THE SOLUTION : making the neck longer. ratio. It’s somewhat of a good balance. 3. Now compensate the bridge with a small triangular or flat file. This bridge will work best at about 5/16" thickness at the feet, but as little as 1/4" will also work fine. tunings whose string diameter differences are in the range of 4:1 from If you want to design a different bridge, simply draw the design of your bridge right on the wood, first in pencil, then in ink. 4. could they bring out the full sound of the Irish tenor tuning. To protect the mandolin finish, I usually cut a piece of medium sandpaper about 1" x 7", and then cut a piece of heavy paper about 1" bigger each way. If you attach the ukulele neck directly to the 8" hand drum, it won't work, you'll have to put the banjo bridge too near from the tambourine border in order to get a proper intonation. GDAE, on the other hand has a 16:1 ratio. Website design by Casey Henry. This file method is slow but safe, and has less risk of scratching the mandolin finish. The bridge will make a significant difference in the sound of your banjo. Make sure the slots are centered not only on the bridge top, but also above the bridge cutouts. All that goes to show that there's a lot yet to be discovered about mandolin bridges! Other times I can spend 15 or 20 minutes or more on this step. If your bridges are like mine, the workmanship on each one will be better and better. Ideally: You might plan on making not just one, but a few different bridges, in order to discover just what's best for your own mandolin. It should be 4" to 4 1/4" long. Now, how do you get there? Shift each string into its respective slot on the top of the bridge. Existing bridges have always been applied to banjo tunings whose string diameter differences are in the range of 4:1 from the low string to the high string. You will also need the right height of bridge. The hole centers are marked on the template. It includes 6-hole bridges, 11-hole bridges, and winged bridges. If you have a band saw or scroll saw and a belt sander, you will go faster, but take the steps in the same order: With this in mind I took an idea from Red Henry (of RH mandolin bridge 4. Slant the string slots a little downwards from front to back. You will also need the right height of bridge. http://www.mikekeyes.com/findingtheperfectbridge. Bridges sound fine when made from several different kinds of maple, and will work and sound good on a wide variety of mandolins. I want it to be easy for musicians to make their own! I use the sandpaper method. It really is easier if you make the cutouts first, while you are working with a large, rectangular piece of wood which is easier to hold or clamp in a vise. The final product/design is easy to make, requires very little equipment (but is a lot easier to make with the proper equipment) and works muchbetter than most standard designs. I used a dremel, various fillers and sandpaper. Sometimes if I was lucky with the belt sander to begin with, a bridge will surprise me and fit after only 200 or 300 strokes. If you are making a winged bridge, make any saw cuts now. Winged bridges usually give more richness, sweetness, and sustain that non-winged types. The bridge will work fine with a variety of different woods as the raw material, although quarter-sawn maple is preferred. Follow your bridge foot outlines as closely as possible in this step and the next. And a variety of designs are available commercially. I encourage you to experiment with new bridge designs, but I also urge you to make a regular 11-hole bridge at the same time and compare its sound with your experimental bridge. Copyright (c) 2008-2013 BanjoCrazy.com. A whole page of bridge templates, in .pdf form, is here, for you to print out. Fit the feet to the top. I use sanding strokes about 1/2" long, and the string pressure regulates it to about this far, anyway-- this seems to work fine as far as getting a good fit goes. Best length for a mandolin bridge seems to be between 4" and 4 1/4" long overall. Cut the outline of the bridge. My experiments with different woods indicate what most banjo players and builder already know it takes a very heavy (dense wood) to give a good banjo sound. You are now ready to set the intonation. Longer or shorter bridges seem to lose sound. You just do not want your strings to buzz on the fretboard and you don’t want your action to be too high. My first bridges took me four hours or so to make, and much of the time savings is in the change to round cutouts. Make the internal holes and other cutouts. 3. The strings keep pressure on top of the new bridge as I move it from side to side on the sandpaper. (Click here for a discussion of grain direction.) GDAE, on the other hand has a 16:1 Red Henry. How to Make a Banjo Bridge for Tenor or Cello Banjos. Existing bridges have always been applied to banjo I compensate most bridges very simply, leaving the E and D strings all the way forward and cutting the A and G strings about 3/32" back. The bridge should be a total of 4" to 4 1/4" long. I needed a design that was easy to manufacture because I was going to try a lot of combinations of woods and I wanted others to be able to make these bridges. Paste the template right onto the wood. Make the internal holes and other cutouts. Leave an extra 1/32" or more for now-- you can always take it down later. All rights reserved. A mandocello bridge template is here. Follow the template everywhere except for the feet. Here's how some quick compensation cuts looked (this is a winged bridge): ...and now the bridge is ready for its first trial! Up-the-neck intonation should be excellent. The bridge should be a total of 4" to 4 1/4" long. Bridges are available in different heights and they are measured in imperial measurement. (A belt sander and a Dremel tool can help a lot here, but are not essential.) Take your playing to the next level with the help of a local or online banjo teacher. If you have a band or scroll saw and a belt sander, the work can go really quickly. Now for a few guidelines and observations: Since my preliminary foot shaping is with a belt sander, the part of each bridge foot which now fits the mandolin top is much smoother-- it's easy to see. 7. Mark the string slots in pencil on the bridge top, using your old bridge as a guide. The bridge will make a significant difference in the sound of your banjo. Banjo Bridge Mutes I. MIKE’S BANJO MUTE R Mutes designed to make a banjo (or violin) quieter by clamping extra mass onto the bridge also have a substantial e ect on sustain and tone. Email Newsletter. Cut your banjo's neck from a piece of 2X4 lumber. I loosen the mandolin strings enough to leave a slight pressure on the top of the bridge. Choose a banjo with low action to make … I started out trying to make a better bridge for the Irish tenor banjo which is tuned GDAE. The center cut will require a coping saw or jeweler's saw. If you are making a winged bridge, make any saw cuts now. --------------------- Place your finger on the first string at the 12th fret without pushing it down. Cut the outline of the bridge. The hole centers are marked on the template. The reason for banjo bridges having openings is to cut down on the mass of the bridge. 6. The 11-hole bridge design should not have any side "wing" cuts. I attach the sandpaper, centered, onto the heavy paper with spray adhesive, Elmer's, or even a gluestick. Very light bridges make a bright sound. How to Make a Banjo Bridge for Tenor or Cello Banjos. It turns out that this design is alsouseful in cello banjos and clawhammer banjos. If you need a taller bridge, just allow more material at the top of the template. Center the bridge in the middle of the banjo head and slide back about 2” towards the tailpiece. 8. For flat-top mandolins I have adapted this design to bridges as low as 3/8", and obtained much-improved sound from those instruments. I take the old bridge off, then lay that two-layer paper/sandpaper thing down on the mandolin across the centers of the f-holes, then tape the ends of the paper onto the mandolin with masking tape extending over the binding and part way down the sides. For an f-hole mandolin, European maple is preferred for richness. We already know that P stick thickness = 1/16" so 1/2" + 1/16" = 9/16" Keep going if it's still too low and I'll trust you to do the math. Good on a very short bridge, make any saw cuts now includes free lessons, favorite content! Suited to the use of small hand tools strings back from 1/32 '' to 4 1/4 '' long templates... 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