Friday, July 28, 2006

#1 strung up in the white!

When I first strung it up, I just used a rosewood bridge and plastic nut, since they already had string slots in them. Initially it sounded very good- VERY loud, bell-like highs and decent mids and lows. It was a little "tinny" but I wasn't worried, figured it would mellow out over time, and after it was stained/finished. When I installed the bone nut and ebony bridge, I was blown away. The tinniness went away (I assume it was caused by the plastic nut), and now it has a full, well-rounded sound with fantastic chop when you want. It's even louder than when I started. This little mandolin compares favorably to the Gibson A9 I used to own. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would be the case. I'm completely serious, it really sounds that good.

The playability is fantastic. I am very proud of myself for getting the neck angle right. The action can be set as low as I want or as high as I want. With a good medium action, the bridge has plenty of room to be adjusted in either direction. The side to side neck angle isn't exactly perfect, but it's close enough. I just had to make sure the tailpiece was lined up with the neck angle, NOT the center of the mandolin itself. The tailpiece is set probably about 1/4 of an inch to the side of the centerline of the mandolin. Not a great thing to have happen, but not a showstopper.

Cosmetically, I'm a little disappointed, but the verdict is still out, since I haven't stained/finished it yet. The binding leaves much to be desired. I would recommend that beginners don't use ABS plastic OR fiber binding. Just bite the bullet, pay the $25 flammable materials handling fee, and order cellulose binding. You will be glad you did. This instrument looks ok from a few feet away, but up close there are more imperfections than I had hoped there would be. I found binding to be the most difficult step to get right.


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