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Thread: Whatís going on with this bridge?

  1. #1

    Default Whatís going on with this bridge?

    Mandolin is a Fender FM-53s that I bought at guitar center about 14 years ago on a whim and never learned to play. I recently busted it out of the closet, dusted it off and changed the strings. Yesterday I noticed some weird stuff going on at with the e string at the 11th and 12th frets, ie: one of the strings has a different pitch than the other at those frets. I started investigating the bridge. The saddle posts seem very high compared to pictures Iíve seen and one side is clearly a few screw threads higher than the other. This is how it came ďset upĒ but itís also been in the closet for over a decade. I canít take it to a shop because of lockdown. Iím just looking for advice if thereís anything I should do to it.

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  2. #2
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Southeast Tennessee

    Default Re: Whatís going on with this bridge?

    From picture #3, it looks like you might have a bump in the fingerboard somewhere around where it comes over the body.

    You can try to raise the bridge on the treble side to temporarily compensate for this, but it looks like you don't have much more thread to work with. Give it a try and see if that works well enough to get it going for now.

    The instrument will have to be serviced to fix it right. It might need fret work, and the bridge saddle needs to be shimmed up or replaced for good long term results.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Whatís going on with this bridge?

    It might have issues in the fingerboard, but it might also just need to be properly setup. You can do it yourself if you're reasonably handy.
    Go here and follow the instructions on the 1st post to request the mandolin setup e-book from Rob

  4. #4
    Registered User MB-Octo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Pacific Northwest

    Default Re: Whatís going on with this bridge?

    Is it just my old eyes, or is that saddle sagging? Might be a good idea to set a straight-edge along both the fingerboard & saddle.

    Northfield F2S
    Weber Custom Yellowstone Octave F

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  6. #5
    Benjamin Gieseke flymolo0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Whatís going on with this bridge?

    I'm no luthier, but it looks to me like the bridge is sagging in the middle. I had one of those Fender mandolins and the bridge saddle actually broke in the middle and had to be replaced. Having a professional look at it would be the best, but an easy/relatively inexpensive fix to try would be putting a new bridge, or least a new bridge saddle on there and seeing if that fixes the issue.
    Summit F-200X (#133)
    1919 Gibson A-2
    Eastwood Mandocaster

  7. #6
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    University Place, WA (with no university and very little place)

    Default Re: Whatís going on with this bridge?

    I agree. The saddle appears to be sagging. Replace it.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Whatís going on with this bridge?

    Thanks all. The saddle is indeed sagging. The fretboard is bowed as well. I tried to lower the saddle and was excited to have a lower action but now it’s next to unplayable. The A string from frets 7-12 is all the same pitch and buzzy. I basically have to put it back the way it was. There’s also no truss rod to adjust. I’m sure taking it to a shop to fix would probably cost more than I paid for it. I think I see an md315 in my future.

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