The bridge

It is not widely known, but the bridge provides 20% of the instrument's acoustic output. Discretely and with humility, this little piece of wood can both glorify the genius of a beautiful instrument or indeed enhance the musicality of the most ordinary of instruments. In every case, it will play its part and write its own musical score in harmony with the instrument. Therefore, at Despiau Chevalets, our motivation is to produce top quality bridges which will satisfy the demands of instrument makers and musicians alike.

What to expect from a good bridge?

First and foremost a bridge can only ever be as good as the quality of its raw material: years of growth, wood grain and density. Whilst the final selection must be thorough it should also be made using the senses, intuitively and with a certain amount of flexibility.

Luthiers and musicians alike are able to appreciate and recognise the quality of a bridge which appeals through its technical qualities and its sensitivity.

Sound transmission

The bridge ensures that sound is carried from the string to the sound-box. This is an important role. Good transmission is straight and fast and can only be guaranteed by a luthier’s know-how.

FIG. 1. — Ordinary bridge
FIG. 2. — Chevalet Despiau supérieur
FIG. 1. — Ordinary bridge
FIG. 2. — Chevalet Despiau supérieur

Speed of sound

For the sound to be true, a minimum amount of time should elapse between its emission from the string and its resounding presence: with the right bridge fitted onto their instrument musicians will hear what they play faster, sharper.

Clarity of sound

When transmission through the bridge does not alter the sound, when it is fast and direct, the sound is clear, accurate, sharp and rich with harmonics. The quality of the bridge therefore has a direct consequence on the global clarity of sound.

— Here the bridge delivers the full strength of sound to the audience.
— Here the sound is less powerful and the public can’t enjoy it thoroughly.

Strength of sound

The bridge is also an essential component for the strength of sound of an instrument. Only a luthier will know how to choose and carve a bridge in order to get the best results.

Despiau offers four standards of wood quality bringing together different instruments and musicians. Always remembering to respect both the sound and the emotion.

The most prestigious bridges carry the three-tree stamp of authenticity.