The cello bridge is one of the two components that are most important in the set up of a cello. The other component is the sound bridge. Bridge should be able to compliment the tones produced by the cello. Bridge decides the major part of the support and the resistant offered to the bow. It should be designed to offer the perfect balance between the two. Bridge is cut to support the sounds produced by the timber of the cello.
There are two types of cello bridges being used at present. They are the French bridge and the Belgian bridge. The French cello bridge has legs that are running half the height of the bridge. It was favored by Luthiers in England during the latter part of the 20th century. However, there is room for slight changes by luthiers in order to attain the sounds they need with this cello bridge. Belgian cello bridge has a bit longer legs and a smaller heart in order to produce brighter sounds.
Cello bridges are made of maple wood taken from well grown maple trees. Though there is a lot of scientific research that is taking place, regarding the design and the sounds of created by them, cello bridges are still made following the traditional methods using the experience of the luthiers. In case you are going to refurbish a cello, always try to retain the characteristics of the old cello bridge.
Cello pegs are the other important component in tuning a cello. During the early days the cello pegs made out of wood had to be perfected to keep the instrument tuned. With the low tension strings this didn’t make such a big problem. However to tune with wooden cello pegs you need considerable expertise. With the modern high tension strings this poses a challenge. One remedy is to use fine adjusters. These days a cello uses a minimum of one fine adjuster and it could go up to four or five. The incorporation of fine adjusters make it easier for the cello pegs but it creates problems for the bridge reducing its ability to move freely. The solution for this problem is to either reduce weight on the fine adjusters or to do away with them completely and learn the skill of doing the adjustment with the cello pegs.
Cello mute is another accessory that goes on top of the cello bridge to dampen the vibrations and bring about a softer tone. A cello mute is a three pronged fork-like structure that goes between the strings on the bridge. It is a simple accessory that could stop the vibration of the cello bridge. They are being used by students as practice mutes and in hotels they use mutes to reduce the sound volume. There are different types of cello mutes. In addition to the cello mute mounted on the bridge there is a more modern one that goes on strings between bridge and the tail piece. Also there is the wolf mute that is attached to the G string at the same place.