View Full Version : Bridge glued down?

May-11-2016, 10:28am
I received my new Oscar Schmidt mandriola yesterday. (Not new, new to me, ... meaning impulse eBay purchase)

The strings looked old so I restrung it, and even managed to make the third strings an octave lower. (!! I had several packs and single strings here)

However, the bridge is glued down. I've yet to see a mandolin with a fixed bridge. I can't tweak it to tune it 100%. Odd. I'm assuming it was a post purchase alteration, or did they come that way? My other bowlback's bridge is free.

Also, the bridge appears to have a glass rim, I mean two glass inserts on the peak, where the courses of strings lay. The bulk appears to be ebony.

It sounds beautiful, not quite the sweet sound of my L&H bowl, but awesome because of the harmonies in chords.

Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

May-11-2016, 11:30am
Without a picture I have to Guess ... Oscar Schmidt is A Brand , not a Makers name any More.

My Godin A8 had it's Bridge Glued down.. FWIW.

May-11-2016, 1:48pm
If the mandolin arrived under string tension, it's possible that the bridge may just be stuck to the finish, rather than actually glued. You might give it a gentle tap or two to see if it's freed up.

A "new Oscar Schmidt" is a Chinese-made instrument, and while the quality control on most Asian-made "name brands" is acceptable, there's always the exception. I'm not aware of any mandolin maker that routinely glues bridges to the tops of mandolins, but it's possible, I guess. So if the bridge is actually glued in place, that would be -- in my opinion -- an issue warranting a return to the dealer. A fixed bridge, besides being "un-traditional," eliminates the ability to adjust intonation; it also makes replacement by a different or better bridge, very difficult.

May-11-2016, 2:13pm
I had a teens F4 come in with the bridge glued on with what looked like a glue gun with the trigger stuck. Glue all over, took me quite a while to gently scrape it all off the top and bridge, but it can be done.

May-11-2016, 9:27pm
I guess I didn't specify, it's a vintage instrument, not new. It's 1900 or so.
I gave the bridge a sturdy wiggle: that sucker is glued down fo sho.

Problem is, the bridge position seems to need a little tweaking... and I can't.

May-11-2016, 9:37pm
Try heating the bridge a bit to see if the glue will loosen. A hair dryer might not be concentrated enough. The rest of the instrument was probably built with hide glue. That will loosen if it gets hot. Try warming up the bridge and then simply rap on it with the back of a screwdriver or something. Hopefully they used a glue that will easily come undone.

May-11-2016, 11:37pm
I use my bench light with a 100 watt bulb in it. Bring it close to what you want to heat. Be sure to place a light cardboard covered in tinfoil up to the bridge on both sides and at the ends. Take the saddle off the bridge so you are heating just the bridge itself and not the saddle. It will soften the glue so it can be removed and when it does that is a good time to try and remove residue while it is hot. Go slow and careful and if you have steady hands it will come off quite nice.

Sorry just read vintage 1900 or so it won't have a saddle, carry on.

Jim Garber
May-12-2016, 2:12pm
This is one of the 12-string bowlbacks with the "OS" monogram. I would guess that some numbskull did glue the bridge on. If the above methods do not work, get thee to a luthier and see if he/she can remove the adhesion. Luckily there are lots of these odd birds around and they are not worth much so even if it is not pretty it may be made playable. Personally I would string the lower courses in octaves or even just recut the nut and bridge and make it an 8 string. 12 strings are too many IMHO.

May-13-2016, 10:36am
I assume this is the instrument whose stringing you were discussing in this current thread? (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?123865-Stringing-a-Tricordia)

Un-gluing the bridge shouldn't be too difficult for an experienced instrument repair shop.

May-14-2016, 11:55pm
Thanks for your suggestions. I wanted to try a different string configuration so I loosened them, and noticed that the bridge wasn't touching on the end. I slid a regular envelope under it (just happened to be handy) to see how far it was unconnected and with just gentle sawing I could hear it loosening. It came off, but I'm not sure it was glued, but that perhaps someone had spilt something sticky on it.

So I cleaned the instrument again, using 000 steel wool to remove the whatever from the bottom of the bridge,, and again gently across where it had been stuck. Tiny flecks of finish came off when the bridge did, which I filled with furniture repair wax, and it's not very noticeable. Since I could still feel stickiness on the face, I unscrewed the tailpiece, but it really does appear to have been glued down! I'm not positive it's not just a sticky spill, but it's down all over, I couldn't get an envelope or .09 string under it... I couldn't budge it at all.

Some people shouldn't own mandolins....

May-16-2016, 10:57am
When you change strings in the future, now that your bridge is free, I would recommend changing them one at a time. When I take all the strings off it takes a week or more to sound the same, one at a time keeps the tension on the top and the bridge in position too.

May-17-2016, 12:43am
I tried a few configurations to get the lower octave strings, but now it's gggdddaaaeee, and it holds a note forever; it has beautiful resonance.