Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premiere Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

 All Forums
 Other Banjo-Related Topics
 Banjo Building, Setup, and Repair
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Bridge slipping

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

Jon Hankley - Posted - 09/15/2011:  15:06:48

my bridge keeps slipping and moving. Im wondering if this has anything to dp with how tight I have my head.thanks in advances.

impickin5 - Posted - 09/15/2011:  15:29:30

Seems odd. Are you using a non-frosted-top head? Could be the reason. Maybe a top frosted head could be the answer.

steve davis - Posted - 09/15/2011:  15:51:39

More tailpiece pressure might cure it.
Does your tailpiece have an up and down adjusting screw in the end?

Jon Hankley - Posted - 09/15/2011:  16:47:15

It seems like it really only does it when I have my mute on. Do you think the mute is to heavy for my bridge. Its the stock bridge that came on my ibanez artist.

steve davis - Posted - 09/15/2011:  16:53:54

Can you show a pic?

Bart McNeil - Posted - 09/16/2011:  05:43:23

Just about anything which will increase friction (bridge to head) will work. I would try something like artists rubber cement on the bottom of the bridge... not the head. The rubber cement will give you the friction to prevent slipping while not affecting the plastic head... But make sure the rubber cement is dry before putting the bridge back on the banjo... The solvent for rubber cement is pretty powerful and may affect the plastic head if still wet. And by the way rubber cement dries pretty fast so drying time is not a problem. I believe contact cement (also an art supply) will do the same thing in spades. Use these on only one surface (the bridge) but not on the head. Instructions will tell you to coat both surfaces but you don't need or want to do that.

I find it odd that you have a problem if you are using steel strings on your banjo.... My bridge has no tendency to slip and I am using a shiny mylar head. On the other hand if you are using nylon strings i could see where you might have a problem as they are much less taught and tend not offer enough pressure on the bridge to prevent slipping. Anything which prevents movement should work as long as it has no effect on the plastic head.

Kenneth Logsdon - Posted - 09/16/2011:  06:06:31

If the bndge keeps trying to slip... something is not in proper alighnment...

stigandr5 - Posted - 09/16/2011:  06:53:39

A friend of mine recommends gluing sandpaper to the feet of the bridge, but I think that's a better solution for more extreme cases of slipping. Downward tailpiece pressure is what I'd try to adjust.

rexhunt - Posted - 09/16/2011:  07:13:10

Just what makes the bridge slip?  Are you anchoring your pinkie on the side of the bridge?  That's a bad habit you should try to break.  Otherwise, I agree with everyone else about the downward pressure on the bridge from the tailpiece.  Even when I had that bad habit, I rarely moved the bridge.


rickr - Posted - 09/16/2011:  09:32:54

If after checking all the banjo possiblitys,

If everything else seems fine,

try a little fiddle bow rozin on the bottom feet of

the bridge,


hoverflytheo - Posted - 09/16/2011:  16:49:54

Is it just slipping around or is it listing in one direction? My bridge kept slipping toward the treble side, putting my first string very close to being off the neck.

I could move it to the centre again, but when I began playing it would slide back to the "neutral" position.

I was able to loosen and re-angle the tailpiece in the opposite direction, which helped to keep the bridge centred.

mikehalloran - Posted - 09/16/2011:  17:15:15

A mute adds mass. This certainly can cause a bridge to slip if there isn't sufficient downward pressure. Since pressure on the bridge has an effect on tone, a tiny drop of something under the middle foot will do the trick. Pete Seeger uses white glue. Rubber cement will work. I like the idea of rosin but it might not be enough. 

steve davis - Posted - 09/17/2011:  06:47:23

It's easy to glue something down,but by finding and fixing the actual cause of the problem,you'll also probably gain power and tone from the banjo.

Bart McNeil - Posted - 09/17/2011:  07:22:38

It would seem to me that the head material should be considered. A mylar head with the shiney side up might allow the bridge to slip while the coated side would give the bridge a little friction to grip better. An actual skin head would allow little such movement of the bridge....

In fact John Hankley does not give us enough information for an educated guess as to the problem and solution....

It could be that the banjo is tuned so low that there is not enough pressure on the bridge.

The dowel stick may be bent and won't allow proper pressure on the head from the bridge.

If John is using nylon or gut strings instead of steel very little bridge pressure would be exerted and that could enmcourage bridge slippage.

If a minstrel banjo string pressure on the bridge is even lighter. and will often allow slippage of the bridge...In this case it is more a matter of right hand technique and keeping your hand and wrist away from the bridge.

My tnedency is to rest some part of my hand or wrist on the bridge which is not helpful and the problems I have with bridges is usually caused by my bad right hand technique.

steve davis - Posted - 09/17/2011:  07:43:38

If the banjo is tuned so low that the bridge slips,bigger gauge strings would have more down pressure at the same tuning.

bobmcwhirter - Posted - 09/17/2011:  08:43:35

The guys at told me that if my bridge slipped (and it did), just to lightly sand the feet of the bridge, and then very very lightly sand the head a little, to give it a little tooth and friction.

That cured my own slippage on a Fiberskyn head. When I replaced the head with a Renaissance, I didn't have to perform the sanding ritual. I think head surface is a big factor in the stability of a bridge's location.

mikehalloran - Posted - 09/17/2011:  10:18:05

>In fact John Hankley does not give us enough information for an educated guess as to the problem and solution.... <


In fact, he does. He says it happens when the mute is on. He does not say what style of mute but some are quite heavy. A tiny bit of adhesive under the middle foot will solve his problem.

Bart McNeil - Posted - 09/17/2011:  10:56:38

I am using steel strings with a Remo Mylar head which is glassy, almost mirror surface, and I have had no problems with bridge slippage. My bridge is a standard wood bridge with three feet and I have had no problems. That is why I am guessing it may be his picking hand placement which may be working the bridge out of position. I shouldn't think you would want to, or have to, roughen the surface of the head to prevent slippage.

If the problem is with a mute,,, Why not pick softer?

steve davis - Posted - 09/17/2011:  11:06:34

There are a great many smooth top heads on banjos and the bridge doesn't slip on them.

Down pressure and alignment are the two factors concerning bridge stability.

If the tailpiece and/or neck aren't centered,the bridge will pull to the side.

Does the 3rd string stay centered on the neck

Is there the same amount of fretboard showing past the 1st and 5th strings.

Are you tuned to standard pitch

Is there a proper string break angle over the bridge?

What is your string height at the bridge?

Edited by - steve davis on 09/17/2011 11:07:52

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories