View Full Version : Do it Yourself Repairs
I have been wondering about something. Since a recurrent theme on this board concerns how long it takes to get repair work done by the tiny number of people in North America who actually know something about bowlbacks, has anyone here ever tried teaching themselves how to service these instruments?
This afternoon, I began toying with the idea of picking up an unplayable instrument of none-too-great-a-value and disassembling it, with the aid of some luthier/repair manual. If it turns out to be a disaster, no harm done.
I have a small but growing (I hope not too much more) collection of sick mandolins, mostly bowlbacks. I am getting to the point where I need to stop and de-access the losers and fix the winners, or at least get them all fixed up enough to tell which is which.
Most luthiers either will not touch them or don't have a clue what to do with them to make them playeable or else will charge more than they are worth, so it is a logical question to ask.
I figure I can do the small stuff, like string them up and shave down bridges and saddles, add missing parts like tailpiece covers, nuts and tuners. If I ever get time, I need to carve a few bridges.
Learning to fix cracks on these would be a real boon. Almost every vintage bowlback I have gotten has needed some sort of work to make it playable.
I think doing neck resets on most except the very valuable ones is a major job. I spoke to one experienced luthier who was puzzled about how he would even do that.
Learning from a book would be a good idea. I guess most luthier books cover std repairs, but ones specific to bowlbacks might entail get into the lute part of lutherie. I don't know if there is a book specific to bowlbacks but there is Robert Lundberg's book (http://www.luth.org/luteblrb.htm).
Teaching myself...no, but I did start down that route semi-assisted. My ultimate goal was to become some kind of semi-adept luthier on a budget and produce some reproduction American romantic-era guitars from just after the American classical guitar took its own unique form (ca. 1840); such things are terribly neglected by modern luthiery, kinda like bowlback repair. Years ago, I bought a cheap Lyon & Healy bowlback (the bargain model that they simply labeled "Lyon & Healy") without a fingerboard and a slightly wacky neck angle. I began working to restore it in Tom Crandall's shop in Cleveland, Ohio. I planed the neck; made, slotted, and bound a fingerboard (no frets or inlay yet); replaced and bound the headstock veneer; bought a bridge blank (from Tom's stash; I don't know where he got it); and cleaned up the metal hardware. Then Tom packed his bags for NYC for a cushy gig with Umanov's Guitars where he now heads the repair department. The L&H was neglected and my aspirations deflated. I gave the piece to a carpenter friend. There is just no literature on repairing these things. If you are not already a luthier of sorts, I would probably suggest that you seek the advice of a bowlback-savvy luthier to start.
Traditionally this sort of knowledge is best approached thru the master/apprentice relationship, I'd say especially regarding bowlbacks, where the knowledge base is exceedingly thin on the ground. So long as one has a large supply of 39.95 ebay bowlbacks one can learn the basics of how a cheap bowlback is (de)constructed, but the tricks of the trade regarding specific repairs and reassembly will have to be reinvented, a real discouraging waste of time. Then too, you'll lack any knowledge or experience with a truly decent instrument, unless you choose to start disassembling Martins, Calaces etc.
Probably making and installing a bridge would be about as challenging a project as could be easily attempted. I suspect the first try would end in firewood anyway.
I'd offered to secure a few separated ribs with a bit of Elmer's on one instrument: TC begged me to refrain, saying he'd be pleased to do it with hide glue, at some unspecified distant future date. As the instrument in question gives evidence of being worthwhile, it awaits his pleasure.
On the other hand, the continent could certainly use a few knowledgable luthiers to work in this field, as witness the lingering backlists of the few who are qualified. I'd advise anyone who has a couple years to spare to consider an apprenticeship. The money's OK once you're established, the hours are your own, the instruments are beautiful, and you're combining hand, eye, brain and ear in doing the most satisfying kind of work, and preserving the legacy of our forbears.
Well, milazzese, if you wish to embark upon such a noble pursuit, why, I'd even offer to donate the "unplayable instrument of none-too-great-a-value" for The Good of the Cause. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif
Of course, you would have to pick up the shipping costs and, by the time you would be done paying those, you would also realize you could have had a whole other instrument from your local junk-antique place for roughly the same amount. Oh, well...
The "master/apprentice relationship" Bob speaks of is sadly moribund— if not already in cardiac arrest. A while back, I watched an interview with a Venetian master-builder of gondolas on R.A.I. (Radiotelevisione Italiana) Talk about tradition...!
In summary, that art is also dying, as the economic circumstances that sustained it once are no more. Way back then, local fathers would apprentice their boys under the tutelage of a master-craftsman; needless to say, the boys were not paid for their work but received their payment in the most subtle kind of "in kind", namely technical knowledge of the artisan's secrets. In a "double quid pro quo", master-builders had working hands around the shop, to help with the myriad tasks involved in building one of those swan-like vessels of romance.
Nowadays, with 1,000-page labor laws (both convoluted and rendered ineffectual by widespread corruption), a wall-to-wall unionized labor force (ditto), and a popular culture that worships the generic and the mass-produced, Italy stands at a bizarre contradiction of, ehm... what Italy IS, namely an artisan's culture to the marrow of its bones. But maybe this is the Era of the Great Contradictions, thereby explaining why there is so little diligence in Germany, pride in France, or democracy in Greece.
Call me a pessimist, but I see no reason why, whilst "the rod of Jesse hath withered" in Italy, it could ever blossom elsewhere. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif
But maybe this is the Era of the Great Contradictions, thereby explaining why there is so little diligence in Germany, pride in France, or democracy in Greece.
That's awesome Victor. I wish I had written that. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
I read an article in the paper a few years ago about an American kid who spent a summer in Venice and started hanging out at a gondola builder's shop. At first, he got the "go away kid, ya bother me" treatment. He ended up being apprenticed and is now possibly the last of the line (at least of the breed that produces his wares entirely by hand). Ironically, his first 'solo' gondola was bought by an American and shipped back to the homeland.
I think that this is a great topic. I have a bad habit of buying project instruments that I otherwise could not afford.
I work off and on as a luthier, and I feel that most of the repairs needed are well within the scope of most people. Bowlbacks that have separated ribs or need necksets are the most common found types. Ribs can generally be clamped together with good quality masking tape. It may seem daunting
to most but necks can usually be removed and reset without much fuss. This is how many builders got started. All supplies
are available through the internet, and many tools can be made
from common materials.
Attached are some pictures of a Washburn 115 that I am
working on which had a bad neck angle. If you have any questions please feel free to email me.
Here's a picture of the neck block, and dovetail joint.
Nice images, ejkauf99. #Thanks. #The biggest problem with neck resets on these things is that there is no appreciable heel to shave. #Even a slight adjustment creates a noticeable gap that can require a bit of artistry to obscure aesthetically. #A couple common alternatives to neck resets are: 1) installing a slight, tapered shim under the fingerboard or 2) planing the neck beneath the fingerboard. #I've had the former procedure done on a good number of bowlbacks, but it also requires a bit of artistry to execute without being grossly obvious.
Interesting. I wonder about the different structural variations of the neck joint between some of the better makers, say, American: Washburn, Vega and Martin and of the prominent Italian makers: Calace, Embergher and Vinaccia. Let's also include German makers as well. Are these necks attached in basically the same way?
My other question is to ejkauf99: what method(s) do you use to remove the fretboard and then to loosen the dovetail. Do you steam them both off. I assume that they were originally attached using hide glue. Do you them reglue them the same way?
About 10 years ago I rebuilt my first bowl back. When I got it, it was falling apart, so the glue joints came apart easy. The end result was pretty good, and I learned ALOT along the way.Since then I have "tinkered" with several other low price instruments. I think experiments, experience and some choice four letter words are the best teachers. #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif
I have removed necks from Washburn, Martin, and Vega Guitars, and some of thier mandolins. martin always uses a dovetail joint. Washburn "depending on when it was made" would use a dovetail, and sometimes just a mortise using the entire heel shape as a tenon. Vega used the same practice. My Washburn 115
has a dovetail. My friend restored a higher model Washburn in
which the heel of the neck was just butted to the endblock. I do not like the idea of planing down the neck to correct a bad angle. I would rather if possible make an thicker replacement fretboard, plane IT to the correct angle, freshen up the fret slots, and procede from there. sometimes I will just reglue the fingerboard using pressure to the back of the neck to take out a slight bow.
The fretboards usually come off without much fuss. I use a crack knife available from Stew Mac, and a thin artists spatula, and some form heat only if needed. These old mandos
were assembled using hide glue which is both heat, and water soluble. If the neck has gone bad, there is usually some spot in which to start a gentle prod with a your spatula. I don't like to use too much moisture as the thought of compromising the glue joint where all the ribs are affixed to the endblock scres the hell out of me!
I do not like the idea of planing down the neck to correct a #bad angle.
I agree wholeheartedly. Removing original material is always a risky business. That's why I tend to favor shimming original fingerboards on bowlbacks (or having real luthiers do so) even over neck resets.
I know olde Tom Crandall has a style 115/215 Washburn with the neck off. I don't recall if it was a mortise-and-tenon type of set up or dovetail. What is interesting about it is that it has a metal reinforcement rod set into the neck perpendicular to and underneath the plane of the fingerboard. I don't recall specifics of its model number and label, but I believe it is probably a post-1910 style 215.
I got a copy of the Lundberg book via inter-library loan. For anyone who has ever wondered about the basic construction of the mandolin, it is definitely worth looking at. It's fairly obvious that many of the construction techniques for building lutes would apply to the Neapolitan bowlback. My suspicion is that combining this book with some of the wisdom of Dan Erlewine could provide an intellectual (i.e. not practical) foundation for working on bowlbacks.
By the way, I have gone to several antique shops in my area, including one emporium that must have been the size of a football field (240 dealers!). Not a single 'wall hanger' to be had for my experiment. Perhaps Texas isn't the right place for such things. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif
During my research on Washburn bowl back mandolins for a project I'm working on, I've collected over 80 instruments. Many were basket cases that needed some very extensive restoration. I have yet to find a neck attachment method on any Washburn other than a dovetail. If anyone out there has come across some other form of neck to body joint, I would love to hear what model it was.Also I think wedging a finger board to improve action has a lot less problems than trying to reset the neck.
While I agree with the basic premise of shimming, it is easier said than done with some (many?) older Neapolitans and their super-thin fingerboards. With the fingerboards themselves being wafer-thin, and the (often) brass bar frets set in deeply —almost touching the neck itself!— lifting the fingerboard is tantamount to shattering it into many, many little pieces, right where the indentations of the frets cut into it. (Not just a private paranoia; I am in fact paraphrasing our dear Tom C.)
Then the shim, then the substantial reconstruction, mosaic-like, of the original fingerboard atop the shim... Not so simple, especially as the "bits of mosaic" must be perfectly aligned. Alternatives? A brand-new fingerboard in the image and likeness of the original one. Is that really better? A "six of one, half a dozen of the other" kind of choice...
Ebay is rife with wallhangers. Of course, some go for more than they should. Good luck.
my new mandolin seems like the action may be a little high. other the other hand, my bridge is already slightly covering the pickguard, treble side of course. the pickguard is kinda long compared to the neapolitan kind. so point is, I am thinking, if I lower the string height, then I would need to move the bridge up even further. vic says the top will sink slightly in a year or so, and that would naturally lower the action. (greek mandolin supposed to sink) so quesion, I quess for vic, is do I wait for the action to go down, or take the bridge down some? BTW, I dont know how to do that, I would probably (unfortunately) pay a shop to do it.
You may wish to have a "summer bridge" vs. a "winter bridge"... As I am told by the oldtimers of my profession, before bridge-height adjustors, all bass-players had at least two bridges, for seasonal adjustment. Then again, in Florida (where you live, Jeff), this may not be such a big issue.
I wouldn't expect the top to "sink" sufficiently to alter action significantly. Besides, the sinkage or rather "settling" of the top would happen behind the bridge, i.e. towards the tailpiece. Curious, that Dino set this up so high, as you say...
Of course, bridge height for adjustment of action has to be treated in correlation with the location of the bridge, as that will obviously affect intonation— but you know all that.
So, how high IS high, Jeff? (millimeters between strings and crown of the frets at the 12th) If seasonal adjustment is irrelevant to you, well, go ahead and have a decent luthier shave this one bridge down. If done well, you should have good results.
Again, with the bracing supporting it, the bridge will not "sink" any. Speaking only from personal experience and no technical expertise at all, I have had no Greek mandos, however old, whose tops "sank" in the nasty, crass sense of the word, i.e. so that the action would be materially lowered.
oops. I could have worded that better. as usual.
the bass strings, according to my old ruler, sit around (-) 2 milimeters, from the 12 fret. this fret is also very short. the 11th fret actually IS 2 milimeters. the treble side is between 1 1/2 and 2milimeters.
I guess it doesnt sound so bad? the intonation is ok, so I dont know if I should worry about it, but it looks high, I suppose it feels OK, not particualary great though. when it came "out of the box" dino had placed the bridge much further back, not intonated at all, not even an apparant attempt. I am sure the whole lefty thing makes that tedious for him. the action is lower when the bridge is placed back there. but of course, the instrument is unplayable that way. with good intonation, I move the bridge up, the strings go up with it....
http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif #My young friend, I must scold you...
If, with good intonation, the action on the lower strings at the 12th fret is +/- 2 millimeters, and on the higher ones between 1.5 and 2, well, you ought to be happy!
Please bear in mind a common, optical illusion: As "Greek-style" mandos have a virtually flat top, (i.e. unlike Neapolitans) the strings would place too little tension on the top, were the bridge and fingerboard as low as on the average Neapolitan; the strings would almost run parallel to the top from the tailpiece to a (hypothetical) thin, virtually-flat-against-the-top Neapolitan fingerboard.
The Neapolitan masters put tension on the top, as is well known to all, by canting the top, angling the strings, etc.
The physical solution Greek luthiers have found is to use often startlingly high (i.e. thick) fingerboards —sometimes as high as 8-9 millimeters!— thereby angling the strings more acutely over the bridge, which, of course, is also much, much higher than you will ever find on a Neapolitan.
My point is that, from the visual impression alone, you would be inclined to cringe in horror, thinking that the action MUST simply be terribly, terribly high. If you have experienced this, well, I'm sure you will get used to this oddity with time. But, my friend, your own measurements of string-height speak of comfort...
Enjoy your new baby! #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif
yes, it looks high, but doesnt feel bad. like my cheapo musikalia string height by eye looks the same, but plays and pitches like it has high action. soon I'll see what a real neapolitan mando is set up like. so, I guess like you say, it must be some optical illusion. thanks, I feel better now too.
I hope my ruler isnt lying to me. all of my tools are plotting against me, you know.
How warped can a neck be before it is beyond (reasonable) repair? I am not talking about R. Calace's personal concert mandolin, or some such thing. If a mandolin is not suffering from other forms of distortion (e.g. soundboard warpage), but simply has a neck that has gradually bent forward from pressure, is there a point of no return? From looking at photos and descriptions, combined with answers to queries on Ebay, I suspect that there are a fair number of such instruments. Using a benchmark of 1.8 mm. action at the 12th fret, how much higher is too high?
I don't think you can just look at a single measurement. You need to know a couple of things: Is the neck straight as measured with a straightedge? Has the top begun to cave-in? Is the bridge structure still intact and straight.
A straight neck can otherwise need a re-set and impact the action, but a straight neck needing a reset, combined with a top that has started to cave in might measure "ok" leading one to think happy thoughts.
I've had bowlbacks apart where the wood on both the block side and the neck had just plain deteriorated. You end up doing strange things like making thin plates of rosewood to attempt a repair that is structurally sound but still somewhat aesthetically acceptable (while trying to get in and get out without losing you shirt).
Actually, I have a specific instrument in mind. The top shows no signs of warpage, and when I lay a straight edge between the 1st and last fret, it is almost perfectly straight (no more than 1 mm. dip mid-way, probably less). Yet with the g string in place (mmm. . . sexy), I'm measuring 4.5 mm. action at the 12th fret. The bridge is about 8 mm. tall at the g string, and the fret board is 1/8" thick. The neck seems very securely attached. I cannot tell where the height is coming from.
Off-hand and with no visual evidence to support my suspicion, I would answer: the bridge. It sounds awfully high in proportion. Is it original? Can you post an image? Hmm...
Just got to reading this thread, and I was going to offer...if anyone has a wall hanger that they would like me to give a stab at fixing up I'd do it for free (the first one of course) just so I can see how they are made and such. While I can't guarantee anything I bet that I could do some good. Cracks are not a problem (unless they are really bad) Action is easy to adjust, neck sets on the other hand could be tricky but I'd like to learn. So if you have a Mando that needs some real work and it is not doing you any good now. I'll take the first one that someone offers up. You pay the shipping and send a few sets of strings with it, and I'll give it a go, and take pics and document the process for you all here..... who is up for a little fun?
wow that was quick..we have a winner...Ok jim..lets talk now...
Here are some pictures of the bridge and neck. #The instrument is a Puglisi. #The current bridge is compensated and appears to be made of ebony and ivory. #The fingerboard also utilizes a zero fret. #I have no idea if any of this is original.
Here's one with a straightedge. The dip is about 1 mm. at the the eighth fret.
Well, it does look like the ivory saddle is a tad high, in proportion, that is, to the ebony bridge itself. I would doubt that this is original. Café contributor Plamen Ivanov (username: plami) has a nice Puglisi; he might be able to shed some light on this matter.
I'd go with a visit to a good, mando-savvy luthier, as the top certainly does not appear to have caved in and the neck (as you report, Dean) is straight. I would bet on the need for a better, lower-action setup. 4.5 mm. at the 12th fret sounds AWFULLY high, all other parameters considered.
I'd go with a visit to a good, mando-savvy luthier. . .I would bet on the need for a better, lower-action setup. 4.5 mm. at the 12th fret sounds AWFULLY high, all other parameters considered.
Ah, yes. #But for the purpose of this thread, that begs the question. #What is the strategy for a better, lower-action setup? #As far as I can tell, the only major modification possible here is the bridge. #But how low to the soundboard can a bridge go? #My Fairbanks bridge also has the g string #set at 8 mm., and the action at the 12th fret is 1.8 mm. #If I were to obtain a bridge that got the action reasonably low, the strings would be awfully close to the soundboard. #Or is that not a problem?
[QUOTE]"#If I were to obtain a bridge that got the action reasonably low, the strings would be awfully close to the soundboard. #Or is that not a problem?"
You have hit the nail on the head: The strings on the average Neapolitan are very, very, veeeeeeery close to the soundboard, compared at least to most other instruments. And no, that is not a problem. In fact, in looking at these images, I was aghast at how high the strings were, how enormous the clearance between them and the soundboard seemed... Yes, they ought to be much, much lower.
But, to backtrack: Congratulations on this lovely instrument. It looks —and should sound— wonderful. I particularly like the grain on the rosewood bowl. Add to that the apparently excellent condition it's in and... you are one lucky man!
Well, that is encouraging news. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
This is only the second bowlback I have ever held in my hands. The first is the only playable one of the pair, and as I said, its action is great with the bridge at that height. Were the American instruments generally built that way?
I am not quite sure of the parameters you are comparing but, obviously, the bridge-height is directly proportional to the thickness of the fingerboard: Many Neapolitans have super-thin fingerboards; ergo, their super-low bridges. This bridge (i.e. the one on your Puglisi) seems to have little correlation with the respective fingerboard of the instrument.
Seems pretty obvious that the neck has pulled forward (from looking at the ski jump like fretboard extension), so you may be limited on how much you can lower the action without getting buzzing in the middle to upper register, that said the action is wicked high right now and while I've never worked on a Neapolitan mando before I would guess you could bring the saddle down quite a bit...that is what I would do on a guitar at least..seems you have plenty of saddle. You could also have a neck set done and that would take care of a lot of the problem too.
True. For a more extensive repair (like the one I have had on my 1897 de Meglio, 1A), you can have the upper* frets removed, the upper end of the fingerboard shaved down and angled appropriately, then refretted correctly— all this, naturally, in correlation to the desired action and corresponding bridge-height. It worked in my case, where the issue was a slightly warped neck, needing to be aligned with the original bridge.
* By "upper" I mean, of course, of higher pitch, i.e. closer to the soundhole.
I just pulled one of the images into a "paint" program. If you look closely, the strings do seem parallel to that portion of the fretboard over the body - which would suggest that the neck could use a reset.
However, it also looks like th bridge saddle is WAAAY too high.
I don't do this work myself, so take my opinion for what it's worth, but I tend to shy away from neck resets on Neapolitan-type mandolins. To excerpt a previous post I had made to this thread:
The biggest problem with neck resets on these things is that there is no appreciable heel to shave. Even a slight adjustment creates a noticeable gap that can require a bit of artistry to obscure aesthetically. A couple common alternatives to neck resets are: 1) installing a slight, tapered shim under the fingerboard or 2) planing the neck beneath the fingerboard [I would not ordinarily recommend this second procedure]. I've had the former procedure done on a good number of bowlbacks, but it also requires a bit of artistry to execute without being grossly obvious.
That said, yes, your bridge also looks abnormally high. I wouldn't think there should be but a slip of ivory exposed above that height of wood.
I've searched the net for a bowlback bridge. Although my Martin is very plain. It has an ebony bridge and I'm wondering if I replaced it with a bridge seen on higher end models that it would add to the tone. Anyone out there have one have spares I could buy. Does the ivory add to the tone. Or rather which store would have bowlback parts?
It is not easy finding these parts. I have attempted to even buy "basket-case" instruments for the parts. As you can see I have an ad looking for these things.
There may possibly be a higher-end bridge out there somewhere however you may wait forever. Also it may not fit your instrument correctly. Have a good person make a repro of the one you have (or the one you would like) fitted correctly to your mandolin. Or, if you are handy, you could get some bone guitar saddles and make one yourself.
One good things about most mandolins is that the bridges can be interchanged. leave the original, if you make a mistake on the new one, so what.
Before resetting necks etc, I would first place a decent bridge that gives a string height at the 12th fret of about 2mm.
Then see if there is enough room for the point of the plectrum beneath the strings and just above the scratch plate, while playing.
Listen carefully if there are any rattles and buzzes and if so locate them and go first for Victor´s solution of taking out the upper frets,etc.
Then check with single stringing if there still are any unwanted noises. If there are, perhaps a complete wood shaving and refretting of the fingerboard should be considered.
Or - if there is almost no fingerboard wood left to take off at that point, take out all the frets, straighten the wood of the old fingerboard and glue a new fingerboard on top of it. With rosewood this procedure is quite possible.
Or even more drastic, take away the complete old fingerboard and place a new somewhat higher one at the neck. Without(!) shaving the neck straight. That could make the neck to thin at vulnerable places like for instance there where the neck joins the headstock.
So the bottom side of the fingerboard has to fit exactly on the neck (also when it is bent a bit). Doing that makes it possible to correct the neck-bending with straightening the fingerboard (fret) surface before fretting it. If you (or your luthier) can do this well (it is a very precise job to do), it is (almost) possible to make it look like the original fingerboard.
Of course this only works when the neck is bent in a natural way and not if the heel-block inside the belly is broken.
However, I don´t think this kind of neck removal will be necessary on your Puglisi mandolin. Studying the photos it looks to me that the mandolin needs only a much lower and more original looking bridge.
[QUOTE]"...straighten the wood of the old fingerboard and glue a new fingerboard on top of it..."
In fact, that is exactly what I had done on my double bass: When I acquired it (in 1983), the neck was not warped inwards, as would be most common, but twisted, as the tension is obviously greater on the side of the lowest, thickest strings— it is, after all, a product of the 1840's.
Instead of trying to solve the problem by shaving down the already too thin fingerboard (shaved innumerable times over those 140-odd years in order to erase grooves caused by wear), I had the luthier plane it down to a flat surface but UNevenly, i.e. compensating for the "twist" of the neck, so that the sum-total of neck PLUS old fingerboard added up to a perfectly straight neck (alone). On top of that, a new fingerboard was placed and, of course, filed to the proper curvature, etc.
This may be the better of two solutions, the other one being lifting the old fingerboard, then resetting it above a compensatory shim; the latter may not work so well with a wafer-thin (and consequently fragile) original fingerboard.
So, Dean... how are you coming along with this instrument? We are curious to know.
I was wondering about intonation and how the bridges in old instruments would have the G further back than the e. When the instrument was new, was the intonation true at that time and due to slight warping.. neck, top , etc.. that the intonation off now...
[QUOTE]"...the bridges in old instruments would have the G further back than the e..."
Well, in fact, they didn't. You can effect that sort of "compensation" by slanting the bridge but, otherwise, most vintage bridges I know have straight, i.e. uncompensated saddles. Exceptions, of course, do exist...
Intonation on the higher positions of the G-course are a persistent problem that I have never seen/heard resolved in satisfactory fashion. Even my brand-new Calace (as per the relevant thread) went seriously sharp, past the 7th fret; I have solved the problem partly by lighter (Lenzner)) strings, as opposed to the VERY heavy carbonsteels the instrument came with; I may proceed to eradicate that pesky, little estonazione by having a luthier lower the G-to-E angle of the bridge.
What exactly is your instrument's intonation problem?
I think you answered the question that its always a problem. Its that I see the foot print of the bridge and I had to move the bridge so that its in at an angle as seen in most older instruments. I guess this isn't something unique to my instrument but rather a common occurance. Seen any designs that deals with this issue for the bowl backs?
Well, there are in fact bridges with indentations that add a wee bit extra string-length to the G- and A-courses; that does help some. Still, I would not replace an original bridge for the sake of an indented one. Slant away...
Hello to all
who are interested in restoring/repairing nice old bowlbacks. Here a once fine mandolin - now a cracked beatle - by a great maker has come up for sale at the USA eBay Webpage (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=10179&item=3723978898&rd=1).
Best and good luck,
At that point, Alex, I would just build the whole thing myself. Hardly worth it,
BTW is that Galiano related to the American Galiano?
Well Jim, for the record the label is identical to my American, A. Galliano Mandolin, even down to the (slightly Masonic looking?) Logo.
Yes, I think Tony is right, the mandolin (see also the fingerboard ((or better: what´s left over of it)) and the tail piece) most likely comes from the American branch of the family.