Standing Bridge and Tuning Cello, Bass and whole violin Family:
Note: For Upright Bass you turn the tuning machines instead of push and twist pegs.
You stand the bridge feet up across from the little notches in the ff holes in the front of the instrument. That is about halfway between the tailpiece and end of fingerboard.
THE INNER NOTCHES ON THE F-HOLES are what you line up the middle of the bridge feet with. That's the lower notches in the f-holes- a straight line drawn to connect them would run thru the middle of the bridge feet.
The shorter side of the bridge goes under the thinnest string called the G string on Bass. It is the E string on violin, and A string on cello and viola.
Loosen the strings up enough so you can just put the whole bridge there under the strings and stand the bridge up. Push the pegs in as you twist them(just turn tuners on Bass) to loosen the strings so the pegs will hold and not spin loose. The strings need to be just tight enough to hold the bridge upright once you have it up straight and let go of it.
As you are tightening the strings to correct pitch, tuning the cello or other instrument, keep pulling/pushing the top of the bridge back toward the tailpiece as it will tend to lean toward the fingerboard as you tighten the strings.
If you grab in the middle of the bridge and pull hard you may snap it in two when the strings are holding it tightly.
Always grip the bridge between thumb and fingers using both hands - up near the strings so that you are not pulling hard on the middle of the bridge.
Keep the bridge upright so that the feet lay flat on the face of the instrument. This is necessary to fully transmit the vibrations of the strings into the body, necessary for fullest sound.
You can pull the bridge sideways as necessary before the strings are too tight to get the strings centered over the fingerboard.
Tighten all the strings up snug against the bridge first, then tighten them one at a time to their correct pitch using a tuner, pitch pipe or tuning fork to recognize correct pitch.
DO NOT overtighten as strings can break because of that. Tuning one or two notes above correct pitch is asking for string breakage, especially on violin, viola and cello.
Push in very firmly as you twist the pegs to tune each string. You will need to get each string close to exact pitch, then do each string 2-3 times to get them all real close to correct pitch. Push in firmly as you twist hard with a short controlled twist to get a short movement of the peg when you're close to pitch with a string.
Then you can use the fine tuners on the tailpiece to zero in on exact pitch for each string.
It is key to push the pegs in firmly as you twist to tune, to get them to hold firmly after you are done tuning. A little powdered rosin on the pegs where they meet the wood in the peg box can help the pegs hold tightly too. Peg drops or peg dope can be used, but a little powdered rosin can do the job too.
The strings need to be spread out over the bridge, close to each edge and evenly apart from each other too. The bridge has little notches on top where each string goes.
That's about it. You can get really technical about standing a bridge and pay a shop $20 to $50 to do this. (Many shops will oversell you on what "needs" to be done too, as that's how they make money!
So don't buy it if they say you need to replace the bridge etc for big $$$. Ask them to "just stand bridge and tune please".) If you can get it okay yourself that may be all you need to do with it. Just keep the bridge standing up straight with feet flat on the instrument as you tighten and tune to correct pitch.
And that should do it. An upright bass is tuned E A D G from thickest to thinnest string.
The strings on a cello tune from the largest to the thinnest as C G D A, same as a viola but one octave lower than a viola.
On a violin they tune from largest to thinnest G D A E.
So now you have the tuning for the whole violin family.
Thanks for choosing us and don't hesitate to call on us when you or a friend need something else in the musical instrument world.
Tom Kerr Fantastic Musical Instruments www.GoToFmi.com
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Our phyical address is 789 East Washington Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91104.
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