Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Sometimes I find it helpful to tilt the bridge diagonally to make the position of the frets match the length of the strings from the pegs. Is this something anyone else does? It is correct?

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Are you talking about a fretless banjo?  

The 'length of the strings' is more accurately the length from bridge to nut, not from bridge to peg.

But maybe I'm not understanding exactly what you are trying to do- what are you trying to do by tilting/slanting your bridge?

Yes it is a fretless banjo. One time at an event someone told me it would be easier to find the right hand positions if I turned the bridge sideways. The reasoning was that since the banjo was strung with the strings on pegs in a diagonal pattern that shifting the bridge to match it would help. It seems to work but I dont see anything or anyone that supports this being a legitimate strategy.

Strumelia said:

Are you talking about a fretless banjo?  

The 'length of the strings' is more accurately the length from bridge to nut, not from bridge to peg.

But maybe I'm not understanding exactly what you are trying to do- what are you trying to do by tilting/slanting your bridge?

Also sorry, the length of the strings thing was not very well worded.

I guess i need a picture, I'm not getting it, sorry.

One time at an oldtime gathering someone I barely knew asked if they could try my banjo for a minute (a fretted openback).  So I handed it to them, they played for a minute and then reached down to slant the bridge the way they apparently thought it should be. I managed to put my hand over theirs just in time to let them know that wasn't allowed.    What. a. nerve.  

Sorry my actual camera is out of battery right now, this is pretty much the idea. The bridge is turned to match the angle the strings are at.

I don't get why this would be good.  The nut is in between the bridge and the pegs, and the nut is straight.  So why would it make any difference- what's it got to do with the pegs?

Some people slant the bass string side of the bridge a little towards the tailpiece to lengthen the heavy strings a tiny bit, particularly if they don't have compensated bridges on fretted banjos, but it's got nothing to do with the pegs.

Slanting the bridge on a fretless is meaningless. That is done on a fretted banjo or guitar to compensate for the strings going sharp when they are fretted.

Since you tune the fretted notes by ear on a fretless banjo, there is no need to slant the bridge at all.

Also, the amount of slant you have on the bridge is outrageous. Not necessary. What that will do is spread out the fret locations on the bass strings so that they are farther apart. That might make you more comfortable if that is where you want to fret the strings, but it is not necessary.

Alright thanks

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