One of the biggest frustrations with playing on gut or nylon strings is finding the right bridge. I found that if I wanted a proper bridge I needed to make it myself. I have spent years researching period documentation and studying original 19th and early 20th century bridges. The patterns I am offering are exact size copies complete with original string spacing. Please read my Historical Bridge Primer before ordering. Wire strings will destroy these bridges and should never be used with them.
I consider this my standard "go to" bridge.
This bridge is one of the few original bridge patterns that was 5/8” tall. Sized exactly from early bridges made by A. D. Grover and later copied by John Alvery Turner in England, the are perfect bridges for banjos requiring a taller bridge. These are 1 3/4” wide with a string spacing 38mm. 1/2”, 5/8” and 3/4” available. Use with LaBella No. 17 or thinner. Notches will need to be widened to accommodate larger strings.
(A.K.A the S. Swaim Stewart Bridge)
The B. Gibbs bridge is the perfect replacement for S. S. Stewart banjos as it is the same size as he used. These are also perfect for early 1880s to 1900 banjos (and any banjo that you want to sound like that). Gibbs bridges are extremely small compared to modern bridges. The dimensions were taken from the great article “Observations on the Banjo and Banjo Playing” by S. S. Stewart. These bridges are 1 5/8” wide with a string spacing of 37mm. This string spacing is very narrow compared to modern standards and takes a little getting used to. Gibbs bridges are notched for string sets no larger than LaBella No. 17 (.019 .022 .028 .025w .019). Thicker strings will not fit and the notches must be widened. Available in 1/2” high only. Also available in “hand-finished."arly bridges made by A. D. Grover and later copied by John Alvery Turner in England, the are perfect bridges for banjos requiring a taller bridge. These are 1 3/4” wide with a string spacing 38mm. 1/2”, 5/8” and 3/4” available. Use with LaBella No. 17 or thinner. Notches will need to be widened to accommodate larger strings.
Regular Bolsover Gibbs Banjo Bridges, $16 Each + Shipping.
Hand-Finished Bolsover Gibbs Banjo Bridges, $18 Each + Shipping.
This pattern is one of my favorites. Not for the shape but for the special string spacing. The Morley pattern bridge has extra room between the 5th string and the fourth. This extra space lets one really dig in on the fourth string for extra effect. This is also the only bridge that I offer in two heights, 1/2” and 5/8”. The Morley pattern uses string spacing for the 1st to 4th strings in the equivalent of a total spacing of 40mm. The space between each strings is about 9.5mm with the exception of the 4th/5th which is just shy of 12mm. Slightly hand-finished. Notches will need to be widened to accommodate larger strings.
The Converse 1865 Bridge is crafted from solid New England “rock” maple. Hand finished and made exactly like the illustration in the fold out plans for building a banjo included in “Converse’s New and Complete Method For the Banjo,” a.k.a. the “Green Book.”
This bridge is loud and responsive with a clear tone. It is the best “early” pattern I know of.
The bridge is only available 11/16” tall with a string spacing of 47mm. The notches will accommodate the normal “early rimmed banjo” gauge strings with a wound fourth. May be had without notches on request only.
The Converse 1865 Bridge $16 Each + Shipping