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The banjo reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

7079 reviews in the archive.

Bridges  David Cunningham bridges Banjo Part/Accessory Reviews

Submitted by five-string fever (see all reviews from this person) on 3/3/2016

Where Purchased:

Overall Comments

   First things first, what I think is fantastic banjo tone might be different than you. Taste is subjective but I really love Earl, J.D. and Pete Wernick's tone in general although they sound different on different recordings. I have been playing Scruggs style bluegrass banjo enough to own my own 5-string banjo for a little over 10 years. I have played fretted stringed instruments of all types, including banjos, for about 35 years. I got a cheap Asian pot-metal banjo in 2005, then a plain Jane Sullivan Festival in late 2006, then a really nice mahogany Bales in 2013. I love to tinker around and experiment to get the best from all my instruments and 5 string banjos are perfect for experimenting with. In the years after I got the Sullivan I have done lots of things to get the best tone such as different strings, heads, straps, picks, Zero-fret, tone enhancers, pickups, D-tuners. etc...I acquired a lot of bridges from Kat Eyz; Sosebee; Z-bridges:Scorpion; Bart Veerman, etc...  I read some rave reviews on BHO of David Cunningham's bridges in late 2013 and ordered two bridges for my new Bales in January 2014. David contacted me before he began to work to make sure he knew what I was after. I got two standard spaced 11/16" bridges one Maple/Padauk and Zebra/Katalox. The Bales just loved the Maple/Padauk. The tone was consistently clean and strong across the strings. I had found some bridges emphasized the high notes more. Good growl on the 4th/low D. I have taken the bridge off the Bales a time or two but it always went back on. The Cunningham bridge seemed to bring out the best in this banjo. Clean, clear and strong. I am pretty sure that part of his success in this design is that he creates a very slight radius on the feet to match the sag of the banjo head. Brilliant!

   Over the last half of 2015 I slowly bought different banjo parts one at a time and ended up assembling two new banjos when all was said and done. I did not plan this ahead of time I just started by buying a used radius neck on BHO classifieds to bolt onto my Sullivan pot assembly and things kind of snowballed. I put together a maple neck and resonator Mastertone style with a Yates rim and Yates no-hole tone ring. I also bought and installed a Bela style large radius flying eagle neck onto my Sullivan pot assembly originally, then later I acquired a new Sullivan torrified rim and Sullivan V-35 tone ring. When I got the final versions of each together last month  I knew that I needed some more Cunningham bridges. Even though he does not advertise them on his website I sent him an e-mail asking him if he could do radiused bridges. Luckily for me he agreed to do them but he had to specially set up his machines because he had never done these sizes before.  I ordered two standard spaced 3/4" bridges, one Maple/Padauk and one Zebra/Katalox for the maple and two 11/16" radius bridges one Maple/Padauk and one Zebra/Katalox each with his Achilles heel. I have only had them on for a week at this point they are definitely keepers with a lot of the same strengths as the others; clean, clear and strong. During the whole process David kept me notified and even sent me pictures of the blueprints then later the finished bridges. All of this customer service and my favorite custom banjo bridges for a very reasonable price. I am also grateful that he is thinking outside the box with the slight curve of the feet and the recent Achilles heel. He has me as a customer for life. 

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by RedStar (see all reviews from this person) on 3/26/2015

Where Purchased: Direct from David

Overall Comments

I inquired to David about a replacement bridge for a Stelling Whitestar. The factory bridge is very good, and I had preferred it that to all other bridges I had - except I wanted to shorter bridge (factory was 11/16").

I ended up with 2 bridges from David (.656"), and the zebrawood/katalox bridge had a beautiful effect on the banjo. It gives good note separation and note decay.

The 2nd bridge I received was a Missouri Maple/ebony bridge - I haven't tried that out yet. I have had the z/k on for about 6 weeks, originally going to let it settle in for a few days, but I've been so pleased with the tone, I see no reason to swap it out yet.

I found working with David to be top-notch. He was very good at speaking at length with me in my search. 

I highly recommend his products & service!


Edited to add:

I also have an afromosia/katalox bridge from David on an RK-35. It also is an outstanding bridge. I had replaced a Sullivan roasted maple that sounded great, but the a/k brought it up a notch!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by greypicker (see all reviews from this person) on 2/25/2015

Where Purchased: David Cunningham

Overall Comments

We (Bob Worley and Dave Cunningham) adjusted the truss rod tension on my Stelling and put a slightly shorter DC bridge on it. The tone and volume with Dave's bridge is really loud and crisp. This is the fourth of his bridges I've used. The engineering and craftsmanship of his products are absolutely the best. 

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by funpickin (see all reviews from this person) on 1/10/2015

Where Purchased: Dave Cunningham

Overall Comments

Increased volume and improved tone on Deering  Hartford.  Same plus 4th string growl on KK250.  Will put these on my other banjos. Saw Dave's shop.  He produces a consistant quality product.   I have experimented with many bridges over the past few years and these produce superior tone.  They look cool too!

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by JSLONE (see all reviews from this person) on 8/29/2014

Where Purchased: david Cunningham

Overall Comments

I received an Afro/Kat  bridge from David today that he sent me to try out.

The wood is Afromosia and the top is katalox.I was very surprised when I put it on and tuned up,there was no waiting time for it to break in,sounded great right away! The volume is perfect for me,no over ring any where on the neck.and, all the strings blend perfect.The 4th string has that special growl that everyone seeks,but doesn't  stand out over the sound from the other four strings.Try one of these bridges and you will be very pleased and very surprised !   Jim

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by SaltyDawg (see all reviews from this person) on 1/24/2014

Where Purchased: David Cunningham

Overall Comments

I put one of David's Zebra bridges on an Epiphone MB-500 that I have for sale and the thing just came to life!  I had no idea a bridge could do so much for a banjo.  The tone and volume improved dramatically and if my ears don't deceive me even the clarity and note separation have improved.  David is an incredible guy to deal with and even sent a video of the bridge being made when I asked if he could snap a picture.  I will now be even more hard pressed to let the Epiphone go.  I would strongly recommend one of these zebra bridges to anyone looking to get a little something more from their banjo.  

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Big I (see all reviews from this person) on 1/19/2014

Where Purchased: David Cunningham

Overall Comments

A friend of mine let me borrow a Zebra bridge to try out. It is a powerful bridge with lots of snap crackle and pop. If your looking for the Stanley tone then you need to try one of the Zebra bridges. So some how I found out he was making some walnut bridges with a Katalox top. So I contacted him and he sent me one to try. I have made some myself out of walnut and love the darker tones of walnut but mine always were lacking a little something. So anyway I put his on my banjo and am very happy with the tone it produces. Its a sweeter tone than maple. More resonance. If your looking for a slightly darker, sweeter tone, give this bridge a try.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by dogsplus2 (see all reviews from this person) on 12/28/2013

Where Purchased: Dave Cunningham directly

Overall Comments

I'm from the UK, and quality bridges have to be bought from the US.

After a few years of buying (waiting) and trying, I decided that the Emerson Sweet Power II was the bridge for me.  I've rarely taken it off my banjo for more that a few minutes because I like the tone and volume so much.  I tend to tire of new bridges quickly and the ESPII goes back on after an hour or so.

It's been a couple of years since I've forayed into the world of bridges, so I thought I'd take a punt on some less well known makers, and I'm really glad I did.

I got the Zebra Wood/Katalox bridge 5/8th and standard spacing from Dave Cunningham, bought via the classifieds.  His communication is great and I had it within a week (to the UK over Christmas too!).

It looks great.  Really well made, with no roughness.  A nice design (rounded feet for me), and nice solid wood feel.

I put it on, and it sounds really great.  I have a Wildwood Paragon, which is a really loud (and absolutely wonderful!) Banjo, and it really magnifies any quality or tone issues.  There were none.

It sounded great with great note separation and volume both up and down the neck.  Unbelievably, I think it has more volume than the ESPII, but that's the way Iike it.

In short, there is nothing I don't like about it.  

Will it replace the ESPII long term?  I don't know, I'm fairly loyal to it, but what I would say is, I've had it a day and I haven't been tempted to take it off my banjo yet - which is pretty unusual.

A really great bridge and hats off to Dave Cunningham for doing this - it's finding these little gems that BHO exposes you to that makes Banjoing a real treat!


Update:  Still using this Bridge.  I'm massively impressed by the note quality, the sustain remains fully in tune for the entire length of the note with no 'drop off' which is pretty amazing.  Same for all strings.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by pickalot (see all reviews from this person) on 12/19/2013

Where Purchased:

Overall Comments

There are a lot of really good bridge makers and bridges out there today.  I have tried many of them.  I will go even further to say I have never received a bad bridge from anyone.  In fact, most improved the banjos I was playing at the time, at least changed my sound to something I was happy with.

With that said I must tell you that after trying( and now refusing to remove it from my banjo) a David Cunningham bridge I cannot imagine ever trying another bridge.  My newest banjo is a style 4 copy with a Hatfield custom neck, Cox rim and hardware, Tenn. 20 ring, Steve Gill resonator.........all mahogany.  Great banjo with a great sound from day one.  The bridges I have tried have been great but none gave me the note separation, clarity, perfect amount of decay,  tone, voice and volume that David's bridges have....a total package in every catagory.  (Maybe maple is not the best choice for all banjos....hummmmm)

 I received a Zebra wood bridge and a special walnut bridge in the mail Monday (Dec. 16, 2013).  I put the Zebra bridge on and in 10 minutes I had an awesomely different banjo........and was very, very pleased.  It could have stopped right there and I would have been a happy picker....but then I tried the walnut bridge - no way that bridge is coming off my banjo! 

I don't make a dime on these bridges but if you realize how important the bridge is on a banjo you should give David a shout, either here on the Hangout through his classified ad for his bridges........or go directly to his web site at  I'm ordering another one today for my other banjo!   David's workmanship is excellent!...and he is a super nice and friendly guy...

Yes, I am a little bit excited about this bridge!


Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by RioStat (see all reviews from this person) on 11/27/2013

Where Purchased: direct from Mr.Cunningham

Overall Comments

David's zebra-wood / katalox bridge (2.46 gm / .687 tall / Crowe spacing) made a marked improvement in the sound of my banjo (Cox rim, Sullivan First Quality archtop tone ring, Gibson RB 250 neck & resonator)

The individual clarity of each note was noticeably increased from open string up to the 22nd fret.

The guys I jam with even asked if I had new strings or new finger-picks, etc.. so they heard a difference also. It wasn't just my ears !!

Well made, good looking, traditional styled bridge with the weight, height, and spacing written on the bottom of the feet. I like little details such as that.

Also, David is an excellent person to deal with!





Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by wholli8060 (see all reviews from this person) on 11/15/2013

Where Purchased: E-Bay

Overall Comments

If your looking for a new  bridge  get a cunningham bridge .He's helpful and it made my banjo sound so much better

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by Brooklynbanjoboy (see all reviews from this person) on 11/9/2013

Where Purchased: BHO

Overall Comments

A few days ago I notice BHO member David Cunningham’s ad for bridges:


I asked David to build me four 5/8 Zebra bridges with a Katalox cap, two in Crowe spacing and two standard spacing.

David noted that his bridges “have a .010 arc chord depth at the base to account for the sag of the banjo head. This helps to prevent sag at the top of the bridge over time.”


That’s way too technical engineering like for me, but it seemed like a good idea, and I’m a sucker for new, innovative bridges. 


They arrived today and I tried them out on my Style S 10 inch Vega Little Wonder pot hooked to a Wyatt Fawley neck, built as an A scale banjo.  It’s a fairly new addition  to my arsenal, and I’ve spent a bit of time trying to pin down a sound using various bridges (and toying with the other customary variables).


In thelast 24 hours, before David’s bridges arrive, I had at least a half dozen custom made bridges that have accumulated in my inventory on and off that A scale banjo.  They all gave me an appreciably different sound, but didn’t get me closer to what I wanted.


David’s zebra wood bridge with the Crowe spacing delivered.  Gave me a great sound across the fingerboard, and helped get me the clarity I wanted with the strings stretched up to A tuning. 


His bridges are sleek , nicely made, flawlessly cut and sanded, and consistent in their architecture.  The Katalox cap is strong, stands up to refilling the string slots – I’m using a thicker gauge nylon string and David’s bridges were apparently slotted for steel strings.  Zebra wood has a nice look.  I don’t think it’s necessarily easy to work with; I’ve cut some tailpiecves and other things from that wood before.  But David scored big on the quality of the work using Zebra.  He brands them, and labels them – height, weight, spacing – on the bottom of the bridge feet for convenience.


These are nice bridges.  The remaining three are probably going to migrate to my other banjos.  Looking forward to making that happen and getting the nice, clean sound that comes from this product.


Thanks, David.


Play hard,




Post Script: (18 November 2013)

I now have six David Cunningham’s bridges.   Four are 5/8 inches in height, two with Crowe spacing and two with standard spacing.  Two are 6/8 inches in height, one standard and the other Crowe spacing.  They are very cleverly cut, very inventively made, and very effective on my various banjos.  

David is a very conscientious bridge engineer.  He has impressive design capabilities and works real hard to please customers.  I’m glad to have stumbled into him on BHO and learned about his product in some very informative email correspondence with him. 

I just pur one of his 6/8 inchers on a banjo I was poised to sell. 

Now it is a keeper.

I’m convinced.  These are first class bridges.

Play hard,



Overall Rating: 10

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