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Thread: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

  1. #1
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    Default Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    My right hand contacts the bridge of my mandolin, which has very hard corners on the outside edges. My hand doesn't rest on it, it just touches the bass end where it falls naturally . I have an arm rest in the usual place. I'm thinking of rounding off the extreme bass side edges of the bridge for more comfort - or would I be better just trying not to touch it? If so, how do I set about that, it feels insecure when I do it.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    I've rounded the corners (small file followed by increasing grit sandpaper) on both mandolin bridges enough to make them unnoticeable. It doesn't have any impact on the bridge stability, and with a little care, you could even do it while your mando is strung-up. (It's easier with it off the mando, of course!)

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    Last edited by keith.rogers; Nov-08-2022 at 9:15am.
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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    Yep, I do it to mine. Makes it much more comfortable. It shines up after a bunch of playing.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    I do, a fingernail emery board works really well, and leaves a fairly decent finish. Just my opinion. joe

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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    Go for it. It will make playing more comfortable. I once did this on a very inexpensive (dirt cheap) mandolin that I was setting up for a friend. It turned out that the bridge and saddle were made of a white wood that had been stained dark. I can't remember if I tried to stain it back or just let it go..

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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    While I appreciate that David's "Both" response is the most correct, there are times that require touching the bridge. Go for it. It would take real effort to do irreparable damage.
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    harvester of clams Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    Round it off and if the post sticks up, file it down too.
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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    Why not do it? It is your mandolin and it should be as comfortable to play it as possible.
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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

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  20. #11

    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    I have rounded off the "corner" of the bridge on several of my instruments. Having a sharp edge on the bridge is one of my pet peeves.

    I played several instruments at Mass Street Music last weekend. It was my only complaint on a couple of nice instruments. It is easily fixed, of course.

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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    recently played somebody's mandolin. not only the bridge edges were sharp 90deg jobs, but the post ends were sticking out and had ragged sharp ends. definitely a "no-touch" bridge. I am lucky no blood was spilled. People who give such dangerous torture devices to prospective mandolinists are evil, evil, evil. I find most comfortable are the old round back mandolins, especially Japanese made with integral arm rests. not a single sharp corner anywhere in sight.

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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    When I bought my octave mandolin (my first mando) the sharp edge of the bridge annoyed me awfully. I took it in for a setup and asked the luthier to round it a bit and since then it’s been a treat to play. I believe that when an instrument is yours and making minor changes like that renders it more useful, you’d be foolish not to make the changes. An instrument shouldn’t be unpleasant to play. I would alter my opinion somewhat in the case of a Loar-signed Gibson or a recent Gilchrist, Ellis or Pava.
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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    Maybe the edges are there as encouragement, a bit like a mandolinist's Tullock Spike
    Eoin



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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny View Post
    An instrument shouldn’t be unpleasant to play. I would alter my opinion somewhat in the case of a Loar-signed Gibson or a recent Gilchrist, Ellis or Pava.
    Am I misunderstanding you? You would keep an expensive instrument unpleasant to play for the sake of originality? I can’t imagine that even a Loar F-5 would not lose any resale value with a small modification and even crazier for a modern instrument. Originality does not trump playability IMHO. To me that alteration of a bridge is part of a setup. Same as keeping rusty original strings on a 1924 instrument.
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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    Another vote for rounding it off. Have done it on a few bridges.

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    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    I've always rounded mine.
    Cary Fagan

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  34. #18
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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    If you let it annoy you for decades, it will round off from playing anyway. Why not enjoy those decades of playing and round it off to begin with.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Am I misunderstanding you? You would keep an expensive instrument unpleasant to play for the sake of originality? I can’t imagine that even a Loar F-5 would not lose any resale value with a small modification and even crazier for a modern instrument. Originality does not trump playability IMHO. To me that alteration of a bridge is part of a setup. Same as keeping rusty original strings on a 1924 instrument.
    As Moms Mabley used to say, “Do what you want to do. But KNOW what you’re doing.” An entry-level or intermediate mandolin I wouldn’t hesitate to modify to make it more playable. A high end instrument I’d follow Moms’ advice and ponder carefully before modifying. IOW is it the mandolin or is it me? If, indeed, it’s the instrument I’d do the mod.
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  38. #20
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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    Thanks guys. I only have low end mandolins, so I have no qualms about taking abrasives to the bridge

  39. #21
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    Default Re: Do I round off my bridge or stop touching it?

    Two cautions about rounding off sharp bridge corners on Loar signed instruments:

    1. Don't use a Buck knife.
    2. Do not consume any intoxicants before starting the job.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Max, if you're nervous about rounding the corners, you can cut a notch in a piece of cardboard and slide it under the bridge saddle to protect the mandolin top in case you slip.

    An emery board, small file, or a small block of wood with a piece of sandpaper glued to it will do the job. These days, I prefer a small sanding block-- it's easy to control.

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