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Mandolin Players

Pick mandolin-family instruments as well as guitar? Share tips, tunes, and techniques in the mandolin group.

Members: 152
Latest Activity: Jun 15

Discussion Forum

Pick Selection 7 Replies

Started by John Gundrum. Last reply by Phillip Taylor May 6.

Tuners for Mandolin

Started by Robert Williamson Dec 5, 2015.

new to the game 6 Replies

Started by Ron. Last reply by Robert Williamson Nov 13, 2015.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Jim Yates on December 3, 2015 at 11:17am

I agree, just turn the saddle around. 

This type of bridge should never be glued down.  Is it just tipped forward (an easy fix) or is the bridge not fitted properly to the top (a more complicated fix)?
I don't see a big problem with the tailpiece touching the strings unless they produce a rattle.  You could put a piece of leather or felt on the underside of the tailpiece if it's rattling.
Sometimes it's desirable to have some downward pressure on the strings to increase the break angle.
Comment by Robin June Nakkula on December 3, 2015 at 9:12am
Robert, I would say that your saddle has been reversed, although not your bridge.
Things I'm assuming about your mandolin--correct me if they're not true for your particular instrument-- are that (1) the soundboard is curved or bent, and not flat, (2) the bridge is loose and not glued on the soundboard, and (3) the saddle is loose in the bridge, and they're all held in place by the string tension. The feet of the bridge are adapted to the curve of the soundboard, and the saddle was put into the bridge backwards.

Can you safely bend the tailpiece cover up so that it doesn't make any contact with the strings when they are at tension? If your tailpiece cover came off the tailpiece, like its ancestors did, you wouldn't have to bend it, just lift it a little bit and don't push it on all the way; but judging from your prior photos, I don't think that is so.
Comment by Robert Williamson on December 3, 2015 at 8:30am

From the evidence Ive posted, am I right in my assumption that the saddle has been reversed?

Comment by Robert Williamson on December 2, 2015 at 3:40pm

Here's the bridge, almost pulled off the top...

Crap setup on a supposedly NEW mandolin.

i can stick a business card there.

Comment by Robert Williamson on November 30, 2015 at 6:01pm

Zooming in on the grooves we see huge ones on the 1st 2 string pairs. Poorly formed, Meanwhile the slots on the bass strings are minuscule. Sure looks like a reversed saddle to me.

Now did the tech reverse the whole saddle/bridge assembly (most likely) or more deviously reverse just the saddle.

After reversing saddle/bridge assembly, it may then be necessary and probably wise to sand the bridge feet.

I will follow Mandolin Setup Book by Meldrum in correcting as much as i can...

Already corrected the pickguard angle. Seems the angle mount is too short, so bent it at 120 degrees.

Ive ordered a new rosewood bridge (unpainted), considering how hacked up this one is. I can also see it's pulling forwards so its failing under stress. The insert nuts are probably now loose.

wish me luck

Comment by Robert Williamson on November 30, 2015 at 5:37pm
Comment by Jim Yates on November 30, 2015 at 4:30pm

Depending on how the bridge is fitted to the top, it might be an easy fix.  I lay a piece of sandpaper, face up, on the top of the mandolin and sand the base of the bridge till it's smooth fit.
The height of the Pick guard depends on the player.  Some like it even with the strings, some remove the guard altogether.  One of my mandolins has no guard, one has the height of the guard half way between the top and the strings and one has the guard glued to the top.  I don't make much use of the guard when I play.

There are many different types of mando tailpieces, so it's hard to tell whether the strings should touch the tailpiece,  If you have a regular Gibson style tailpiece with the eight little hooks and the extra four sideways hooks which hardly anyone uses, then it's hard to have the strings completely clear of the tailpiece. 
I've seen folks put a piece of leather or felt on the tailpiece cover to prevent rattling.  Some people leave the tailpiece cover off permanently.

Comment by Robert Williamson on November 30, 2015 at 2:59pm

Ok.. after playing some other mandolins at a dealer, ive coem to the conclusion that the setup is off on the Gretsch. In fact, i think someone has screwed it up.

First, It looks like the pick guard is way too low, it touches the body and is 5/8" below the level of the strings.

Worse it seems the saddle is reversed. The 1st string pairs are resting in deep u-shaded grooves and the 4th in tiny ones.

As mentioned earlier the tail piece is in contact with the strings, when it should not be according to some mandolin luthiers online.

I suspect that same guitar tech that screwed up the setup of my Gretsch Boxcar Resonator., screwed up this mandolin as well.

must study more that free Mandolin Setup Book by Meldrum...and do it myself. There is no way in hell I am going to let that guitar tech touch any of my instruments again.

Comment by Randy Lee Hano on November 11, 2015 at 8:05am

Health mojo Robert.

I agree with the squeezing of fingers into tiny spaces. Some of guitar buddies laugh the other day when the band played Wagon Wheel in A (Darius Rucker Version) as I use a capo to make the chords easier to play. If it was the Old Medicine Crow (key of G), no problem. Still struggle with the 4 note fretted chords to play the chop technique best so I just play 3 notes and mute the top two strings. Add to the non Bluegrass songs - Copperhead Road along with a few tunes from Heart - Dream of the Archer, Sylvan Song. 

Comment by Jim Yates on November 10, 2015 at 11:00pm

Now that Robert has introduced the topic, I wonder how many of us have other mando-things like mandolas, mandocellos, mandobasses, Octave mandolins, Greek bouzoukis, Irish bouzoukis, citterns, octophones, bandurias, or other types of monster mandolins.


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