After more than 30 years playing experince, I know how important a good “set-up” is to any instrument.
Set up is basicly the “mise en place” of all the add on’s to an instrument i.e tailpiece, nut,pegs,bridge,soundpost etc. The sound of an instrument is greatly influenced by its set up. I place a great deal of importance on the bridge of an Instrument.
I have really fond memories of discussing the topic of bridge quality with the late Great Paddy Cronin in my workshop in Fenit back in 2007.
The overall best possible sound obtained by a good set up and bridge fitting can change greatly depending on measurements and materials used. A well seasoned deluxe French Bridge can cost easily up to 30 or 40€, but the quality of that bridge is worth every cent! (providing your instrument merits such a bridge*) Another important aspect of set up is comfortablity-playability, more for some than others, but for a serious player who spends up to nine hours a day holding their instrument, it should be as comfortable as possible without compromising on sound. It is for this reason I like to do any required adjustments while the player is with me in my workshop. It can be quite amazing the difrence small things can make to the sound of an Instrument
I enjoy working regularly on the instruments and bows of many of the Great Fiddlers around this County such as Padraíg Creedon, Brendan O Sullivan, Paddy Jones, Seán Abeyta, Donal Cullinane and thats to mention but a few!
Every thing matters when it comes to sound! Some days your violin sounds great and other days not so great. This is because the violin is extremely susceptible to changes in moisture levels which is something that we definitely suffer from here on the West Coast of Ireland.
But for every problem there is a solution !