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Thread: Mandolin Setup Advice

  1. #1

    Default Mandolin Setup Advice

    I just got my wife a used Kentucky KM250 (it's in the mail). From what I've read here and everywhere else it seems like a solid beginner instrument that she wont outgrow too fast. I play guitar so I understand the importance of a good setup but I don't know if I would know a good setup on a mandolin.

    I called a shop in Seattle, which is an hour drive but has a stellar rep, they want me to bring it in first to look at than schedule a setup for sometime in August. Is a mandolin so different from a guitar that a tech would need to give it a once over before deciding how to set it up?

    I setup my own guitars and basses but would it be adviseable to get a pro on the mandolin and what should I expect to pay? $70 seems about yhe going rate for guitar techs.

  2. #2
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Mandolin Setup Advice

    Jack, There is a free download on Mandolin Setup here on the café from Rob Meldrum. PM him and he will send you a copy. Yes set up is extremely important with double courses and short strings. Think about restringing your wife's instrument with light gauge strings the E will be a 10. R/

    mailto:rob.meldrum@gmail.com
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mandolin Setup Advice

    Thanks!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Mandolin Setup Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by UsuallyPickin View Post
    Jack, There is a free download on Mandolin Setup here on the café from Rob Meldrum. PM him and he will send you a copy. Yes set up is extremely important with double courses and short strings. Think about restringing your wife's instrument with light gauge strings the E will be a 10. R/

    mailto:rob.meldrum@gmail.com
    Thanks for the advice and the email. Thinking light strings, low action is probably the way to go for someone new to stringed instruments.

  5. #5
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Setup Advice

    I agree that learning how to do the setup yourself is a great idea. Any wooden stringed instrument can use a tweak from time to time, and it's good to know how to do at least the basics yourself.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
    www.busmanwhistles.com
    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mandolin Setup Advice

    Get Rob's book and do it yourself. If you can set up a guitar, you can set up a mandolin. Because of the short scale and twin strings everything must be more precise. This is where you come in spend the time and do it right. A guitar man in a music store is just likely not to be that precise and intonation and playability won't be right.if you take it to someone make sure that they know mandolins, other pickers can recommend good ones.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mandolin Setup Advice

    You might want to drive in just to try the mandolins they have for sale, just so you know what you are aiming for. The free Meldrum eBook and a few tools will get you close.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  8. #8

    Default Re: Mandolin Setup Advice

    Is a mandolin so different from a guitar that a tech would need to give it a once over before deciding how to set it up?
    Those quoting a flat rate of something like $70 may not be doing a thorough setup. It is very common for mandolins to need serious fret work, bridge modification, etc... Sometimes there is a backbow in the neck and it can't be setup, maybe the neck angle is off and it will need a new bridge fit...

    A shop that wants to see the instrument before giving a quote, is paying attention to the details.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

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