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Thread: Cumberland bridge: Full Contact vs. Arched

  1. #1

    Default Cumberland bridge: Full Contact vs. Arched

    I have an old Gibson A style mandolin I inherited from my brother (he's still alive btw). It has a replacement bridge that I would like to upgrade. I'm looking at the Cumberland (seems to be one of the more popular here) and am trying to understand the difference and pros/cons of the full contact vs. arched base. Does anybody here have any experience with this and care to comment?
    Thanks
    Bob

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cumberland bridge: Full Contact vs. Arched

    My opinion (worth only 2 cents) is that in general, a full contact bridge transfers string vibration to the top more efficiently. Also distributes the pressure across a wider area which might be easier on your "old Gibson's" top. But... depending on the year of your mandolin and what style bridge has been sitting on it, impressions/indentations in the top might make it more difficult to fit a full contact bridge.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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  4. #3
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Cumberland bridge: Full Contact vs. Arched

    I made many bridges of both types and also modified two foot bridges to full contact by adding ebony and I found no discernible sound difference between the two but the full contact bridge will keep your center arch healthy without the inevitable bump that slowly grows on tops between the two feet of bridge. My frst mandolin had had two foot bridge for 15 years and I could feel the bump rising (and see it in reflection) so I modified the bridge few years ago and fit it so the bridge restored the arch back to smooth. Sounds as good as ever...
    I've used full contact bridges exclusively for last 15 years or so...
    Adrian

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  6. #4
    ************** Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cumberland bridge: Full Contact vs. Arched

    I had a CA full-contact bridge on my old mandolin. The sound improved because it was a better bridge than the original, and I personally think the full-contact just looks cooler. YMMV.
    ...

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Cumberland bridge: Full Contact vs. Arched

    I would agree with others her in saying that I wouldn't expect a sound improvement with a full contact bridge vs a similar quality bridge with feet. If that were the case, you'd see full contact bridges on way more mandolins. If a top has been carved too thin in the center, then a full contact bridge would negate the tendency of the bridge feet to sink into the top. So for an older, more delicate instrument, it might be worthwhile.

    That being said, I have installed Cumberland bridges on several mandolins and the sound improvement over a cheaper alternative was very noticeable.

  9. #6

    Default Re: Cumberland bridge: Full Contact vs. Arched

    Full contact for me on 4 out 5 CA's on all . MY 11 year old Gibson came with STD / about 5 years under one foot a pinch ouch. Steve Smith put a full contact covered the pinch well .

  10. #7
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Cumberland bridge: Full Contact vs. Arched

    I turned my arched into a full contact and really prefer the sound. I would not hesitate to use full contact from now on, tho I have arched and they sound just fine with no problems.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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