Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Cumberland Acoustics bridge

Anyone out there have a CA bridge? I’m thinking about putting one on my Eastman oval hole (504). Would like to know if anyone has noticed a big difference in tone after installing one.

Also, my bridge is currently set in the right position for intonation. If I put the new CA bridge on, is it just a matter of swapping bridges in just about the same position? I’m wondering if the bottom of that CA bridge would sit perfectly flush on my Eastman. or does there need to be sanding? I’ve heard really good things about the bridge and i’m close to buying.

I don’t have one, but I have read some rave reviews indicating a great improvement in tone. As far as replacing the bridge it’s usually a bit more involved than swapping them out. You would want the saddle/string contact points in the right spot for intonation. Using some low tack masking tape and marking the current location helps with that. You’d also most likely need to fit the bridge to the top, cut string slots and set the action. All of those steps can have a significant effect on playability and tone. I am pretty much a do-it-myself kind of guy, but if I knew of a good mandolin setup person, I would be probably take it to them in hopes of getting the best results.

thanks for the advice.

my current bridge leans towards the oval hole. not the part that touches the top of the mandolin, that is flat. but the bridge itself leans and is not in line with the bottom part (called the saddle?). Its frustrating. I read somewhere that eastman bridges can have this problem. but with a 5 series with an upgraded “ebony” bridge I really feel like it shouldn’t be that way. It’s possible I did something wrong to make it like this. I’ll be in South Carolina early next year. (Right now I am out of country and nobody knows what a mandolin is). Anyone know a good spot in SC that can set up a new CA bridge for me? Even NC would do.

If no one comes up with something, I would search and/or post at mandolin cafe. I suspect somebody would know a good suggestion. … and-Repair

As far as nomenclature, the bridge is the larger piece, while the saddle is the smaller piece that the strings actually contact.

The flip side of it is this… if your bridge has issues, you can quite possibly improve it yourself with some online research and a new bridge. I suspect the fitting of the bridge to the top is going to be the most demanding aspect. I have never done that, but I did do a violin bridge when I was a kid, and turned out to be usable. I think that a mandolin is a bit more difficult as there is more surface area. Worst case, if you purchase a new bridge and mess it up trying to fit it and so forth, you are out the cost of the bridge. Depending on your view of things, that may not be such a bad risk. You could potentially learn some handy stuff along the way and end up with a great playing and sounding bridge.
Here’s a link to fitting a bridge… doesn’t look too terribly difficult: … tfeet.html

I have just had a CA bridge installed on my Eastman 515 and I’m very happy with it. I purchased this mandolin with a cracked bridge and took it to Steve for a setup and a new bridge. He did a great job and it plays so much better after the setup work. Especially for a new mandolin player like me.