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Sep 25, 2022 - 2:16:10 PM
3 posts since 9/9/2022

Newbie here.
Question 1. Can anyone tell me what kind of bridge this is and which direction it should face? There are no markings at all on the bridge.

Question 2. I have a 5/8" bridge currently and would like to bring the action down .200 at the 12th and would like to get it down to around .125. So the difference is .075 drop. How possible is that with just a bridge change and if so what size bridge would I need to get there. I think a 1/2" bridge may be too much.



Thanks for the help.


Sep 25, 2022 - 2:43:09 PM
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3198 posts since 2/18/2009

I don't know which direction the bridge should face from the picture. If it's symmetrical then it doesn't matter. I'm guessing that maybe the thicker part of the cap was made to go under the thicker strings, but whoever made it may have had something else in mind for all I know.

You need to lower the bridge twice as much as you want the action to change at the 12th fret. To reduce the action at the 12th by .075 you'd need to lower the bridge .150, which would mean you need a .475 bridge in theory. I would try a 1/2" and see how it works. The relationship is not always fully linear since a lower bridge also means a lower string break angle and thus less down force on the head. I hope that all makes sense.

Sep 25, 2022 - 2:52:13 PM
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Emiel

Austria

10235 posts since 1/22/2003

Often, the slot for the 4th string is slightly larger than the slot for the 2nd string. This should determine the orientation.

Sep 25, 2022 - 3:13:22 PM
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Eric A

USA

1639 posts since 10/15/2019

That bridge looks to be higher on one side than the other, slanting up with more ebony. Typically the high side is the 5th string side. People sometimes make those to make it easier to play over the neck for clawhammer. Instead of having a scoop, basically.

Sep 25, 2022 - 3:23:35 PM
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56 posts since 1/18/2022

Eric Wins

Sep 25, 2022 - 4:02:27 PM

4997 posts since 11/20/2004

As a newbie, I understand your request, but when you get it, I doubt you will have enough string height for pick clearance. For three finger bluegrass, 5/8" is usually the minimum for both comfort and sound. A change in neck angle may be needed depending on your preferences.

Sep 25, 2022 - 4:41:14 PM

24 posts since 6/19/2021

I have a couple banjos that I have a 9/16 ( .562) bridge on and they work fine and one I had a 1/2 Purcell bridge on and never had picking problem. I have a bridge just like the picture but have never been able to use it. Don't even know where it came from. Mostly I use .625 and .656 bridges.

Sep 25, 2022 - 5:04:44 PM

3 posts since 9/9/2022

Thanks all, as a "newbie" I have to profess my ignorance of banjo as well as "my lack of geometry skills", I should have listened more in class. That being said I am not sure what type of action is preferred for clawhammer or Scruggs style. I have to admit coming from a guitar background where high action is more of an enemy, I just may not yet get it. I love the sound of the banjo and bought it with clawhammer intentions as it seemed to be what I see and hear mostly on the music I listen to. My fiorst exposure was Joe Newberry followed by Dirk Powell and Sarah Jarosz.

"I will keep at it until I get it"

Thanks again

Sep 25, 2022 - 6:00:34 PM

12427 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Eric A

That bridge looks to be higher on one side than the other, slanting up with more ebony. Typically the high side is the 5th string side. People sometimes make those to make it easier to play over the neck for clawhammer. Instead of having a scoop, basically.


Gibson banjos in the late '60s to early '70s came with bridges that were taller under the 5th string.

Sep 25, 2022 - 6:20:21 PM

1447 posts since 1/9/2012

Some bridges are made to lean backward a bit. In particular, the back side will be perpendicular to the bottom surface, while the bottom-to-top taper will be in the angle of the front side.

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