View Full Version : Do Allen (or any cast)bridges provide better tone?

Mar-25-2004, 9:57pm
Thinking about upgrading if a cast bridge will provide better tone--more volume, more woody sound. Any opinions?

Mar-25-2004, 10:06pm
This is subject to the sound you are looking for. Each mandolin is as special as we are and some sound better with a cast tail piece and some sound better with a stamped one. The sound can change with a change of tuners, bridge, nut, strings and tailpiece. What sounds best to me, may not appeal to you. Thats why many player search for their sound.

Experiment, easy to replace the stamped piece.
Also a professional set up usually brings out more.

Mar-25-2004, 10:13pm
My bad--I should have said tailpiece--not bridge.

Gail Hester
Mar-26-2004, 4:59am
Deepbrew, I recently installed an Allen TR style cast tailpiece on my first mandolin and it sounds fantastic, loud and clear with lots of sustain, way above what I expected from my first. I’m not sure how much of that to contribute to the cast tailpiece but it’s obviously allowing the mandolin to “be all it can be” and I wouldn’t want to change anything.

Skip Kelley
Mar-26-2004, 7:20am
You just have to experiment and see if it will improve the mandolin. It may not work for every mandolin. I personally like them over stamped tailpieces because they have more mass and do not have the metallic overtones associated with a stamped tailpiece.

Coy Wylie
Mar-26-2004, 9:35am
I think the cast tailpieces like the Allen and Weber really help sustain more than anything.

Mar-26-2004, 9:59am
Funny you should mention it, I just had an Allen tailpiece put on my Flatbush A4 Wed evening. Victor Smith, who built the mandolin, put the tailpiece on, and changed the angle a little (carefully!). We changed the strings at the same time and it sounds great now, but then it did before too. I played it quite a bit night, but haven't since. I can't really detect a noticable change in the tone or sustain, which was also good before. I believe I got more of a tone change for the better out of changing to a Steve Smith bridge previously. There is a jam tomorrow, I'll try to listen more closely.

I am looking forward to not having to deal with a tailpiece cover any more, which is the main reason I had it put on. I also really like the way it looks on the non-scroll instrument, the shape is very appropriate IMHO.



Mike Bullard
Mar-26-2004, 1:44pm
The Allen Tailpiece made an appreciative audible difference on my 92 Flatiron F-5 Artist. Had to modify the holes just a little but nothing severe. It has been on for about five or six years. I quit counting time when I passed 40.... But the tone is excellant and the bark has bite # http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jim Hilburn
Mar-26-2004, 4:24pm
Have you seen one of these? A bit much for my taste, but this is what my next customer wants, and the customer is always right.
I must say, its very heavy and very nicely made.

Dru Lee Parsec
Mar-26-2004, 7:17pm
Holy Sh*T! Who makes that?

Yeah, it's pretty ornate, but man! You got to appreciate the workmanship.

Loren Bailey
Mar-26-2004, 7:41pm
Ken Cartwright put an Allen TR-2 on my Breedlove Quartz OF. Immediate results. More volume and a "deeper" tone (more bass). More than worth the $75. At the very least you'll never have to worry about a TP cover to rattle or lose and string changes are much simpler.


Ken Berner
Mar-28-2004, 5:41pm
For what it is worth; I installed an Allen cast bronze tailpiece on a KM250S and it made a slight difference in tone, but the more significant change was when I installed an Brekke original bridge. The combination of the two turned a rather tinny-sounding cannon into one with a fair amount of tonal character.

For MikeB42: The changes to my '92 Flatiron F5 Artist were the original Brekke bridge and a Weber universal tailpiece. These changes almost make this mandolin as great as my '99 Weber Beartooth. I have made no changes to my '93 Flatiron A5 Artist; I'm almost scared to change the strings, it sounds so good!

Mar-29-2004, 6:28am
Quick update to my previous post on this topic. At the jam on Saturday, the mandolin sounded just fine, if anything I thought it was a bit louder on chords (chops) than before, but if I had done a blind test, I'm not sure I would have noticed the difference. I think there is a slightly greater angle at the bridge than before, which might give a bit more volume. Didn't hurt the volume or the tone, that's for sure.


Mar-29-2004, 11:09am
Are most tailipieces easily changed out??? #My (Gibson Era) Flatiron F-5 Special and "standard" tailpiece with the Script logo "The Flatiron" engraved cover has 3 small screws (*) holding it in the bottom side. (like a triangle).

I # # # # # # # # # # I
# I # #* # # * # # I
# #I # # # # # # # #I
# # I # # # # # # #I
# # # I # # * # #I
# # # # I # # # I
# # # # # # I
# # # #
Are these all pretty simple to swap in and out??

Daniel Nestlerode
Mar-29-2004, 12:04pm
It has been my experience that a cast tailpiece will affect the tone of cheaper mandolins drasticlly, and that the improvement in tone will decrease in inverse proportion to the quality of the mandolin on which you're swapping tailpieces.

My cheap-o Epi MM-30 benefitted greatly from a Monteleone style Allen t.p., my Kentucky KM-630 less so (from an Allen "flowerpot" t.p.).

I belive this has to do as much with the quality of the components on a mando as well as the construction of the mando itself. Thus, if you have (say) a nice Krishot with a low-grade stamped t.p. and you replace it with an Allen, you'll notice a marked improvement. But if you replace the good-quality stamped t.p. on the same mandolin you'll notice less of an improvement in the tone.

Tailpieces anchor the strings to the body. Low quality t.p.'s are genarlly made of softer metal and will absorb some of the energy of the strings as they are struck. This means less energy (especially in the lower frequencies) will be transmitted through the bridge to the top. Higher quality t.p.'s are more rigid so they allow more of a struck string's energy to be transmitted to the top through the bridge.

Just my $0.02. :-)

Daniel Nestlerode
Mar-29-2004, 12:15pm
Are most tailipieces easily changed out??? #Are these all pretty simple to swap in and out??
For ease of t.p. swapping, stay away from the Monteleone style cast tailpieces. Otherwise, pretty much all of them will have the same distance between the three screw holes as the original Gibson-style t.p.'s

Randy Allen discusses his replacement t.p.'s here, so this may answer your question better than I could.


Mar-29-2004, 5:09pm
When I put my allen on I dont think it made a lot of difference as far as sound goes. And swaping it was easy all the holes lined up perfect.

Mar-30-2004, 1:28pm
I had Randy put a TR on my '60 Gibson A5 2-point. It didn't make a big difference in sound but there was a noticeable deepening of tone. It sure looks good, and string changes are a breeze (though now I'm using TI's I haven't had to change strings in a while). And Randy is right up there as a good person to work with.