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Aug 23, 2019 - 6:33:29 AM
703 posts since 11/25/2006

This has probably been answered before but I can't find it. When placing a Moon bridge, is the scale length mark placed at the center of the curve or in line with the 1st/4th strings?

Aug 23, 2019 - 6:43:26 AM
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435 posts since 4/28/2012

Hey Fred-

I've always placed my Moon bridge in line with the 1st and 4th strings.

I'd be interested to know if anyone does it differently.

Good luck!

Aug 23, 2019 - 7:57 AM
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12057 posts since 6/29/2005
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As a rough setup, the first string will be twice the distance from the nut to the center of the 12th fret, then add about 1/8".  I usually cock them a little towards the bass side, so the 5th string may be a little more towards the tailpiece.

You fine-tune the placement by the normal method of matching the harmonic chime at the octave (12th fret) to the fretted note.

Aug 23, 2019 - 9:17:18 AM

869 posts since 1/9/2012

The whole point of the curve is to compensate for "intonation" problems. Listen to the 1st and 4th strings fretted at the 12th compared to "chiming" at the 12th (i.e., the octave harmonic). Move the bridge (including possibly angling it a bit) until those notes match for those strings.

Aug 23, 2019 - 2:33:37 PM

2330 posts since 4/16/2003

Get the 3rd string "right" first.
The rest should come naturally...

Aug 24, 2019 - 6:50:19 AM

69852 posts since 5/9/2007

No matter how you place it the Moon bridge's curve leaves the 1st and 5th strings too short.

Aug 25, 2019 - 12:55:58 PM

Hawk54

Australia

756 posts since 2/9/2007

Funny thing, one of the greatest master banjo players of all time ,bill keith , never had any problems with moon bridge set up ,out of tune ,or intonation, plus plenty of other players who use them , go figure .

Aug 25, 2019 - 1:05:07 PM

12057 posts since 6/29/2005
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk54

Funny thing, one of the greatest master banjo players of all time ,bill keith , never had any problems with moon bridge set up ,out of tune ,or intonation, plus plenty of other players who use them , go figure .


You are so right!

I couldn't help but notice on the Gray Fox series, he has a moon bridge and seems to play in tune.  As an aside his string gauges were 11-11-15-22-11.

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 08/25/2019 13:05:32

Aug 25, 2019 - 1:45:50 PM
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rudy

USA

14380 posts since 3/27/2004
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk54

Funny thing, one of the greatest master banjo players of all time ,bill keith , never had any problems with moon bridge set up ,out of tune ,or intonation, plus plenty of other players who use them , go figure .


There was a long list of prominent players who use straight bridges posted a few years back when the great compensation wars were raging.

Go figure...  wink

Edited by - rudy on 08/25/2019 13:46:20

Aug 25, 2019 - 1:58:55 PM

12057 posts since 6/29/2005
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quote:
Originally posted by rudy
quote:
Originally posted by Hawk54

Funny thing, one of the greatest master banjo players of all time ,bill keith , never had any problems with moon bridge set up ,out of tune ,or intonation, plus plenty of other players who use them , go figure .


There was a long list of prominent players who use straight bridges posted a few years back when the great compensation wars were raging.

Go figure...  wink


I think there are a few things that have emerged in recent banjo history, and we are talking about two of them on current threads.  I think the mania about compensated bridges started with the proliferation of digital tuners where, particularly, inexperienced players became unsure of themselves and frustrated because they were looking at the tuner instead of listening, and couldn't get every string to be exactly right with the tuner, and assumed that Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Bill Keith, etc. were able to do that.

Aug 25, 2019 - 2:18:32 PM

794 posts since 11/17/2018

Shubb sold a compensated bridge for a long time, and then bowed out of the market...

The Shubb COMPENSATED BANJO BRIDGE. This was a popular product for many years, but our production technique was never very cost-efficient. When faced with the decision of either continuing our same method and raising the price, or re-tooling entirely (probably also forcing a price increase) we opted to pull the plug. Since this was one of the few inventions which we had not patented, we relinquished the market to those companies who had copied our design.

Aug 25, 2019 - 2:50:28 PM

kevin

USA

1272 posts since 5/4/2003

I have never used a moon bridge so will not comment on them. But I do think the reason many use compensated bridges is that not everyone's ears hear the same thing. A friend, an excellent picker , when I play his banjo the 3rd string always sounds flat to me. My banjo, the 3rd sounds sharp to him. Yet, they both sound in perfect tune to the owners. I have noticed this many times over the years when swapping banjos at jams and such. I think the compensated bridge sounds "just right" to some players ears while others hear the sweet sound from a straight bridge. Just my opinion, I don't have any science to back it up.
I agree with Mr. Levan that you should listen for the sound and not be totally dependent on a tuner.

Aug 26, 2019 - 11:34:38 AM

869 posts since 1/9/2012

Kevin P makes an important point, and there is science to back it up. Once a tone is more complex than just a pure, single frequency component (i.e., looking like a sine wave on an oscilloscope), pitch determination is a pretty complicated (albeit subliminal) process, and people do disagree. In the context of real banjo music, I don't see that it matters.

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