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Thread: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

  1. #1
    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    When I received my Stradolin I changed the strings, as they were quite old and tarnished. I failed to note at the time that the upper piece of the bridge was asymmetric: an end view of the piece shows the ridge not centered, but to one side. I do not know which way it is supposed to go, nor why/whether it matters. I figure it -might- be cosmetic, but can't see why such a subtle thing would ever be noticed. So I conclude it involves a fine relationship between the intonation (which depends upon the actual free string length) and the bridge placement on the top (which might involve structural subtleties). Of course, since this is an uncompensated bridge, it could be that there are no subtleties involved at all, and it's totally random.

    It would be useful to me if any other (particularly Stradolin) owners would chime in about any similar bridge details on their instruments. This mandolin is pictured in this thread:

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...eled+two-point

    Thanks for any info. I couldn't find anything that looked definitive in the Strad-O-Lin group photos.
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    Michael T.

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    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    On a regular adjustable mandolin bridge the E strings are closer to the fingerboard than the G strings,at least by way of compensation.
    Hughes F-5 #1
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    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    That's a string height thing, isn't it? The dimension I'm interested in is along the strings. It affects the bridge placement at the 1/8" level, which is admittedly small. Swapping the saddle end-for-end and keeping the ridge which sets the string free length in the same place results in a change of the foot placement by some small amount. The fact that there is an asymmetry makes me think that there is an intended result. Otherwise why not make the saddle symmetric? Then you don't have to specify the orientation to your assembly staff on the production line.
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    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    Oh. Now I see. I think you meant that the string length for the E is less than for the G. That involves the angle of placement of the bridge, but the issue about which I'm asking affects all strings the same. It leaves the string lengths unchanged and moves the base of the bridge a few millimeters, which is (again) very little. But the question is still there because of the asymmetric saddle.
    You live and you learn (if you're awake)
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    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    The saddle is straight, uncompensated. I finally understood what Vernon was trying to tell me. I think. But I still don't know which way is up (happens more commonly than most folks realize, and not just to me).
    You live and you learn (if you're awake)
    ... but some folks get by just making stuff up.

    Michael T.

  6. #6
    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    Does your bridge look like this? if so you can only slide it back and forth to adjust intonation-no up/down adjustment..Most of these i've seen have the e string side a little more cocked towards the fingerboard for good intonation.Just takes a little fussing with to get it right.
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    Hughes F-5 #1
    Hughes A model #1
    1922 Gibson A-2
    1958 Gibson A-5

  7. #7
    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    Not what I was asking, but a nice picture. Here's what I was asking. If I'd remembered having this pic, I'd have posted it up front. My mistake. The bridge is asymmetric. As installed in the photo, the ridge on the saddle is closer to the headstock than center of saddle. Relative to the same string length, if I flip the saddle end-for-end, there is no change in intonation, but the bridge foot will be moved toward the headstock. Hmmm. I'll have to do something different. The cafe no longer likes me enough to accept my pics. My libraries must be too old. You recognize, they are the same ones that let me post pics in the past, but for some reason now they are inadequate for the task. I'll fix this from another computer, but for the meantime:

    Imagine a brick (the saddle) with a ridge on top that is 1/3 of the way from one side and 2/3 of the way from the other side, parallel to the long side of the brick. If this saddle ridge is held in one place and you flip the brick around 180 degrees, the feet supporting the brick will move but not the ridge of the saddle. The feet will be on a slightly different piece of the top. One thing this will do is expose part of the top that the feet have been either hiding or crushing for decades. Another is that the feet will be slightly moved with respect to the bracing under the top. Assuming that the asymmetric saddle is not simply a cosmetic issue, there ought to be some reason for the builder choosing an orientation. It might not be a good one, or it might be. I dunno. I'll try to post the pic from the wife's Mac instead of this ancient Linux setup.

    OK.
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    You live and you learn (if you're awake)
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  8. #8
    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    Hard to tell from the pic but the G strings don't seem to be seated in a groove,the rest do,correct?..Maybe the saddle is on backwards. Is the intonation correct as it is?
    Hughes F-5 #1
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    1958 Gibson A-5

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    Registered User Vernon Hughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    BTW..on most of the older mandos I've set up there is most always a footprint of where the bridge used to be..Not where it needs to be now,just where it was 90 years ago!.
    Hughes F-5 #1
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    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    Straight saddle, not from a player's home (not that I'm much better). No intonation dependence on saddle orientation because it is straight, uncompensated. Foot imprints argue that I reversed the saddle when I re-installed it during string change prior to this pic. It is now flipped with respect to what you see, and the feet of the bridge are more nearly at the marks on the top. Which I can't guarantee were -ever- in the right position. But there is an as-built asymmetry in the bridge saddle and I assume there is some reason for that. There may be no reason. I think old Kays may have had a similarly asymmetric and uncompensated saddle. Certainly uncompensated in many cases. I wouldn't be confident that the 1/8" or so change in foot placement would make an audible difference, but I wanted to know whether there was really a deliberate intent of some sort, any sort, on the part of the builder to result in an asymmetric saddle. Maybe the saddles were a stock item manufactured en masse and purely cosmetically asymmetric.
    You live and you learn (if you're awake)
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  11. #11
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    One might argue that the 'more vertical' face of the saddle might be intended to face the fingerboard. The argument might be that the more vertical orientation on the vibrating string side of the saddle would minimize the liklihood of the vibrating string striking any part of the saddle, with no touching except for the sharp leading edge. Any any case, the 'leading edge' of the saddle should be the highest point of the top of the saddle. I'd let that be my strongest guide.

    Hope that makes some sense.
    Phil

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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    My guess is that the bridge orientation is correct now. Are the grooves all identical in depth and appearance???? Normally you should be able to tell by the grooves. If they are all cut identical, then either way would likely be OK.
    Bart McNeil

  13. #13
    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    Bart,
    That's exactly the issue: the grooves aren't well-established for some reason. Possibly it was put on in both orientations, like I think I did when I changed strings upon first receipt. Duh. However, I'm coming to believe that it was oriented when it arrived with the saddle ridge closer to the tailpiece. I've seen a few other pics that appear to be that way and none otherwise. The few contacts I've made on the issue at first didn't understand my question. After explanation they generally said, "Oh. Hmm," and showed me pictures they had and they reinforced my thought that the steep side is toward the tailpiece.

    I have no good idea why the designer made it asymmetric, nor why (or whether) he chose an orientation for other than cosmetic reasons. It appears that I'm as far as I can get toward an answer. It isn't very far, but I'm satisfied for now. This orientation may be a little more resistant to tipping the bridge when tightening up new strings. And that's the closest to a reasoned choice for orientation that I've come up with. There might be some reason involving brace positioning under the top, but I haven't looked to see whether there is a brace near the bridge feet.
    You live and you learn (if you're awake)
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    Michael T.

  14. #14
    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    By the way, what I'm trying to say here is that the picture in post #7 above is (I currently believe) backward from the manufacturer's intent. I can't say either is wrong, but I can say that the #7 picture seems to be backward from what seems to be the way others have their bridge saddles oriented. And, BTW, from the present orientation of the saddle on my Stradolin. I reversed it shortly after taking the photo in #7 and don't have an updated version.
    You live and you learn (if you're awake)
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    Michael T.

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    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    Which ever way intonates closest to the foot prints is probably the right way.
    Jim Richmond

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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge detail for a '40s(?) Strad-O-Lin

    Quote Originally Posted by DerTiefster View Post
    By the way, what I'm trying to say here is that the picture in post #7 above is (I currently believe) backward from the manufacturer's intent. ......
    You may be correct, but I would argue that the picture in #7 IS correct orientation. For the reasons I mentioned above.
    YMMV

    P.S. How would you tend to orient a nut if it had the same shape?? Most vertical edge with highest point towards the vibrating segment of the strings.
    Phil

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