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Thread: Compensated bridges

  1. #1
    Registered User Pete Summers's Avatar
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    Default Compensated bridges

    Sorry if this question has been asked before, but I'm wondering why some mandolin and guitar bridges are "compensated" i.e., have offsets that make some strings' vibrating length slightly longer than others.

    On the mandolin bridge I have, the A and G strings are slightly longer than the E and D. What exactly is being compensated for?? And why do some bridges not have such compensation??

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Compensated bridges

    Ragman, I asked that same question on here about 8 months ago.. I had made a bridge saddle that was straight across, no comensation, and the intonation was great all the way up the neck and on all strings so I never understood why the compensation on the bridge saddles, I got a lot of answers but can`t remember now what was said....I have seen some older mandolins that didn`t have compensated bridges but I guess their scale length was different....Hope you find an answer, I`ll be watching this post to see what others say.....Willie

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    Registered User toddjoles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Compensated bridges

    Ragman, here is the answer as I see it. It has to do with making the instrument in tune with itself. Factors like string diameter, string tension on each pair, string height and short scale length effect intonation greatly. For example, without compensation playing a D note on the G string, and and doubling that note by playing an open D note on the D string would sound slightly out of tune with itself. I'm pretty sure that before Gibson, it was rare to see compensation on a mando. Just as before Taylor, it was rare to see compensation on production guitars. The intonation issues were always there, but were lived with and never thought to be a big enough issue to worry about.
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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Compensated bridges

    Ths may help to explain it.

    Jamie
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  5. #5
    Registered User Pete Summers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Compensated bridges

    Thanks guys. Makes sense now.

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