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Thread: Bridge angle to fingerboard or top ? Arching

  1. #1
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    Default Bridge angle to fingerboard or top ? Arching

    I've got a mandolin on loan for a while. It's a fairly well known maker. This one has arching that peaks behind the bridge. (My normal modern Gibson bridge sits rather on top of the arch, so I'm not used to this.) The bridge seems to lean forward as it sits on the "downhill" slope toward the fingerboard. How do you position the bridge on this arch? Should it be rather a right angle to the fingerboard? Or would some compromise in between be a better approach?

    (All this brings up the top arch peak question to me as well.)

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge angle to fingerboard or top ? Arching

    As for the top arch, it is what it is at this point. The bridge must be positioned for correct intonation and if it is not at the apex of the arch, well, that's just the way it is. Generally, it is considered correct for the bridge to sit at the apex, but it is not critical.
    Many of us "lean" the bridge toward the tailpiece slightly to place the downward force of the strings more toward the center of the bridge base. Anywhere from a right angle to the rim of the mandolin to the slight tailpiece-ward lean is considered correct. A lean toward the fingerboard can contribute to problems with the bridge tipping 'forward', mostly as a result of repeated tuning and strings stretching.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bridge angle to fingerboard or top ? Arching

    Usually when I reset my bridge on the Gibson, I kinda look at the rim and set it perpendicular to that as you say. With this arching, that would seem to make the bridge "cut in" to the top on the back edge.

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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge angle to fingerboard or top ? Arching

    A friend asked me to looked at his "known maker" mandolin to try to fix the forward lean. He had changed the bridge saddle out to one with the transducer built in. I discovered the new saddle was drilled for larger adjustment wheel posts and was allowing too much movement. I took some small diameter heat shrink tape to make it a better fit. This helped but I still noticed the lean. It turns out that the apex of the carve was also behind the bridge so the feet would be sitting on a down hill slope. My friend was happy with the outcome. I offered to change out the posts and wheels if needed.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  5. #5
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Bridge angle to fingerboard or top ? Arching

    Often the bridge posts are bending slightly or th eholes in saddle allow for some leaning and make this look worse than it is. But if bridge is good with tight fitting saddle on posts I try to fit bridge to top at least perpendicular to rim (in case the bridge is on noticeable down hill) or very slightly angled towards tailpiece (if it sits on top of arch or very close). Of course if you have mandolin with bridge leaning forward you cannot just pull it back - you need to pay attention to fit base to the arch so it sits with whole surface on top of the instrument, if you need to pull the bridge back more than fit allows you need to re-fit the base as well.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Bridge angle to fingerboard or top ? Arching

    Thank you for the excellent replies. I've tried fitting a bridge before and I WON"T be trying it on this one. If I owned it I wold have someone fix this into an upright position at least. It leans forward and looks wrong TO ME. But the intonation is about right where it is. I wonder if it would make a difference in sound to have it standing perpendicular to the rim?

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