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I had a pretty little Mandolin come in over the weekend, and the bridge is completely missing.  Its a 1966 Martin A style flat top.  The customer just wants it to play well and isn't concerned with the part being vintage or period correct.  I've checked the usual suspects (Stewmac, Allparts, LMII) and I can't come up with anything.  Can somebody point me in the right direction, preferably one that is already compensated?  Also, if somebody had an original, a pic would be helpful if nothing turns up.  Thanks!

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If it were me I'd hunt down one of the Brekke flattop mando bridges maybe thru Weber.Also I've purchased several RW flat styles from Elderly. You'd want to have it fitted to your mando. Compensation is usually done hands on at install and instruments' points of 'correct'intonation almost always change over time...btw I've never been able to get a floater to line up straight across the top..I just accept this and it no longer matters.....really prefer to make my own.It ain't rocket science! 

Brian often it's the case that what we need just has to be crafted from a picture and shop-made.  Mando bridge are no exception and can be a rather relaxing and fun thing to make.  It's also possible to make them as per the original, fit them as well as or better than the original, and call it good.

In this case I seriously doubt that a commercial offering will be available for this mando which leaves making one as the only choice.

In addition to the pics from Paul's post if you Google "Martin Mandolin bridge" and click on the "images" link there are some decent pics of the original for consideration.

If you're going to make a bridge you might consider doing so web research in lightening bridges. I've seen a lot on the subject and the general conclusion is that lighter is better.

Brian, This is a 1920s AK but the bridge looks identical to the other pictures. 

It is 0.243 thick at the base, and 0.180 thick at the top, just before the top begins to roll over.

The base is 3 and 15/16 long at the bottom, and 2 and 1/8 inches at the top.

The "wings" of the bridge are 0.186 tall on the bass side, and 0.190 tall on the treble side.

The top ledge where the strings sit is 0.396 tall at the end of the bass side, and 0.363 tall at the end of the treble side.  You'll have to figure out the height for your particular mandolin, though.

Sorry the pictures are a little dark.  I seem to do better with natural light, but its a dark day.

Let me know if there are measurements I've missed.

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It appears that the only flat, no thumb wheel style bridges are all either rosewood with no compensation, or ebony with a plastic top and no compensation.  Looks like i'm probably making one.  An ebony pen blank block looks like it would be a perfect size to start on, as it is already the size I would have cut from a larger piece of stock.  It looks like they usually run about 5/16 wide, and the compensation from a general observation is hard back, hard forward from bass to treble, leaving about 2mm on each lip.  Am I close?  I'm not yet great at nailing the compensation.

"An ebony pen blank block looks like it would be a perfect size to start on....''

Excellent "trans-useage" or "alt-app" of these readily available items.

Thanks for the "tip", Brian. Reading that option was a real "Doh!!" moment for me :)...wit me starring as Homer :)

Best of luck with your project. It's going to be fun & cool for you. :)

Big agreement on that tip here. That'll save a lot of time and waste cutting up larger stock, and pen blanks are available in a lot of wood types, quite cheaply had. Might have to stock up on em!

The only thing to watch for is the quality of the wood.  Really hard, high density ebony can really make a difference in how good the instrument sounds.  For example, I replaced a cheap, imported mandolin bridge with one of the really good ones from Cumberland Acoustic (which makes them for several small and larger builders) and the difference was remarkable.

Larry

hey Brian-- this bridge looks to be simple enough. Why not make one out of a stray piece of ebony that you might have lying around or maybe in your spare stuff box.

just my two cents..

best to you in servicing your customer----- 

Peace, Donald

If you want pictures of an example of a fancier style B bridge, take a look at these pictures:

http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/32736/index.php

Larry

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