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A Bridge Too Far

There just seemed to be something missing. Or maybe I'd just grown bored of its sound. But one way or another I wanted to make a change to my banjo. That change was a new bridge.

For a while, I was using a half-inch, no-top cheap Grover bridge, and I really liked the sound. When I changed to using heavy nylon strings, however, the lower bridge no longer worked. The only other option I had lying around was a thicker 5/8-inch bridge, which just sounded muddy to me. I tried to modify it by cutting off the middle foot to make a two-footer, which I prefer with nylon strings, but my hack job didn't really work.

A 5/8-inch, two-footed, no-top "mystery wood"
 bridge from Bart Veerman.
About two weeks ago, I decided to try something new. I'd heard of Bart Veerman's bridges through the Banjo Hangout for some time, and a friend had recently installed one of Bart's bridges on a banjo that he let me try out. Having liked the sound, I decided to go for it.

Thinking back to that cheap Grover, I ordered a 5/8-inch, two-foot, no-top "mystery wood" bridge with extra-wide spacing from Bart's website, banjobridge.com.

Bart was quick to respond. I ordered on a Friday, and my bridge was sent out the following Monday. He is based in Canada, so expect a delay in delivery if you order from the United States. Bart estimated a week to 12 days. Mine arrived in a week.

After installing the bridge, the change in sound was unmistakable. My banjo is louder, and the tone is clearer and livelier.

My banjo specs: 
  • Neck: Walnut, thick boat heel 
  • Scale: 24.25 inches
  • Rim: 12-inch diameter, 1/4-inch thick multiply maple
  • Tone ring: Dobson-style
My current setup: 
After a thorough test drive, I'll write more about Bart's bridges. Initial impressions have been quite positive.

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