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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  Zimmerman 'Vintage Z Elite' Bridge Banjo Part/Accessory Reviews

Submitted by Pickin furry paws (see all reviews from this person) on 11/3/2011

Where Purchased: First Quality Music

Overall Comments

I purchased an 11/16" height bridge from FQMS back in November 2006 and have been very pleased with the bridge over the past six years.

The initial thing I noted about the bridge was the quality of fit and finish: the work was clean and suberb. Unlike a great many of the other makers' bridges out there, the Zimmerman bridge was perfect: every line, angle, and profile was super smooth and fine. There was no chipping, denting, unevenness, or roughness of any kind. It was clear the bridge had been given special attention by the maker.

Second, the design was excellent. I particularly like the fact that they didn't rely on a 1/8+ strip of ebony at the top...theirs is much thinner. Again, a lot of the other makers use quite a hefty slab of ebony at the top of their bridges. This is done because ebony warms and deepens the tone generally, and this I believe was done to accomodate the growing popularity of the "thunking, woody" sounding banjo tones more prevalent nowadays. While that is fine, I have run into problems with these type of bridges; the tone ended up being far too muddy and clunky for my tastes. As a Scruggs picker looking for the "keening tones" of old, I needed a bridge that gave me that.

Zimmerman has one of the answers, for sure. The tone is certainly rich; at proper head tensions on tone ring banjos (G - A tapped), the bridge delivers a surprising amount of bass response for how thin it is - but it does not loose volume or musicality. Many of the other bridges I've tried lost some of their pleasant, musical nature when trying to deliver more bass tones. Not this bridge.

While I don't believe that a bridge can give you every single thing you want (it is a natural product), this one comes very, very close at doing just that.

The volume is also impressive. This is probably due to the wonderful quality of the Timeless Timber maple, which is old, dry, and treated. It is slightly less weight then virgin maple, and I think this improves the resonance of the bridge.

Finally, the treble is very sweet. Perhaps a bit too sweet for my personal tastes. This is perhaps the bridge's only weakness. It warms the treble so much that it gets just a little clang-y, losing some of the Scruggsy, bell-like sweetness I like to hear in a Gibson banjo. A simple remidy for this would be to moderately increase head tension.

Overall, though, this is an excellent, excellent bridge. Did I also forget to mention that it "plays in" with use? Superb!

I highly recommend Mr. Zimmerman's product.

Overall Rating: 9

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