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Thread: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

  1. #1

    Default Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    My Gibson mandolin,a Derrington-signed master model has just undergone a Floridaectomy. I'm glad to be rid of that extended part of the fretboard.

    Just under the fretboard extension,on the top is a ridge/hump area that almost exactly is the same shape of the fretboard extension that was removed.

    With the fretboard extension in place I couldn't see this;but,it is like a pronounced ridge/hump right in that area. Never seen anything like it on any other mandolin.

    Will try to post some pics.

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    I had the fretboard extension cut off my Red Diamond also. It was just smooth contour under that extension area.

    I'm thinking there's not much that could be done about it.

    Would appreciate any thought or suggestions.

  2. #2
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Looks like they did some outside sanding before it was finished, or a result of wet sanding the lacquer. Hard to reach up under the extension.

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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    +1 to exactly what fscotte said.

    Looks to me that you had a pretty "radical" Floridectomy: instead of running the fingerboard back to, say, 21, 24 or 26 frets, your guy chopped it all the way back to just 19 frets. And in the process, he or she removed the fretboard extension piece that supported the extended fingerboard from underneath. The problem was, the original luthier had sanded the top down a bit (probably to improve the tone) and finished it after the fingerboard and fretboard extension piece had already been installed, leaving a hump in the areas where the sanding didn't reach, due to this obstruction. The result? A "Florida-shaped hump."

    You'd have to sand and refinish the entire top to get rid of that, and doing so would almost certainly change the tone (but possibly for the better?). Or just learn to live with it, which would be my recommendation.

    If anyone else on the MC is thinking about undergoing a "radical Floridectomy" procedure, I would instead counsel them to get their fingerboard extension scooped! It not only looks better (at least according to my own aesthetics), and serves the identical purpose of getting rid of pick click, but it completely avoids outcomes like this!

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  5. #4
    Registered User johnhgayjr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    I had my Daley scooped and have never regretted it. I like the look better than the full extension-ectomy and didn't have to worry about what it looks like under the extension - as you guys have mentioned.

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Had the ext. cut off at 19th fret on the RD back in 1990's. Got used to playing without the extension. Now even a 22-24 fretboard bugs me.

    Scooped extensions still have that part there where,when I strum enthusiastically,my pick will hit that part.

    Don't really care for the scooped look either. It's like an appendix;it's there but ya don't need it. And it may cause some people problems.

    On the RD there was that little upper part of Fla. bit still left on that was not so squared off like mine. More like Sam Bush's

    Have to say I am surprised that top thicknessing would happen after the fretboard was on. Learn something everyday.

    I don't understand how that fairly sever hump and resulting ridge could improve the tone. Honestly,I was never that impressed with this mandolin's
    tone anyway. It was my most expensive mandolin purchase;and,the last time I will ever purchase before I play.

    Anybody ever seen this type of thing before or made a mandolin where you sanded the top that much after the fretboard was installed?

    sblock,even if I had just gotten the fretboard scooped that hump would still be there. It sure looks way worse
    now that the hump is exposed.

    I may have it sanded off and refinished. I don't like it.

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  8. #6
    Registered User StevenS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Ha! Some fairly radical top thinning after the fingerboard went on . . .

    Sure would be fun to hear how it change the voice of the mandolin if the job was completed across the newly exposed area.

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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Everyone to his taste (chacun a son gout), I guess...

    By his own testimony, the OP can't abide scooped extensions, especially when strumming "enthusiastically" (read: wildly), can't abide even an abbreviated 22-24 fret fingerboard, and is not particularly impressed with the tone of his Derrington-signed Gibson MM, anyway.

    Normally, under the circumstances, I would have advised him to sell the Gibson MM before ever performing that radical Floridectomy, and use the money raised to buy something more aligned with his divergent taste. Sadly, I think the surgery has now devalued this instrument, perhaps significantly. The looks are no longer there, but the sound is probably unaltered.

    And yes, it seems likely that the instrument was further voiced (by removing wood from the top), or perhaps just vigorously sanded (?), after the installation of the fretboard and the supporting fingerboard extension by the maker.

    Sanding flat and refinishing that top will be fairly costly, and the significant thinning of the top that's involved in this operation will almost certainly change the tone from where it sounds right now. But as I wrote earlier, perhaps it might change the sound for the better? You can't really say in advance.

    But you want to be careful not to throw good money after bad.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Steven,it would be fun to hear how sanding off the hump might affect tone. I think it would look better anyway. May improve tone;or not.

    Good money after bad,indeed. May well have been better to just sell it pre-surgery;but,fretboards are replaceable.

    Thanks for the comments,gentlemen.

  11. #9
    Registered User gweetarpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Randy Wood in Bloomingdale, GA could regraduate the instrument for you. I had him do it once on a 60s F5, and it sounded dramatically better. He could redo the top finish as well. Just a thought.


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  12. #10
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Anything can be repaired as long as you're willing to spend the money. You've come this far, find someone that can sand it flat and refinish the top.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  14. #11

    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Thanks gweetarpicker and Mike E.

    Yep,I'll be looking around for the right person to get rid of the hump or regraduate the top or whatever might be best. I'm a little skittish about making the choice having been disappointed with
    some fairly expensive work before.


    Doesn't help that I have been out of the mando-loop for a while.

  15. #12
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    From what i'd read on here,regarding his re-graduation / re-finishing work,you could do far worse that to contact Jonathan McClanahan :- http://www.mcclanahancustommandolins.com/ Hendersonville, Tenn. As has been said already,Randy Wood is another fine builder who's worked wonders on more than a few mandolins. It depends on where you're living in the US.

    Alternatively - you could send it back home to Gibson ?. They're currently building very fine mandolins under the supervision of Dave Harvey,a terrific mandolin player in his own right,
    Ivan
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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    So Jerusalem Ridge lies south of Florida. Tell that to National Geographic...
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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  18. #14
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Maybe some more of that vigorous picking will get rid of the hump for ya...

    Seriously though, you altered the mandolin and saw a defect that you didn't see before. I'm sure there are many other MM Gibsons that have the same issue. And there's no guarantee it will sound better either.

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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    V70416-

    I believe played that mandolin at Fred Kimble's house in Franklin, NC. I also think I played your Red Diamond at Eddie's Attic in Decatur GA before a Mike Compton concert. Both are fine instruments. I will say, the appearance of the MM is a bit offputting right now. However, I think you will end up chasing your tail trying to "correct" it. As it is now, it's had an aggressive Floridaectomy, and wonky graduations are visible. It has a nice tone, not quite as resonant as your RD, but dense and crisp, and compliments the RD well.
    My gut instinct is, leave it alone at this point. With the bridge and strings on, it will be less noticeable. It has the "proprietary" Charlie Derrington varnish. You won't ever have it match quite right. And a regrad and refinish will make it sound like a new, green mandolin for years in the future. Just play it and relax for a while.

  20. #16
    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    An alternate would be to fill the divot in stages with super glue, wet sand and touch up the spot with whatever finish it may be. Lacquer or french polish.I wouldn't go sanding the whole top down to cure that ill.
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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by barry View Post
    V70416-
    My gut instinct is, leave it alone at this point. With the bridge and strings on, it will be less noticeable. It has the "proprietary" Charlie Derrington varnish. You won't ever have it match quite right. And a regrad and refinish will make it sound like a new, green mandolin for years in the future. Just play it and relax for a while.
    FInish can be matched easily but the staining not so much on just small area if you decide to get the ridge smoothed down. Regrad and refinish of just top would be easy to do for someone like John Hamlett. But before ANY further work I would recommend carefully measuring thickness of top in the area, htere could be quite thin spot next to the (now removed) extension and correct thickness at the ridge. Removal of wood from under, extension in my experience, has very pronounced effect on sound and thinning there too much (like anywhere along centerline) can be disastrous and lead to top failure.

    I believe recent Gibson folks never admitted any tuning after assembly, just free plates an tonebars so my guess is just too vigorous sanding before finishing. I do tune after assembly in the white and always sand with cork pad that can slip under the extension so no such ridge will form and my scrapers will get in there as well to keep the area smooth.
    Some Loars had similar ridges as well, just to ease you...
    Adrian

  22. #18
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    I once removed the worn fingerboard of my Chris Warner Gibson copy to do some correction on the neck. I had a new fretted fingerboard that had the "Florida" already removed. I cut the extension off of the old fingerboard and glued it onto the extension and scalloped it. I then had to rebind it but never quite matched the aged lacquer finish on the rest of the mandolin. You could have the old extension or a new fabricated one grafted onto yours and also scallop it to achieve what was desired with your original modification. A tongue to support the fingerboard extension would have to be added, of course. I have had luck using thin binding as faux frets. I believe this would be better than having to refinish the top plus it would restore the overall look. Here's a photo of the Warner after I completed the neck work.
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  23. #19

    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Ivan K.,thanks for your input. Will keep your suggestions in mind. Going with "when in doubt,do nothing" for now.

    barry,my memory is not as good as yours! I'm sure you did play the MM and RD at Will and Fred Kimble's shop;and,I do remember
    that Compton show at Eddie's Attic. Pretty sure I brought the RD to that show and several people picked on it afterwards(on a bench outside?)

    RE:Red Diamond #61,that mando is about 25 years old now,has always been my favorite. It has been everywhere with me being played
    by tons of pickers. Kimble refinished the top(black) about 10 years ago. Currently have an aluminum(aluminium for Ivan) and it snarls,
    keens,or purrs on request. It has been refretted once;has a great set-up. It is starting to develop a hairline top crack,starting at intersection
    of top and fretboard for about 1.5 inches. It gets played a lot.

    I appreciate all the input from gracious Cafe members. The collective knowledge here is most valuable.

    HoGo,measuring top thicknesses and such is not my forte. As a younger man I did refrets and set-up work. Mostly just pick now.
    Thank you for suggesting Mr. Hamlett. I will be in touch with him soon.

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  25. #20

    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    jim simpson,the looks are not that important to me. 19 frets is all I want on the mando.

    I am more concerned that the lump on the top is preventing better tone production.

    Is that a bone bridge saddle on your Warner?

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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    V70416 -

    "barry,my memory is not as good as yours! I'm sure you did play the MM and RD at Will and Fred Kimble's shop;and,I do remember
    that Compton show at Eddie's Attic. Pretty sure I brought the RD to that show and several people picked on it afterwards(on a bench outside?)"

    Yes! Exactly! That was probably late 2004 or so. We continued the conversation inside standing at a table between the bar and the stage. Your Red Diamond was a regular sunburst top at the time. I believe it has a really nice birdseye maple back. You even let me keep the pick I was testing it with. It was a heavy, white, rounded triangle Wegen. I think it's still in one of my mandolin cases.
    (and I am aware that I have a freakish memory)


    Barry

  27. #22
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by V70416 View Post
    jim simpson,the looks are not that important to me. 19 frets is all I want on the mando.

    I am more concerned that the lump on the top is preventing better tone production.

    Is that a bone bridge saddle on your Warner?
    Yes, it is bone. I was into experimenting at the time trying to see what materials would sound best with a couple of mandolins that I owned. It seemed that I liked the bone and wasn't hard to shape other than the horrible dentist smell, lol!
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  28. #23

    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    I'm a "learn to live with it" kind of guy. It wouldn't bother me, especially with the instrument already showing normal playwear/pickwear befitting its age.

  29. #24

    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Jeff,just knowing that this mando could sound better/be louder/more balanced is probably going to inspire me to do something about it. Not being too concerned with pristine looks or originality it seems the logical thing to do. Quasimodo had to learn to live with his hump. I think I may have better options.

    Lemonade,anyone?

    Barry,your photographic memory has jogged my addled old brain! The RD that you played DID have a birdseye back;but,that was a different RD that I had forgotten about. I didn't own it for very long. Very nice mando. Just needed some cash I reckon. That good-money-after-bad thing gets expensive. Luckily
    I actually had a job back then;and,more mandos than needed. Alas,the good old days!

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  31. #25
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    Default Re: Strange ridge/hump on soundboard.

    Jim, I bought two bridge saddles made from deer antler material which I assume is close to bone, anyway they didn`t sound good on all mandolins, I did use one for quite a longtime, on all of the other mandolins that I tried them on they were a bit more trebely than Ebony but some people like that sound...The one mandolin that they did sound good on was also a Gibson copy that Chris did some work on also...

    Willie

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