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Thread: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

  1. #1

    Default How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    Hello, I am planning on purchasing a Brazilian 10 string fanned fret mandolin, and the luthier is suggesting the used of fanned frets. This makes me a little nervous since I see no visual points of reference in the pictures of his instruments.

    I am used to dealing with violins, violas & cellos when replacing all strings, figure mandolins couldn't be much harder, but the fanned fret thingy has me a bit mystified.

    I am inclined to ask the luthier to skip it, but he assures me it will benefit the sound of the instrument.

    That aside from the separate issue of playing complex cords in such an instrument, which I am a little worried about, though the consensus suggests it is not that big of a deal.

  2. #2
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    I agree with the luthier that it will improve the sound of the instrument as it will give the larger strings extra scale length which is desirable. I also agree it isn't that hard to get used to. I don't even notice my fanned frets any more.
    The bridge is placed at an angle to allow for the extra scale length. It is place how a normal bridge is placed in that you get the note correct on both the open note and the same note fretted at the 12th fret. You do this for the outside strings and the others will be close.
    Hope this helps.
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    Wow, I was hoping for but did not really expect an answer from Hamilton de Holanda on the topic of fanned frets, here is what he just told me:

    "Já testei e não me adaptei. Acho que o ganho na corda dó não compensa a mudança da técnica da mão esquerda. abraços"

    Google Translate: "Already tested and did not adapt. I think the gain on the C-string doesn't make up for the change in left hand technique. hugs"

  4. #4
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    This is what you can expect the set up to look like on a ten string mandolin-mandola.......

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/146105#146105

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    This is what you can expect the set up to look like on a ten string mandolin-mandola.......

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/146105#146105

    NFI
    That's pretty extreme. Probably sounds better than the one I built, but also probably harder to adjust to in terms of feel. Lots of ways you could build it. Perhaps the one Mr. Holanda played was on the more extreme side of things. Can't really draw any conclusions from one person, even if they are extremely skilled, since we don't know what instrument he played, or how it was designed.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    This is what you can expect the set up to look like on a ten string mandolin-mandola.......

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/146105#146105

    NFI
    Looks really nice, but the fan frets looks rather scary, I wonder if there is a video or recording of it.
    Last edited by Don Dv; Oct-29-2019 at 10:01pm.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Perhaps the one Mr. Holanda played was on the more extreme side of things. Can't really draw any conclusions from one person, even if they are extremely skilled, since we don't know what instrument he played, or how it was designed.
    Since I don't know if he tried only one or several, I cannot be sure, but if only one, I am pretty sure it was this one by Brazilian luthier Regis Bonilha (screen capture of video sent to me in private by luthier, he told me the person playing is Mr. de Holanda).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Face is not shown, but if I posted the video, people would probably recognize the playing style. I haven't asked permission yet to post the video itself. Yes, it doesn't look very fanned to me either, the feature must be rather tame instead of extreme.

    Another picture from the same luthier (I think it might be the same instrument, looks the same to me), more pictures at https://www.facebook.com/RegisBonilhaLuthier
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Seems modest on the fanning aspect I think (after seeing the Girouard mandola above anyway).
    Last edited by Don Dv; Oct-29-2019 at 10:25pm.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    Setting up the bridge on a ten string fanndola is the same as any other instrument: make a small adjustment, play it a bit to see if that is the sweet spot, repeat. The bridge is pretty simple. Making a new nut for one is a miserable pain in the @$$ that takes about three times the effort for a traditional 8 string mandolin; quite possibly my least favorite task in all of lutherie!

    I've made four of them (fanndolas)over a 20 year span. They are interesting instruments, but so far not enough to make me feel I need to keep one in my personal collection.

    There are plenty of great US builders who can build you a nice one without having to go all the way to Brazil.....
    Spruce dork

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    There are plenty of great US builders who can build you a nice one without having to go all the way to Brazil.....
    For under 2k from a reputable luthier and with a very good sound?
    Last edited by Don Dv; Oct-29-2019 at 11:19pm.

  10. #10
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    I have played a 10 string fan fret and it takes no time at all to get used the frets. It is intuitive.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  11. #11
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I have played a 10 string fan fret and it takes no time at all to get used the frets. It is intuitive.
    +1, certainly for my 10 string cittern you just don't notice the fan at all.

    I have to say though, they can be a pain to set up - not least because the strings in each pair are different lengths and so want different compensation.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    ..
    Last edited by Don Dv; Nov-05-2019 at 6:45am. Reason: Could not figure out how to delete post since there is a time limit on editing

  13. #13

    Default Re: How to adjust the bridge on a fanned fret 10 string mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    This is what you can expect the set up to look like on a ten string mandolin-mandola.......

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/146105#146105

    NFI
    I came back to look at this picture and it is gone, I guess it was sold?

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