The Importance of Bridges

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There has been a sudden influx of repairs in the shop that all revolve around the bridge keys of woodwind instruments. The bridge keys are the keys at the ends of joints connect the body together. Almost all woodwinds have these connecting points and great care needs to be taken to insure that these keys do not get bent.

When assembling these instruments depress the upper bridge keys to open them up while simultaneously keeping the bottom bridge keys at the lower position. Carefully twist these two joints together while watching the bridge keys come together into their set position. It is also helpful to make sure that the tenon corks have been properly lubricated so that the joints move together with ease.

There are several brands/models of woodwinds that have multiple bridge points, as pictured below.

It is important to be especially vigilant with clean assembly on these instruments. If the bridge keys get severely bent, it can result in the instrument not playing any sounds below the connecting point and it might also result in the key breaking upon repair. Metal keys are not invincible and get fatigued when they are bent back and forth.

In conclusion, watch what you are doing and the bridge connection will be safe!