Setup Choices

Classical, Fiddle, & Folk Setup


We use three different general types of setup, and upon request can do other setup services. Additional charges may accrue for custom setup work. We can also set your current instrument in any of these ways. These all involve slightly different fingerboard relief, bridge cut, and string choice. We also keep the use of the instrument in mind during setup. The setup specifications below may well vary from instrument to instrument depending upon what our supplier sends us, but the descriptions are what we usually aim for.

Classical Setup: The Standard Violin

Our standard full classical setup supports strong, high-vibrato, playing. We aim towards a neutral but rich tone, brilliant top end, and excellent core sound. The action and relief are fairly high compared to those used for fiddle. We generally model our bridges after the modern Chicago school. We almost always use Perlon strings with this setup, inexpensive D'Addario ProArte on less expensive instruments and fine professional strings on the more expensive ones. Steel strings will work very well and last a long time, and are available on request.

Bridge: 42 mm radius
Action: Approximately 3.3 mm E, 5.5 mm G; moderate relief
Strings: Pro-Arte, Tonica or Dominant perlon [Steel or other upon request; additional charge may apply]
Tuning: Wood pegs, single fine tuner [No charge for Wittner ultra fine tuner]; $95 upcharge for geared pegs.
Chinrest: Wood Guarneri pattern [Wittner hypoallergenic available]

Folk setup: Easy Playing for Amateurs

The folk setup is simply a less intense version of the classical setup, with an emphasis on warmth and fullness at the expense of penetrating brilliance. The folk setup aims for the typical amateur's desire for a dark sounding instrument that is easy to play, forgiving, and gives satisfying warmth with a certain mellow charm. We usually fit perlon strings or the warm sounding Helicore.

Bridge: 42 mm radius
Action: Approximately 3.0 mm E, 5.3 mm G; low relief
Strings: Pro-Arte, Tonica or Dominant perlon; Prim or Helicore steel [will fit desired strings upon request; additional charge may apply]
Tuning: Wood pegs, single fine tuner [No charge for Wittner ultra fine tuner]; $95 upcharge for geared pegs.
Chinrest: Wood Guarneri pattern [Wittner hypoallergenic available]

Fiddle Setup: Fast Response, Woody Penetration

Fiddle setup “in the wild” varies a good deal. Our usual fiddle setup uses almost no relief in the fingerboard, a low action, a bridge cut emphasizing a woody low end, and a longer radius to the top of the bridge, allowing rapid string crossings and easy alternation of double stops. We have two radii available, but our usual contest fiddle setup is an excellent compromise. We can do a flatter old-time setup with less radius on the fingerboard for a $60 upcharge (we have to remove the strings and replane the fingerboard).

Contest Bridge: 52 mm radius
Old Time: 60 mm radius plus flatter fingerboard - $60 upcharge
Action: Approximately 2.7 mm E, 4.7 mm G; very low relief
Strings: Prim or Helicore Heavy [will fit desired strings upon request; additional charge may apply]
Tuning: Wood pegs, single fine tuner [No charge for Wittner ultra fine tuner]; $95 upcharge for geared pegs.
Chinrest: Wood Guarneri pattern [Wittner hypoallergenic available]