Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

Banjo Reviews

Review Categories

Most Recent

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!

7071 reviews in the archive.

Bridges  Kateyz McCormick "Spice" Banjo Part/Accessory Reviews

Submitted by Crusty (see all reviews from this person) on 11/11/2015

Where Purchased: Kateyz website

Overall Comments

These are the best sounding bridges of all I've tried, including about 25 bridges of various woods and designs that I made myself.  The tones from these are rich, full and balanced, and the third string isn't dominant like nearly all the other three footed bridges out there.  I stopped making my own bridges when I realized that Mike's Kateyz design can't be topped.  I dunno about BG usage but for open backs this bridge can't be beat.  Get one - you'll like it.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by bobclawhammerjammer (see all reviews from this person) on 12/5/2014

Where Purchased: From Kateyz

Overall Comments

                 I added this bridge to my Chuck Lee Glen Rose original some three years ago - about a year after I bought this model banjo new  from Elderly. It's hard for me to believe I forgot to say something about it until now. A good friend of mine from Springfield, IL had met this fellow and turned me on to his work-in a word awesome! I ordered the spice bridge with the purple heart pegged top- medium weight as he suggested. It's built like a brick outhouse; I can't imagine that it would ever need replacing. Really very nicely crafted and he's a fine fellow to do business with. As I remember it was about $35, and worth every penny.

Did it make a difference to "Rose"...hmmmm? It's hard to improve on perfection from a Chuck Lee.

Now I'm looking for a new bridge for the new Reiter Bacophone; might just order another.


Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by SBPARK (see all reviews from this person) on 3/11/2012

Where Purchased: Custom order

Overall Comments

I am new to playing the banjo, and come from the guitar world, so my knowledge of the banjo and experience is limited, so take my review with a grain of salt, but hopefully someone can get something from my review.


I custom ordered a bridge from Mike for a recently acquired Recording King RK-87. It's a beautiful banjo, but sounded a tad tinny and thin to me, although the banjo had a ton of sustain. The only other banjo I rally had to compare it to that I had actually played were an RK-35 (that sounded 'angrier' to me if that makes sense, and fatter) and my buddy's Goodtime 2. I told mike that it would be nice to have the banjo sound a little bigger, fatter, rounder (although I know since the banjo is maple, it will be a bit more bright, perhaps harsh than mahogany.)

Mike suggested the McCormick spice bridge, ebony top, and I wanted to go with an 11/16 over the stock 5/8 and went with the pegged top. Mike decided a slightly heavier bridge weight of 2.2 oz.

While I was waiting for Mike's bridge I also tried a Style II Snuffy Smith 11/16 bridge, and although it made the banjo even louder, it now had these sort of harsh overtones that would ring out for a while. When I received Mike's bridge I immediately noticed a difference (and yeah, it was THAT noticeable, which surprised me.) I may lost a SMALL amount of volume, and I mean small amount, but much clearer, cleaner tone, not harsh at all, more balanced and no harsh overtones. Just more solid all around and much more pleasing to (my) ear.

Mike told me to try out the bridge for a week or so before committing to it, but I can honestly say I am sold already after a day of playing. He is a very pleasant and nice person to deal with, has great customer service, and just seems like an all-around good person who I would not hesitate to do business with again in the future. Although, as we already know, there is no one magical bridge that works on every banjo, but if you are looking for a bridge and still trying to dial in your tone, you should definitely give a Kat Eyz a try.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by DaveOmega (see all reviews from this person) on 12/22/2009

Where Purchased:

Overall Comments

This is the best bridge I've tried. The bridge is sweet, crisp, deep, and bright, Beautiful craftsmanship, this one has snakewood cap. I also own a standard old maple Kat Eyz and it's great one too, but the McCormick spice factory wood has a special flavor that I've started to prefer. I only own 5 different makes of bridges but this one is by far the best.

Overall Rating: 10

Submitted by MrNatch3L (see all reviews from this person) on 12/20/2009

Where Purchased: Mike Smith direct

Overall Comments

I installed this bridge on a 70s vintage StewMac "Eagle" kit with an integral cast aluminum pot and archtop tone ring. That should tell you a lot about it - tinny, kind of harsh, very bright. After owning the thing for 20 years I discovered it sounded much better when tuned down to E or E-flat, and that's where I've been playing it for last year or so. I was looking to see if I could improve that sound any more.

I described the general sound characteristics and how I'm playing it now to Mike Smith and pointed him to a recording. After that, I let him recommend what to put on it to improve it. He sent me one of his first McCormick spice factory wood bridges in the KatEyz style, with ebony top wood, at 2.3 grams.

I was immediately struck by the workmanship. I got the same impression I might get from a piece of fine, Amish hand-crafted cabinetry. But sound is what really matters. So I put on a fresh set of American Made Banjo cryo strings with the el cheapo Grover bridge I'd had on this Mutt for years, thinking it deserved no better. After breaking in the strings for a while, I replaced the old Gover with the new Kat Eyz. I was expecting some improvement, but I was not prepared such a transformation of the banjo.

It was like the whole instrument came alive for the first time. I felt that the eitire head was resonating now - never had that feeling before. I could feel the sound resonating thru the neck - also something new. Gone was the harshness and tinniness that had always been the hallmark of this banjo. I had told Mike I wanted a "woodier" sound. I can't say the sound now is "woody" - it's definitely a metal tone ring sound, but with the Kat Eyz bridge it's now much fuller, rounder, mellower, and more balanced across the tonal spectrum than it ever was before. I messed with the head tension a bit (less) and things only got better. Down in E, E-flat, this banjo is now just sweet, with a sound that's very much its own, and very good for a lot of my original tunes.

Just for curiosity, I tuned up to Bluegrass G. Wow - it's got volume and pop that it never had before. And no aluminium jangle - how can that be? It's not Ralph Stanley, but it's a decent Bluegrass archtop sound.

Maybe a pricier instrument would not be so radically improved with just a bridge change, I don't know. All I know is that suddenly I have to adjust to the idea that I've lost a beater banjo and now have 2 good sounding banjos. I could not imagine there was such potential in my old Mutt. This Kat Eyz bridge transformed it from a beater to a valued one of a kind instrument. Now I gotta find another beater!

Overall Rating: 10

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories