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Thread: Mandobird viii Setup

  1. #1
    Registered User Jairo Ramos Parra's Avatar
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    Default Mandobird viii Setup

    I managed to balance the sound of almuse pickup in my mandobird viii. But I think that need a profesional setup: the action in the first fret is to high, the notes in the first and second fret are a little sharp and in the 12th fret are flat.

    The luthiers here have experience with electric guitar and basses, but know nothig about mandolins. I want to have clear what to do, in order to explain to the luthier what to do.

    1) Soundfarmer Pete said in a post, that the high action can be solve in the neck:

    "Best way is to remove the neck (same thing applies to Mandocaster clones) and shim the neck so it tilts back a little more. Around 1mm is usually adequate so a thin strip (or maybe two) of wood veneer tucked in to the end of the neck cavity and secured by some thick double sided adhesive carpet tape should do the trick."

    The question is, I dont understand, where make the shim, in point 1 or 2?


    Click image for larger version. 

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    2) The intonation problem in the bridge can be solved moving the bridge forward to the neck, 1 cm? or can be solved with longer screws? (I can't afford a new bridge by the moment).

    3) I think that the nut high can be solved without problem by the luthier, or is enough with the neck shim?

    Again, thanks to you all for your help and advices!!

  2. #2
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    I replaced the plastic OEM nut with a bone blank I carved and filed. Action is great, actually the best of any of my instruments (and I'm not a nut making expert by any means). IMHO it is easier to replace or regroove the nut than to shim the neck.

    It was certainly not necessary to move the whole bridge on mine for intonation - I got mine pretty close by adjusting the slant on the saddle. I permanently fixed the intonation problem on mine with a new Moongazer bridge. You're saying you have to move the whole bridge (or maybe just the saddle) a full cm? That's way off.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    Is the Neck even Removable? are there Screw heads visible From the back?

    I used to Own a Godin A8 , the neck is a separate piece held with screws .

    I slipped the screws out and used a flatwasher around each, between the body and the neck.

    That raised the neck relative to the bridge (it's Glued down), thus lowering the action.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Jairo Ramos Parra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    Thanks mandobart for your answer!

    Yes, I read in this forum in a post about the mandobirds that intonation can be corrected moving the whole bridge a full cm. You say that "It was certainly not necessary to move the whole bridge on mine for intonation - I got mine pretty close by adjusting the slant on the saddle." How to adjust the slant of the saddle? with the back screws or the saddle screws?

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    I don't have my old bridge to show a picture, but if you look here you'll see a close-up of the bridge.

    You can see the heads of the 5 screws that hold the bridge to the body. Don't mess with any of these. You can also see one long, spring-loaded screw on each side of the bridge, with the head on the angle plate the strings pass thru and the threads going through the saddle. By turning these two screws you adjust the angle and/or position of the saddle just like when you physically move or angle the whole bridge when adjusting intonation on an acoustic archtop floating bridge instrument. The action can also be adjusted by turning the Allen head screws that go from the top of the saddle down thru to the bridge plate.

    I always put a couple of layers of low tack painters masking tape (blue stuff) before using metal tools near any finished surface of an instrument.

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  7. #6
    Registered User Jairo Ramos Parra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    o.k. Mandobart, I understand now. I made it, I push the saddle to the limits of the screw, but can't go forward. My mandobird came with black phillips crews. In that position I play along and the intonation is pretty close, but the tuners I have show flats in the first and second frets, and sharps in the 12th fret.

    Mandroid, I suppose the neck is removable, there are four screws head in the back. I don't understand where to shim, the neck has to levels (I don't know the exactly term), you can see them in the photo I posted. My guess is that the shim is in point 2, under the fretboard and the top surface.

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    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    I too changed the plastic nut, because mine snapped while playing. action and intonation are low and bang on. my bridge adjustment screws are pretty much at the end too
    Kala tenor ukulele, Mandobird, Godin A8, Dobro Mandolin, Gold Tone mandola, Gold Tone OM, S'oarsey mandocello, Gold Tone Irish tenor banjo, Gold Tone M bass, Taylor 214 CE Koa, La Patrie Concert CW, Fender Strat powered by Roland, Yamaha TRBX174 bass, Epiphone ES-339 with GK1

  9. #8

    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    You should first set the action by adjusting the nut and the saddle. If the action is still too high then you can shim the neck. If you shim the neck, you will also increase the the distance between the nut and the saddles which will mean you need to move the saddles on the bridge towards the nut. I have used a piece of .010 plastic binding at the back of the neck pocket as a shim.

  10. #9
    Registered User Jairo Ramos Parra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    thanks to you all for your advices!!

    First I going to set the action adjusting the nut, as Thistle3585 advices. The neck shim will be the second option, and to change the bridge in the future!

  11. #10
    Registered User Ausdoerrt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    It's the nut, just file it down, or better yet exchange the original cheapo plastic nut with a proper bone or hardwood one. Adjust the action accordingly.

    There's no need for a shim, really - on mine the neck does have a slight angle (similar to a flat top mando), and I think that should be sufficient. In any case, after exchanging the nut my MBVIII is in tune across the fretboard - hopefully that works for you as well.

    Final point, in my case I just took it to a guitar shop and they did fine with it. I mean, they can just google the proper spacing and the rest is no different from guitar. Plus, it's not a very expensive or fragile instrument, so there's not much to lose


    P.S. As a point of reference, if you have the "How to Set Up a Mandolin" e-book, it describes the various cases of mandolin being out of tune up the fretboard, and the "first fret sharp while rest is in tune" issue points to the nut
    Mandolins: The Loar LM-220; Lyon & Healy Special A #103; Epiphone Mandobird VIII
    Violins: 19th century German Steiner copy; NS Design WAV 4; NS Design WAV 5; Reiter Alien II 7-string
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  12. #11
    Registered User Jairo Ramos Parra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    Thanks for your advice, Ausdoerrt! I contacted a luthier, and he can change the nut with a new bone nut. I have the e-book how to set up a mandolin. I expect what you say, maybe the nut work is enough!

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    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    I have to say.... I just changed strings on the bird after installing a new pickup. I am going to design something to replace those stupid ball ends. what pain in the butt. can't count how many times I dropped them. holding them in the loop and tugging the end of the string to tighten them into the bridge.... that worked better than trying to use needle nose pliers. once I got them seated I tapped them in with the head of the side cutters.

    I think there should be actual string sets out there for these things but if not I will piece together my own sets from guitar singles from now on or I will screw something onto the body as hooks LOL
    Kala tenor ukulele, Mandobird, Godin A8, Dobro Mandolin, Gold Tone mandola, Gold Tone OM, S'oarsey mandocello, Gold Tone Irish tenor banjo, Gold Tone M bass, Taylor 214 CE Koa, La Patrie Concert CW, Fender Strat powered by Roland, Yamaha TRBX174 bass, Epiphone ES-339 with GK1

  14. #13
    Registered User Ausdoerrt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    Mine had tiny rings attached to each string instead of the balls. Kind of like key rings, but much smaller. Works well, easy to attach and remove.

    Ball ends are indeed a huge pain to mess with.
    Mandolins: The Loar LM-220; Lyon & Healy Special A #103; Epiphone Mandobird VIII
    Violins: 19th century German Steiner copy; NS Design WAV 4; NS Design WAV 5; Reiter Alien II 7-string
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    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Wilson View Post
    I have to say.... I just changed strings on the bird after installing a new pickup. I am going to design something to replace those stupid ball ends. what pain in the butt. can't count how many times I dropped them. holding them in the loop and tugging the end of the string to tighten them into the bridge.... that worked better than trying to use needle nose pliers. once I got them seated I tapped them in with the head of the side cutters.

    I think there should be actual string sets out there for these things but if not I will piece together my own sets from guitar singles from now on or I will screw something onto the body as hooks LOL
    You can buy ball end string sets from our own Martin Stillion at emando:
    http://emando.com/shop/strings8.htm

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  17. #15
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Wilson View Post
    I have to say.... I just changed strings on the bird after installing a new pickup. I am going to design something to replace those stupid ball ends. what pain in the butt. can't count how many times I dropped them. holding them in the loop and tugging the end of the string to tighten them into the bridge.... that worked better than trying to use needle nose pliers. once I got them seated I tapped them in with the head of the side cutters.

    I think there should be actual string sets out there for these things but if not I will piece together my own sets from guitar singles from now on or I will screw something onto the body as hooks LOL
    There are actual string sets for e-mandos:

    http://www.juststrings.com/fnd-2250.html

    https://www.amazon.com/Thomastik-Inf...ll+end+strings

    http://www.emando.com/shop/strings8_custom.htm

    Or simply buy individual electric guitar strings in the gages you need. Any music store has them.

  18. #16
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Is the Neck even Removable? are there Screw heads visible From the back?

    I used to Own a Godin A8 , the neck is a separate piece held with screws .

    I slipped the screws out and used a flatwasher around each, between the body and the neck.

    That raised the neck relative to the bridge (it's Glued down), thus lowering the action.

    I and another (Superior player) Both got fender FM61 8 string his neck set was not right, mine was playable.

    Given; they were made by the thousands , Final QC was the luck of the buyer_
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  19. #17
    Registered User Ausdoerrt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    Yes, the Mandobird neck is removable, it's pretty much like a guitar bolt-on neck.
    Mandolins: The Loar LM-220; Lyon & Healy Special A #103; Epiphone Mandobird VIII
    Violins: 19th century German Steiner copy; NS Design WAV 4; NS Design WAV 5; Reiter Alien II 7-string
    Videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/Ausdoerrt

  20. #18
    Registered User zedmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird viii Setup

    When I got my Mandobird set up one thing I wanted was the neck angle adjusted--and the nut was adjusted and a fret job as well.
    The store I bought it from (Used) did all that for free with the purchase.
    Plays great.
    Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

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