Cello Bridge Styles Explored

I recently had to replace a French style cello bridge I’d cut a few years ago as the string heights had got too low and we opted to try a hybrid this time, a personalised model designed by the guys at Beare’s a few years ago. It’s more Belgium style but with extra wood above and below the heart. This is what my customer Christopher Slatter thought of the different bridges:

“In recent years it has been really interesting to experiment with different bridges on my fine contemporary cello by Helen Michetschläger, a G B Ruggieri model with a warm and broad sound, capable of a wide palette of colour and tonal focus.

“The French model bridge which Iris had previously cut for me (photo 5) gave roundness and depth; totally even across the strings with a really good core sound, which enhanced the bass of the instrument and made for an easy response under the bow.

“The Belgian model bridge, (photo 4, left) which was fitted as an experiment by Helen (originally the cello was fitted with a French model bridge), gave a focus and clarity across the entire instrument making the bottom strings very crisp whilst greatly enhancing the power of the upper strings.  Some of the warmth of tone was exchanged for huge projection, but the response under the bow was very quick and easy.

“On my cello, the Hybrid model bridge (photo 1&2) combines the best features of the Belgian and French model bridges, allowing the depth of sound to project freely across the entire range.  Open and warm, the breadth of sound is enhanced greatly and there is a wide scope for colour change and tonal flexibility; the instrument rings beautifully and responds to subtle changes in bow pressure, speed and contact.”

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