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  #1  
Old 04-02-2021, 07:08 AM
DungBeatle DungBeatle is offline
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Default Restringing Mandolin

I bought a used mandolin late last year. I'm ready to restring it for the first time. It's one like this:

https://www.folkmusician.com/product...an-kf-mandolin

Anything I should know before I proceed?

Is the bridge fixed or just sitting there and will fall off if I remove all of the strings at the same time? Or is that bad ju-ju?

Thanks!
~Bob
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Old 04-02-2021, 07:21 AM
RoyBoy RoyBoy is offline
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Yes, mandolin bridges are NOT fastened down, so change the strings one at a time. Regardless of the method you use on guitars, for the high E string, it's important to get 3-4 wraps around the tuner post before putting the string through the hole and kinking it. High E strings have a greater tendency to break due to the high tension involved. BTW, you picked a nice mando for your first. Check out the mandolin cafe all things mandolin.
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Old 04-02-2021, 07:29 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Most all mandolins have a floating bridge - the string tension holds it in place. If you remove all the strings the bridge falls off. Then you have to figure out which way it goes back on and where to place it for correct intonation.

Only remove and replace the strings one pair at a time, assuming your bridge is correctly fitted and positioned to begin with.

Most use the the two piece bridge with adjustable saddle height for setting the desired action. Its much easier to adjust the action with lower string tension.

The mandolin uses dual course strings with higher tension than you're used to from guitar. It will laughingly chew through your guitar calluses like a cheese grater. They'll come back stronger.

Many guitar techs know nothing about working on or setting up a mandolin. There is a guy named Rob Meldrum who put out a free guide on setting up a mandolin. You can find it on Google.
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Old 04-02-2021, 09:05 AM
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Most use a technique of wrapping tightly 2-3 times around, moving up from below the hole, then pulling the string through the peg hole tight, and crimp. This is kind of the opposite of most guitar stringing techniques that go through the hole first and wind to tension.
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Old 04-02-2021, 09:18 AM
Caddy Caddy is offline
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Yes, they are floating bridges and not fastened to the top. However, you can remove all the strings if you need to condition the neck, etc. by carefully marking the placement of the bridge with painters tape. That way you can replace it right where it had been.
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Old 04-02-2021, 09:46 AM
DungBeatle DungBeatle is offline
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@RoyBoy, @Manobart, @M19, @Caddy:

Thanks for all the info so far! I will be sure to wrap the strings as suggested. I also found the link to Rob Meldrum, thanks!

When I put new strings on my banjolele I had to move the bridge as it was about 1/8" too far. So I had to find out how to set the intonation anyway. This mandolin seems to have the bridge in the correct spot, so blue tape will be helpful.

Would it be reasonable to condition the fret board (lemon oil?) before I remove the old strings one-by-one?
~Bob
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Old 04-02-2021, 01:04 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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I've been using Jerry Rosa's stringing method for a year or so now with both guitar and mandolin. Never needs more than two wings. Do a YouTube search. He's done at least one tuning only video.
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Old 04-02-2021, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caddy View Post
Yes, they are floating bridges and not fastened to the top. However, you can remove all the strings if you need to condition the neck, etc. by carefully marking the placement of the bridge with painters tape. That way you can replace it right where it had been.
I watched a video where the guy used a SHARPIE to mark where the bridge went. I almost retched.
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Last edited by M19; 04-04-2021 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 04-02-2021, 03:04 PM
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The post’s above seemed to touch all the details.
Thomastik make flatwound strings for mandolin-
I quite like them.
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Old 04-03-2021, 02:16 PM
DungBeatle DungBeatle is offline
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@Br1ck, thanks for the Jerry Rosa tip!

M19, There was a sharpie mark under my banjolele bridge and it looks like crap now that I had to move it.

@cliff_the_stiff - That's the strings I'm changing to.

Thanks again everyone!
~Bob
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Old 04-03-2021, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DungBeatle View Post
Would it be reasonable to condition the fret board (lemon oil?) before I remove the old strings one-by-one?
~Bob
I recommend F1 Fretboard oil, if you're going to use oil.
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Old 04-04-2021, 06:53 AM
DungBeatle DungBeatle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
I recommend F1 Fretboard oil, if you're going to use oil.
Thanks! I'll check it out.
~Bob
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Breedlove American KF Mandolin
Taylor GS Mini-E Walnut
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Romero Grand Tenor Ukulele Spalted Mango
1976 Ovation with frets so worn it can't be played
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  #13  
Old 04-04-2021, 10:23 PM
Tempotantrum Tempotantrum is offline
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I've been playing and restringing mandolins (and banjos) for a long time. I agree - it is best not to loosen all strings at the same time in order to keep the bridge where it is at. Keep in mind though, even with diligent string change technique - a mandolin (and banjo) bridge will tend to move on its own due to movement of the top, humidity changes, etc. This is normal and it is a really good idea to understand how to check intonation and adjust the bridge periodically. If the bridge is not making flush contact across the (base of bridge to top of mando), that is a good indication it needs to be adjusted. Also, bridges tend to "tip" forward a bit over time. It is a good idea to get them vertical again. I loosen the strings slightly and gently pull it straight - same for adjusting intonation. I know really great mandolin builders (Paul Duff) who have no qualms about making adjustments without even loosening strings because he has done it so often. Intonation is really important on a mandolin- and is not too difficult to adjust once you understand the concept. As others have said - Mandolin Cafe is the place for mando pickers!
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:35 PM
DungBeatle DungBeatle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempotantrum View Post
I've been playing and restringing mandolins (and banjos) for a long time. I agree - it is best not to loosen all strings at the same time in order to keep the bridge where it is at. Keep in mind though, even with diligent string change technique - a mandolin (and banjo) bridge will tend to move on its own due to movement of the top, humidity changes, etc. This is normal and it is a really good idea to understand how to check intonation and adjust the bridge periodically. If the bridge is not making flush contact across the (base of bridge to top of mando), that is a good indication it needs to be adjusted. Also, bridges tend to "tip" forward a bit over time. It is a good idea to get them vertical again. I loosen the strings slightly and gently pull it straight - same for adjusting intonation. I know really great mandolin builders (Paul Duff) who have no qualms about making adjustments without even loosening strings because he has done it so often. Intonation is really important on a mandolin- and is not too difficult to adjust once you understand the concept. As others have said - Mandolin Cafe is the place for mando pickers!
Thanks for the generous information! I will check out Mandolin Cafe.
~Bob
__________________
Breedlove Oregon Concert 25th Anniversary
Breedlove American KF Mandolin
Taylor GS Mini-E Walnut
Taylor GS Mini-E Bass Maple
Taylor GC-5 Tobacco Burst
Romero Grand Tenor Ukulele Koa
Romero Grand Tenor Ukulele Spalted Mango
1976 Ovation with frets so worn it can't be played
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