Mandolin: Reproduction Bridges
Many of the old mandolins I work on, arrive with no bridge, perhaps because it is not fixed. I have not found a source of reproduction bridges small enough for the old bowls, so I was forced to start making them myself. Most of the modern replacement bridges available, are intended for newer instruments, which generally tend to be carved tops, or flat that have taller bridge heights, so are unsubstantial. I have taken existing bridges from old mandolins as my models, and for convenience named them after the instrument in question. Below are those I make to date.
All Bridges are made by me, by hand.
How do I choose a bridge?
With such a range now available, some visitors to the site have asked me, 'How do I know which one?' So, when choosing a bridge, consider first the style of the instrument.... some bridges would look very out of place on certain mandolins. For further ideas about what is appropriate, have a look at some gallery photos of similar instruments. Second, consider how much bridge height you have to play with.... this is a particular concern with old Italian mandolins. If the bridge height is very small, you will need a shelf bridge, as an ordinary one will be too tall. With a bit more height to play with, say 6mm upwards, you have room for simple bridge, which of course can be compensated. Once you have narrowed it down a bit, the choice of style is down to you.
To be able to make one, I will need to know certain things:
Can I make my own bridge?
Of course..... given a little assistance, some fairly basic tools and some woodworking aptitude, its not too difficult. The biggest problem is the familiarity with the technique.... when you are just making one, you have no previous experience to fall back on, so you can use mine here..... making your own bridge ...and similarly for the related task, which may also be necessary of making a new nut.
Can I order a replacement for a broken bridge?
Many players with broken bridges have asked me to make replacements. This can be done most easily by sending me the broken one, but failing that, I can reproduce one very similar with certain measurements. Those are as follows; the length, the width, saddle length and string spread; and a photo or two helps to get the shape and style right.
Discussing a replacement can be done by dropping me a line via the contact page.
|Hand-made Standard Bridge Blanks in Ebony or Rosewood|
on the name of each bridge in blue for photos and further information.......
|Simple Shelf Bridges||All mandolin shelf- bridges can be made with bone or brass saddles. These are designed for a low bridge height.|
|Stridente||4-10mm||120mm||typical, will suit any bowlback|
|Loveri (brass saddle)||4-8mm||110mm|
|German||4-12mm||120mm||a Germen style for bowlbacks|
|de Meglio (plain)||4-8mm||120mm|
|de Meglio (inlaid)||4-8mm||120mm||typical on de Meglio style instruments|
|Simple Saddle Bridges||All these mandolin bridges are made with bone saddles, and tend to require a greater bridge height.|
|Il Globo (plain)||5-12mm||120mm||again common where there is height|
|Canted||All these mandolin bridges are solid wood without saddles|
|Others||All these bridges come with bone saddles and a flat foot, but can be fitted to domed tops.|
|Modern (MOP dots)||8-15mm||120mm|
|German Slot Bridge (mandolin or bouzouki)||10-20mm||120mm|
|Mandriola plain (modern)||10-20mm||120mm|
|Mandriola compensated (classical)||5-12mm||120mm|
|Mandola/waldz split saddle||5-20mm||120mm|
|John Grey (mandolin banjo)||6-12mm||90mm|
|John Grey (5 string banjo)||6-15mm||100mm|
|Domra (3 or 4 string)||10-20mm||80mm|
|Old Glass Waldzither bridges||These are old period bridges, heights vary, tell me what height you need...|
NB. Bridge heights are estimates, and actual range will depend on the dome of the top.
|Tensioners||Tensioners can be made in ebony or rosewood, with or without inlay, to match any of the bridge types. Careful measurements will need to be taken to ensure the screw holes match the holes in the top.|
|Individual Requests||I am happy to consider requests to make or reproduce individual bridges. The cost of materials should not normally be too different, but the work involved in reconstructing a first model is a lot more, so I would estimate a little more for a one-off repro bridge.|
(which can be repeated)
|Waldzither Piezo||Fado Guitar Bridge||Balalaika Bridge|
|Tamburitza Bridge||16 string mandriola||Gibson H1 Mandola|
|Maglioni (+ tensioner)||Marazini (+ tensioner)||Piezo pickup bridge|