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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Mando setup


USA, Lubbock

Anybody got a band-aid?
Sep 1st, 2019 07:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

What are the general rules for setting up a mandolin. I have a decent ibanez but it seems to be poorly intonated and difficult to play beyond the 5th fret. I have never played a well set up mandolin, but I can only imagine it shouldn't feel like playing my first guitar.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Sep 2nd, 2019 08:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

This guys covers the action adjustment pretty well. I’ve done ukuleles, though not mandos yet.

I would check the nut the way I do on the guitar or bass by fretting down the string at the second fret and see how high it is over the first, it shouldn’t actually touch the first fret but just barely clear it.

Setting up mandolin action

Contributing Member

If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Sep 2nd, 2019 09:55 AM   Edit   Profile  

I set up a mando with a straight neck and about 1/16" between the 12th fret and the strings.

Nut action (string height over the 1st fret) should be in the .012" to .015" range. If you're eyeballing, a simple way to check it is to lightly depress a string pair to the 1st fret and observe the distance between the strings and the 2nd fret. That distance--plus a wee smidge--is what you want on the open strings over the 1st fret.

When intonating, measure from the front of the nut to the center of the 12th fret, double that dimension, and set the saddle for the high string pair at that distance from the nut. With a compensated saddle, the bridge foot is pretty close to 90 degrees from the axis of the strings. And tweak as necessary.


Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Sep 3rd, 2019 03:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

I found this online some years ago...

From Collings Technical Support:

String Height (measured at top of 12th fret to bottom of string):
Bass-side: 5/64" (2 mm)
Treble-side: 1/16" (1.6 mm)

Relief (measures distance from top of fret to bottom of string while fretting the 1st and 13th fret):
Relief at 5th Fret: .005" (0.12 mm)


USA, Lubbock

Anybody got a band-aid?
Sep 26th, 2019 02:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks y'all. I adjusted the bridge an can almost play it as well as Marty Stuart if he was only playing cowboy chords.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Mando setup

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