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Thread: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

  1. #1

    Default Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Well, I finally have the prototype. It is cut from solid brass bar stock. Fully adjustable height and intonation. The travel distance on the saddle is about 3/8". Spacing on center is 7/16" which matches all my other bridges. I haven't made any plans on nickel chrome plating them as I will need to take the thickness of the chrome into consideration for the holes and those are just big enough as I was quite concerned about the risk of buzzing with so many small parts. The saddle rides along the bottom of the channel so there is no risk of it tilting side to side. The saddles also come unslotted so the bridge can be used as four string or eight string. I also have a five string version which I guess could be converted to a 10 string. Also, the hole in the center of the stop tailpiece will not be there in future runs. That just marked the center point when setting up the jig.

    Right about now I suspect Chris and Matt are doing a jig as this was the only thing holding up their instruments from being assembled and shipped.
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    Last edited by thistle3585; Apr-16-2009 at 10:16pm.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Andrew,
    The look is fantastic, and seems like you got it right on!
    You sure do put out the best bridges! I love them on my Mando's.
    John
    www.jlsmithmandolins.com

  3. #3
    Registered User Chris Willingham's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    JIG!!!!!!!!!


  4. #4
    Cambridge Mandolinist Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Carved Brass? Cool.
    I wonder if it imparts different tonal characteristics than die cast brass.

    Daniel

  5. #5
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    lookin great... way more LP than the threaded type.


    will the stop-bar (tailpiece?) be developed for eight /ten strings? Or does the design allow for two strings in each of the ball seats?

    (Without knowing how far along in the process you are, I thought i'd ask the first things into my head after "AWESOME".)

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    I'll post some photos of it installed later today, but the saddles aren't slotted so they can be for either 4,5,8 or 10 strings. The stop bar can be made so that each string will have its own hole. I have one at the plating company getting nickel chrome, so I hope to see how that comes out any day.

  7. #7
    Registered User Ken Olmstead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Andrew, it is amazing that a picture of a tailpiece could be so inspirational... Thanks!
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tenorbanjoguy

    "Gettin' by" with the imports!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Hi all,

    I'm a long time lurker here and finally felt the need to be "official".

    The 'new' electric bridge and tailpiece has prompted me to write.

    Having been to Michael Stevens shop many times, I have noticed certain aspects of his electric mandolins but one that has stayed with me, apart from his angled pickups, was his bridge.

    Here is a picture of both of Paul Glasse's mandos. Right side is the original 1982 and with some obvious design modifications and on the left #2 - 1999.
    The same bridge is used on both with only tiny improvements to date. Except for the slot and stud holes done in a machine shop , all hand finished and then nickle plated. Like his bass pickups, making bridges was out of necessity. (I saw that in print somewhere )
    He has used these since 1982 on all his mandos.

    Michael Stevens tells me that does have a new sleeker version to be seen later this year.

    For some general information, gents, you might also check Emando.com and search for an interview on The Mel Bay Mandolin Sessions circa 2007 the first Electric Mandolin Builder interview by Joe Mendel.

    Press on Gents with the project but I thought you needed to know. Good luck




  9. #9
    Recipient of medication Cliff D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Ultra, have you played any of these? I have speculated in other threads that angling the pick up so that it is closer to the bridge on the bass side of the strings (& the higher more towards the neck) has to be a better approach than the conventional slant, but no comments have been drawn (ok, I know there is no bridge content in this post, but it's too good an opportunity to let pass!).
    Last edited by Cliff D; May-05-2009 at 4:04pm. Reason: omitted "a"
    Sorry madam, but we are fresh out of bull-dogs today!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Supposedly, the ideal placement is doing it in a manner that the pole pieces are located at a harmonic point of the scale, so hypothetically the pickup should be angled in relation to the intonation. Technically, the horizontal angle wont play as much of a role as the "vertical" angle. Joel Glassman adjusts his pickups so that the pickup is closer to the G string than the E which is opposite of what most people do.

    See this thread about locating a pickup

  11. #11

    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff D View Post
    Ultra, have you played any of these? I have speculated in other threads that angling the pick up so that it is closer to the bridge on the bass side of the strings (& the higher more towards the neck) has to be a better approach than the conventional slant, but no comments have been drawn (ok, I know there is no bridge content in this post, but it's too good an opportunity to let pass!).
    Yes I have, and I aspire to owning one too. I have a number of Michael Stevens LJ and Classic guitars and they also have the reverse angled pickups.

    You can wax lyrical about the pole-pieces being set at the harmonic point but if the Stevens mando and his guitars are a little off, it is obviously for the good because these instruments sound sweet and complex.

    Think "Hendrix" with his righty Strat played left. That bridge pup of his sounded great. Based on Hendrix, I put a lefty bridge on my righty Tele and the bridge pup is now playable without the typical "ice pick to the head" treble response.

    Stevens knows what he is doing and those that have his instruments swear by them.

    Try one.

  12. #12
    Recipient of medication Cliff D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Thistle, thank you for your response: your comments are always very thought provoking. Agreed, proximity to the string & vertical angle is probably more significant, however (leaving the some-what complex matter of maximizing harmonic content) I thought that strings have greater amplitude of oscillation towards the centre of their length, & are thus louder there. Now the instruments you build may not be subject to the problem I have with my cheapish mandos (& one frequently flagged up at the cafe) which is insufficient volume in the E string, & the loudness of the G,D,A in comparison. On the face of it, angling a bridge pick up the "wrong way" would seem to be potentially a step in the right direction!

    Ultra, yes I would love to try some of these instruments myself, but here in the UK opportunities are a little limited. I am aware of Trevor's shop in Brighton (which, shamefully is still on my "to do" list) & Hobgoblin Music in Rathbone Place (London). Maybe we Brits need to mobilize ourselves a little more on the mandolin front!
    Last edited by Cliff D; May-06-2009 at 6:37am. Reason: minor omission
    Sorry madam, but we are fresh out of bull-dogs today!

  13. #13
    Masamando Steve Hinde's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Andrew,

    What is the current status on these tailpieces? I am working on 2 instruments and am deciding on the hardtail or something like this.
    You ever put the piezo saddles in your tailpieces?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Steve,
    I abandoned the project unless someone custom order's one along with my instruments. They are just too expensive to build and resell. I have been building and using a rosewood and ebony version with great success but haven't tried to market them. There is a fellow, J. John Mixson, who builds brass ones and they are fairly reasonable but I am not sure if he makes a stop tailpiece. He often sells them on ebay as uke bridges. He also makes hardtail bridges similar to mine. His website is http://www.mandolier.com/ I talked with him about buying some in quantity but his prices with shipping ended up being what I had in them and I'd just as soon make my own.

    No, I never did put a piezo in one but there isn't any reason too my knowledge why it wouldn't work.

    Here are some photos of both bridges.
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  15. #15
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    As far as Piezos for tune-o-matic bridges go, RMC of Berkeley offers their piezo sandwich pickups in that format, the individual signals can then be used divided or combined into an on-board Preamp with Mono Output.

    Just need a hole out the bottom of the bridge assembly for the signal wire.

    I have RMC's pickups on my synth access instruments, a 4 and 5 string.. they work well ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  16. #16
    Masamando Steve Hinde's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Thanks Andrew. He has the bridges on ebay. He doesn't list the tailpiece, but I sent a message asking about them. BTW your mandolins are killer. Another inspiration.
    Thanks for the direction. Too bad you aren't making them. They looked very nice.

    Steve

  17. #17
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Anyone know where I can find a 4 string tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece? I have a strong urge to build an 4 string octave/tenor version of Frank Zappa's "baby snakes" Gibson SG.


  18. #18
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    My take........I`ve no access to fancy machinery; all I have is a bench drill and a few files :-)

    Basis is 10mm square aluminium and an e-bay guitar bridge. Plan is draughted using Paintshop Pro, printed onto sticky label paper which (to me with my eyes anyway) is more accurate than a rule and scriber!
    If anyone is interested in making their own, drop me a message and I`ll e-mail the drawing.
    CheeryBye

  19. The following members say thank you to Soundfarmer Pete for this post:

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  20. #19
    Registered User
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    Thumbs up Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundfarmer Pete View Post
    My take........I`ve no access to fancy machinery; all I have is a bench drill and a few files :-)

    Basis is 10mm square aluminium and an e-bay guitar bridge. Plan is draughted using Paintshop Pro, printed onto sticky label paper which (to me with my eyes anyway) is more accurate than a rule and scriber!
    If anyone is interested in making their own, drop me a message and I`ll e-mail the drawing.
    CheeryBye
    I would certainly be interested in seeing that drawing. I imagine what you did, but I want to see. I'll send you photos of my results.
    Thanks!
    Jonathan

  21. #20

    Default Re: Tun o matic mandolin bridges

    I'd be keen to see the drawing so that I can adapt it for my DIY 4 string project.
    Cheers,
    David

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