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Jan 24, 2020 - 5:44:59 AM
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rudy

USA

14988 posts since 3/27/2004

All you folks who have multiple bridges laying around should try two sometime...

What would be a valuable service is a "rental" service that would ship you most all of what's commonly available in 5/8" and you could then ship them all back and order whichever one sounded best to YOU.

Edited by - rudy on 01/24/2020 05:49:11

Jan 24, 2020 - 7:41:55 AM
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16 posts since 10/11/2017

I started out with a cheap asian banjo so I wasn't afraid to experiment which quickly led me to changing bridges and understanding the importance of the bridge in banjo sound, literally, it can make a big difference up to a point.
My quest here was to not only get the best possible bluegrass banjo sound but an even tone, 1-5 and all the was up the neck. Lesser bridges simply didn't perform these criteria.
A GG bridge was good on that little banjo but a more expensive Deering bridge did little for it. So then here comes a Deering Sierra (maple) which still is my primary banjo and bridges on that instrument: original, GD Signature, Bigfoot, a no name I had picked up, Stelling, and now a Scorpion. I had read about the importance of string channels and the effect of bridge weight during this time.
Cleaning and shaping the channels certainly made a difference and I was disappointed that the GD signature needed more shaping than some of the cheaper bridges.
So I picked up a Scorpion and boom, there it was. Not only on my Sierra but later on my Staghorn it really handled the power better than the original, kinda smoothed it out on that one. Maybe one of these days I'll try a Snuffy Smith or the like but for now, Scorpion.
Have I spent $200 on bridges? probably close to it and it was worth every penny for the sound.

Jan 24, 2020 - 10:19:57 AM
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648 posts since 12/26/2006

 The Beaver King bridge was a great one but now I don't see them advertised. That said, I now have a Tim Purcell old Canadian Birch on my Stelling and it is great, really !

Edited by - Ralph Stanley legend on 01/24/2020 10:21:49

Jan 24, 2020 - 11:57:10 PM
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Brodoh

USA

19 posts since 2/25/2017

Bart Veerman "mystery wood" on my lefty 12" open back. Great tone. Nice to get one made to fit the instrument, not just a standard, turned around.

Edited by - Brodoh on 01/24/2020 23:58:23

Jan 25, 2020 - 12:37:36 AM

1185 posts since 2/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by rudy

All you folks who have multiple bridges laying around should try two sometime...

What would be a valuable service is a "rental" service that would ship you most all of what's commonly available in 5/8" and you could then ship them all back and order whichever one sounded best to YOU.

 


I built my wife a banjo and she likes 2 bridges to tone it down inside the house. Been like that for 5 years.

I also post 6 or so bridges to customers to choose what they like then post what they don't want back. Sometimes it is custom heights they want to test to fix action issues because they don't have the money for fixing it correctly.


Jan 25, 2020 - 6:21:15 AM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14988 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by 5strings3picks1banjo
quote:
Originally posted by rudy

All you folks who have multiple bridges laying around should try two sometime...

What would be a valuable service is a "rental" service that would ship you most all of what's commonly available in 5/8" and you could then ship them all back and order whichever one sounded best to YOU.

 


I built my wife a banjo and she likes 2 bridges to tone it down inside the house. Been like that for 5 years.

I also post 6 or so bridges to customers to choose what they like then post what they don't want back. Sometimes it is custom heights they want to test to fix action issues because they don't have the money for fixing it correctly.


Hi Leon, very interesting!  Thanks for posting that.

I posted the video clip to interject a bit of levity in the discussion, but you've shown there is an actual practical application.  I discovered it quite by accident when swapping bridges out one day.  It's funny how much attention is given to selecting a "proper" bridge when the tone can be so drastically effected by doing something so unconventional as adding a second inexpensive bridge.

I found that the volume didn't change much, but the timber was altered very noticeably.  It would prove amusing if a pair of $3 bridges produced the identical tone as a $30 boutique bridge.

Jan 25, 2020 - 6:58:36 AM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

446 posts since 10/15/2019

quote:
Originally posted by rudy
quote:
Originally posted by 5strings3picks1banjo
quote:
Originally posted by rudy

All you folks who have multiple bridges laying around should try two sometime...

What would be a valuable service is a "rental" service that would ship you most all of what's commonly available in 5/8" and you could then ship them all back and order whichever one sounded best to YOU.

 


I built my wife a banjo and she likes 2 bridges to tone it down inside the house. Been like that for 5 years.

I also post 6 or so bridges to customers to choose what they like then post what they don't want back. Sometimes it is custom heights they want to test to fix action issues because they don't have the money for fixing it correctly.


Hi Leon, very interesting!  Thanks for posting that.

I posted the video clip to interject a bit of levity in the discussion, but you've shown there is an actual practical application.  I discovered it quite by accident when swapping bridges out one day.  It's funny how much attention is given to selecting a "proper" bridge when the tone can be so drastically effected by doing something so unconventional as adding a second inexpensive bridge.

I found that the volume didn't change much, but the timber was altered very noticeably.  It would prove amusing if a pair of $3 bridges produced the identical tone as a $30 boutique bridge.


I've already come to the conclusion that the bridge has a fantastic effect on the sound of a banjo.   Think about it:  those vibrations have to get from the strings to the head somehow, and it's largely via passing through the bridge.  That's where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.  The bridge comes first, before the head, rim, and tone ring have much say in the matter at all.

Edited by - Eric A on 01/25/2020 07:00:40

Jan 25, 2020 - 7:42:39 AM
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1185 posts since 2/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Eric A
quote:
Originally posted by rudy
quote:
Originally posted by 5strings3picks1banjo
quote:
Originally posted by rudy

All you folks who have multiple bridges laying around should try two sometime...

.


I've already come to the conclusion that the bridge has a fantastic effect on the sound of a banjo.   Think about it:  those vibrations have to get from the strings to the head somehow, and it's largely via passing through the bridge.  That's where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.  The bridge comes first, before the head, rim, and tone ring have much say in the matter at all.


I have often joked about claw hammer players stuffing socks in the back of their banjos (I also do it for dead tone) why don't you use a wet noodle for a bridge. Yes it is a vital component.

I made myself a silent banjo sounding very much like an electric guitar unplugged so I could play in the chatroom and not wake the family. It had a small neck tie mic attached that would amplify through the PC into the chatroom. Maybe I should dig that out and record some bridges and see if I can notice the changes. This idea may also prove how important a head is as well.


Jan 25, 2020 - 8:06:36 AM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

446 posts since 10/15/2019

I'm pretty sure that if you put Earl's Granada in my hands, I could pick out a bridge that would make it sound like crap. laugh

Jan 25, 2020 - 8:23:27 AM

1185 posts since 2/2/2008

Hahaha your not alone Eric

Jan 25, 2020 - 8:39:06 AM
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71277 posts since 5/9/2007

This was my first favorite compensated bridge.
It has the form of one fish eating the other at the same time.
I made it from the firewood pile at "The Dome" in 1977.


 

Jan 25, 2020 - 8:44:11 AM
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1185 posts since 2/2/2008

Omg Steve that is amazing. Loving your ideas

Jan 25, 2020 - 10:09:39 AM

71277 posts since 5/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by rudy

All you folks who have multiple bridges laying around should try two sometime...

What would be a valuable service is a "rental" service that would ship you most all of what's commonly available in 5/8" and you could then ship them all back and order whichever one sounded best to YOU.

 


I've always run my bridge business that way.Many times someone orders 2 or 3 bridges to try and keeps their favorite and return the others.The $4 shipping back is on them..

They are also welcome to try out a bridge without paying and see if they want to keep it or not.

Jan 25, 2020 - 10:39:22 AM

3905 posts since 10/18/2007

I keep returning to good ole Snuffy Smith.

Jan 25, 2020 - 12:38:03 PM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14988 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by steve davis
quote:
Originally posted by rudy

All you folks who have multiple bridges laying around should try two sometime...

What would be a valuable service is a "rental" service that would ship you most all of what's commonly available in 5/8" and you could then ship them all back and order whichever one sounded best to YOU.

 


I've always run my bridge business that way.Many times someone orders 2 or 3 bridges to try and keeps their favorite and return the others.The $4 shipping back is on them..

They are also welcome to try out a bridge without paying and see if they want to keep it or not.


Steve, I'm suggesting that bridges from many different makers are included.

If there was no difference in the perception of results between a variety of makers there wouldn't be all the differing opinions when someone asks the "Who makes the best sounding bridge?" question.

Jan 25, 2020 - 1:25:52 PM
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Hawk54

Australia

788 posts since 2/9/2007

I have owned many banjos ,and over the years bought nearly every brand of bridges on the market .easily spent well over $ 200 us on them .my favourite by far are kateyz bridges ,including radius bridges .every banjo i have ever owned ,i settled on a kateyz . I ordered from mike a certain weight ,timber ,top and i was never disappointed. Before i discovered kateyz bridges ,i did have good success with moon bridges and purcell bridges.

Jan 31, 2020 - 3:18:51 PM
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196 posts since 7/1/2011

I haven't spent over $200 on bridges, because of my two main banjos, the super expensive Ome sounded exactly as I wanted it right out of the gate (and for what I paid it darn well better), and the other one (a Gold Tone WL-250+ that was a bit bright for my taste) was made "just right" by the Old Time Cathedral bridge from Doc's Banjos. I normally play open-back, old time, clawhammer style, so when I pick up my resonator WL-250+ banjo for 3-finger style (bluegrass or classical) I prefer a mellower sound than most bluegrass players, and Doc's Old Time Cathedral was just the ticket.

I live fairly close to Doc, so he very graciously met me at his shop and we tried a bunch of different bridges on my WL-250+ until we found just the right sound (and he even grabbed his knife and fine tuned it on the spot). The personal experience and the excellent result means I'm done bridge shopping (until I buy a new banjo!).

Jan 31, 2020 - 7:03:56 PM

5 posts since 1/31/2020

Original Snuffy. Been on there for 7 years now.

Feb 2, 2020 - 9:48:49 AM
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3 posts since 4/7/2017

Slightly OT:
I have only one custom bridge, a Bart Veerman that I really like. Wanting to experiment, and being a dedicated DIYer, I have made several of my own. So for my fellow DIYers out there I offer a tip for a gram scale - actually a beam balance.
Made from a coat hanger and a razor blade, it is amazingly accurate. A two gram weight and shotgun pellets are used for comparison. A couple of #7 lead shots will get you close enough to 1/10th gram. For greater precision use one #5 steel and one #6 steel.
Alternatively, a copper/zinc penny with a 5/32nd hole is close enough to 2.3 grams.
Be careful with that razor blade.


 

Feb 7, 2020 - 9:30:34 AM
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Dmaud1

USA

14 posts since 11/16/2018

I put a third string compensated Crowe spaced Scorpion bridge and went to lighter gauge strings on my OB-150 and I love it. The Crowe spacing for me helped tremendously with my picking and not inadvertently hitting other strings. I was skeptical at changing the bridge that it would have a noticeable sound impact but I can tell you it did.

Feb 7, 2020 - 9:40:32 AM
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474 posts since 9/21/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Eric A

I'm pretty sure that if you put Earl's Granada in my hands, I could pick out a bridge that would make it sound like crap. laugh


We all have a special talent... 

Feb 7, 2020 - 12:00 PM
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1990 posts since 1/16/2010

I’ll second the Bart Veerman “mystery wood”. I guess different bridges depend on different banjos. But Bart’s bridge was the only one that my ‘63 Scruggs Vega liked!

I also like the Curtis Mcpeake “lightning” bridge...woke up a few different banjos that I have.

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