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Thread: Cumberland Acoustics Bridge Upgrade For Eastman MDA815 Mandola

  1. #1
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    Default Cumberland Acoustics Bridge Upgrade For Eastman MDA815 Mandola

    I recently had a new CA bridge put on my Eastman MDA815 Mandola by the good folks at the Old Town Pickin Parlor in Arvada, CO. It was originally purchased from The Mandolin Store about 18 months ago and had been through their set up process, so it played pretty well and sounded great right out of the package.

    After I dropped the mandolin off I had a call from Micah, the luthier, asking me if I had noticed that the saddle width was slightly narrower than the original Eastman bridge and would I mind if the distance between courses was reduced a little. I had not noticed, and I didn't mind, so Micah went ahead and installed the bridge. You can see the difference in the string slots in the the first picture below. The original bridge is laid across the strings next to the installed CA bridge.

    The new bridge also made a surprisingly large difference in tone. The mandola now rings like my '93 Flatiron A5. I'd read here before about improving sound by properly fitting the bridge, but this was much more of a change than that. I then looked at the bridge a little closer and discovered that the CA bridge's base was significantly larger than the original Eastman. The front to back width was greater and was significantly "beefier" than the stock bridge. Side to side width was the same. The second two pictures below show the Eastman bridge laid next to the installed CA bridge.

    I've wondered in the past if the reported changes in tone after installing an upgraded bridge were really just the impact of properly fitting the bridge, especially on some of the mass produced mandolins. This is different, though, the CA bridge base clearly has a larger and sturdier contact area with the top. So if you have one of these instruments, or you're planning on getting one of the new Eastman MDA315s, a CA bridge upgrade is something to look at if you're looking to change your sound or course spacing.
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  3. #2
    Registered User bbcee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cumberland Acoustics Bridge Upgrade For Eastman MDA815 Mandol

    Quote Originally Posted by FrontRangeMando View Post
    So if you have one of these instruments, or you're planning on getting one of the new Eastman MDA315s, a CA bridge upgrade is something to look at if you're looking to change your sound or course spacing.
    I'm glad to have stumbled on this post, FRM, I'm actually waiting on delivery of a MDA815 and was considering either a CA bridge or a Brekke. I recently had the latter installed on an oval hole carved top, and the difference was astounding, in tone, volume and character. Looks like both will be good choices!!
    -------
    Waiting for the thunderous applause and enthusiastic cheering. But for some reason, I only hear crickets…- Multidon

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