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Thread: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

  1. #51
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    Default Re: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

    What a fun project, good job and enjoy your new mandolin. Please post pic's after the finish is on. Thanks for the evolving pictures of your build.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  2. #52
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    Default Re: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

    Re. bridge placement, just how critical is it? Would a couple of mm forward or back make a significant difference?
    Last edited by tom.gibson; Nov-28-2022 at 10:15pm. Reason: Clarity

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    Default Re: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

    Quote Originally Posted by tom.gibson View Post
    Re. bridge placement, just how critical is it? Would a couple of mm forward or back make a significant difference?
    The short answer is “I dont know” but am repeating what Ive been taught. Ive also been told about the evil of zero frets. All fruit for further exploration. There is a lot of tradition at play here.

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  5. #54
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    Default Re: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

    Quote Originally Posted by sebastiaan56 View Post
    Ive also been told about the evil of zero frets.
    Thanks so much for this thread. It's been a great read even for incompetent klutzes like me who can barely work a chisel (and I was schooled by, and worked with, my carpenter dad, but that was a long time ago)

    I would love to hear more about the evil of zero frets, as I have a friend who restores mandolins and fiddles and is an enthusiast for zero frets on mandolins.
    Could add a bit of spice to our discussions.
    Bren

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  7. #55
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    Default Re: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

    Quote Originally Posted by sebastiaan56 View Post
    The short answer is “I dont know” but am repeating what Ive been taught. Ive also been told about the evil of zero frets. All fruit for further exploration. There is a lot of tradition at play here.
    A good zero fret well done, is clearly the work of the Angels, the old metal nuts used on some vintage Neapolitan's are clearly the spawn of the Devil though!

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  9. #56
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    Default Re: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavy View Post
    A good zero fret well done, is clearly the work of the Angels, the old metal nuts used on some vintage Neapolitan's are clearly the spawn of the Devil though!
    Probably the origin of the warnings. “they never sound good” I prefer a zero fret. Saves so much faffing around with nut heights.

  10. #57

    Default Re: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

    What is thought to be the actual issue with metal nuts, or bridge saddles? And why are metal frets not the same problem? Science?

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  12. #58
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    Default Re: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

    Wel in my opinion there should be no acoustic difference between metal and ebony or bone nuts. The extra weight of a metal nut will change the balance of the instrument and perhaps lead to more damping of the soundboard but thats about it. Whether it would be noticeable in day to day playing I cant say.

    A zero fret is a fret that the strings pass over before reaching the first fret. They have a advantage of making the tone of the string the same as any fretted string. So you dont get the same open string sound. This is conjecture but I think the open string sound is cherished by my Neapolitan friends. That, and as Tavy has noted poor manufacturing are probably the reasons the they are not highly regarded in the Luteria I was in. I prefer Zero frets on instruments.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/glossary/glossary_62.shtml

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  14. #59

    Default Re: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

    Quote Originally Posted by sebastiaan56 View Post
    The short answer is “I dont know” but am repeating what Ive been taught. Ive also been told about the evil of zero frets. All fruit for further exploration. There is a lot of tradition at play here.
    I remember hearing about that when it was appearing on [mostly acoustic] guitars, but I've noticed that Caterina Lichtenberg's mandolin has one, so it certainly suggests that they're not out of place on some good quality bowl-backs. If I had to guess, and partly from listening to her classes, it does somewhat soften the distinction between playing a [7th-] fretted note on the string below vs. an open string note, sustain and other aspects notwithstanding. This might make it easier to choose an open string on mandolin, where on the violin (e.g.) you'd rarely do that in classical playing (from my limited experience).
    2019 Northfield NF-F5S
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  16. #60
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    Default Re: Neapolitan Mandolin Build in Naples - November 2022

    One could speculate that a well cut nut would hold the string more firmly in position and thus lose less energy and sustain for longer than a string that's held in place "behind" the zero fret and thus free to wiggle ever so slightly on the fret and lose energy. But I just don't hear that.

    Other people speculate that a zero fret will sound more like a fretted note and give a more consistent sound: it doesn't, there's no squidgy finger involved, and fretted notes do sound mellower and more muted than an open string even with a zero fret.

    The real advantage is the ease of getting a really good setup at the nut: it's trivial to do, works first time every time, and doesn't suffer breakages or wear in the way that nuts sometimes do. I know that some folks speculate that zero frets might be subject to more wear and thus instigate a re-fret sooner rather than later, but I don't see that either - the static pressure applied by a string passing over a zero fret just doesn't seem to wear or cut into the frets as much as fretted notes do. Whenever one of mine has come back for a checkup, the frets always have far more wear marks than the zero fret does, and since they're EVO, even that's minimal.

    For record, here's DeMeglio's take on a zero fret, this one is actually not too bad to set up, although the "zero fret" can sometimes be too far from the first fret, which is to say the fret spacing was cut "as if" for a regular nut, but the zero fret is rounded Shaping the fret so it angles towards the front fixes that (assuming you are lowering it anyway). This one still looks rounded to me though!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And here's an otherwise lovely Checcherini with one of the horrid metal nuts which are all one piece. Setting the height on these involves sanding metal off the base which is fun

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Again the position/intonation of these can be noticeably off.

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