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Violin/new violin without a bridge


i got a new violin as my birthday gift. its a full size violin as the packaging said but i didnt find any bridge inside the case or on the violin. the piece of paper in the case read that the violin is great for beginners over age 14. Since i do not know a thing about violins, i want to know if the violins for beginners come without a bridge and if thats not the case, then how can i fix my violin up so that i actually start learning how to play it.
thanks and regards.

Hi Sam,

Thanks for your question.  Well, you certainly aren't going to make much progress in your musical studies without a bridge.  Unless it was advertised as 'unadjusted' or 'without setup', then I would expect a bridge.  

If there were strings installed, I'd recommend looking through the case and packing materials to make sure it wasn't included.  Some dealers remove the bridge before shipment to prevent damage to the instrument.  Usually, if removed, it is shipped in an interior pocket of the case.  More often, it is shipped installed, but wrapped in paper or foam.  It's possible that it fell over in shipment and you unknowingly threw it out with the packing materials.  If you can't find it, call the dealer and ask.

If there was no bridge AND no strings, then it sounds like it was never setup/adjusted.  Often, dealers purchase student instruments from the manufacturer and do the setup themselves.  The setup includes thinning and fitting the bridge to the instrument, adjusting the tailpiece, selecting and installing strings, adjusting the soundpost, etc.  Again, if it wasn't advertised as unadjusted, then I'd call and complain.  Someone may have accidentally shipped you this unadjusted violin, thinking that the work had been done.  (Although, it would be unimaginable to me not to carefully check, re-adjust, and polish up the instrument before packing and shipping.)

If for some reason you are unable to get an answer from the dealer where you purchased it, and you're stuck with what you have, then you'll need to take it to a professional to have a bridge fitted.  (Stay away from the 'adjusted' or 'universal' bridges with the movable feet!!)  Take it to the best shop in your area - somewhere that only sells string instruments, if possible.  A properly fitted bridge is carved to fit the curve of the violin, thinned, carved, and tuned to resonate in a pleasing way at all frequencies, on each string.  It's not something you can do yourself, and it has a tremendous impact on the tone and the playability of the instrument.  

It depends on the shop and the local market, but a new bridge fitting for a student instrument typically runs between $35 and $85.  A full adjustment is a bit more, but if your violin has not been adjusted, it will be necessary.  At the very least, you'll need to have the bridge fitted, string heights and distances checked, the nut height and grooves checked, the post placement checked and adjusted, and the tail-gut length adjusted.  And, of course, you'll need to have strings installed, which will be another significant cost (if you want decent strings).

Anyway . . . Your first step, if possible, is to call the dealer.  Good luck!

Best Regards,
Jim Fisher


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James S. Fisher


Please Note: For an accurate appraisal of your instrument's value or history, I must advise you to take it to a local luthier or string shop for an evaluation. It's really not possible to do this with any accuracy via email.

However, I am happy to answer other questions about violins, bows, violin playing, and violin/bow repair. I can also talk with you about what bows, rosin, strings, cases, shoulder rests, etc. might work best for you and your particular instrument. (There are some great new products on the market.) I've taught violin and fiddle playing for the past 18 years and will answer questions about playing and technique.


I've been studying the violin for over thirty years. I started teaching in 1996. In addition to my training at Lebanon Valley College and at the Violin Institute, I handle violins, bows, and customer questions of all sorts on a daily basis in my shop - J.S. Fisher Violins,


I hold a Bachelor of Music degree from Lebanon Valley College, as well as certificates in violin repair, violin maintenance, and bow rehairing from the Violin Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

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