Visit Mel Bay





View banjopogo's Homepage


View banjopogo's Homepage

Read banjopogo's Bio

Contact banjopogo

You must sign into your myHangout account in order to contact banjopogo.
Playing Since: 1971

Experience Level: Purty Good

[Teaching] [Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: musician/entertainer

Gender: Male

Age: 65

My Instruments:
Hohner HTB travel banjo,
Fiddle (Old Time the best, dabble at other styles)
Stratocaster copy electric guitar (mostly bluesy stuff)
Baritone ukulele.

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Bluegrass: Enjoyed Bill Monroe and the BG Boys, the BG Cardinals, and Country Gazette live, and Flatt and Scruggs and Stanley Brothers albums- and of course, I liked Foggy Mountain Breakdown- that helped motivate me to start banjo, cause it sounded so cool.
Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Hobart Smith, Clarence Ashley, Wade Ward.
Paul Brown.
Sundry influences on my banjo playing and singing with banjo:
Burl Ives, Joan Baez, Elizabeth Cotten, John Hurt, Mike Seeger,
Pete Seeger, Chicago Blues, Blind Willie Johnson, Jimmy Reed,
Otis Redding, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Georgia Sea Island Singers.

Classified Rating: not rated
Rate this Member

Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 8/8/2006
Last Visit 4/17/2016


Homemade Beechwood Bridges

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 @2:26:57 AM

I've been thinking of making my own banjo bridge, but I am NOT very handy with tools... well, I can do some things, but I'm not a woodworker by any means.  I figured if I was going to make a banjo bridge, it was going to have to be very close to the width and height I needed , then just cut and shape the ends, drill some holes, and narrow the top and cut the notches.  I just used a little hobby saw and files and emery boards to do the cutting and shaping.

As it was I managed to draw a LITTLE blood- nothing serious, though!

I found some wooden kitchen tongs at Grocery Outlet that looked perfect- and they said "beechwood".  Must be a Chinese beechwood, because they are made in China.

Anyway,  I searched beechwood on the Banjo Hangout, and there are references to beechwood being an excellent tonewood for bridges, and so far this fits the description- I haven't cut the holes yet (I'm going to make it like a Lamson or a Fielding partly because drilling round holes is going to be easier for my limited woodworking skills)- it's just a solid piece of wood, but it sounds GREAT.  And it's curved, so it fixes the intonation problems.

It's kind of sustainy, but I haven't drilled the holes yet.  And the sustainy sound is kind of nice for solo stuff (and I mostly perform solo), so I might make two- one with holes and one without just to see what the difference is.

One of the nice things is that the low notes are SO clear now.

It's a bright wood, but it's a warm, mellow brightness.

This is like getting a new banjo-

I think it's going to revolutionize my banjo playing!

I've gotten compliments on my Hohner Travel Banjo's sound, but I think this is going to be a quantum leap!

(later edit- next day)

I made two more beechwood bridges.  One is identical to the first except neater, both with a curve sort of like a Moon bridge.

Another was just a straight beechwood rectangular block, but I graduated the G string slot with a file.  It still sounded pretty similar... UNTIL I took a drill to it to do the Lamson/Fielding thing... except I misaligned the holes a bit- the holes aren't right under the strings... the strings are right over the edge of the holes.. ( I told you I wasn't much at woodworking!) But it sounds good-  but louder, and not quite as sustainy.

I've got some more pieces.  I wonder if I make the holes smaller if I won't get a sound somewhat in between the solid bridges and the one with the holes.  Another possibility- try to make one as close to the standard 3-legged shape as possible.

Another possibly... try to do the Lamson-Fielding thing, but get the holes lined up right this time!!!  Thing is, I DON'T have a drill press.

Be the first to comment on “Homemade Beechwood Bridges”

You must sign into your myHangout account before you can post comments.

banjopogo's Blog Archive

You are not logged in.
Log In

Not a member? Create an Account (FREE!)


Viewing desktop version - switch to mobile version