Advice wanted on an upgrade and setup

Strings, picks, tuners, amps, cases, tailpieces, mics, etc plus related discussion.

Moderator: Dave Hanson

Advice wanted on an upgrade and setup

Postby chopandslice » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:50 pm

Hello Everyone,
I am very fond of playing various stringed instruments, most of them badly and I have decided to learn the mandolin. As I am interested in many styles of music, I have decided to buy a basic instrument now and upgrade to a better one later, once I learn a few basic tunes and see the direction I am pulled towards. I have only just got an Ozark 2001, made in Romania and I like the tone but definitely want to change the strings and possibly lower the action. The new strings are D'Addario EJ73, hope they should make a difference. I know a few of you played this mandolin and suggested changing the bridge to a compensated one but could not find further details. Do you think apart from changing the strings and lowering the action a new bridge could make a significant difference and do you have any specific suggestions regarding the bridge and the strings? Thank you very much for all you help.
Best wishes,
Darek
chopandslice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Advice wanted on an upgrade and setup

Postby Ray(T) » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:59 pm

I'm no great expert on flat topped mandolins but, generally, they tend to have non-compensated bridges whereas ones on carved top mandolins are compensated. That said, providing the mandolin plays in tune as far up the neck as you want to play and the bridge is fitted to the top correctly, a compensated bridge is likely to make little difference to the sound of the instrument. Also, the cost involved in changing it is likely to be greater than the purchase price of the instrument.

EJ73s should be fine as should EJ74s - I use the latter on everything from vintage Gibsons to modern hand-built A and F styles. If you try EJ74s, bear in mind that heavier doesn't necessarily mean louder as heavier (stiffer) strings can stifle a top from vibrating but do give them a try if the 73s are too light for you.
User avatar
Ray(T)
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:34 pm
Location: High Peak - UK

Re: Advice wanted on an upgrade and setup

Postby chopandslice » Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:32 pm

Hi Ray,
Thank you very much for your advice.
I'm definitely no expert on any kind of mandolin and I was just considering advice given in a different post on this forum, which specifically mentioned replacing a bridge on the Ozark 2001 and gave an example:

http://www.mandolinluthier.com/modern.htm

The cost seems to be around £20 which is less than I paid for the instrument. I suppose fitting the new bridge may be too expensive, I presume this is what you mean when you are talking about the cost. As far as the strings go, I would be happy with the lighter gauge together with a lower action to give me and my fingers more comfort while I'm learning. Thanks for your feedback.

Darek
chopandslice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Advice wanted on an upgrade and setup

Postby Ray(T) » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:16 pm

As I said, if the mandolin plays in tune, there is no need to fit a compensated bridge. I suppose it depends how picky you are.

Whether a different bridge will improve the sound of the mandolin depends not only on the bridge but how well it is fitted to the instrument's top. Assuming the new bridge, as supplied, will be too high, you will need to shave an amount of wood from the bottom of it. This should be easier on a flat topped instrument than on one with a carved top but it's worth checking that the top is actually flat otherwise you will need to shape it to the same curvature as the top. Even if it is flat you will need to ensure that the reduced bridge still has a flat bottom.

If you're confident in doing this yourself, all well and good, otherwise you'll have to factor in the cost of having the job done for you. A badly fitted bridge will negate any improvement brought about by changing it in the first place.
User avatar
Ray(T)
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:34 pm
Location: High Peak - UK

Re: Advice wanted on an upgrade and setup

Postby chopandslice » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:23 pm

Thank you very much for further clarification.
D.
chopandslice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:37 pm


Return to Equipment

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest