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Thread: Material Below the Bridge

  1. #1
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    Default Material Below the Bridge

    My old mandolin teacher used to use a shoelace that he would weave in-between my strings below the bridge (right above the tailpiece). Since I've gotten my new mandolin I have not put anything down there but have noticed other people using what look like beads. What are these and are their only purpose to prevent this part of the string from ringing out?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    Elctrical grommets. You can buy them four at a time from some people or a hundred or so at a time on Amazon all the way from from China.

    They perform in exactly the same way as a bootlace or a piece of felt jammed in the tailpiece. The advantage of them is that you can arrange them in a simple pattern and have endless hours of fun grovelling around on the floor looking for them if you’re prone to breaking strings.

    A better solution is probably to fit a a James tailpiece.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    A piece of felt or leather on the tailpiece cover will work, be out of site, and you won't have to look all over when you break, or change, a string.
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  4. #4
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    You mean these? Grommets

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    An unessessary affectation IMHO.

    Dave H
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  6. #6
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    I was having issues with those strings vibrating, so I weaved a leather cutting in. Worked great
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hanson View Post
    An unessessary affectation IMHO.

    Dave H
    Not nearly the affectation that is the last 9 or 10 frets on a full-Florida fretboard extention.

    A good resonant mandolin will vibrate not only the strings from bridge to tailpice but also from nut to tuners. It can be annoying.
    Ergo,not an affectation Imho.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    A pair of leather bootlaces will last several lifetimes. To me the grommets are too inorganic looking. But really, for me it’s a precaution against that which my now 69 year old ears can not hear.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    I've got quite a collection of mandolins mostly American made but also a top class English model and a couple of Eastmans, none of them vibrate or make sounds where they shouldn't, am I just lucky or does this phenonema only occur in mandolins in the USA ?

    Dave H
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  10. #10
    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    Dave,

    Run a pick over the strings below the bridge and also above the nut. If you hear a "live" unmuted response, that same response is happening as sympathetic overtones when you play. You may not notice them . . . but they're there.

    Grommets or a bit of leather just reduces those added vibrations that are working against the tone vibrations produced by the desired "working" part of your strings between the nut and the bridge.

    Steve

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  12. #11
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    Every mandolin I’ve played with a James tail piece still needed a bootlace. YMMV.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    Elctrical grommets. You can buy them four at a time from some people or a hundred or so at a time on Amazon all the way from from China.

    They perform in exactly the same way as a bootlace or a piece of felt jammed in the tailpiece. The advantage of them is that you can arrange them in a simple pattern and have endless hours of fun grovelling around on the floor looking for them if you’re prone to breaking strings.

    A better solution is probably to fit a a James tailpiece.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    Neither of mine do; perhaps some new “O” rings are called for? Anyone else with a James care to comment?

  14. #13
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    I've never needed a mute on an instrument with a James tailpiece if the tailpiece was properly installed (strings lie firmly on the 0 rings.)

    I've needed mutes on several other instruments. Always used a piece of leather bootlace because of the organic look. Pushed down near the TP, they're hardly noticeable.

    I've had a couple mandolins that needed this above the nut also, but curiously not recently. (Maybe I should get my hearing checked.)

    I've always been of the opinion that the rubber grommets are just ugly. (Sorry.)
    And I feel the same way about the chunks of wood for that purpose by Mr Weber. (Very sorry, but that's the way I see it.)

    I'm glad I got all that off my chest, but I don't seem to feel any better.
    Phil

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  16. #14
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    I have always liked the shoelace/leather better than the grommets myself, I just wasn't sure if there was a specific benefit to one or the other. I have not heard of the chunks of wood (I own a Weber myself).

  17. #15
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    Quote Originally Posted by mle.w View Post
    I have always liked the shoelace/leather better than the grommets myself, I just wasn't sure if there was a specific benefit to one or the other. I have not heard of the chunks of wood (I own a Weber myself).
    Here's a picture of the wood of which I speak.
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    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

  18. #16
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    Default Re: Material Below the Bridge

    Ah, yes. I have seen those. I agree with most that the shoelace seems to be the easiest and most appropriate way to achieve this. The James tailpiece is an interesting thought, but I am honestly a fan of the intricacies in the Weber factory tailpiece.

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