Review, How To Set Up A Mandolin by Robert G Meldrum

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Review, How To Set Up A Mandolin by Robert G Meldrum

Postby Dave Hanson » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:19 pm

I got a copy of this short book on line yesterday from it's author Robert Meldrum, and spent a few hours reading through it.

On the whole this an excellent publication, essential reading for anyone who wants to know the ins and outs of setting up a mandolin.

Rob explains from the very beginning of getting your instrument all you need to know about :- the tools and materials you will need, their uses and how to obtain them at very reasonable cost.

He then goes on in great but easy to understand detail about setting up the bridge, tailpiece and nut, how to set up your mandolin for the correct intonation and then on to a detailed inspection of your instrument and the best way to clean it for a good finnish.

For fret dressing, restringing and truss rods, Rob defers to the advice given by Frank Ford at WWW.FRETS.COM

He also discusses the relative merits of the different string types available and a short piece about picks [ plectrums ] and concludes it is best to try out lots of them to find which you like best.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in instruments and doing it yourself, not only will you save money, it's interesting and enjoyable

How To Set Up A Mandolin by Robert G Meldrum copyright 2012

available free [ how good is that ] from rob.meldrum@gmail.com

Dave H
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Postby DaveL35 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:19 pm

Received mine the other day. Lots of useful stuff in there. The home-made nut file idea could save a lot of money!

Thanks, Rob!
- Dave
Paul Shippey 'Tone' (2016); Weber Gallatin A (2013); Andy Tobin (2006);
Stefan Sobell (late '70s); Gibson A2 (1919);
Bouzouki by Paul Hathway (1996); some guitars
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Best bridge/saddle?

Postby peatstack » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:31 am

I live on the Isle of Lewis so ordered my mandolin from banjo direct who claim that it was set up in their workshops before shipping, mmm. I'm finding the G and D strings very hard to fret cleanly with one string almost clear but the other clunking. I play tenor banjo badly but clearly no probs and I have a couple of ukuleles which started off with fretting problems but with practice sound clear and true. But the mando seems a different kettle of fish. I'm thinking stronger fingers are the answer but I am quite a strong bloke and see some wee slight girls playing mandolin with no problems so I'm thinking set up properly may be the answer. No luthiers on this Island that I know of so
I have requested my copy of Rob's e-book but out of interest what would be the very best, and what type of bridge would you recommend for a Goldtone gm50 arch top? I don't know what make came with it but assume it's not top range
I may be wrong. I thought it might be handy to have a spare bridge handy just in case my DIY skills go a bit wrong and I'm left with a bodge. I need the courage to take my mandolin apart and start this process. I can do it with my Land Rover no probs.

Peatstack
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Postby Dave Hanson » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:48 am

Hi Peatstack, I have 2 tenor banjos, a far Eastern Mastertone copy and a Vega Whyte Laydie, I use a standard ebony topped maple bridge on both of them, quite inexpensive to buy, you just need to know the right height, usually in the region of 1/2 to 5/8 inch. I have a 1/2 inch one on both of mine.

A higher bridge will give more volume but will be harder to fret.


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Postby peatstack » Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:04 pm

Hi Dave,
I have 2 tenors too, a Tanglewood and a Gold tone my mandolin is also a Gold tone GM 50. I was very impressed with the banjo so thought the mandolin would be as good. So far I'm not over joyed with the mandolin so thought a setup might improve it. It was the mandolin bridge I was enquiring about because when I was looking for a mandolin I read somewhere that my modle with a Shadow piezo bridge fitted was very good. I don't want to go electric just yet so was wondering what would be the very best bridge to get. I think you were referring to your banjo bridges unless I'm confused.

Chears Peatstack
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Postby Dave Hanson » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:06 am

Sorry about that, I thought you were referring to a banjo when you said ' arch top ' this term is generally used to describe a type of banjo tone ring, mandolins are usually described as ' carved top '

I would go for the standard 2 part adjustable mandolin bridge, either ebony or rosewood but they need very careful fitting to your mandolin top.

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Postby peatstack » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:43 am

Thanks Dave,

Yes I under stand the confusion. Any way with robs ebook I have just lowered the action using feeler gauges to try to get the the right height and just that has made a world of difference. Soounds sweeter and easier to play.

Peatstack
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Re: Review, How To Set Up A Mandolin by Robert G Meldrum

Postby Oldpicker » Sat Nov 01, 2014 4:46 pm

Just received my copy - a mine of useful and practical advice. Do get your selfone too!
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Re: Review, How To Set Up A Mandolin by Robert G Meldrum

Postby Reflexrover » Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:08 pm

Just recieved an electronic copy of this - very nicely written and clearly explains the process. Saves a lot of time and effort trawling through the interweb! Thanks Robert.
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