I'm a banjo picker from Sweden and I have a question about what bridge and tailpiece to get for my Gibson RB-250. Since I live in Scandinavia the banjo parts are hard to find and someone to ask about it even harder so I thought I post the question here. I'm looking to get the tone a bit sharper and higher in volume since the RB-250 is in the low end.
So does anybody have any recommendations of what I should choose when it comes to bridge and tailpiece to get a bit crisper and higher sound on my RB-250? I have the original Gibson bridge and tailpiece installed now. I´ve looked at the snuffy smith bridges and understand that these are great bridges. I´ve also looked at different tailpieces and they all seem pretty ok. Help me Americans! Any advice or recommendations are much appreciated.
I've used Bart Veerman, Desert Rose Z, Huber, Scorpions, all with great results. A bridge designed after the grover style bridges but using aged wood should help. As far as tail pieces go. I've always liked the presto style. I had a Fults on my old Sierra that I liked alot. They have a few different styles to choose from... but you might be in need of a good setup as well. Is there anyone near you that does pro banjo setups?
keep in mind what works for one banjo may or may not work on another.
old grow wood bridges have great sound, they are several on the market. also check the nut on the head stock, is it bone or plastic.
on the tailpiece, using one that will spread the strings out can have a better sound. you can adjust the tailpiece height change tone and sound. it some times is trial and error.
light strings will give a bright sharp tone, at the same time med. may work the best.
you may need to tighten or loosen the head to get the sound you want. changing the head to different type, smooth or frosted.
this is simple trial and error things and not to expensive to do. also check your banjo to any cracks, loose connections, or simple adjustments like mentioned. do one thing at a time to see what and where your sound changes. take notes......just to document and for reference so you can go back to if needed.
keep in mind what works for one banjo may or may not work for another. all are different.
Light strings, a slightly higher action if you can do that without making it more difficult for you to pick, and a good lightweight maple bridge - I would stick around the 2-2.2 gram area and .656 height.
Steve Davis is a fine bridge resource. He not only sold me a really nice compensated bridge, but retrofitted a few for me so they now have new ebony caps giving me .656 height and Crowe spacing. I think Steve is very reasonable with his pricing as well.
I spent the $$ for a Fults tailpiece and glad I did. Most adjustable and best made in the world of tailpieces. Bob Fults is a genius. You can tweak it a million ways. I got the Blue Ridge with the XYZ mount. I think the XYZ mount gives you the most adjustment options. Check out Bob's website. Rock solid, beautifully engineered and beautifully made. The instructions may be a little difficult to follow but Bob is responsive on email.