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 Post subject: Adjustment cost
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:26 am 
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About what would one expect it to cost to have a music store adjust the location of a floating bridge on a bouzouki, so that it will play in tune? Yes, I know one can do it oneself, and it probably has many merits... much more meritorious than taking it to a music store... but if one were to have it done... what would be a ballpark estimate of the price-range?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:31 am 
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Only a few dollars, if it moves freely, it should be simply to adjust.

I think the distance from the nut to the bridge should be exactly double the distance from the nut to the 12th fret. This is probably somethign you could measure and try for yourself, and if you can't get it right, then give up and take it to a shop. If they're not bouzouki experts, though, they may have no better idea than you how to make the adjustment.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 6:09 am 
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I agree with Martin. It's the same as on the mountain dulcimer - nut to 7th fret (where your next octave starts) is the same length as 7th fret to bridge.
However, from doing this, I know that you sometimes have to compensate the bridge so all strings can be in tune. This means the bridge is slightly angled to the fretboard, and not perfectly perpendicular. Again - usually easy to tweak with a tuner.

And a suggestion (from the btdt experience) - score a mark on your soundboard with a pencil when you DO have the bridge in the correct spot. It'll surely get knocked out again!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:07 am 
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Yep, what Martin and Missy said.

Except, I'd be surprised if any good (or even competent) guitar tech couldn't set bridge position for intonation on pretty much any semitone fretted instrument. The principles are exactly the same, and a guitar tech should also be familiar with angling the bridge to compensate (at least in principle, because guitars have features to allow such compensation), especially if they've ever seen a jazz guitar.

It's well worth learning to do it oneself, and as zouks sustain better than banjos or mandos it should be easy with an electronic tuner.

Missy's suggestion about a pencil mark is absolutely spot on. My banjo arrived with masking tape on the head to mark the position for the bridge, and I pencilled the position in when the tape came off. Still have to reset the position for different gauges of strings though.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:45 am 
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Here's a "no measuring" way to set a bridge for a banjo:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musicia ... ostr2.html

The principle must be the same for other floating bridges.

I brought a potential banjo purchase into a store to see if it needed any work. The guy tried playing a few notes and adjusted the bridge in about 30 seconds. I can't imagine it costing too much.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:14 pm 
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turtleneck wrote:
Here's a "no measuring" way to set a bridge for a banjo:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musicia ... ostr2.html

The principle must be the same for other floating bridges.

Yep. The only thing is that on a wooden-top instrument, you probably don't want to be sliding the bridge around when the strings are at full tension, lest you scratch the top. (Depending on how smooth the bottom of the bridge is vs. how soft the soundboard and the finish are.)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:39 pm 
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If you set bridge position by ear you'd want to play a few chords afterwards to check the intonation. If your ears weren't up to judging things without a tuner the chords will soon make this quite obvious!

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 5:47 am 
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missy wrote:
I agree with Martin. It's the same as on the mountain dulcimer - nut to 7th fret (where your next octave starts) is the same length as 7th fret to bridge.
However, from doing this, I know that you sometimes have to compensate the bridge so all strings can be in tune. This means the bridge is slightly angled to the fretboard, and not perfectly perpendicular. Again - usually easy to tweak with a tuner.

And a suggestion (from the btdt experience) - score a mark on your soundboard with a pencil when you DO have the bridge in the correct spot. It'll surely get knocked out again!!!

Yup... yup... 7th fret on a diatonic instrument like the dulcimer = 12 fret on a chromatic like the bouzouki. Wish I'd read a little closer, beforehand. :) Okay... I followed that advice and got it set up. In the past I'd always just trial-and-errored until I got the octave string to be accurate by pressing at the 12th fret. It had been very tiring on the mandolin... not that the mandolin had any octave strings, but, y'know... so that the 7th fret lined up with the next string, and would be properly in tune that way.

Anyway, it sounds a lot better now.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 2:51 pm 
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Walden wrote:
... not that the mandolin had any octave strings


Does your bouzouki have octave stringing?

If it does then the bridge would need different compensation for the individual string of each pair. The higher string of each pair needing less compensation, as you would expect.

You very rarely see octave tuned bouzoukis or mandolas (or 12 string guitars) with the individual strings compensated.

The result of this common omission is that any octave pair of strings will always go out with each other as you play up the neck.

David


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