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 Post subject: Flat top bridges
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:37 am
Posts: 5
First name: Jean
City: Pittsburgh
State: PA
Zip/Postal Code: 15210
Country: US
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I’m working on a flat top kit and it’s time to make the bridge. I’m not confident I can carve compensation as precisely as it should be. And I don’t understand the variety of flat top bridges that I’ve found. The top photo is the bridge drawing in the plans I’m working from.


The second photo is a mock-up of that bridge I put together from odd bits. I can tune the mandolin with this rigger. So I think a solid bridge something like this is the way to go.


The third photo is a flat top mandolin bridge I bought online. The top white bar is about 1/8 or 3/16” thick. Is the idea to carve compensation into this? Could I get this one close to the drawing I’m working from?


And then there’s this one. I have no idea what the design principles are for this one but it was sold as a flat top bridge.


Please advise or give me some links to resources that will help me understand how to carve with precision. And what is the logic of bridge design? Thank you

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 Post subject: Re: Flat top bridges
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:26 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:09 pm
Posts: 761
Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
Country: Canada
Status: Semi-pro
I can't speak to the logic behind Mandolin bridge design, but I've found this to be really helpful in regards to compensation... ... sation.htm

If I was in your shoes, I'd build the bridge, leave the top flat, string the instrument up, stick a piece of a thick B string or something under the actual string where I think I'll want my saddle peak to be, check intonation and adjust. Once you know where the right spot is mark it with a pencil, and file away the saddle until your left with just a small area at the appropriate place.

I don't have as much experience setting up a mandolin as I do guitars, but one thing I've come to appreciate about intonation, compensation, and the compromises involved in tuning a fretted instrument is how dependant it all can be on a players technique. When checking the intonation on a guitar I can easily manipulate the note 5 or so cents sharp or flat depending on how I press the string down all within the realms of normal playing. So I aim for perfection, but realize this is an area that can be overthought.

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