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Thread: george la foley intonation...

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    Question george la foley intonation...

    Hi I'm actually new and came here becasue I need help wth a rather fine George La Foley mandolin. I bought it on ebay ,tut tut , took off the kind of string cover/brace that goes between the bridge and the tail piece, cleaned it up and re-strung it with GHS specialist strings .So far ,so good. After tuning ,I realised that I wasn't gonna get the intonation right without replacing the string brace-- for that's what it must be --that's obviously what it's there for. Now ---I loosened off the strings, and replaced the cover . Tightened the strings and ping --off it flew ,leaving rather bigger holes than were originally there .I'm no expert ,as you can tell ,so now I'm wondering how to get the cover back on without it pinging off again--and without damaging the poor thing any more .Help ?

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    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    I have seen one of these mandolins before and i believe what you are talking about is a harmonic suppressor and not a brace. It doesn't have any effects on intonation. The bridge location does. Now tighten and tune the strings first then adjust intonation by adjusting bridge then place the device on after the strings are tight not while loose or before you tuned them...Mike

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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    Hi --Many thanks for your reply. it's difficult to move the bridge too far as the soundboard is flat from the soundhole to about half way down the body and then slopes down towards the tailpiece .I'l l try moving it towards the soundhole .Thanks.

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    Quote Originally Posted by wiltshire-apple-pie View Post
    Hi --Many thanks for your reply. it's difficult to move the bridge too far as the soundboard is flat from the soundhole to about half way down the body and then slopes down towards the tailpiece .I'l l try moving it towards the soundhole .Thanks.
    Unfortunately that's probably the wrong way... just guessing based on past experience. But the rule is:

    String up with just 2 strings up to pitch - one G and one E - then move each end of the bridge until both intonate correctly at #12. If they're flat at #12 then shorten the scale length (move towards the sound hole), and if they're sharp then lengthen the scale length (move towards the tailpiece).

    Make small movements - you shouldn't need to move the bridge very far to get everything intonately correctly.

    As shown in the attached image, you may need to get the bridge almost right on top of the bend in the soundboard before you get proper intonation.

    HTH, John.
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    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    Hi again i found this image of a la foley mando online. I just wanted to be sure we were talking about the same thing that popped off. The thing behind the bridge wit the 2 screws? If so it is better to put that on after tuned up. It is a harmonic suppressor.

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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    Yep ,that's the thing. Thanks .Is it absolutely neccessary to put it back on ?

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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    Hi Mike Thanks for that ,I 'll try it and get bac k to you .

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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    Those ebony bars are typical of the DeMeglio style mandolin made in Naples. Yours looks like a DeMeglio (or made by one of many copyists of that style). A view from the side would help to confirm that. It looks remarkably clean; is the table varnished? They were usually unvarnished and picked up lots of dirt.
    Not many other Italian makers bothered with those bars and it is hard to see what they contribute apart from frequent splits to the table caused by the screws. You are probably best off leaving it off unless you want to maximise authenticity.
    Anglocelt
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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    What Anglocelt said. Regarding the purpose of the transverse bar, the builders' intentions are difficult to ascertain at this stage, not being able to ask Signore de Meglio in person. I think it's unlikely that they have anything to do with cutting out harmonics. For that purpose they would need to be lined with felt or another soft material, when in fact they are invariably smooth wood. I think it's most likely that they are intended to increase the string break angle across the bridge and thus the pressure of the bridge onto the soundboard and the volume of the instrument. Note that this is also the purpose of the cant in the top of bowlbacks. In practical terms, I don't think it makes much difference either way. I wouldn't take one off if it's on there, but I also wouldn't put if back if it's missing.

    Martin

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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    Hi Martin and Anglocelt
    Thanks for your replies .I am very relucutant to try and put it back on--seems ok without it. The problem is , I did try and it just flew off leaving big holes ,so as you both pointed out ,the damage to the soundboard is not worth it .BTW- -the pic above is not my mondo--mine is dirtier and unvarnished.


    Wiltsapplepie.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    Wiltshire: Can you posts some pics of your La Foley? I was wondering if it has side sound holes like the Demeglio. I know that La Foley was credited as a builder but I wonder if he contracted to Demeglio for these bowlbacks. The pics I have seen look like very good copies, maybe too good to actually be copies. I thinkthat Demeglio might have had some patents on his designs, so this might actually be made bu =y his shop for La Foley.
    Jim

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    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: george la foley intonation...

    Quote Originally Posted by wiltshire-apple-pie View Post
    Yep ,that's the thing. Thanks .Is it absolutely neccessary to put it back on ?
    Hi i missed you responding to me earlier in this post so my answer is a little late. No it not really necessary to put it back on. Many come with out one and they are quite fine without it. I would put it in a safe place though. If it's and original piece it will be nice to have it you ever have plans to sell the instrument.
    Last edited by fishtownmike; Jan-06-2010 at 1:00am.

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