Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Cracked bridge


Anyone else have this happen? I know I will need to replace it but wasn’t sure if it’s something I need to be in a hurry to do. It still plays Ok from what I can tell, I’m a beginner. Thoughts?

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The easy fix is to slightly loosen the strings and slide the bridge out of there (it is a really good idea to mark it’s exact position with a few small bits of painter’s tape first). Once out, squeeze some woodworker’s glue (Elmer’s white will work in a pinch) into the crack and clamp it removing all the squeeze out glue with a slightly damp cloth. Let it sit clamped 24+ hours and then put it back on. It should hold till you can replace it.


That’s kind of a common break point on those. I’d just replace it, as it’s not much work. Get a new bridge and shape it to the top of your mandolin by putting a piece of sandpaper face up on the top of the instrument and sanding the bridge vertically (with the grain) good until the contour is right.


It looks like just the saddle is broken, not the bridge. You can sometimes replace just the saddle (if the replacement saddle/bridge fits properly) as the bridge looks nicely fitted to the top already.


I had the same thing happen to my mando. I inserted a dense piece of black plastic under the break and it worked fine for a long time. Looks like that might work for you. Later I did a home refret job and had to replace the bridge. As @DrGuitar1 noted, you might be able to just replace the broken part, that didn’t work out for me. As @Luke_L observed, if you have to replace the entire bridge it has to be sanded to match the mandolin top, that takes some time and patience. But the fix isn’t too difficult. StewMac sells bridges at a premium price, if you google mandolin bridge you’ll find retailers selling them for about $15. I went with the cheap one because my mando is almost as cheap as I am. :bomb:


Honestly,it is a very easy fix if you get woodworking glue (also known as yellow glue) back into the crack and clamp it for at least a day until it dries/cures. It is likely it will not break again in the same place.


Thanks everyone for the info!