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Thread: New bridge for a 1912 Gibson K1 mandocello

  1. #1
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    Default New bridge for a 1912 Gibson K1 mandocello

    Hi.

    I have just bought a 1912 Gibson K1 mandocello. The bridge is clearly not original and seems to be compensated the wrong way (like a mandolin bridge rather than a mandocello one). I would like to make one that is closer to the original and would be grateful if someone with a similar instrument could give me any dimensions, in particular the length and the thickness (height is obviously an issue of playability).

    Looking at photos I assume that the original bridge would have been made from ebony. The one on it now is in rosewood. Any photos of original bridges for this type of instrument would be much appreciated too.

    Many thanks.

    John

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  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: New bridge for a 1912 Gibson K1 mandocello

    Bridge on my K-1 -- pretty sure it's original -- is 5 1/4 inches long, and 5/16 inch thick. It's ebony. It's compensated with the shortest scale for the first course (A) strings; the others are pretty close to even, though the "saddle" portion is a bit thicker under the fourth course (C) strings.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
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    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
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    Default Re: New bridge for a 1912 Gibson K1 mandocello

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Bridge on my K-1 -- pretty sure it's original -- is 5 1/4 inches long, and 5/16 inch thick. It's ebony. It's compensated with the shortest scale for the first course (A) strings; the others are pretty close to even, though the "saddle" portion is a bit thicker under the fourth course (C) strings.
    Hi Allen.

    Thanks for the information. Can I just confrim the length of 5 1/4". The bridge on my K1 at the moment is a full 1" narrower (4 1/4") and there is no sign that a wider bridge has been fitted at any time (bridges normally leave a bit of a mark).

    Thanks again.

    John

  4. #4
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: New bridge for a 1912 Gibson K1 mandocello

    Measured it again; definitely 5 1/4 inches.

    Is it the original bridge? Well, it has a hole to accommodate the metal pin on the pickguard, so if it's a replacement, it was designed to fit with the original pickguard.

    Did all Gibson mandocelli have identical bridges? No way for me to know.
    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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    Default Re: New bridge for a 1912 Gibson K1 mandocello

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Measured it again; definitely 5 1/4 inches.

    Is it the original bridge? Well, it has a hole to accommodate the metal pin on the pickguard, so if it's a replacement, it was designed to fit with the original pickguard.

    Did all Gibson mandocelli have identical bridges? No way for me to know.
    Thanks Allen.

    I don't know if all the bridges are identical either. I would like to make something that is at least credible looking for an instrument of this age and type, so thanks for the help.

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    Default Re: New bridge for a 1912 Gibson K1 mandocello

    Hi Allen.

    Just a little follow-up. The reason the bridge on my bridge was narrower is that some muppet fitted a mandolin bridge (and a horrible one at that). It now has one of the dimensions that you gave to me and it is playing a lot better, so thanks again for the help.

    Incidentally, I have been playing around with different string gauges. I am now using .018p, .030w, .046w and .074w (so all but the Cs are lighter than the standard D'Addario set. Seems to improve playability with no apparent downside that I have found as yet.

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