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Thread: new bridge for flat top?

  1. #1
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    Default new bridge for flat top?

    Does anybody make replacement bridges for flattop mandolins? Preferably adjustable, preferably slotted. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    Call Steve at Cumberland Acoustics...... https://cumberlandacoustic.com/product/mandolin-bridge/

    Great guy to deal with and makes a good product.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  3. #3
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    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    The Cumberland bridges seem to be designed for mandolins with arched tops.

    I need a bridge for a mandolin with a flat top, like a Flatiron 1N or a Northfield Calhoun.

  4. #4

    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    Grover makes one. You will have to fit it and slot it, but any competent tech would be able to do it for you.
    https://grotro.com/product/tune-kraft-mandolin-bridge/

    $10
    https://www.guitarpartsresource.com/...bluegrass.html

    Most flat-tops don't have enough neck angle to accommodate an adjustable bridge, but some have elevated boards that will accommodate one. What are you trying to fit it to?

    Either way, I'm sure that Steve Smith from Cumberland could make one for you. He's great to work with.
    Or you could contact Northfield and see if they'll sell you one
    Last edited by stevojack665; Feb-25-2020 at 9:35pm.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    As far as I know, no one makes an off-the-shelf adjustable bridge for a flat top mandolin. And yes, many flat tops are going to require a lower bridge height than can be accommodated with a factory made adjustable bridge. A string height of 3/8" above the top is about the lowest height can be achieved with an adjustable bridge.

    If your mandolin will accommodate an adjustable bridge, you will have to have one made for you.

    The most practical ways to get this done are:

    1. It wouldn't hurt to call Cumberland Acoustics and see if they will make you an adjustable bridge for a flat top. They will have to speak with you on the phone, and you will need to have a good rule on hand so they can figure out if an adjustable bridge will work. It will have to be fitted by your repairman after you receive the bridge. Even flat top mandolins are not completely flat. This is an easy job for a seasoned repairman, but somewhat difficult for an amateur.

    2. You can buy a very good quality saddle, adjusting posts, and thumbwheels from Axiom, Inc. for $32 plus shipping, and have them installed on a hand-made base. The saddle might have to be reduced in height to make it work. The saddle will then have to be slotted and the base fitted to your mandolin.

    3. If you're trying to keep the budget low, you can buy a cheap adjustable bridge for maybe $10 - $15, and have the saddle, posts, and thumbwheels installed on a hand-made base. I would avoid the $6 extra cheap bridge.
    You will still have to have the bridge slotted and fitted.

    If you don't insist on an adjustable bridge, one piece mandolin bridges are available from several sources, or can easily be made from a piece of ebony, rosewood, or even maple stock. The bridge will still have to be slotted, fitted, and compensated.

    There's got to be someone in Chicago who can fit a bridge for you. If all else fails, find a violin repairman. They fit bridges all the time.
    Last edited by rcc56; Feb-25-2020 at 10:24pm.

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    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    Thank you all!
    Actually I'm thinking of trying it on a banjo-mandolin. Figured it might mellow out the sound just a bit more than the usual banjo-style bridges.
    Adjustable is by no means a necessity, just seemed like a possibly useful feature.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    Well, that puts a different light on the subject.

    A couple of easy things you can try . . .

    Try a thicker banjo bridge. A new Grover or Golden Gate tenor banjo bridge might suit the situation.
    Put a sock between the dowel stick or metal rod and the head.
    Try a set of fairly light strings, maybe 10-14-24-36.
    If you're really brave, try loosening the hooks 1/8th of a turn. If that helps, you might even be able to go just a little further.

  8. #8
    Bridger Products
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    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    Actually, I make an adjustable bridge that works for most flat top instruments.

    Vern Brekke
    www.bridgerproducts.com

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  10. #9
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    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Well, that puts a different light on the subject.

    A couple of easy things you can try . . .

    Try a thicker banjo bridge. A new Grover or Golden Gate tenor banjo bridge might suit the situation.
    Put a sock between the dowel stick or metal rod and the head.
    Try a set of fairly light strings, maybe 10-14-24-36.
    If you're really brave, try loosening the hooks 1/8th of a turn. If that helps, you might even be able to go just a little further.
    Thanks! Lemme tellya, I could put a sock drawer full of socks in this guy & it would still be loud enough to get people complaining to the condo board. But it sure is fun to mess around with.

    Quote Originally Posted by VernBrekke View Post
    Actually, I make an adjustable bridge that works for most flat top instruments.

    Vern Brekke
    www.bridgerproducts.com
    Well now! I had a Brekke Bridge a very long time ago that I put on an F-9 I think it was. Bridge & F-9 both long gone but the bridge was great. That might be the way to go.

    I'm still not sure I'll even hang on to the banjo-mandolin though. It's nice (an old Weymann 40) but maybe too niche for me.

    One last thing FWIW, I was never happy with the G string from a "light" set, a week or so ago I switched to an "ultra light" 32. Huge improvement!

  11. #10
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    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    Quote Originally Posted by jesserules View Post
    The Cumberland bridges seem to be designed for mandolins with arched tops.

    I need a bridge for a mandolin with a flat top, like a Flatiron 1N or a Northfield Calhoun.
    I have a Cumberland bridge made for a Flatiron 1N, and it worked great. They need to custom make them, but, as I recall, it was no more expensive than a stock bridge. If I recall, I just contacted them through the email address on their website.

  12. #11

    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    A violin mute just adds a small mass to the very top of the bridge; makes a huge difference in sound - mellow might be the best term, as it kills the higher stuff. You could try something ad hoc like a clothespin for an experiment. Socks are even easier!

  13. #12
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    +1 for the Brekke adjustable flat top bridge.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

  14. #13
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    Default Re: new bridge for flat top?

    The strings I use for a banjo mandolin is 10-28. A 5 string banjo can have great depth and they don't have heavy strings. I find a 28 to work well on the G string and it mellows the instrument out a lot. It is after all a banjo. I buy two sets of tenor banjo strings.

    You could also use a solid flattop mandolin bridge, it will have much more mass than a banjo bridge and help with intonation.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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