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The newest development:
Shorter bridge feet, more sound.

Here's the new mandolin bridge:

picture of bridge

...and here's the new mandola bridge:

picture of mandola bridge


Hello, folks--

There's been a lot of progress suddenly with the mandolin bridges, and this seems to apply not only to 1-piece bridges, but to the 2-piece bridges as well.

Here's the news, which may be an important discovery:-- I trimmed out the inner base of a maple bridge so that the feet were only 1" long, leaving a gap of 2 1/4" between them, and suddenly got LOTS more sound from the mandolin. It gave thunkier, chunkier, richer, louder response. I did this with *seven* different bridges (three maples, cherry, ebony, mahogany, and also a standard ebony 2-piece bridge)-- with before-and-after playing on each bridge-- and the result was the same, proportionately, with every one of them. Every one. Now that mandolin gives a lot of sound from very light playing.

Then I wondered whether this was only something which would work on f-hole tone-bar mandolins, or if it would also work on oval-hole instruments too. So I made a new bridge for my old Gibson H-2, trimming out the feet to 1 1/4"-- the mandola roared. My son Chris and I estimate that it gives 1/3 more response than before, and my wife Murphy described the tone as "very pure." Then I did the same with two different mandocello bridges-- leaving the feet 1 1/4" long-- and got even more sustain and volume than before from the 'cello.

This is an exciting possibility, but we need more information. I'd like to ask some of you to try this. If you have or can make a bridge to use for an experiment, whether it's 1-piece maple, 2-piece ebony, or any other mandolin bridge, try trimming the bridge base opening out so that the feet are quite short-- about 1" long-- and see whether you get more response from your mandolin. If this turns out to be a general rule, a lot of mandolins could benefit from the change.




PS-- Many thanks to my friends Andrew, Mike, Randy, Steven, and Don for giving me the wood I've used in recent experiments, including this one. It seems that whenever I'm running short of bridge wood a Comando comes to the rescue, and I'm grateful for that.

PPS-- Thanks also to Rob for giving me the impetus to publish this. I was so tied up making bridges lately that I didn't have any inclination to type.



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