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Thread: Strange setup change on mando in case

  1. #1
    Registered User will1's Avatar
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    Default Strange setup change on mando in case

    Hi Everybody- I have an Arrow style G that I recently bought from Buffalo Brothers. It's been playing fine . Nice action. I just took it out of its case for the first time in several days and found that the action has shifted somehow making the E strings lie almost right on the frets.

    I tried adjusting the bridge a little - it was all the way down I raised it about 1/2 a turn. And that made it worse. The action on the E strings are now completely on the frets. The bridge is raised a little on the G side.

    Thoughts, suggestions and diagnosis will be warmly welcomed. I really like this mando!

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    First... loosen your strings immediately. If there is a more than subtle shift in action something might be wrong. The worst could be the neck joint is loosening. I would bring it back to Buffalo Brothers and have their luthier take a look. This makes me a little nervous.
    Jim

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    Will - you need to get to the bottom of this - one (harmless) thing that can happen is for the bridge adjusters to slip on the thread, so they go from where they should be to way to low in one fowl swoop. If the bridge adjusters are a bit one-sided (raised one side and down on the other) then that could be the issue.

    However, the reason for Jim's concern, is that all kinds of really nasty structural breakages can cause this as well - a broken brace would be the most likely if it's one-sided sagging of the top. It's pretty unlikely (or at least unusual) on a new instrument though so don't panic just yet...

    ....so: take a look at the top - is there any obvious sagging and/or depression on one side - if so it's definitely time to slacken those strings off and take it back to the shop. You could also take a peak inside with an inspection/dentists mirror if you have one and check everything is still sound. Then look at those bridge adjusters - if it's adjusted down on one side and up on the other, then I'd put my money on the adjuster having slipped on the thread. Very likely if that's the cause, you'll need a lot more than a half turn to get it back up to where it should be.

    HTH, John.

  4. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    John speaks well (as always). Of course, all he mentions are possible. I would think the bridge screws tho would be the least likely to me. The top sinkage due to brace loosening, of course. but all those warrant loosening string tension IMHO. Get thee to a lutherie!!
    Jim

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  5. #5
    Registered User will1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    Thanks for the information!

  6. #6
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    If the neck joint was coming loose,wouldn't the string tension pull the neck upwards 'increasing' the string height,or am i missing something here ?. I tend to go along with Tavy's idea of one side of the bridge post dropping.It doesn't need to drop by very much to get the strings touching the frets,
    Ivan
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    The bridge saddle could be cracked.
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

  8. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    Ivan, you are right -- that action would come up if the neck joint were loose. In any case, I would check the bridge but most adjustable bridges I have seen have had screw posts and those are pretty hard to turn -- I doubt they would turn by themselves, unless the owner turned one down by mistake(?). Top sinkage could bring the action down. I still think he should take it to someone to look at it. We could talk from now until doomsday about what it could be. This is not normal behavior for a relatively recently-made instrument. If nothing else the luthier can do some set up work which is sounds like it needs anyway.
    Jim

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  9. #9
    Registered User Rob Beck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    These symptoms describe exactly what happened to 30 year old mandolin of mine when the tone bar on the treble side came loose. On the plus side, although you should of course loosen the strings, the damage to mine went unnoticed for several weeks, but once it was repaired it was as good as new!

  10. #10
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    Huge difference in humidity between Buffalo Bros. and your house?

  11. #11
    Registered User will1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    I seem to have solved the problem by changing the neck relief a little and raising the bridge a half turn. Thanks for your ideas, everybody. I know where to come when lsomething else goes wierd.

  12. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    Did you adjust the truss rod -- is that what you mean by changing the neck relief? I would still keep a good eye on this -- check it from time to time unless you actually play it every day.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavy View Post
    a broken brace would be the most likely if it's one-sided sagging of the top.
    It could also be that the glue on one of the braces has failed. This could be caused by glue that has gone bad, or possibly a rushed job on the gluing - or if the instrument has taken a sharp knock (although Will makes no mention of this).

  14. #14
    Registered User will1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange setup change on mando in case

    Right, Jim. Truss rod adjustment to change the neck relief. I will indeed keep a weather eye on it. Thanks, All.

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