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Viola bridge off-center and buzzing sound after changing strings

by Shirley
(Warner Robins GA)

I usually play the violin, but had purchased a nice used viola ... sounded great other than that the strings were very old ... I just changed them and tried to be careful not to loosen all the strings at one time.

After changing the strings, all the strings except "E" buzz when played. I adjusted the bridge several times, but it won't center over the fingerboard, and it keeps pulling over to the side of the "G" string. I can tell it was centered before I changed the strings, due to the rosin marks from the old strings on the fingerboard.

As for the buzzing, I tested all the tuning pegs, and the sound post looks like it hasn't moved.

Do you have any suggestions as to how I can fix these two problems???

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide!


Marie from

Hi Shirley,

If you can, get the viola to buzz as you play it and try to touch various parts of the instrument to locate the buzz.

Check any fine tuners you have. They sometimes attach with a nut that is screwed in under the tailpiece. Check each and tighten it.

Check the distance between the fingerboard and the strings. Check your bridge as well. Since you say it keeps leaning in one direction, check to see if the bridge shows signs of stress or collapse.

Finally, check for gaps or places where the glue may have worn away wherever the sides of the viola attach to the front and back. The place this usually happens is on the bottom, opposite the chin rest.

I notice that you mention an "E" and "G" string. I don't know where you're at in your journey to learn violin and viola, but be sure you're installing viola strings on your viola. Violin strings, unless installed on a smaller viola, would not fit correctly on a viola.

Good luck! I hope this gives you someplace to start!


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