Yesterday my new Brekke Bridge from Vern Brekke of Bridger Products, arrived in the mail. The package contained the bridge base, complete with grub screws and wedges, an Allen (hex) key for adjusting the screws and 3 saddles, two of which were pre-compensated. The inclusion of the hex key is a really nice touch.
On removing all the parts from the plastic bag, I was impressed by the high standard of manufacture. The professional standard of workmanship and accurate machining of the jet black ebony lend this complex mechanical bridge the illusion of elegant simplicity. The assembled bridge has a very solid look and feel that confidently stamps it's authority on the instrument. The saddle and wedges appear to be lubricated with graphite which is understandable given the considerable pressure they are under when sliding past each other to raise and lower the strings.
This bridge replaces a home made Red Maple one piece bridge (very bright) in the style of the red Henry bridges. After choosing the appropriate height saddle, I spent a couple of hours fitting the base to the soundboard. On stringing up and tuning to pitch, there was a noticeable difference in the sound quality. The mandolin has always been a little biased towards the treble but now it is much and the A and E strings sparkle more than before.
It's very loud mandolin so a small drop in volume due to the extra mass of the bridge is an acceptable trade-off. I will slim it down a bit some time in the future. The visual contrast between the blonde top and black bridge is striking and really finishes this mandolin off nicely.
One of the key attractions of the Brekke bridge is the ability to adjust action under full string tension. That ability combined with a zero fret make action adjustments a real no brainer . How appropriate.
I commend this bridge to anyone considering something a bit different or those who wish to eliminate the issues inherent in the standard 'Loar' style thumb wheel bridges.
Four and a half stars.
Disclaimer: I have no pecuniary interest in Bridger Products and am in no way connected or related to the manufacturer. I wrote this review in the interests of promoting variety and celebrating innovation
...and because I really like the bridge.
The more I learn, the less I know.