nut slots at fret height, G at .055" and e at .050" (both 12th fret). With this in mind, if you rest a straight edge across the strings, just in front of the bridge, all eight strings should touch the straightedge, with no high or low strings. — Dan Erlewine There’s one step left, checking string height at the nut, and it has an enormous impact on how the mandolin plays in the first position. String height is adjusted by filing the nut slots until the strings are at the proper height. I can't put my finger on it yet (no pun intended) but I think both the spacing between courses and the space between strings on the same course is not what I'm used to. Local music shops & gear makers are open online and ready to ship your dream gear. With this gap cut into it, you can collapse the nut inward on itself and remove the pieces. I do this with a long bar resting on two spacers and clamped toward the center, with a curved caul on the back of the neck. For even playability across the fretboard, the radius of the strings at the bridge should match the radius of the frets. THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE! This is about the thickness of a piece of paper, so not much at all. If the fretted note is not in tune with the open string, you adjust it by: Every note may not be perfect, but with a compensated bridge top, they should be very close. I had the same question awhile back, found this on the Mando Cafe by builder Steve Gilchrist: Play guitar, and never eat anything bigger than your head. Not surprising if your mandolin is setup poorly, and most that I see are. A poorly setup mandolin is brutal to play, but one that’s setup correctly is a joy. Save on Over 900 Items. "On the journey to excellence, enjoy mediocrity! Octave and cello are setup at 5/64” on the treble side and slightly higher on the bass side. This is from my new DVD Nut Making Step-by-Step and includes images taken from the DVD. Now go try that Grisman tune again. and thanks to you too....i believe i'm good to go now..... get the nut right and then use the wheels for your attack. If the strings are too high at the nut, it’s really tough to fret, and the intonation in the first position can be sharp. $9.99$9.99. Disclaimer Section: IMHO, YMMV, IMHE, Don't Try This At Home, Take With Grain Of Salt, etc, etc. I picked up a used mandolin recently and the string spacing at the nut seems odd to me. Thank you for the reply's. Last bridge adjustment: intonation. Oops, looks like you forgot something. All larger body mandolin family instruments have used the double action truss rods for many years. We use cookies on our website to make sure you get the best experience. To me its appeal is in its shape and if it doesn't sound so hot,,, thats OK with me. 5.0 out of 5 stars 9. Also, .18 (~3/16) seems pretty high to me, you sure about that? 12th fret slightly over 1/32 on the E and 2/32 on the G. With a good fret level this seems to work well for me. Jan-23-2010, 9:54am #7. thejamdolinplayer. If you were wondering what the little wheels under your bridge top do, this is it. Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries. Broken down into steps, a mandolin setup is not that complicated and, done properly, will dramatically increase your enjoyment of the instrument. That's low, but not the lowest I've seen. Only 16 left in stock … Action is a term frequently used to describe the height of the strings above the frets and an instruments playability. I know they are not the best sounding or best built instruments but I am personally infatuated with the design (shape) and would love one for my meager lower end collection. The ideal height would be just about the same as a fret's height in the same position as the nut. "There are two parts to this booklet. In order to make adjustments to the action of the nut, you will need a set of files, one that coincides with the width of each string rut in the nut, a feeler gauge, a tuner, and some time and a whole lot of patience. If the strings are too low, they will buzz when played open. Any lower on the G and buzz is likely but after a bit of use, the E could be brought down a bit though I don't recommend it. Over time certain elements can affect the action of a mandolin, making it harder to play or degrading the quality of sound and clarity. Unless requested otherwise, I set all my mandolins at G -0.18 and E - 0.15 at the first fret and G - 0.030 and E - 0.020 at the 12th fret. First is a short guide to making a nut. One thing to remember, if your fretwork is bad, you need to have that addressed in order to get the best playability out of your instrument. I use Fret End Nippers to squeeze the split nut together, but a pair of pliers will do. When the string slots are properly spaced and filed, the nut can be shaped and finished. Relief is needed to make space for the oscillation of the string, which is greatest at its mid-point. If you make a nut when the neck is up-bowed, the slots could be too deep if you straighten the neck later. Set the action measuring from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the bass and treble strings. Matt Flinner's Gilchrist was .005" lower when I measured it 10 years ago. So you've been woodshedding for weeks, trying to cop your favorite Grisman lines, and all you have to show for it is a sore left hand. looking for some reference information regarding mandolin setups....have searched here and at mando cafe and mando hangout, but found nothing specific....would like to know: To be honest, I've never researched this. The tutorial at that Bart mentioned is a … thanks a lot you happen to know what the 1st fret action is? Once you have your relief dialed in, you can move on to the adjustments at the bridge. If you have string buzz, raise it. thanks, dave..... but to me, mandolins are a little touchier than guitars.....i've noticed that if the bridge is lowered, tone and volume diminish.....which i don't want.... how hard is it to install the fixed jack on the mando K&K???? If the action feels too stiff, lower the bridge. ", This website uses cookies for functionality, analytics and advertising purposes as described in our. It's not easy to gauge it. I don't ever measure the first fret, but at the 12th fret I usually go for 4-6/64th's on the G course and 2-3/64th on the E course (depending on the player's playing style). Finally, pencil-in the approximate shape of the nut when viewed end-on from the bass or treble side. With a thin straightedge in the bottom of the slot and resting against the second fret, there should be minimal clearance over the first fret. Intonation is the adjustment that allows the fretted notes to play in tune with the open string. THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!