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Jul 12, 2018 - 12:20:44 PM
24 posts since 1/28/2018

pretty new to banjo - have just bought a secondhand v cheapo countryman - which want to use for camping trips as it is light (compared to the one I am mainly learning on - which is quite heavy) - I have removed the resonator and intend to replace the strings, tuners and the bridge.
re bridges I was looking at what Andy banjo in the uk are offering:

- basic maple with a dark wood top (50p!!)
- maple /ebony (compensated and non-compensated)
- maple bridge with a dark wood top and bone string slots*

I want to use the Banjo for frailing (hence removed the resonator)  and was wondering what effect the different bridge types would have - *especially the one with bone string slots - would this make it brighter or mellower. I am after as mellower and plunky sound as possible (e.g already stuffed a rag behind the tension rod to dull the sound).

thanks
Nick

Edited by - Nickcd on 07/12/2018 12:25:17

Jul 12, 2018 - 12:24:10 PM

164 posts since 9/23/2003

Maple with ebony top shaved thin

Jul 12, 2018 - 12:36:54 PM

Nickcd

UK

24 posts since 1/28/2018

OK - what sort of depth for the ebony -

if I want a 1/2 inch bridge could I get a 5/8 one and carefully shave both the ebony top and the legs to bring it down to size?

Jul 12, 2018 - 12:52:09 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

10429 posts since 6/29/2003

Most modern banjos require a 5/8" bridge. I think it is rare that one would need a 1/2" one unless the banjo was badly adjusted. Apart from that, any 5/8" bridge would work on you 'jo. Whether one was ebony tipped or with bone/plastic inserts, is left to those who want to experiment with tonal differences. For me, a cheapy banjo just doesn't require that level of experimentation. One cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!

Jul 12, 2018 - 1:25:19 PM
likes this

11128 posts since 10/30/2008

Part of the fun is trying different bridges and seeing what YOU like. Just like trying different strings.

Jul 12, 2018 - 2:20:49 PM
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Nickcd

UK

24 posts since 1/28/2018

As all the bridges from Andy are reasonably cheap think I'll take Old Timers advice & try various ones.
Although a cheap banjo and tuners are not great and strings are very light for me - beginning to get a reasonable "camp fire" sound - + it's the fun of trying to get a cheapo banjo sound reasonable - not only through material changes but developing ( my currently limited) technique & skills of playing.

Jul 12, 2018 - 2:50:55 PM

4511 posts since 5/14/2007

You can really shape your tone with the bridge, so you need to decide whither you want a bright sound or something more mellow. Tell us what you like.

Jul 12, 2018 - 3:56:39 PM

67027 posts since 5/9/2007

For frailing a heavier bridge is most often used for the plunkier tone.
Of the ones you listed I would choose the maple/ebony compensated which I assume is the "stairstep" model.
While not the best intonator they do give a long 3rd string and ample weight for old-timey tone.

I think they might make these in 9/16".

Edited by - steve davis on 07/12/2018 15:57:47

Jul 12, 2018 - 4:02:29 PM

Nickcd

UK

24 posts since 1/28/2018

quote:
Originally posted by John Gribble

You can really shape your tone with the bridge, so you need to decide whither you want a bright sound or something more mellow. Tell us what you like.


As said mellow (to even dullish ) -plunky old time!

Edited by - Nickcd on 07/12/2018 16:03:24

Jul 12, 2018 - 4:10:34 PM

Nickcd

UK

24 posts since 1/28/2018

quote:
Originally posted by steve davis

For frailing a heavier bridge is most often used for the plunkier tone.
Of the ones you listed I would choose the maple/ebony compensated which I assume is the "stairstep" model.
While not the best intonator they do give a long 3rd string and ample weight for old-timey tone.

I think they might make these in 9/16".


my main banjo - came with compensated bridge for  3rd 2nd and 4th as per the "staggered" bridge on Andy's site - & have kept this - so seems a good option - thanks for the info.

what aslo asking though is what would the one with the bone inserts sound like - might just buy one and see

Jul 12, 2018 - 4:50:32 PM

4511 posts since 5/14/2007

The ones with the inserts are usually less bright than the ebony-topped ones, more sustain.

Jul 12, 2018 - 7:48:26 PM

beegee

USA

20783 posts since 7/6/2005

Stick to the basics. 5/8" maple ebony, set the banjo up for the bridge, don't go trying to change the bridge to fit the banjo. Insert bridges would be my last desperate choice.

Jul 13, 2018 - 6:51:32 AM

Bart Veerman

Canada

4211 posts since 1/5/2005

Many Asian-made budget banjos come with 1/2 inch bridges: when adjusting the head tension the bridge gets pushed upwards making a 1/2 inch bridge way too tall as-is so a 5/8 inch tall may not at all be appropriate.

Oh, OEM bridges on budget priced banjos usually are about as plunky as it gets by nature...

Edited by - Bart Veerman on 07/13/2018 06:55:37

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