Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Bridge change or not to change

No matter how tight the banjo head, there will always be a little sag and over time the bridge will bow. So my question to everyone out there is. How many of you change your bridge and when to change it? Do you fit another bridge as soon as you notice the slightest bow, or do you wait until it is more obvious? Or do you not worry at all?

I can honestly say I had never changed my bridge until mine broke while I was trying to set the intonation. Jake set me up with a really nice quality bridge that will probably last me another 20 years if I had to guess.

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The only time I’ve ever changed my bridge was when I bought my first banjo. The original bridge was way too low a 3/8 as I recall so I bought a taller 5/8 Snuffy Smith bridge. It’s been on my banjo 10 years and doesn’t sag.

I have a snuffy 5/8 but took it off as it didn’t give me a crisp enough tone. The original bridge was thinner but bowed so i ended up buying a bog standard bridge and sanded it thinner. this seemed to do the trick. However I’m not sure if it will last without getting that bow as its only a cheaper bridge.
Has anyone tried the Kat Eyz bridges? Maybe some of you could let me know your favourite bridges. I know tone will vary from banjo to banjo, but just curious if snuffy’s are the most popular?

The one I just bought is a Snuffy Smith 5/8ths Crowe spacing. I’ve been happy with it. Didn’t really notice any tone difference when I installed it.

Can I ask. With the crow spacing bridge, is the first string in further from the edge of the fretboard? I thought about getting a Crow spaced, but would like to see one held together with a standard spacing to see the difference. I just wondered what the spacing was between the notches.

That’s a good question. I’ll try to remember to take a picture of the two side by side when I get home.

The bridges are the same width, but the string spacing on the Crowe is just a bit wider.

Sorry for the late reply. I put my 2 bridges side by side and it was tough to see the difference because the top of both of them is black, so I put them both on my banjo so you could see the strings.

The top bridge is a standard spacing, compensated Grover Tune-Kraft. The bottom one is the JD Crowe spacing Snuffy Smith.

I feel like my right hand gets caught up in the strings less and my playing is cleaner with the Snuffy. Could just be a placebo effect, too.


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Thanks. That shows the subtle difference. I’ve just been in contact with Silvio Ferretti who makes the scorpion bridges, he is sending me a custom bridge I ordered with 3rd string compensated and crowe spacing. I’m looking forward to trying it out.

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I’ve used a bunch of different bridges. I have never noticed a bow in any of my bridges.

I have tried Kat Eyz, Desert Rose, Moon, Purcell, Nechville and Snuffy bridges. I liked the Kat Eyz but the one I have now is too tall.

None of the bridges were bad. I didn’t like the sound of the Purcell or Moon bridges so much but then, at that time, my sense of good banjo sound was not so developed so today I might have different opinions.

At the moment, I have Snuffy bridges on both my banjos and they sound just fine.

Never saw the need to try a bunch of bridges. The only reason I upgraded my Fender bridge to a Snuffy Smith was because the original a 3/8th was too low the SS is 5/8th’s. My Stelling has an 11/16ths comes as standard.

I’ve just removed a bog standard bridge from my banjo and the head is really tight, tuned to ‘A’ and 93 on the drum dial, but there is a noticeable bow in the bridge that if you stand it on a flat surface, it rocks in the middle very slightly. It’s only been on there around 6 months if that. So I’ve just popped on another till I get my Scorpion.

Hey Jono

How did you find the Scorpion pal

and would you sell the Snuffy ?


I’ve tried a bunch of bridges. If you’re looking for one that won’t bow over time, the Deering “Smile” bridge is probably the best for that. It probably also has the most even tension against the banjo head.

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