Humidity and Temperature
As with any high-quality solid wood instrument, humidity and temperature are very important factors affecting the health and longevity of your mandolin. Humidity and temperature are easily monitored and regulated with the right accessories - specifically, a thermometer and a hygrometer.
You can take an in-the-case approach to humidity control, or you can treat the entire room in which your instrument will be kept. Measure the relative humidity (RH) and temperature of your storage environment to determine if it is suitable. Measuring daily for a week or two will help you determine whether conditions are stable. Your Weber instrument was built in a controlled environment with an RH of approximately 45% at a temperature of 70° Fahrenheit (F). An RH of between 40% and 50% at this same temperature will ensure a suitable environment for your Weber. Note that RH is temperature-dependent. Air with 45% RH at 60° F does not have the same water content as air at 70° F with 45% RH.
If your storage environment is below 40% RH, invest in a humidifier with variable controls to establish proper RH. If the environment is above 50% RH, a variable-control dehumidifier will be needed to achieve optimal RH. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are available at many department stores.
The transfer of water vapor between the wood of your mandolin and the atmosphere is actually a relatively slow process, and this works in your favor. When an instrument is kept in its case, the process is slowed even further. By keeping your instrument in suitable conditions most of the time, you can take it on short trips to places with less desirable RH conditions without causing problems. If you are taking a longer trip (more than several days) you will want to use some sort of in-case humidity control and measurement.
Before you take any steps to control humidity, you should be sure you can accurately measure the humidity conditions inside your room or guitar case.
You will probably notice the symptoms of an RH problem before it poses a serious threat. Some tell-tale signs of improper humidification are listed below. If your Weber shows symptoms of being over or under humidified, take the instrument to a qualified guitar repair person immediately, or call our service department at 888-886-7598.
Avoid exposing your instrument to extreme temperatures (such as a car trunk on a hot day, or when possible, the cargo hold of an airplane).
Over humidified symptoms – Higher action, sluggish tone, low volume,
Under humidified symptoms – Lowered action, fret buzzing, fret ends protruding.
Truss Rod Adjustment
The truss rod in your Weber instrument serves to counteract the effect of string tension on the neck of your instrument. String tension pulls the neck forward and up, while the truss rod pulls the neck down and back. A properly adjusted truss rod equalizes the tension on the neck. Adjustment of truss rod tension changes the amount of bow in the plane of the fingerboard. Let your instrument adjust to its new environment before changing truss rod tension.
The truss rod should only be adjusted in order to establish proper neck relief and to counteract/balance the effect of string tension. Do not use the truss rod adjustment to try to correct larger set-up issues or other problems that are not related to neck relief. Use extreme caution when making adjustments.
A properly adjusted truss rod results in a neck with a slight forward relief. To check for proper neck relief, push down on the low string at the 1st and last frets simultaneously. There should be about 0.005” of space between the bottom of the string and the top of the 8th fret. You may want a larger or smaller amount of relief depending on your playing style.
Under full string tension, adjust the rod ¼ turn at a time, check the neck as you go.
- To take relief out of your neck, tighten the truss rod with an 1/8" allen wrench. (turn CLOCKWISE)
- To relieve back-bow in the neck, loosen the truss rod. (turn COUNTER CLOCK-WISE)
Note: We changed Mandolin truss rods from single action which would use a 5/16” inch hex nut driver for truss rod adjustment, to double action truss rods which use the 1/8” allen wrench for adjustment (changed overall September, 2006). All larger body mandolin family instruments have used the double action truss rods for many years. All Arch Top Guitars and Resonator guitars have the double action truss rod.
Proper intonation will ensure the instrument plays in tune.
(When you change your strings make sure that the bridge is not leaning forward and seated evenly on the top with no gaps on the front or back edge.)
To check intonation tune the G and E strings. Check the tuning at the 12th fret.
If, while fretted at the 12th fret:
Plays flat: move the bridge towards the peghead
Plays sharp: move the bridge towards the tailpiece
Set the action measuring from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the bass and treble strings. Our factory specs for mandolins and mandolas are 1/16” of an inch on the treble side and slightly higher on the bass side. Octave and cello are setup at 5/64” on the treble side and slightly higher on the bass side.
Bend the end loop of the string up, slightly before sliding it under the top of the tailpiece. This will help the string slide up the ramp easily.
Then, with a slight rotation of the string, seat the loop over the hook in one motion. Check to insure that the loop is close to the bottom of the hook.
We recommend inserting the string from the bridge side of the tailpiece to avoid scratching the top of the instrument. If you need to insert the string from the back of the tailpiece, cover the top of the instrument with the soft cloth before inserting the string.
Fretboard and Bridge
The fretboard of your mandolin may need occasional cleaning. Wipe down the fingerboard and strings after every time you play. If the fingerboard becomes gummy, rub it lightly with 0000 steel wool. Clean off any left-over steel wool fragments, then apply mineral oil. Finally, wipe down the fingerboard with a dry cotton cloth. If the fingerboard appears dry or cracked, you should first take a humidity measurement to ensure the instrument is being stored under suitable conditions. If you find that the environment is too dry, establish proper humidity as needed, and then follow the steps above.
Once a year apply a light amount of mineral oil to the bridge and fretboard. Be careful not to get any mineral oil on the finish.
Satin finishes are very durable and easy to take care of. Do not use waxes or polish - simply wipe the finish with a soft cotton cloth after playing to keep it looking clean.
Gloss finishes use a damp soft cotton cloth to clean the instrument or a small amount of hand glaze on a soft cotton cloth.
We use a nitrocellulose finish, do not use any solvents to clean your instrument.