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Thread: '17 A-1 Bridge

  1. #1

    Default '17 A-1 Bridge

    Curious if any have changed their Bridge to a Cumberland Acoustic adjustable on these Gibson A Mandolins. Knowing they could change the sound wondering if many or even any have been happy with this mod.
    I am tentative since my '17 A-1 is original at this time & it is a young 102 years. I have been VERY fortunate to have had some great advice from a forum member who has shared his knowledge.
    Thanks in advance,
    Steve

  2. #2
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    Is the bridge deteriorating? If not, why worry? If it is failing, then an accurate replacement would be the clear choice, for me.
    Does that help? Probably not, but, I got a dialog started!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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  4. #3

    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    Thanks,
    The action is a bit high right now & I wanted to lower it. I would like to keep the original in original condition at least until I make a decision about those small original frets. Knowing they are only original once I thought of just a replacement bridge & keeping the og in the case.
    Steve

  5. #4

    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    Just get a new reproduction bridge and keep it period correct. Adjustable bridge looks wrong on thoseIMHO.
    Silverangel A
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  7. #5

    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    I have a CA on my 1921 A2. It is great!

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  9. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    Do you have a pickguard on it? If so you're going to have to look at that back pin.

    I see no problem with changing it. If someone wants it with the original bridge you'll still have it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  11. #7
    Registered User dustyamps's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    You could sand down the top of the original bridge and reslot it to lower the action. I have a CA bridge on my 20 A model which I'm happy with.

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  13. #8
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    I've kept the original bridge on my A3 for the last 35 years. I did have it adjusted. I've had it lowered. I've had it raised (glue on a shim).

    I did have a luthier replace the one-piece with a Cumberland. I didn't like it, so I replaced the original.

    These mandolins seem pretty stable to me and I'm not fussing over action in general.

    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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  15. #9
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    I also have a CA on my 1921 A2 . . . I didn't like the tone of the adjustable bridge with aluminum saddle that came on it. I made a nonadjustable bridge out of persimmon and it sounded great, but summer/winter difference in humidity in South Carolina made me reconsider the convenience of having an adjustable bridge rather use than multiple bridges.

    The CA looks good to me, it functions perfectly, and sounds sweet to my ears. YMMV.
    Clark Beavans

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  17. #10
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    I had a CA bridge fitted to my 1919 A2, and ended up putting the original back on. The mandolin just lost some of that overtone-y goodness that I like so much about it. It's nice to have the CA bridge, just in case something were to happen(I don't know what), and I can also use the base with a Fishman bridge top if I want to plug in.
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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  19. #11

    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    Thanks guys!
    With the mixed results I am thinking I should stay with an original bridge. I just need to lower the action to make it easier to play.
    Appreciate you advice from your experiences.
    Steve

  20. #12
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    Steve, is the neck straight on your mandolin? The neck/fingerboard on those mandolins can (IMHO should) be perfectly straight. If there is a bow in the neck, you would want to have the fingerboard straightened and probably wouldn't even have to lower the action at the bridge.

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  22. #13

    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    The neck is straight. I just was curious about an adjustable bridge for it. Not now though after hearing back from the other owners since it appears to be a mixed bag when modifying. Guess that is the most important reason to stay original, I did not want one that had been "modified" so why should I embark on that journey.
    Thanks again guys
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  23. #14
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    An accurate Loar style adjustable bridge will do the following to your mandolin: 1) Provide a better balance of bass and treble, 2) provide a tighter more attackable feel to the strings, for a bit more volume.

    BUT It will be at the expense of the bass you currently have. If you like your sound as-is fine, if you want it more balanced (less bass, less tubby overtones and crisper trebles) and slightly more powerful, go for it.

    Quite a bit of the "snakeheads sound better" argument is associated with the adjustable bridge they come with and this built-in change to the sound. This change is directly attributable to the adjustable bridge having more mass and a much larger footprint on the top. Thus, dampening some of the bass response and making other portions of the top work harder.
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  25. #15
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    Quote Originally Posted by John Rosett View Post
    I had a CA bridge fitted to my 1919 A2, and ended up putting the original back on. The mandolin just lost some of that overtone-y goodness that I like so much about it. It's nice to have the CA bridge, just in case something were to happen(I don't know what), and I can also use the base with a Fishman bridge top if I want to plug in.
    Now you have me wondering. I put a CA bridge on my 1919 A2 and like it, but maybe I should put the original bridge back on and see which I like best. The CA did lower the action. My A-2 is completely original...even the finger-rest (aka pick guard) is perfect, no cracks, original case...I even have the original purchase order.
    Jammin' south of the river
    '20 Gibson A-2
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  26. #16
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    Put a Brekke on my 1910 A. It came to me with a Kay/Harmony type straight bridge. They look closer to the originals but are still adjustable. Although I know that many folks don't like them.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
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  27. #17

    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    The bridge had a shim (a forum member suggested that I look for it) and appears to have a piece added to the top/saddle of it, possibly to help with intonation. I decided to keep the original bridge and simply remove the shim, scrape clean and fit to the top by following a Thread on this forum. The action is now lowered and the A-1 sounds like it did.
    PS after a few hours of playing it is starting to open up again...what a wonderful sound coming from this wonderful instrument!
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  29. #18

    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    I'm not at all suggesting a CA bridge wouldn't be a performance enhancement. I look at it as akin to pulling a flathead engine out of a model A Ford and replacing with a Chevy V8. Now take a rusty hulk of a model A and build a rod is a worthy endeavor. The design od a hundred year old instrument should be preserved IMHO. But it's not like you are adding a cutaway to a pre war Martin.

    Why not do both? Have a CA and a solid and switch as you please? Both views would be covered.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  30. #19

    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    Always like Ford in a Ford, Chevy in a Chevy and I have a '52 Pontiac with a Pontiac. Now for the Model A today they never had a Flathead V8 that happened in '32 but a Model A today with original Flathead 4 souped up is better IMHO.
    Not saying that a CA Bridge isn't good just not what I am looking for with this Gibson A-1. My Collings MT2 does the other very well and it has an adjustable bridge but after asking and reading the replies and other threads not for this one. They are only original once and it only took this one a little over a hundred years to get to me, the current caretaker.
    Thanks for all of the advice.
    Steve

  31. #20
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: '17 A-1 Bridge

    I assumed the 8 cylinder flathead came in the Model B but I have now discovered it was introduced in the 1932 Model 18. The things I learn in my old age. I never heard of the Model 18.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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