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This is maple bridge information from professional luthier Peter Coombe.


On August 10th, Peter wrote:


Please find attached a scan of my bridge # 4. I have made another bridge from European Maple and can't tell any difference from this Rock Maple bridge. Maybe the European bridge is a fraction louder, but the tone is near enough to identical, I can't tell any difference. This bridge weighs 6.8gm, the European Maple bridge weighs 6.0gm.


Here's the photo of Peter's Bridge #4:

picture of coombe's bridge

(On August 2nd, Peter had just completed his first bridge, and he wrote:)

G'Day Commandos

A visceral bridge it is indeed.

I made 2 more bridges and managed to ascertain that if you overdo the side undercuts then you get a warmer, richer tone with a greatly improved bass, but the E string goes dead, and most of the impoved clarity in the treble disappears. Damn, damn! Then I saw Red's #14 bridge. So back to the workshop and make one like it, but I changed the centre holes to be more like a violin. Voila - warm tone with the treble clarity back, and no dead E string. I think it sounds sweeter as well. That's it, this bridge stays on!

A couple of hours later and my favorite oval hole mandolin is sounding incredible and I can't put it down. Loud, sweet, warm, even balance, and with amazing clarity. What more could you wish for! The clarity really punches through other instruments. Red, you have done it. A very significant leap foreward in mandolin bridge design.

I am seriously considering ditching Ebony bridges. The only problem is that new mandolin tops tend to settle, and an adjustable bridge is a distinct advantage. Maybe the solution is to set the action a bit high and hope it settles down with time.


(Later, Peter added this information:)

To all bridge builders

I have just made another bridge and timed how long it took me to make it. 28 minutes from raw hunk of wood to bridge (uncompensated) ready to fit to the top of the mandolin. This one is made of curley European Maple. I want to test European Maple because that is what violin bridges are made from. Weight of my Rock Maple bridge is 6.8g, weight of the new bridge is 6.2g, but that will go down slightly after compensation. I will report later on the results, but right now I am very reluctant to take that Rock Maple bridge off, it sounds soooo good.



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