One of the benefits of the pandemic, closed borders, and such is the proliferation of on-line workshops. I've attended many. And, for example, tonight I will begin my time with the Heart of Valley of the Moon, a workshop of Alasdair Fraser's with many other instructors. I've long wanted to attend, but time, money, and a limited attendance have not been in my favor. Now I can join in, from home, at a modest cost.
Another workshop I have long wanted to attend is the annual Hardanger Fiddle Association of America workshop. Time, money, etc. But this year I did. And got to sit in on a luthier's workshop as well.
In that, I got to ask questions of bridge design. I have an idea of what to do when shaping a normal violin bridge, but the Hardanger is a different beast. For one thing, the understrings ride across a saddle/nut in the middle of the bridge.
When I built my Hardanger, I used a blank from Howard Core. The luthiers at the HFAA convention didn't think much of those blanks, but it is a place to start.
I had seen a few Hardangers in the past couple months, just chance meetings here at my shop, and by then I was interested in seeing their bridges. Significantly bigger cutouts than I had in mine, which makes sense. With a blank, you start with under-sized cutouts and enlarge them.
So, with some ideas, and a little time this morning to work on it. The understrings are a pain to undo and then thread through again, but it's not that bad if you're careful.
I don't have a good before photo, but here's an idea of what it looked like.
Rather solid and clunky.
And here's the after.
A bit more interesting. I can't tell yet that it makes much difference, though I think I am getting a bit more sustain in my understring ring. I also think these sort of changes can take a little time to settle in. Or maybe me getting used to playing what is, in part, a new instrument. They do talk back to you.
It's a work in progress. As is my learning of Hardanger fiddle tunes.