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Thread: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

  1. #151
    Registered User
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    Mar 2020
    Spokane, WA

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Gracias for the book. Well done!

  2. #152

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thanks so much for the ebook Rob - have just flipped through and it's an amazing resource! Truly a treasure, and will certainly keep me busy during this period of isolation.

    all the best!

  3. #153

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users


    I bought a mandolin a while ago and always felt like the either the quality was low or maybe I just didn't understand how to make great sound come out of it. I searched around for various optimizations I could make to myself or the instrument, and it all kept coming back to a proper set up.

    Like you, I can't just hand something off to someone else without knowing what they are doing. I'm an engineer and I must know what makes things tick! If the process would be overwhelmingly difficult I had no problem handing it off to someone. However, I needed to know what goes into a set up first before I know what to get out of it.

    This ebook was exactly what I was looking for. You have perfectly captured the details of what goes into making the mandolin create the best sound it can make, and you've laid out the steps for setting up the mandolin to provide anyone a clear understanding. Your book has made me excited about my mandolin, and I really appreciate the effort you put in to collect this great information.

    Thanks again!

  4. #154
    Newbie Seeking Clues tangleweeds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Pacific Northwest, USA

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thank you Rob for sending me your ebook (again)!

    As a quarrantine project, I'm upgrading my Rogue again. You ebook was vital the last time I did so, but that was quite a while ago, and the computer it was on died, taking the ebook (and my music collection) with it. This time I've backed it up in the cloud.

    I'm lookiong forward to this project. Last time I put on new tuners and re-fitted its bridge. Now I've got a new bridge for it, and am looking into getting it a (cheap) cast tailpiece to replace the nuicancey one it currently has (on which string loops barely fit over the HUGE pegs).
    recurrent beginner spring 2020 (2016, 2014, 2010)

    Eastman MD-515 ... Kentucky KM-172 ... Trinity College Octave TC-325B ... Rogue RM-100A
    various "artisan tweaked" tin whistles ... digital piano ... other small instruments ... way too much sheet music

  5. #155

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thanks for the set-up ebook. Lot of good information and easy to follow. Very thorough; great work.

  6. #156

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thanks, for the book Rob! Got some new strings on my new (to me) mandolin. Turns out the existing setup was pretty good, but since I'm new to the mandolin, I wouldn't have known that without the book. Great advice within it.

  7. #157
    Registered User
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    May 2020
    San Diego, CA

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thank you, Rob, for the speedy reply and for the ebook (and YouTube links). The fact that you have been supporting all us newbies and pros is really great. Hope to one day repay the generosity (or pay it forward) somehow.


  8. #158
    Registered User Pappyrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Williamsburg, VA

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Rob, Thanks for the ebook. Lots of good stuff in it. I like the way you make your nut slot files out of feeler gauges. I have been using welding tip cleaners for this purpose for a few years, and they also work well. You can buy a set for about $5 at Home Depot/Lowes.

    Anyway, thanks again.

    Eastman 305 mandolin
    Martin D16 guitar
    OME 11" banjo
    Pisgah 12" banjo

  9. #159
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Southern California

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thanks for the book Rob! The book gives lots of good information, but more importantly, the confidence to take on a setup. Thanks again!

    2020 Sawchyn Beavertail
    1950's Stradolin

  10. #160

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    A big thank you to Rob for all of his work.

  11. #161

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users


    Thanks very much for the book. A wonderful resource. It will take some time to fully understand and implement it all as it contains so much useful information.


  12. #162

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    New member and new player. I have emailed a request to you for your book and thank you in advance for putting this together and making it available!!!

  13. #163

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users


    Thank you so much for sending the ebook! I am looking forward to working thorough it. This is a valuable resource and is much appreciated!!!!


  14. #164

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    I have recently purchased what is I'm sure a very 'el cheapo' mandolin, a Palmer. The action is probably too high at the nut and overall - It has what looks to be a height adjustable, compensated saddle bridge, that somebody glued to the top. I think the bridge should be floating. Rather than ask a bunch of setup questions here, I will be e-mailing for the book. I have done minor work on guitars before like fitting new nuts, saddle piece shaving, replacing worn-through floating saddle/bridge combos with those of my own making and compensation. I think I can handle what needs to happen on this Palmer, and since I only paid $35 for it, I'm not worried about destroying it. Thank you in advance for it. -Scott

  15. #165
    Registered User Erin M's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2020
    The Beautiful Pacific Northwest

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thank you Rob, it's very generous of you to share this book. I've done setups on guitars and electric basses many times, but never a mandolin.

    My KM1000 Kentucky was setup very nicely by the Mandolin Store; I took measurements of neck relief, string height at 1st and 12th fret, etc... I did have to raise the bridge just a very tiny bit after things settled in to the dry climate here), but as time goes by and seasons change, some adjustments will likely be needed. I'm confident your book will guide me down the right path.

    "Flow, river flow. Let your waters wash down, take me from this road, to some other town." - Roger McGuinn

  16. #166

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Hi Rob. I sent you an email last weekend and a couple of hours later you sent me your manual. That alone I thought was very cool. However this is the first time Iíve seen your post here. I found your contact information somewhere else in these forums.

    I will say that I am covered by all of the demographics in your post. I have played guitar off and on for the past forty years. A few years ago, I started it might be cool to try out the mandolin. In truth I thought it would mostly cool to be able to play the Battle of Evermore. A couple of weeks ago I bought myself a Kentucky KM-140 from the big box on line retailer. I like it a lot while recognizing itís entry level equipment.

    I have read your manual now cover to cover, I found it to be a great read, and it feeds my ever growing passion for the mandolin. Even playing simple fiddle tunes now, I am having a blast and only want to get better. The people in this community seemed to have a lot of passion, that inspires me. They seem friendly too.

    While I havenít yet put your manual into practice, I want to thank you for your generosity in sharing your work with others. That is a very cool thing.

  17. #167

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thank you so much, Rob, for your generous ebook gift and prompt response. 'Tis well done and the info looks super helpful to me, as it obviously has been for thousands of mandolin players.

    Also, I came across your original song, Wash Your Hands, on youtube, and it's absolutely delightful.

  18. #168

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Rob sent me his e-book a couple of days ago and I've read the whole thing once, then scanned through for specific areas of interest. I've got to say I'm pretty impressed with this effort.

    Right now, I'm at the stage where I just want to read everything I can get my hands on about the mandolin, so it's great to have such a complete overview of the instrument and a bunch of tips about how to fix certain problems.

    Thanks, Rob. It will be a great resource for years to come.


  19. #169

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Many thanks for this.

    Got my first (Cheap electro accoustic) mando last week and it was pretty much unplayable. Nut was way too high and not cut, just light scratches for string slots. Strings were very heavy guage.. was impossible to even hit second fret notes. :D

    A week later, home made luthier files, light gauge strings, all tuned, intonation done, about 1.5 string width gap to the frets. Playing nicely :D

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  20. #170

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    Thanks Rob. Just got your eBook and look forward to using it.

  21. #171
    Registered User pbrad74's Avatar
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    Jun 2020
    Fayetteville, NC

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Rob, thank you for the book. I got it before July 4th but just now getting around to uploading the before and after photos. Your book was a tremendous help. Thank you so much for putting this together and sharing freely with the community. I performed this set up on a new Ibanez M22.

    What is not shown is that I also had to work on the 5th fret. It was much higher than all the others. I taped it off, filed it down, then used some steel wool on it to get it shiny again.

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    Look at all that light!

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    Action was way to high for these hands.

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    Halfway through the sanding process.

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    Much better contact!

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    Right where they need to be.

  22. #172

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Another shout out to Rob for the book. Emailed him at 10:30 and it was in my inbox 3 hours later. Looking forward to reading it!

  23. #173

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Meldrum View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I have been giving away the free setup ebook for nearly four years now, and I thought you'd be interested in some observations I have. First off, if you want my free ebook on how to set up a mandolin, just email me at and put Mandolin Setup in the subject line.

    I've given away nearly four thousand ebooks! That's a pretty good sample size to make a few observations. The average person requesting my book is male (over 95%), over forty years old (85-90%), very polite (99%), new to mandolins (65-70%) and trying to make the best of an economical purchase (65-70%). "Economical purchase" is any mandolin with a retail price of under $350.00.

    Depending on the time of year 50-75% of the requesters come from MandolinCafe, 30-50% from seeing my YouTube videos, about 10% from MandoHut, and the rest from random Internet searches.

    On the Rogue as an introductory mandolin front, many requesters consider the Rogue, find my YouTube videos, and then buy the Rogue. After completing the setup they are happy players. I have yet to hear from a person saying their Rogue is a mess and they are bummed out. In the past four years the quality control of the Rogue has steadily improved. The last couple of instruments I have bought needed very little work.

    For a polite group, surprisingly few requesters (5-10%) post a thank-you or comment on this site. Many email me a personal thank you. I would prefer a thank you here only because it "bumps" the thread and makes it easier for a newbie to find. I attribute this to two things. First, newbies frequently join a site and then don't participate. More importantly, the users here tend to be very passionate. Any time someone posts a positive experience about a Rogue or other inexpensive mandolin there will be a chorus of experts laughing at the "firewood," "plywood," "wall hanger" that the newbie bought. Based on most of the threads here one would think that a rank beginner should never spend less than $500 for an entry-level mandolin.

    I think because of our average age and income level most of us forget what it's like to think a $100 purchase is a pretty big deal. In my real job I am an insurance agent and I see lots of people living paycheck to paycheck. If their child wants a guitar or mandolin they usually budget around $100. I like knowing that for $100 (and a free setup book) they can get a playable instrument. In a year or two they will know whether their child is a committed player and deserves a better instrument or the mandolin is collecting dust in a closet or attic.

    Oh yeah, the last statistic. Most luthiers know a lot about woodworking and finish work and not a lot about setting up a mandolin. I base that on the comments I get from luthiers after they read through my book.

    I've had a few good suggestions about beefing up certain areas of the book and have decided not to take the time to do a re-write. The income (zero dollars) just doesn't justify the effort!

    Since writing the ebook I have gotten involved with a guitar-oriented band and spend 99% of my time playing guitar, so my mandolin picking skills are still very weak. But the people on this site make visiting here a real treat.

    Mandolin players are a special lot. :-)
    Hi Rob, I just wanted to thank you for sending the so promptly, even to the UK! The book looks great and will be a big help for me as I intend giving my starter mandolin to my daughter, so it would be really good to have it set up properly. Unfortunately knowing my daughter, she will soon be a better player than me and will be teaching me how to play!
    My new instrument is a Paul Hathaway mandolin ( a London Luthier). It’s really good for playing folk and blues and it is much better than me at playing Bach.
    You are a true gent.

  24. #174
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thanks Rob! I appreciate you offering this book to anyone interested. Itís a very kind and generous thing to do. I look forward to digging into it. Thanks again!

  25. #175

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Hi Rob,

    I've been lurking on this site a bit to help me decide on my first mandolin. I decided to stop lurking and join the forum because of your setup book on offer. The community here seems really supportive and full of great advice so thanks for giving me that extra push to jump in. I'll be picking up a used Eastman MD 605 I've had my eye on from the shop later today and the rest will, hopefully, be history.

    Thank you so much for this great resource from one Rob to another

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