Bridges play an important role in the banjo’s sound. You may be confused among the compensated, thin and thick ones. So let us help you with that which will eventually assist you to choose the best one for your playing needs of yours.
What size is a banjo bridge? What are banjo bridges?
As Bill Evans says in his book Banjo for Dummies, the bridge refers to the piece of wood that usually has three contact points that are usually called feet. It sits perfectly upon the head’s top & transmits the vibrations that come from the strings which rest on top.
The bridges of Deering banjos are almost 3/16” thick at their feet. It is a greatly popular dimension that is used in the Banjo bridges. Each banjoist has different touches &draws out different sounds from each of the banjos. The cost of the bridges is modest for the banjo players for indulging their desires for variety in tone.
As the bridges banjo are made at different heights, it’s good to remember the fact that your banjo’s heel cut is set for a particular bridge’s height. You can go down or up, but you should get that you may be unable to set your strings action to A comfortable play. If the bridge of the Banjo is too short & you can’t adjust the action up higher, a buzzing of strings will be heard on the frets & you may pick noise upon the head as you play.
The back and front sides of the Deering banjos are cut differently for compensating for the string’s tension on the bridge & to provide the instrument greater stability. The front edge that faces the nut is angled back a bit & the back side is cut at an angle of 90 degrees. This combo offsets the tension of the spring & keeps the bridge stable on the head of the banjo.
Straight Line Bridges Vs. Compensated Bridges
The first variation is the one that is found commonly on the banjos. The compensated bridges are bridges that are not straight but are somewhat shaped in a U pattern with notches which makes every string have a different length. In theory, every string should have a particular distance for precise intonation that will go up the fingerboard. A compensated bridge makes every string have a different length for accomplishing the improved pitch down or up.
Bridge Spacing, Buzzes & Slot Angles
The standard 5-string bridge of Deering banjos is 1 11/16” from your banjo’s 1st to the fifth string. Terry Baucom and many other players like a wider spacing of string.
There is a 1 ¾” spacing that is sometimes called “Crowe” spacing. Banjo players who have larger hands prefer this spacing sometimes as they feel “cramped” less as it allows more “inside rolls” along the strings.
I own a music instruments shop. My go to instrument is a banjo. My business makes it easier for me to access the instruments from various brands and of various types. I will give my honest opinion here to help out others in choosing the right instrument for them.