THE FLAT BRIDGE SOCIETY


Welcome to another episode of TwoSet Violin. As you can see, we have Olaf here again. Hi! Today, we’re going to explore the bridge. It’s the bridge to success. Yeah, that’s it. – We’re going to make the bridge to success.
– Yeah. – You need a good bridge.
– Yes. The bridge sits on the top plate of the violin. It transfers the sound from the strings to the top plate, and it’s hugely important. Like, I kinda… I think it’s kind of almost the soul of the instrument. Without the bridge, you cannot make a good sound. And we’re going to talk about how the bridge makes a difference in your sound, and we’re also going to make the wackiest bridge ever, – that’s never been done in history.
– Yeah. We’re gonna play on the impossible bridge. I’m worried. Yeah! – Kids, don’t try this at home.
– Yep. I’m a trained violin maker. So this is a violin with the bridge off, and I’ve put this little string lifter on there. Brett: Mhmm. And here are our two bridges that we’re going to modify. Okay. So this is how it should be… Olaf: Mmkay, you see this curve up here. Olaf: This is what we’re gonna do. Brett: OOH! Olaf: Alright. Now I’m gonna make the string grooves. Brett: So you’re measuring… – Brett: Oh, the distance.
– Olaf: Yes, the— Olaf: Yeah, yeah. Olaf: It’s kind of like a guitar bridge really, isn’t it? Olaf: Now we’re gonna make little nicks. Olaf: Okay. Olaf: This is really bad. Olaf is making the impossible bridge. Brett: He’s making a new technique… …that has never been done in the history. Olaf: I think I’m just gonna wind… this down. Olaf: Yes okay! Olaf: This is… beautiful. Olaf: Beautiful. Eddy: Dude… That’s nasty! Brett: The flat bridge. Dude! It messes with your head. I think I’m playing the A, but I hear the E string, – I touched the E string.
– Yeah. – I can’t!
– It sounds like a bagpipe. But chords will be easy. Not really. Play something loud on the D string. Can’t hear the D string. Basically, the bridge is flat. There’s no curvature, so the strings don’t have really individual space to play on. – Yeah.
– Which is why you hear all 3 or 4 notes at once. In case you’re not aware, the curve of the bridge helps you… be able to separate the strings, so you can just play one. It’s actually the original curve’s been worked out perfectly, so you can actually play one string at a time, but you can still do double stops. – Yeah.
– Ahh, yeah.
– So, it’s like this perfect balance. This isn’t quite as perfect. What do you mean? I think it’s… perfection. Dude, chords have never been easier. Try to play Paganini 1. Oh! I’m skipping over the G and D, I’m like, BAM! Imagine doing something that involves like, clean string crossings. Like… – Ysaÿe.
– Ohh, the – Can’t do it. Can you actually play D string without touching the A string? Dude, the D is like, below the A! I’m trying to play the A, you ready? You can do it! Can you play a D? You can’t play D! Maybe if you play like… That’s not the most impressive and new type of bow we’re gonna make… Bridge we’re gonna make here. Okay. Well, let’s uh… – Next level!
– Let’s… …take it to the next level. Olaf: I better just take the tension down. Olaf: Ohh, this is scary. Olaf: I think I went a bit low. Olaf: I might have to make it slightly concave, okay? Brett: I feel very nervous, just looking at it. Olaf: Do you think that’s enough? Olaf: The G and the E are gonna be… lovely! Olaf: Ohh! Eddy: Beautiful! This is… very interesting. Maybe we’ve made a new discovery. Well you could actually become a composer for um… You know, for inverted bridge. – Eddy: Extended technique.
– Brett: Ohh. Eddy: But Ling Ling can play on a inverted bridge! Ling Ling can do everything and anyth… – Brett: Oh, that’s beautiful.
– Olaf: Have a look at that. Brett: That is… Okay, you see the concave now? Brett: Very, very very close to the fingerboard. Brett: I don’t know if you can see, it’s literally less than one milliliter. – Millimeter.
– Milli… Millimeter! Eddy: Whoa. Brett: Can you see that? Eddy: Whoa!! Is there anything you can play on the G and E string? Oh, I don’t need to move that much! Olaf: Nice. Wow. We could do that, like for soloists. When they get to their passage, quickly change the bridge. – Yeah. Yeah.
– Yeahh!
– Then, you know, – just groove through it.
– It’s so much better. What if you had like, it’s like Iron Man, like a digital bridge. Like, – You can like, change its shape.
– Yeah, that’s it! I press a button. Is it just me, or is it also a lot softer now? The sound’s definitely not as good ’cause it’s lost some pressure on the top plate. – Yeah. Yeah.
– Ahhh…
– Ah… So what does the pressure mean? – If it loses on the top plate?
– So, if it doesn’t get as much pressure onto the top plate, not as much vibration gets onto the instrument. So that means the A and D will be very, very soft now. Next time you’re feeling stressed out, remember: Yeah. YEAH!! – “Bridge to success requires pressure!” Yeah!
– I’m out! That’s my line for the video, I am not— I’m done! – About there. Okay, so we’ll turn this around…
– Ooh!
– Is that right? How do you play it backward? – I have no idea.
– Ooh, there’s a A! What if I put my finger here? It works! Let’s play together! – Brett: Can you play on the top?
– Eddy: I’ve got the G and E, – Yeah, yeah! Okay.
– and you got the D and A. So we’re gonna play Sibelius for… – That’s us.
– And an inverted bridge. Inverted bridge. Oh, G string? Olaf: Nice. Eddy: Come on… The D string! Where’s the D string?! We never touched the D string yet! Got it got it! Can you hear it? No, you gotta pull the other strings up. I think something could be done with that. – A violin concerto for inverted bridge.
– Yes. – How does these holes come to be?
– Yeah! So the holes are there so that the bridge can kinda move. Like the bridge moves like this. Olaf: You can see that the bridge, just here, this little area is narrower. Olaf: So the top moves independent of the bottom. Olaf: Because it’s got these kidneys, – Olaf: these cutouts,
– Brett: Yeah.
– Eddy: Mhm. Olaf: …the middle is quite narrow between here, this side of the kidney, and this side. Olaf: So that’s why the bridge can move sideways. – Brett: Oh so you can put more pressure on this string.
– Olaf: Yeah. Brett: This will go down a bit. Olaf: Yeah, so if this was solid, – Olaf: it sounds different, it’s huge. Yeah.
– Brett: Changes different… Wow. So it seems like the more wood there is, the less… – Brett: There’s opportunity for the vibrations to go through.
– Olaf: Yeah, that’s right. Exactly. But if you— You can also go too thin, so – – Brett: Too thin, there’s no vibration. Okay.
– Olaf: And then you just— Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Olaf: A good bridge makes a huge difference to the sound. – Eddy: Mm.
– Brett: So Stradivari and Guarneri, they had it.
– Olaf: Yes. Actually, their bridges had quite a different shape. Like, I’ve seen a few original bridges of theirs, they’re quite amazing. Would they have made these bridges back then? Olaf: Oh no, they they looked a bit more like a… cello bridge, originally. Olaf: Alright. Okay! Olaf: So this is a normal bridge, and you can see that the curvature has actually been worked out perfectly. Olaf: So you can, ah, play one string at a time, but you can still do double stops. Olaf: So I use this little template, um, that I’ve been using for many years, to… to work out this curvature. Eddy: Does everyone use the same template? – Eddy: Like, is it a universal standard?
– Olaf: It’s… It’s very close, yeah. – Eddy: Okay.
– Olaf: This is— This is what we use. Brett: And then the rest is just up to tweaking for… – Brett: per instrument.
– Olaf: Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. Then that’s actually more about the player. So for example, all my bridges for, um, folk or jazz musicians, and I’ll actually make them – Olaf: a little bit flatter, so that they— Yeah.
– Brett: Ohh… Okay, so this is just a standard bridge. It’s much louder. Olaf, Eddy: Yep. Do you want me to put some wedges in here, so you can hear it like, with uh, – without those kidneys we were talking –
– Ohh! I can hear it. – Olaf: Here we go. One wedge.
– Brett: Wedge goes in.
– Eddy: Ooh. Brett: It looks like— – Brett: It looks like earplugs.
– Eddy: I was thinking the exact same thing. – Brett: Two wedge goes in.
– Eddy: Ohh. It looks like the, uh… Eddy: You know, the crying face emoji. Whoa! – Brett: Is there a difference?
– Eddy: Yeah. Brett: Wow. Try less pressure on the G when it… Whoa! – It’s like a mute!
– Yeah, yeah. Ohh, makes it sound like a trumpet! It’s like a practice mute. How about you play something, and then you pull out that one, and I’ll pull out this one, as you’re playing. And you can hear the difference. – Can you do that? ? play some –
– Ooh, okay okay okay! Together? Or… Let’s pull out both. Olaf, Eddy: Yep. – Brett: Wow!
– Olaf: Yeah. Yeah. That changes everything. Yes. Yeah, makes a big difference. There you go, guys. Science. So what problems usually happen with students? The biggest one is firstly maybe instrument’s not sounding all that good. But other ones are like, people getting like, string spacings wrong… or getting, you know, having the bridge too flat, or too high. And how does it affect the technique? Oh, if the bridge is flat, it’s horrendous. It is so hard to play. And if it’s too curved, it’s actually really, you know, it’s like, literally like you’re operating – a pumper, like a handpump or something –
– Yeah yeah! – Can you imagine the string crossings?
– Right, yeah. If the string spacings are too wide, too, – it makes it hard to… Play for left hand, right?
– Yeah, it makes it really hard. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, ’cause the string becomes higher from the fingerboard. – Not even double stops, like…
– Yeah exactly, yeah.
– Ohh, that’s true. So, I think it’s very important that… – We have a…
– To consult an expert! Consult an expert, if you have a violin. Okay so anyway guys, we hope you learnt a lot from this episode. As you know, always get the bridge check from an expert. Contact your local luthier. If you’re in Brisbane, check out Olaf… …the snowman. There’s a lot of young kids out there not having a great time playing instruments because of small issues like this. – So, a small tweak can make a big difference.
– Yeah. Please like and subscribe. Make sure to check out Olaf, See ya!

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