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Thread: New mandola, loose strings, bridge moved?, tune up, string breaks

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    Default New mandola, loose strings, bridge moved?, tune up, string breaks

    Hi! Totally new here. I am a violist (amateur), but my wife got me a mandola for my birthday as a new bit of fun (she's a flutist). The mandola came in the mail, and the strings were very very loose. The bridge moved I think, because when I tried to tune it, I was tuning the A to a 440 tuning fork and both of the strings broke. I'm not sure what kind of strings they were -- we got new d'Addarios to replace.

    Anyway, it sure seems like the reason they popped is because the bridge was in the wrong place, and it couldn't be tuned properly at that location.

    Now I am not sure exactly how to get it in the right place. On my viola (a "modern Italian" from 1904), it's pretty clear where the bridge should be, but on this new mandola there isn't any wear or indication where it should be.

    Any suggestions? I have seen something in browsing around about 12th fret. I am guessing that's the octave? And move the bridge until the notes match an octave apart? I would appreciate some help! I don't just want to go on breaking strings. (New to frets here too!)

    And are there mandola jokes like there are viola jokes? Like what's the difference between a casket and a viola case? (The casket has the dead person on the inside). Or what does it mean when a violist drools out of BOTH sides of his mouth? (The stage is level).

    Thanks!

    Doug

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    Default Re: New mandola, loose strings, bridge moved?, tune up, string br

    Put some tension on the two outside strings. Play the fretted note at the 12th fret and then play the harmonic 'chime" at the 12th fret. The notes should match. If the fretted note is flat compared to the harmonic the bridge is too far from the neck. Obviously, if it is sharp it is too close and needs to be moved back a bit. Fiddle with this until you get the bridge positioned, then tune all the strings.

    It is much easier to move the bridge with only two strings tensioned, and much less likely to cause damage to the soundboard.

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: New mandola, loose strings, bridge moved?, tune up, string br

    I position as follows:

    * With one C string and one A string only on, position the bridge slightly further (about 2mm) from the 12th fret than the 12th fret is from the nut.
    * Tune the C and A strings.
    * Check the tuning at the 12th fret on each, if it's flat move the bridge towards the nut slightly, if it's sharp move towards the tailpiece.
    * When both are in tune, add one G and D string each and get all 4 in tune.
    * Check the tuning across all 4 strings, and up and down the fretboard, get a feeling for what's in tune and what's not, and whether the "average" is sharp or flat. Make any final moves of the bridge at this point to get the best compromise position.
    * Add the remaining 4 strings and enjoy

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: New mandola, loose strings, bridge moved?, tune up, string br

    Cafe member Rob Meldrum ("robster") offers Cafe´members a free e-book on mandolin (and mandola) set-up; Here's a recent thread discussing it.

    The procedures offered above will work. Utilizing the 12th-fret octave and harmonic is a standard method. An electronic tuner can also be used to check the octave. Make sure that your compensated bridge is facing the right way, and that its feet sit flat on the instrument's top.

    A misplaced bridge shouldn't cause strings to break, though. "Factory" strings with which instruments are shipped, are sometimes not of good quality. Make sure you're tuning in the right octave -- same as a viola -- and try tuning the heavier (4th) course of strings first.

    Aren't enough mandolas around to warrant "mandola jokes," unfortunately...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Registered User Pete Braccio's Avatar
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    Default Re: New mandola, loose strings, bridge moved?, tune up, string br

    And, just to make sure, you are tuning it to C G D A (with C being the lowest tuned string, right?
    Pete Braccio

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    Default Re: New mandola, loose strings, bridge moved?, tune up, string br

    Thank you to everyone! I will try things out, and let you know how it all works out. I kind of thought the strings might not be top quality, use D'Addario on my viola.

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