Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

362
Banjo Lovers Online


Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Dec 14, 2019 - 1:45:20 PM

Ybanjo

USA

656 posts since 11/15/2009

Fairly simple question... Can a standard flat bridge be used on a banjo with radiused neck?? I can't come up with a reason that it couldn't, but there may be something that I'm not considering. I know to keep the action high enough to prevent buzzing, but other than that, what else could be a problem??

Dec 14, 2019 - 1:59:26 PM
likes this
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14988 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Ybanjo

Fairly simple question... Can a standard flat bridge be used on a banjo with radiused neck?? I can't come up with a reason that it couldn't, but there may be something that I'm not considering. I know to keep the action high enough to prevent buzzing, but other than that, what else could be a problem??


I use a 16" radius for my fretboards and prefer to use a slightly crowned bridge top.  It helps if you are looking for a fairly low string height over the frets with minimal buzzing.

Yes, you can simply keep the action higher, but that wouldn't be my choice.

Dec 14, 2019 - 2:14:09 PM

12711 posts since 6/29/2005

The bridge crown ought to follow the radius of the fingerboard, otherwise the middle strings will be lower than the outer ones.

Dec 14, 2019 - 2:22:28 PM

Ybanjo

USA

656 posts since 11/15/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

The bridge crown ought to follow the radius of the fingerboard, otherwise the middle strings will be lower than the outer ones.


Sure, that's true, but does it matter as long as there isn't any buzzing??

Dec 14, 2019 - 4:44:40 PM

10520 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Ybanjo
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

The bridge crown ought to follow the radius of the fingerboard, otherwise the middle strings will be lower than the outer ones.


Sure, that's true, but does it matter as long as there isn't any buzzing??


It doesn't matter in the performance of the banjo.

It might well matter in the performance of the banjo player.

Dec 14, 2019 - 5:31:15 PM
likes this

12711 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Ybanjo
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan

The bridge crown ought to follow the radius of the fingerboard, otherwise the middle strings will be lower than the outer ones.


Sure, that's true, but does it matter as long as there isn't any buzzing??


No, but why would you want it to be like that?  The point of a radiused fingerboard is supposed to be to make it easier to play.  EVERY guitar with a radiused fingerboard had a radiused bridge saddle to match.

Dec 14, 2019 - 5:58:56 PM
likes this

71249 posts since 5/9/2007

I would find it uncomfortable to play.So easy to match the bridge to the radius.
I believe once you try it both ways you'll want the radiused bridge.

Dec 14, 2019 - 6:01:12 PM
likes this

6855 posts since 8/28/2013

Violins also use a radiused bridge that matches the fingerboard.

Buzzing isn't the issue. Playability is. Wouldn't it trip your left hand up if the outside strings had to be pushed down further?

Dec 14, 2019 - 6:05:50 PM
likes this

71249 posts since 5/9/2007

It would also mess with the intonation.The bridge wouldn't know where it wanted to be.

Dec 15, 2019 - 6:14:57 AM
likes this

14961 posts since 2/7/2003

Ask yourself this, how many acoustic guitars ie Martin Gibson, Taylor etc etc etc that have radius fingerboards come with flat bridges, ask yourself who ever sets up an eletric guitar with flat strings on a radius fingerboard

Scott

Dec 15, 2019 - 6:32:55 AM

Ybanjo

USA

656 posts since 11/15/2009

The intent of the question isn't based on using a flat bridge as a preference, but more like a general question. I have a radiused-neck banjo and there seems to be much more limited selection for radiused bridges. Plus, they are typically more expensive. As an experiment, I tried some different flat bridges and they seem to work just fine. I'm sure they aren't the optimal, but I was just wondering just how "bad" it would be to do it.

By the way, the radius-neck banjo I have is the Gold Tone ML-1, and the bridge is 7/8 inch. The action is too high so I started looking for something a little shorter. The lack of choices is what prompted this question. I know I can get one made, but I'm not sure I'm ready to put a lot of $$ in a bridge for this banjo. But, who knows......

Dec 15, 2019 - 6:56:09 AM

nooby

USA

6846 posts since 2/14/2006

Hey Jim,
I've asked this question before, too. I have a radius neck and go back and forth between flat and radiuis bridges. I prefer the tone of one of my flat bridges, and I use it a lot, probably more than not. It doesn't make a lick of difference. I've had this talk with another buddy of mine, really good banjo player named John Wheat from Indiana, and he said the same thing, he doesn't believe it matters either.

It won't affect the intonation, and the fact that the strings are not equadistant from the fretboard doesn't make a big enough difference. It might actually be a good thing for a flat bridge if your right hand is used to a flat bridge. THat's where I'd make the deciding point - what feels best for the right hand.

Dec 15, 2019 - 10:11:24 AM
likes this

4341 posts since 12/24/2003

If your fingerboard radius is say....15" or higher, and you don't have a play-ability issue, then why not use a flat top bridge? You'll certainly find more flat top bridges out there (new or used) than you will radius topped bridges. Especially the particular radius you need. I charge the same for a single radius as I do for a flat top bridge. I do charge more for a double radius. Alot more work involved in making a double radius....especially if you're making them by hand.

I think Jim's point is why special order a radius top bridge when he can find plenty of flat top bridges out there to experiment with as long as he can play comfortably with no obvious issues. If your radius is down around 8", then you might be more likely to have play-ability issues as well as intonation problems with your outer strings, depending on bridge height.

Tim

Dec 15, 2019 - 10:25:29 AM

Ybanjo

USA

656 posts since 11/15/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Tim Purcell

If your fingerboard radius is say....15" or higher, and you don't have a play-ability issue, then why not use a flat top bridge? You'll certainly find more flat top bridges out there (new or used) than you will radius topped bridges. Especially the particular radius you need. I charge the same for a single radius as I do for a flat top bridge. I do charge more for a double radius. Alot more work involved in making a double radius....especially if you're making them by hand.

I think Jim's point is why special order a radius top bridge when he can find plenty of flat top bridges out there to experiment with as long as he can play comfortably with no obvious issues. If your radius is down around 8", then you might be more likely to have play-ability issues as well as intonation problems with your outer strings, depending on bridge height.

Tim


According to the information, the neck is compound radius (5" to 9") .   I am trying a flat bridge now and it's playing just fine.

Tim, when I finally decide of the exact height bridge that I want, what would you charge to make a radiused version (cheapest)?  You've made some other bridges for me, and they're all good!

Dec 15, 2019 - 10:47:32 AM

4341 posts since 12/24/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Ybanjo
quote:
Originally posted by Tim Purcell

If your fingerboard radius is say....15" or higher, and you don't have a play-ability issue, then why not use a flat top bridge? You'll certainly find more flat top bridges out there (new or used) than you will radius topped bridges. Especially the particular radius you need. I charge the same for a single radius as I do for a flat top bridge. I do charge more for a double radius. Alot more work involved in making a double radius....especially if you're making them by hand.

I think Jim's point is why special order a radius top bridge when he can find plenty of flat top bridges out there to experiment with as long as he can play comfortably with no obvious issues. If your radius is down around 8", then you might be more likely to have play-ability issues as well as intonation problems with your outer strings, depending on bridge height.

Tim


According to the information, the neck is compound radius (5" to 9") .   I am trying a flat bridge now and it's playing just fine.

Tim, when I finally decide of the exact height bridge that I want, what would you charge to make a radiused version (cheapest)?  You've made some other bridges for me, and they're all good!


Jim, I charge $22.00 plus $4.00 shipping for a single radius. What I refer to as a single radius is that the radius is on the ebony top wood only. I do make double radius tops, which means the radius is on, both, the top of the base wood and the top of the ebony top wood. I charge $35.00 plus shipping for those.

Tim

Dec 15, 2019 - 10:51:42 AM
likes this

Ybanjo

USA

656 posts since 11/15/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Tim Purcell
quote:
Originally posted by Ybanjo
quote:
Originally posted by Tim Purcell

If your fingerboard radius is say....15" or higher, and you don't have a play-ability issue, then why not use a flat top bridge? You'll certainly find more flat top bridges out there (new or used) than you will radius topped bridges. Especially the particular radius you need. I charge the same for a single radius as I do for a flat top bridge. I do charge more for a double radius. Alot more work involved in making a double radius....especially if you're making them by hand.

I think Jim's point is why special order a radius top bridge when he can find plenty of flat top bridges out there to experiment with as long as he can play comfortably with no obvious issues. If your radius is down around 8", then you might be more likely to have play-ability issues as well as intonation problems with your outer strings, depending on bridge height.

Tim


According to the information, the neck is compound radius (5" to 9") .   I am trying a flat bridge now and it's playing just fine.

Tim, when I finally decide of the exact height bridge that I want, what would you charge to make a radiused version (cheapest)?  You've made some other bridges for me, and they're all good!


Jim, I charge $22.00 plus $4.00 shipping for a single radius. What I refer to as a single radius is that the radius is on the ebony top wood only. I do make double radius tops, which means the radius is on, both, the top of the base wood and the top of the ebony top wood. I charge $35.00 plus shipping for those.

Tim


Price same for any wood??  I'll be getting in touch when I find that magic height.  I want it as low as possible without buzzing.  These larger strings swing pretty wide so I'm going to need to do a lot of heavy playing.  Right now I have a 11/16 flat bridge with a popcicle stick under it.  It will buzz with the worst of hits, but I'm hoping it will work for me.  I'm not a heavy picker.

Dec 15, 2019 - 11:04 AM
likes this

3780 posts since 5/12/2010

Most of the banjos I build have a slight radius (20") on the board and I used to always radius the bridge to match, but one of the guys I build for prefers a flat bridge on his and I can't tell that it makes much difference.

A 20" radius is not much of a radius, and I don't know how much difference it would make on a 15" or 16" radius.

The nut on mine is always radiused to match the board, so whatever difference a flat bridge makes would probably only be noticable at the higher frets which are seldom used in the style of CH most of my banjos are played.

Dec 15, 2019 - 11:15:47 AM
likes this

2798 posts since 2/18/2009
Online Now

I personally wouldn't send a banjo out of here with a flat bridge if it had a radiused neck, for the reasons mentioned by other folks, but it's certainly possible to play a banjo that is set up that way. You'll just have higher action on the outer strings than the inner ones, and that is not ideal. If your current bridge is too tall you may be able to shorten it by removing some wood from the top or the bottom, depending on the design of the bridge. I have never known how to measure or denominate a radiused bridge, is the official height measured in the center or at the edges?
Zach

Dec 15, 2019 - 11:54:28 AM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14988 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Ybanjo
quote:
Originally posted by Tim Purcell

If your fingerboard radius is say....15" or higher, and you don't have a play-ability issue, then why not use a flat top bridge? You'll certainly find more flat top bridges out there (new or used) than you will radius topped bridges. Especially the particular radius you need. I charge the same for a single radius as I do for a flat top bridge. I do charge more for a double radius. A lot more work involved in making a double radius....especially if you're making them by hand.

I think Jim's point is why special order a radius top bridge when he can find plenty of flat top bridges out there to experiment with as long as he can play comfortably with no obvious issues. If your radius is down around 8", then you might be more likely to have play-ability issues as well as intonation problems with your outer strings, depending on bridge height.

Tim


According to the information, the neck is compound radius (5" to 9") .   I am trying a flat bridge now and it's playing just fine.

Tim, when I finally decide of the exact height bridge that I want, what would you charge to make a radiused version (cheapest)?  You've made some other bridges for me, and they're all good!


The other salient point to keep in mind is if you are looking for the correct bridge radius to match a neck that has a compound radius fret board is you must project the radius out to the bridge location.  The projected radius takes the scale length into consideration to arrive at the correct radius.

If anyone has trouble understanding this then simply think of the fret board as being a slice off the side of a cone.  You can see that the radius increases as the strings reach the bridge.

The nice thing about a compound radius board is it means the ideal radius of the top of the bridge becomes increasingly flat as it reaches the bridge.  In real life conditions it means that a flat bridge might be very close to what you actually need, and is an advantage to banjo players employing styles that require picks used close to the bridge.  The flatter plane across the strings is often considered easier to use finger picks with.

I make my bridges using a vee for the string slots and it's dead easy to accommodate any radius by simply using a couple more strokes of the file.

Dec 15, 2019 - 1:42:02 PM

12711 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Zachary Hoyt

I personally wouldn't send a banjo out of here with a flat bridge if it had a radiused neck, for the reasons mentioned by other folks, but it's certainly possible to play a banjo that is set up that way. You'll just have higher action on the outer strings than the inner ones, and that is not ideal. If your current bridge is too tall you may be able to shorten it by removing some wood from the top or the bottom, depending on the design of the bridge. I have never known how to measure or denominate a radiused bridge, is the official height measured in the center or at the edges?
Zach


I'm with you on this Zach.  I just don't see the point of getting someone to build a banjo with a radiused fingerboard if you are just going to put a  flat bridge on it. I wonder, didn't the builder supply a proper bridge?

Dec 15, 2019 - 3:14:05 PM

2584 posts since 12/4/2009

Hello,

Having a flat nut is more problematic than a flat bridge. My RB-12 came with a flat nut. The fretboard is a compound radius board with 6.5” blending into a 7.25”.

A 12” radius was superimposed on the frets. I sought 12” radius bridges. After playing for a while, I noticed groves in frets 1 and 2 affecting strings 3 and 2.

The grooves were severe in width and damage. I replaced all frets with EVO gold and installed a radiused nut at 7.25”. I seek 7.25r” bridges. Tom Purcell makes fantastic bridges. I use his bridges on this fine instrument.

Dec 16, 2019 - 7:09:56 AM

10213 posts since 7/4/2004

Both my radiused fingerboard top-tensions have straight Grover bridges on them and play just fine. As a matter of fact, no one that has played them has noticed any difference.

Now, has anyone ever seen a prewar Gibson T-T that came from the factory with a radiused bridge? I've never seen one.

Dec 17, 2019 - 1:25:31 PM

picker5

Canada

133 posts since 9/4/2011

I asked this same question about a month? ago. (1) As a general theoretical statement, I tend to agree with the folks that say why bother with a radiused fingerboard, if you're going to run a flat bridge? Certainly the Telemasters out there set their bridge saddles to mimic the curvature of the fretboard, and it makes sense to do so, if one is playing with a flat pick, or with a pick and nails, as those folks tend to do. However, imho, while I believe that the radiused board has helped me clean up my fingering hand pull-offs near the nut noticably, by the time you extend things out to the bridge end, the difference in actual string height is so minimal, that I honestly can't feel any difference with my picking hand. And like some others have said, if you have other banjos with flat boards/bridges, and are used to picking on them, having the radius at the bridge might be an impediment. Currently, I am running a flat bridge on my radiused banjo, because it's the one that is the correct overall height that gives me the action I like. The only radiused bridge I have at the moment, is just too tall for the kind of low action I prefer. But either one picks the same. Having said that, when I have finished fiddling around with the action, and know for sure how tall a bridge I want, at some time I will order a bridge from one or more of the excellent makers here on the Hangout, that has the correct radius for my banjo, just because....... See (1) above.

Dec 17, 2019 - 2:03:54 PM

Ybanjo

USA

656 posts since 11/15/2009

Which brings up another question.... why have a radiused fingerboard at all?? There must be some advantage that I'm not aware of.

Dec 17, 2019 - 10:41:34 PM

14961 posts since 2/7/2003

There most definately is. One of the advantages of working for the " big boys " is their deep pockets. Fender actually hired and consulted with a VERY elite hand surgeon, they guy that took care of the medical needs of the Doger pitchers hands. There is solid concrete merit physiologically to a raduised fingerboard

Someday I should write about it

Scott

Dec 18, 2019 - 5:58:54 AM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14988 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Ybanjo

Which brings up another question.... why have a radiused fingerboard at all?? There must be some advantage that I'm not aware of.


Banjos are unlike guitars in that the playing area where most of the time is spent is relatively narrow and the combined string tension is much lower than guitar.  Those two factors make it a coin flip whether any given player is going to prefer a radiused board over a flat board, or vice versa.  Flat boards have been traditionally used and you won't find too many players who were inhibited by it.

The main reason that there's a perception that a radiused board is "better" comes from the large number of players who have migrated from guitar to banjo.  There is a slight ergonomic advantage, but in real life it doesn't make all that much difference.

The increased interest if melodic playing styles has also made the radiused board a bit more attractive to players in general, but there just aren't that many players who engage in musical gymnastics to support the idea that the radius is a necessity.

From a builder's perspective there's a concrete reason to use a tiny bit of radius, and that comes from the illusion of concavity in flat surfaces.  It's the same logic that is employed when building acoustic guitars.  There's a lot of evidence that not using an induced arch makes for a more responsive guitar, but a slight arch is usually imposed to eliminate the illusion of concavity in the flat surface and also to accomodate the top when string tension eventually flexes the soundboard in front of the bridge downward and the area behind it upward.

What's that got to do with banjos?  The same principal that tricks the eye into thinking a flat surface is actually concave also applies to the fretboard.  Intentionally radiusing the board by a small amount just looks better.

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.25