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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!

7071 reviews in the archive.

Bridges  BRIDGE Banjo Part/Accessory Reviews

Submitted by Brooklynbanjoboy (see all reviews from this person) on 1/4/2011

Where Purchased: DNEW45@ATT.NET

Overall Comments

Donald New advertised the Custom Made Douglas Fir Spillway Dam Banjo Bridge on BHO and I was attracted to the tightly grained wood shown in the photo I saw.

In the ad, and the enclosed note that accompanied the bridge, Mr. New said that he hoped the bridge would improve the sound of the buyer’s banjo, and give the buyer “more pleasure” in playing. I thought that was a very modest way of phrasing it. He made no claim or guarantee that the bridge would open up the sound, make the strings magically more playable, improve the intonation, and so on.

The bridge came in the mail yesterday, and I placed it on the banjo this morning. I can’t say that I am getting the sound that I hoped to get from the banjo, largely because I can’t quite put my finger on what sound I thought possible or most desirable, and that might be a function of both the limits of my instrument and “operator error.”

What I can say is that the bridge is a great piece of work, tightly cut, symmetrical, nicely sanded, notched precisely.

And I can say that it does indeed open up the sound, and it does set up a tension on the strings that made them much more playable. I get a much more precise, crisp sound south on the neck toward the rim, and a bit more clarity in chording.

I can say one more thing about this little bridge. I swing between clawhammer and up- picking, and not usually on the same banjo. The banjo in question, a nice RK-50, showed itself not really suited for clawhammering when I first purchased it. After I installed the Spillway Dam Banjo Bridge, this changed. The bridge made the banjo much more clawhammerable. I really didn’t anticipate that dividend. I managed to convince the Wife that I needed this RK-50 for dedicated up picking work, since no self respecting clawhammer banjo would permit bluegrassing up and down the neck. The Spillway Dam Bridge would have made that argument hard to sustain.

It is possible that many other bridges could have yielded this result. But this is the bridge that very quickly brought me improved results in my set up, so I recommend it. It might not stay on the banjo indefinitely; I’ll try any new banjo bridge once. But it will stay on for a while, and I am enjoying the shifts that it has brought to the instrument in terms of playability and sound.

I wonder what the Spillway Dam Bridge would do to any of my clawhammer open back banjos? I might just have to satisfy that curiousity.

Here’s the ad:



Overall Rating: 9

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