View Full Version : equipment changes

fred d
Dec-06-2005, 3:28pm
http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif other than changing strings I understand that the next area would be the tall piece WHY and WHAT kind is best
And why does one mando sound a lot better than others with the same types on construction wood and even manufactures
newby want's to know so as I will be able to upgrade later with a little knowlege THANKS A LOT

Dec-06-2005, 6:23pm
Actually your better bet would be to change the bridge to a Tourtellotte Violin Style Mandolin Bridge (http://mandolinbridge.com/bridges.htm). For $20, it would be a good investment.

You don't mention what mandolin you own but a cast tailpiece may or may not make a change in the sound, primarily in volume more than tone. It depends on the quality of your mandolin.

What determines the tone and sound,this is a tall question and can be debatable among luthiers. As I understand it is the way the mandolin is built. There is the bracing, tuning of the carved top, choice and structure of the wood used for the top, sides and bottom, the type of hole (F or oval), and a mess of other variables.

If you plan to buy a low #to mid range mandolin, there is a lot of differences in each one, especially in the pacrim models. It is best to try it before you buy to hear if it has the "sound" you want.

I'm sure that someone more experienced than me can better explain it.

fred d
Dec-06-2005, 7:59pm
http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif thank you for your reply it helps

Dec-06-2005, 9:55pm
With the possiblity of war starting let me say these are just opinions, and just that.

Upgrades to a mandolin, for sound and quality:

Bridge- I like the ebony adjustable bridges. Since pretty much every custom mandolin maker out there are using them I think there they pretty good. You can see that pretty much every major mandolin player out there are using them and with great results too. So if you don't have one on your current mandolin I would say you should try one, it will diffently make a difference. You might not hear it at once, but trust me over time you will.

Tailpeice- Difference in sound, tone, sustain, or anything? I really don't know. If there is, it is not something that most people will hear. I think the tailpeice falls under quality and easy string changing. The James Tailpeice is just about as good as you can get, great quality and just about the best of the best when it comes to string changes. However, there are lots of different ones out there.

Tuners- Some say the heavier the headstock the more sustain, I have no clue. But what I look for in tuners is, do they tune well(precisely), do the hold tune well(or do they slip), do the tuners work smoothly(or is there some struggle). All of these things need to be looked at. Waverlys are definitely good, as should anything costing $400. Here is a recent thread talking about tuners (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=8;t=29728)

Fingerboard- I like an ebony radiused fingerboard. This is one thing many people over look when trying to make cheaper mandolin over all better. I am not a big fan of rosewood flat fingerboards. Plus some times you will find factory made mandos have an uneven or warped fingerboard. I had my first mandolin, a kentucky km675 upgraded with an ebony radiused fingerboard and it made a big difference in feel to me, plus it looked 100% better.

Nut- If you replace the fingerboard, you might as well go ahead and change the nut too. Bone is a good choice, but most of the nut material out there it good, well except for the plastic ones(STAY AWAY from them!).

Well that is about it I think. I hope some of this is helpful. I would say if you did everything above you are looking at about $500-600, unless you got waverly tunes...then it would be more like $800-900.

Honestly, you can take a $600-700 Kentucky or Michael Kelly and make it one of the nicest mandos you'll play. Most of the higher end Kentuckys and Michael Kellys sound really nice, they just need some upgrades, but that's why they don't cost $1000-1500.

fred d
Dec-06-2005, 11:12pm
http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif thanks again for the replay about the bridge I made a new one out of zebra wood about the same hardness as ebony but i made it non adjustable tuned the mando so that the strings had the same resonse at the 12 fret and was amased at the sound difference I also added part of a zip tie between strings at the tail piece and got better tone by the way this is a johnson I thing 110 or something like that
I really appresheate these responses