View Full Version : Mando Bridges
Hohner Mando Abe
Hi Folks: Does anyone know where I can get an adjustable bridge for a flat top Octave Mandolin? The setup is too low & shimming is a pain, and probably does not help the sound transfer to the mando top either. (Elderly & Stewmac don't list them)
Also, the original strings were a combination of brass wound and plain steel stings in pairs on the G & D strings. The replacement set I was able to get are all brass wound, GHS PF 285. Will these work as well?
Also; where do I find good chord charts, since some of the Mando chords will not work because of the reach involved.
I appeciate any help, as this is a new venture for me. Abe F
I've purchased a few non adjustables on ebay, usually from Vietnam, They are tall and can be cut to the right height.
I would think that it would depend on the neck angle, but I imagine that you could use a standard adjustable mandolin bridge with a saddle that is flat. You may need to cut it down and you would also need to have ti fit correction to the arch opf the top. Even tho yours is a flattop, it should have some induced arch.
Frankly, you may be better off taking it to a good luthier who can set it up just the way you want. It should no t cost too much and it may be worth your while.
Contact Steve at Cumberland Acoustics. They make adjustable bridges for archtop mandolins so a flattop shouldn't be much of a challenge for them. Their contact information is readily available here on the Cafe.
Normally, adjustable bridges are for arch top mandos (like the F-series) to compensate for the height of the fingerboard, which floats above the top. Flattop (typically A-style) fingerboards are usually attached to the mando top. I believe an adjustable bridge will be too tall for your flattop. I would echo Jim's post above, who says to take your mando to a luthier, they can custom fit a bridge just for your instrument.
GHS mando strings should do you just fine. I used to favor the phosphor bronze before I discovered Elixirs.
As to chord charts, anywhere they sell mandos should have laminated 8 1/2 x 11" cards with most of the chords on them. Otherwise, a music store should have mando chord charts. Alternately, there is a free Mandolin Tools app that you can download (I don't have the URL) to your Windows machine (won't work with Mac). There are also smartphone apps that you can download, but since I don't have a smartphone . . . .
Chords for an octo mando though, better stick with either picking it or using 2 finger chords.
Cumberland Accoustics makes adjustable bridges for their Redline Travelers (flat top mando). I'm sure they could get you set up.
Hohner Mando Abe
Hi & thanks for your replys to my questions. Because the string spacing for the Octive is different than normal mando bridge, I'll probably have to resort to shimming. I'm experimenting with several thicknesses and Materials to get the best results.
I don't have access to a qualified Luthier near here, so I'll just follow set up tips for guitar as far as string to fretboard clearances are concerned I've had good success with my other 3 mandolins using online setup instructions.
I'll try the Ghs strings and see how
I found a useful trick for shimming a non-adjustable bridge. I used it on a couple of bowlbacks to raise the actions a small amount. Home Depot carries iron-on real wood veneer edgebanding (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100541135/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=edgebanding&storeId=10051). I took off my bridge and ironed on two thicknesses of the veneer -- you can trim it with a scissors. It conforms very nicely to the curvature of the base of the bridge. If that is still too low you can put another layer on there. I can't imagine that your action has to come up a big amount but that should do and you don't need much more than an iron to apply it. I use a black Sharpy pen to match the ebony.
I did a quick search and the company that makes this actually has a wider range of woods (http://www.band-itproducts.com/index.php?do=commerce:commercial_products:wood:edg ing). I think I bought a roll of the walnut which seemed the darkest of them.
Gibson Used to make an adjustable bridge to be built into their flat top guitars .
A luthier could use that sort of mechanism design to make a similar piece
to put into a flat top OM. particularly if the bridge has to be Low.
I used to have a loooong scale zouk tuned like an octave and I found this chart from Folk of the Woods to be quite helpful.
Sometimes you just can't reach that far, ha,ha,ha