I got this new banjo bridge from Mac the other day. As you can see it looks a little different than the standard three footed banjo bridge. Made from one piece of dogwood, this bridge has four feet; a big one on either end and two small ones in the middle. You can also see that all of the strings rest over the arches in the bridge. This design detail reminds me of violin bridges. Placing each string over a void can add balance in both volume and tone. This bridge is compensated with a gentle curve.
I’ve been using this bridge on my 12 inch maple banjo with a rolled brass tone ring and fiber skin head for a couple days. I’m sure this bridge has more mass than the standard 5/8″ bridge I’ve been using, but the over all volume is a little bit louder. I feel like it balances out the volume between strings very nicely. I notice my fifth string is quieter with this bridge than the standard three foot bridge, that’s a good thing for me because I have a heavy thumb. The tone of my banjo is noticeably mellower with this bridge, less high end. I like that because it frees me up to play down on the head for snappy, driving attack without getting too pingy. The feet of this bridge spread out wider across the head, I can’t help but wonder if that might activate different areas of the head.
For more on Mac’s work check out his website at www.mactraynham.com. Mac and his wife Jenny will be teaching at Port Townsend, Washington’s Voice Works music camp, taking place June 28th through July 3rd. Check out the Voice Works website for more details.