Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I thought I'd share the results of my experiments with bridges of different heights, thicknesses and woods on my tack head minstrel.  I made two from aspen and two from cedar. All are horizontal grain.

The original is pine. 2 7/8 L x 9/16 H x 1/4 W x 1/16  - right in picture

The aspen bridges are: 

(1) 2 7/8 L x 5/8 H x 1/8 W x 1/16 -  left in picture

(2) 2 15/16 L x 9/16 H x 3/16 W x 1/16

cedar:  (1) 2 7/8 L x 9/16 H x 5/32 W x 1/16  - left front

            (2) 2 15/16 L x 19/32 H x 3/16 W x 1/16 - on banjo, very nice grain

The tonal results are:

The pine has a nice rich tone.

The aspen has a muted tone. I tried a thinner bridge construction w/ little discernible difference in tone.

The cedar bridge surprised me. It is bright and clear. I really like the sound!

Since I like a bright tone, I won't bother w/ any more made from aspen but I may give poplar a try.

Let me know If you've had success with other woods.

Views: 110

Comment by John Masciale on March 27, 2012 at 11:04am

I've used aspen, pine, poplar, and basswood.  Presently I'm using poplar.

Comment by flatfoot johnny on March 27, 2012 at 3:40pm

I generally use pine, but i think i'll give cedar a go. Thanks for the info.

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