement.
  • I like to mark the placement with small pieces of tape so the straight edge of the tape determines the back edge of the bridge and the outside edges of the bridge.
  • That step is important because you want the bridge to be put back on the cello/bass in the exact same spot.
  • I also file temporary string notches.
  • Have the strings just a little taught so the bridge will stay in place and you can make sure it's square with the top of the instrument.
  • Once it's square and in the correct spot, you can mark a pencil line and if there is a lot to cut off a band saw can be used.
  • Then the feet need to be fitted. I believe the best fit is achieved using a sharp knife.
  • Fitting feet is a reductive process where you remove the section of the bridge that's touching.
  • You need some way to figure out which part of the bridge is touching. Here are a few methods.
    • Visually inspect the feet and remember which areas need to be adjusted
    • Use a slip of thin paper and slide it under the bridge to see where the feet are touching
    • Use a piece of carbon paper to make a mark on the bottom of the foot. Those marks need to be trimmed down.
    • Use a coarse piece of sand paper. and carefully rub the feet on the paper moving it only about 2mm and keep it square. The scratches are where you trim down the foot.
    • Note: Trying to use sandpaper to fit the bridge will not work because the movement across the top averages out the curve of the top and the bridge will never really fit.
  • Once you have the complete foot fit to the top and it's in the correct position and it's square to the top you are done.
  • Then next step is setting the height of the bridge.
  • I like using magnets to hold my templet in place. That way I can sight down the fingerboard and get a good rough estimate for the height.
  • Draw a pencil line across the template.
  • Trim the excess with a knife or cut with a band-saw.
  • File down to the line.
  • Thin the top of the bridge and make the chest using a hand plane.
  • Place the string notches in top of the bridge. They should be in the exact placement.
  • Thin out the thickness of the bridge feet.
  • Tune the instrument up and leave it under tension for 1 day.
  • Make the final height adjustment and redo the string notches.
  • Finish making adjustments to the bridge, like the chest shaping, thinning sections that you think need adjustment. Basically this is the point where you put your personal touch on the bridge.
  • Tune up again and double check your string height setting.
  • At this point the customer can try it out. If they want a slight adjustment it can easily be made.
  • Once they are satisfied with the height, the tape can be removed.
IMG 20231010 165506 202 IMG 20231010 165506 202
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Another example of using magnets to hold my template in place so I can mark it with a pencil..

IMG 20231010 132657 233 IMG 20231010 132657 233
IMG 20231010 132731 131 IMG 20231010 132731 131

Comments (1)
Cello repair
# -39
Thursday, 07/27/2023
Lily He
Hi, I would like to know if you could fix the cello’s bridge. Is there a phone number I could send you the video of why I need the bridge to get fixed? Thank you
Bridge Problem
Monday, 10/23/2023
Craig Scollard
Ill send you an e-mail so I can get some additional information about the bridge.


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