I spent all yesterday replacing my double bass bridge. It's not as simple as it might sound. You don't just loosen the strings and do a swap. Even if it were that easy, there would still be the risk of the soundpost falling over. For anyone unfamiliar with the arcanities of string instrument acoustics, the soundpost is wedged, not glued, between the front and the back of the soundbox between the f-holes and under the bridge. Loosen the strings and clunk! the soundpost goes for a burton. Cue for an hour of effing and blinding trying to retrieve it from the depths of the soundbox, through the f-holes, with a pair of barbeque tongs. Then you have the pleasure of trying to stand it up.
Observant readers will have noticed that there's a pencil taped to a bamboo cane in the first picture. This was for job number one: to draw round the foot of the soundpost on the inside of the back. Then, if it falls over, at least you know where it has to go.
The reason I did the job myself was that it costs and arm and a leg to have the job done for you. Now I know why. (No irony was intended in the choice of Saturday Guardian supplement used to line the bench. It's just the one I never read! Perhaps I should pay more attention to it). Observant readers, again, will notice how thick the bridge in the picture is. This is because bass bridges come as "blanks": not only do you have to trim the feet to fit the contours of the instrument's belly, you also have to plane the thing so it tapers to the top. You also have to get it just the right height: too high and the strings are hard to press down, too low and the strings buzz when you play them. If it ends up too low, there is a way of putting it right - if you remember to cut a few thin strips off the feet before you cut them to size. These can be inserted under the feet later if you chop too much off the top:
Once that's done, there's no putting it off. It's time to start the irreversible stuff. Once it's chopped off, it's off!
I won't bore you with a blow-by-blow account. Let's just say I spent the afternoon, plane in hand, stripped down to my shorts, sweating over a hot bridge. In the end, I got there. Fortunately, nothing went wrong!
The job needed doing: the original bridge had warped. It curled upwards and was threatening to fall over. New bridges can be very expensive (80 quid plus), but I got mine from janika's music shop for twenty quid, and it came the next day, so I don't mind giving them a plug. They seem to deal in parts and accessories for string instruments, guitars, and percussion.