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Feb 26, 2021 - 8:05:38 PM

DIV

USA

5507 posts since 8/18/2004

Ok, I'm understanding that the need for compensation has to do with the different string stiffnesses when they are fretted up and down the neck.
Here some of the most common compensated bridges:
-Grover/Stew-Mac compensated:

-Snuffy Smith compensated:

-Moon bridge:

-Hatfield compensated:

Of course, which design works the best on you banjo depends on so many factors: banjo and neck construction, your specific string gauges, your playing style, the actually notes you play, etc.

But has anyone tried multiple styles of these bridges and had a chance to compare to see which one works best for you?


Edited by - DIV on 02/26/2021 20:06:45

Feb 26, 2021 - 8:15:02 PM

DIV

USA

5507 posts since 8/18/2004

And neither one is "custom designed" for YOUR banjo.
But wouldn't it make sense that the Hatfield would work best on Hatfield banjos?

Feb 27, 2021 - 12:15:46 AM

231 posts since 10/18/2020

The only one in your post I have tried is the moon bridge and I did not care for it at all it was difficult to get the intonation set correctly for me
I also tried a bridge by a bridge builder on this site Steve Davis his are similar to the Hatfield Compensated he makes a vary nice bridge,I also tried several bridges by another bridge builder Sampson bridges his are all compensated at the third string only.

Some of the most beautiful compensated bridges i have tried are made by Doc Huff

Each bridge gives a little something different in sound, volume, clarity of note, how easy they are to set up the intonation,volume,ease of play you name it to me the bridge is the one thing that affects everything also and some will not agree with me on this but weight of the bridge,also in my opinion you cannot go by weight which I changed my thoughts on that after receiving a Doc Huff Bridge which I currently have installed on a 11 inch Rickard Maple Whyte Laydie that I installed a  John Balch Goat skin Head on The Doc Huff Bridge I currently have on it weighs 7.7 grams and that particular banjo has the sweetest sound I have heard come out of a open back and the loudest volume

here is the bridge i am talking about it is also a compensated bridge similar to the moon bridge to me they are a work of art beautiful as well as functional


 

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 02/27/2021 00:22:41

Feb 27, 2021 - 7:21:40 AM

2065 posts since 2/12/2009

Wow ! I have never seen a bridge like that before, I think I would spend too much time looking at it and become distracted.

Feb 27, 2021 - 8:27:30 AM

DIV

USA

5507 posts since 8/18/2004

yeah, I agree that is an astounding work of art of a bridge!
I'm wondering why on the Hatfield bridge, the 2nd string is actually shorter than all the rest when you consider the the relative gauge of 2nd string it should be stiffer than the 1st and 5th strings. But I suppose the tension put on each string from the tuning ("G" vs. "B" vs. "D" etc.) should also be taken in consideration when it comes to the overall string stiffness....right?

So if I'm correct on that point, then another factor for which compensated bridge works best for your specific banjo also depends on what tuning you tend to play in.

Edited by - DIV on 02/27/2021 08:29:50

Feb 27, 2021 - 8:41:21 AM

3678 posts since 5/29/2011

quote:
Originally posted by DIV

And neither one is "custom designed" for YOUR banjo.
But wouldn't it make sense that the Hatfield would work best on Hatfield banjos?


Not necessarily. That is sort of like saying that Gibson strings should sound best on Gibson banjos.

Several variables are at work; type of banjo, type of music being played, what tunings the banjo is going to be played in, and the player's preference of sound. Compensation will be different from one banjo to another, there are all kinds of variables that can affect intonation. And which bridge works best on which banjo can only be determined by trial and error.

Feb 27, 2021 - 8:43:01 AM

341 posts since 2/28/2006

Does anyone know if Earl Scruggs ever used a compensated bridge?

Feb 27, 2021 - 10:29:31 AM

11666 posts since 6/2/2008

I've used Shubb (the original stair-step), Davis and moon fully compensated bridges as well as Purcell and Scorpion with compensated third string.

All sounded pretty good. I think the Davis does the best overall job of improving intonation accuracy of the bridges I've tried.

Davis bridge has been in rotation among my banjos for several years, though right now I'm using only straight and compensated third string bridges.

Feb 27, 2021 - 10:53:17 AM

231 posts since 10/18/2020

DIV

One thing I would suggest to you is go to Bart Veermans site and read up on bridges Mr Veerman has a section on his site that walks you through how to check and see if you even need a Compensated bridge which is a vary good read and if you follow his instructions exactly it works Veerman bridges are another great bridge,his Dark Star and Archie bridges are two of the best in my opinion and if you have questions contact Mr Veerman he is a great person to deal with, you may not even need a compensated bridge at all but Mr Veermans site will walk you through to make sure.

Feb 27, 2021 - 11:01:02 AM

231 posts since 10/18/2020

@spoonfed I have four of them bridges and each one gives my banjo a different voice so to speak, they are like any other bridge they offer a different voice to what ever Banjo you have them on Just like Veerman bridges,Davis Bridges, and any other bridge it just depends on what voice I want to hear at the time one of the hardest bridges for me to remove from my banjo was the Veerman Dark Star.

A bridge test and comparison is something I believe everyone that is playing a banjo should do at some point just to learn the differences

Feb 27, 2021 - 5:31:20 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24584 posts since 6/25/2005

Frank Ford used to take generic bridges and heat bend them at the third-string slot on a big soldering iron to differing angles, and therefore differing degrees of compensation. He broke or burned through about 20-25%. You had to try one on your banjo to see if the compensation worked for you. A quick and dirty solution, but very inexpensive. I had a couple, and they worked fine.

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 02/27/2021 17:32:32

Feb 27, 2021 - 6:06:41 PM

231 posts since 10/18/2020

quote:
Originally posted by DIV

 

So if I'm correct on that point, then another factor for which compensated bridge works best for your specific banjo also depends on what tuning you tend to play in.


If I understand correctly setting the intonation on a banjo or any other stringed instrument correctly for that matter has nothing to do with what tuning you intend to play in, setting the intonation from my understanding has everything to do with whether your banjo will play in the correct note regardless of what tuning you intend to play in, someone please correct me if I am wrong

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 02/27/2021 18:21:17

Feb 28, 2021 - 11:33:55 AM

DIV

USA

5507 posts since 8/18/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden
quote:
Originally posted by DIV

And neither one is "custom designed" for YOUR banjo.
But wouldn't it make sense that the Hatfield would work best on Hatfield banjos?


Not necessarily. That is sort of like saying that Gibson strings should sound best on Gibson banjos.

Several variables are at work; type of banjo, type of music being played, what tunings the banjo is going to be played in, and the player's preference of sound. Compensation will be different from one banjo to another, there are all kinds of variables that can affect intonation. And which bridge works best on which banjo can only be determined by trial and error.


The reason I said that is that since Hatfield banjos are a still a small one man show, in other words, Arthur himself makes every single one of his necks himself and I would imagine with a high degree of consistency as far as nut height, depth of string slots, fret height, fret material, scale length, heel cut and overall set-up.  And since his “double compensated” bridge is standard equipment on every banjo that leaves his shop for the last 20 years, there has to be a reason.  Furthmore, Arthur favors a particular set of string gauges that I would imagine work best with his compensated bridge.

Edited by - DIV on 02/28/2021 11:48:04

Feb 28, 2021 - 11:53:50 AM

DIV

USA

5507 posts since 8/18/2004

 
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Frank Ford used to take generic bridges and heat bend them at the third-string slot on a big soldering iron to differing angles, and therefore differing degrees of compensation. He broke or burned through about 20-25%. You had to try one on your banjo to see if the compensation worked for you. A quick and dirty solution, but very inexpensive. I had a couple, and they worked fine.


Interesting!

i imagine that the Frank as well as Arthur and Geoff Stelling found that the simple slot cut into a regular straight bridge (see my photo of the compensated Sniuffy bridge at the top) thins or brightens the tone of 3rd string since the slot leaves the 3rd string with a much thinner contact area than the other 4 strings.

Feb 28, 2021 - 6:39:09 PM
likes this

605 posts since 2/26/2007

Hey Dan,

Please include these two gentlemen from the hangout if you are seriously shopping for a compensated bridge!

Bart will adjust the compensation based on how much you request. Steve builds his to order as well.

Custom Banjo Bridges by Bart Veerman

Custom Banjo Bridges by Steve Davis

I have two of Steve's bridges on banjos right now, and a spare. They work. They will not tip over and the outer feet are oriented to be concentric with the head diameter. I would bet that changes the way the vibrations are transferred and response of the head, and reduces the stress on the head at the outer corners of the feet. Of course, your mileage may vary. I was just to lazy to move a straight bridge around and measure each offset in order to get a custom bridge from Bart. I do have one of his specialties on order for my latest project!


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