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1970's Harmony Monterey Mandolin

Q: A friend gave me a 1970's Harmony Monterey Mandolin.  I need an original replacement bridge, could I get one from you and if so how much.  I live in Muskogee OK.  Ted
A: What you need is a bridge that fits. Bridges come pre cut as "blanks."  The feet don't fit the top of the mandolin and the string grooves are not cut.  Any bridge that will adjust to the right height will be fine. 
    The fit of the feet is critical.  There is more weight per square inch on a woman's high heel shoe than on the foundation of the Empire State Building. The whole bottom of each bridge foot should be in contact with the top.  If it doesn't fit, all the weight of the strings is concentrated on the spots where the bridge does touch the top.  The top can be dented, deformed or cracked.  In other words, finding an "original replacement bridge" would not mean that it would fit your mandolin.
    If we had the old bridge or even some pieces of it, we could make an exact copy of it.  If we had another Monterey to look at we could  make you a copy of that bridge.  This copy would cost $200.  Commercially available bridge blanks are about $20 and cost about $40 to fit.  The coolest thing going is a solid (nonadjustable) maple bridge for $150.  The ebony wood and the metal adjustment wheels on a traditional bridge don't carry vibrations to the top as well as solid maple.  A solid bridge will improve your bass and power.
    A Harmony Monterey is not a major collectors find and being in pristine original condition does not improve it's value much. The Monterey was the most expensive mandolin that Harmony made but, because of all the metal and plastic decorations on it it was always the worst sounding mandolin that they made.  But I speak from memory of the 1970s market and I am not up to date with the current vagaries of the Harmony collectors market so who knows?  It might be worth a fortune, in which case you will either have to find an original bridge and get it fit to your mandolin or have an exact copy made.
Steve Mason

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