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Thread: Modifications to my 1N?

  1. #1
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Modifications to my 1N?

    I've been thinking about it and I'm really not a fan of the Clamshell style tailpiece on my Flatiron 1N, not to mention its is a royal PITA during string changes.

    Also I've had a little trouble here and ther with the bridge, so I was thinking of trying out a CA bridge.

    Are these worth while modifications?... just wanted to hear some opinions before I started putting money aside.
    aka: Spencer
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    If it'll make you happy, it's worthwhile. :-)
    Changes in tone or playability will be essentially impossible to quantify, so if it feels better or you like it better, then it's worth the money.

  3. #3
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    they look better with the clamshell. I mean it's a struggle once or twice a year, eh?

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    I've been thinking about it and I'm really not a fan of the Clamshell style tailpiece on my Flatiron 1N, not to mention its is a royal PITA during string changes.
    I wasn't a fan of the clamshell tailpiece on my 1N either. When I was ordering my Scout from Andy Poe, I decided on an old Waverly Cloud tailpiece sourced from Stutzman's drawer of forgotten parts:

    http://www.stutzmansguitarcenter.com/

    Although it would be a clever play on the shell to try this other iteration of the James tailpiece:

    https://www.elderly.com/accessories/...iece-99758.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    Also I've had a little trouble here and ther with the bridge, so I was thinking of trying out a CA bridge. Are these worth while modifications?... just wanted to hear some opinions before I started putting money aside.
    Cumberland Acoustics makes a bridge specifically for flattops that is used on the Redline Traveler. However, the lowest they can build them is 5/8":

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...coustic-Bridge

    So I would discuss with Steve Smith whether the neck angle on the Flatiron pancake, which he has studied, is sufficient to accommodate such a bridge:

    http://cumberlandacoustic.com/product/mandolin-bridge/

    As for "worthwhile," putting several hundred dollars into tricking out a $400 instrument is a risky investment that you are unlikely to recoup. It only makes sense if it prevents you from an even bigger expenditure on a subsequent mandolin purchase. For instance, rather than look for a higher tier A5 to replace my Passernig, I decided instead to invest in upgrading its hardware with a James tailpiece and a set of Waverly tuners. With my 1N, however, I chose to sell it and save my funds for a custom flattop that had everything I wanted which that Flatiron could never offer in terms of neck profile, adjustable truss rod, etc.
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    Registered User G7MOF's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    they look better with the clamshell. I mean it's a struggle once or twice a year, eh?

    f-d
    That often?
    I never fail at anything, I just succeed at doing things that never work....


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  8. #6

    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    1Ns have been going for $700 at dealers lately. Should have bought the one Gryphon had last year. Lovely sounding mandolins and IMHO more worth the upgrades than the average Pac rim instruments.

    As for stringing, a piece of painter's tape across the bridge is simple and effective.
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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Sorry guys for the delay getting back to this thread... I originally posted it late a night and have been slammed busy ever since (back to building the kitchen cabinets), so I am just now getting back to the forum... thanks for the responses. I don't plan to invest a ridiculous amount, but I like the Mando and don't foresee parting with it soon. These are mostly just fixes for minor problems that could also be upgrades.

    What are some good options frontsil pieces that aren't quite as costly as that James, but that may still be an upgrade?
    Last edited by soliver; Sep-10-2017 at 12:53am.
    aka: Spencer
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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    What are some good options frontsil pieces that aren't quite as costly as that James, but that may still be an upgrade?
    I'd nominate the Waverly cloud. They often sell around $50, but if you play your cards right, you might be able to find a relatively inexpensive mandolin (such as a Harmony) sporting one on eBay. In that instance, you could purchase it, trade out the tailpieces, and relist it at little to no loss whatsoever.
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  12. #9

    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Meant to say tape across tailpiece.
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  13. #10
    Registered User Eldon Dennis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    I ordered a Cumberland bridge for my Flatiron flat-top and it just wouldn't go low enough. The bridge is first class looking, but the action was just way to high with it on.
    1992 Flatiron F5 Master model
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  14. #11

    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Quote Originally Posted by jedennis View Post
    I ordered a Cumberland bridge for my Flatiron flat-top and it just wouldn't go low enough. The bridge is first class looking, but the action was just way to high with it on.
    They can be had in different heights, let them know what height you need when ordering.

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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    It's been a little since I've gotten back to this thread, so sorry friends. I'm pretty sure I want to go ahead and get a CA bridge. Once I have the money together I'll contact Steve. Aside from that I am still thinking about a tail piece. I was looking at James tailpieces but that just seemed too silly to put a $165 tail piece on a 1N... even Allen tail pieces are a bit excessive at $100 for this instrument IMHO. So I was looking at Stewmac and saw they have 2 options that look doable:
    The Ashton Bailey in the $60 range:
    http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_...Tailpiece.html
    And the Golden Age in the $30 range:
    http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_...Tailpiece.html

    The look I prefer is the more classic Gibson style like the Golden Age, but I'm not opposed to the Ashton if it will have a positive impact on the sound.... is it worth the extra $30? The budget is tight.

    I would REALLY appreciate some input on tailpieces.

    My experience with my 1N thus far is that I've not been able to consistently pull a good tone out of it, so I'm not opposed to spending the $100 + on it for these 2 modifications ... I kinda feel like it is in good shape, but it could be better. So it seems very much like a worthwhile investment, especially since I feel confident enough in my ability to do the mods myself.
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

  16. #13

    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    but I'm not opposed to the Ashton if it will have a positive impact on the sound.... is it worth the extra $30? The budget is tight.
    There isn't a conclusive reason to believe there is a detectable change in tone (positive or negative) due to a cast tailpiece vs. stamped. You can try cutting some brass sheet metal or chunk of ebony and double-sided taping it to your current tailpiece to see if you notice a difference in tone.

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  18. #14
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    My experience with my 1N thus far is that I've not been able to consistently pull a good tone out of it, so I'm not opposed to spending the $100 + on it for these 2 modifications ... I kinda feel like it is in good shape, but it could be better. So it seems very much like a worthwhile investment, especially since I feel confident enough in my ability to do the mods myself.
    In my experience, an adjustable bridge and a quality tailpiece are a convenience but not the answer for how to consistently pull a good tone from a Flatiron 1N.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
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  20. #15
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Thanks Marty, I do appreciate your input... we need to get together again some time!

    Thanks Pheffernan... I'm certain not only that it is a matter getting used to playing it, BUT ALSO that the bridge is not in great shape which I do believe may be contributing some... so yes convenience, but why not
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

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  22. #16
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    Thanks Pheffernan... I'm certain not only that it is a matter getting used to playing it, BUT ALSO that the bridge is not in great shape which I do believe may be contributing some... so yes convenience, but why not
    Practically speaking, one answer might be bridge height. As I posted above, and jedennis confirmed with his experience, the neck angle on a Flatiron pancake might not accommodate the 5/8" minimum height available on a Cumberland Acoustics adjustable bridge per Steve Smith.
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  24. #17
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    My preference is a one-piece bridge. I'd never put an adjustable bridge on my pancake! I'd also never change out the clamshell!

    I'd check that the existing bridge is properly seated, I'd also pay my buddy to dial in the nut and overall setup. (I'd even leave the ebony nut alone, but alas, mine is now bone.)

    I think Flatiron knew what they were doing. I think the 1N and other similar pancakes were just fine as they left the factory.

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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  26. #18
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    For reference: my adjustable flat top bridge will adjust down to .45 (a bit under 1/2 inch).

    Vern Brekke
    Bridger Products

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  28. #19
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    Default Re: Modifications to my 1N?

    Been emailing with Steve at CA, and he's going to see if he can come up with something. ...I measured and it is actually shy of 7/16" like maybe 13/32" which was a surprise to me... at a glance, I could've sworn it was at least 5/8" goes to show how good my eyeballs are at measuring... probably ought to get some $$ together for this little adventure!

    Vern, I looked at your site and I like the look of your bridge... I'll shoot you an email with specifics.

    I can say that I definitely want to replace the bridge, because not only are the string slots a little too big (esp for the E strings), but I feel it could have better contact with the top.

    Is the style of bridge on the 1N easy to make?
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

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