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Hand Made Mandola

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Recently completed this piece. Need to replace the bridge before I can put it up for sale. The current bridge is too short. Or the soundboard isn’t thick enough and is deflecting too much. If that’s the case, it’ll probably be another bird house in the backyard.

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28 Comments

just beautiful rhoots.your too modest of your work my friend.

working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

Beautiful!  I certainly hope you can make the needed adjustments.
Wouldn’t be the first one!

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I have great respect for people who can make musical instruments.
This one is a real beauty. 👍

The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

That looks like precission construction to me Rhoots...  However, if you birdhouse it, can I put in a bid so those bloody birds might roost in the trees rather than my roofline.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

Really cool. Someday I’ll learn how to and build myself a ukulele. I started playing about a year and half ago and love it! It would be cool to make my own uke…

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Really cool. Someday I’ll learn how to and build myself a ukulele. I started playing about a year and half ago and love it! It would be cool to make my own uke…

RyanGi,
A good start is a cigar box design. This was my first one. Got the plans from this book:

Or get a soprano kit from Stewart-Macdonald and duplicate it as you go with your own materials. Be warned though.. Once you head down the luthier road, especially as a player, you might lose interest in all other woodworking!

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It sounds like it would be a lot of fun!…how does that cigar box uke sounds? I’m assuming the shape of the body plays into sounds quality, yes? I confess, I know very little about instrument theory as it pertains to sound quality.

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

 Rhoots 
 commented about 7 hours ago 
new
Really cool. Someday I’ll learn how to and build myself a ukulele. I started playing about a year and half ago and love it! It would be cool to make my own uke…

.....
Or get a soprano kit

I thought that'd be more like a guitar case...

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

how does that cigar box uke sounds
Sounds pretty good. You decide.



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Not bad at all! I was expecting it to sound tinnie for some reason…cool!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Can you add a larger bridge plate under the sound board to stiffen up the board?

James McIntyre

Looks great! From looking at your build log, the X bracing on the top looks sufficient. How tall is your current bridge? Standard is 3/4" but 5/8" to 1" can be pretty common as it's much easier to replace the bridge as you would know on that type of construction than to reset the neck. At least it's a floating bridge so pretty easy to replace with a taller one. Looking forward to seeing more instruments.
Can you add a larger bridge plate under the sound board to stiffen up the board?
No bridge plate on a mandolin or mandola. Two longitudinal braces that tie the neck structure to the heel block and one brace athwart the body just abaft the bridge.
Soundboard braces

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I missed the parallel bracing and had X bracing stuck in my head from looking at the back bracing on your blog. I've done a few archtops with parallel bracing without the transverse brace like on yours. It still looks plenty substantial enough to handle the downward pressure of the bridge and strings but hard to tell just from pictures. I used X bracing on most of my later archtops as I'm not much of a jazz player and like the milder highs and increased bass by using X bracing. An F5 style mando has been on my list for a while. If I played one more, I may have done one by now but do love the sound.
Made a new bridge for this piece. Maple, about .050” higher than the original. Action is much better now and the buzzing is gone. If I build another one of these, I’ll make the soundboard thicker and beef up the bracing. This bridge works but there’s noticeable deflection on the soundboard. Not sure how long it will hold out. 

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With the thin sound board and it’s tight grain I bet it’s a boomer. 

The bridge looks great. 

James McIntyre

Good looking bridge. If you're much over 5/8" height with the bridge, it may be a neck angle issue causing too much down pressure rather than a soundboard issue but not enough detail to tell. Looking forward to seeing future builds!