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  #1  
Old 09-24-2022, 12:30 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Default Gotta Love Banjos!

Okay, so I wanted to lower the action on my new Ozark Custom 12-inch Figured Cherry, so what did I do? I measured the original bridge height of the banjo with digital calipers and found it to be .609 inches high. I figured what difference I needed to get the action height I wanted and ordered a Snuffy Smith 9/16 inch (.562") high bridge from Elderly Instruments two days ago and it just came in the mail. So, I slid the new bridge into position behind the original higher bridge, tilted the original bridge forward, and removed it with the strings now resting on the lower new bridge. I splayed the strings out until all were in their respective groove on the new bridge. I checked the vertical alignment of the new bridge, and then its centering on the head via any middle-string side-to-side deflection one way or the other and tuned the banjo with my PolyTune Clip-On Tuner. Lastly, I checked the intonation at the 12th fret with the tuner and it was right on.

Total time to perform this operation: 10 minutes = Happiness
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Last edited by SpruceTop; 09-24-2022 at 12:58 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2022, 01:16 PM
jacot23 jacot23 is offline
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Yep, I've been having Tim Purcell make me some custom height(.595) bridges(w/ wider Crowe space) to get my action just right.
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  #3  
Old 09-24-2022, 01:30 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacot23 View Post
Yep, I've been having Tim Purcell make me some custom height(.595) bridges(w/ wider Crowe space) to get my action just right.
That's Great! Being that my clawhammer technique is a little sloppy, I thought about trying the Crowe-spaced version of the Snuffy Smith bridge as there's plenty of side space on the fretboard to accommodate the extra .040-inch outward string spread on each side at the bridge.

Current Banjos:
Ozark Custom 12-inch Figured Cherry
Vega No. 2 Tubaphone
OME North Star Walnut
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
__________________
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Guild F-212XL STD
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-05
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Yamaha FGX5
Avian Skylark 2A
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2

Last edited by SpruceTop; 09-25-2022 at 04:23 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-24-2022, 02:31 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Excellent solution, Sprucetop!

(There is a bit quicker solution for adjusting preferred action, but the banjo has to be designed to do it.)

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  #5  
Old 09-24-2022, 02:50 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Excellent solution, Sprucetop!

(There is a bit quicker solution for adjusting preferred action, but the banjo has to be designed to do it.)

Rudy, that's no fun, it's Too Easy!

Current Banjos:
Ozark Custom 12-inch Figured Cherry
Vega No. 2 Tubaphone
OME North Star Walnut
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
__________________
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Guild F-212XL STD
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-05
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Yamaha FGX5
Avian Skylark 2A
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2

Last edited by SpruceTop; 09-25-2022 at 04:23 PM.
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  #6  
Old 09-24-2022, 06:52 PM
jacot23 jacot23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
That's Great! Being that my clawhammer technique is a little sloppy, I thought about trying the Crowe-spaced version of the Snuffy Smith bridge as there's plenty of side space on the fretboard to accommodate the extra .040-inch outward string spread on each side at the bridge.
You ought to try a Purcell Black Locust sometime.
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  #7  
Old 09-28-2022, 08:16 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacot23 View Post
You ought to try a Purcell Black Locust sometime.
Thanks, I checked Tim Purcell's website and he's got some nice bridge offerings. It's great that he's able to do the radiused bottom feature similar to Deering's Smile bridges. I like Tim's reasonable prices, too! Purcell Banjo Bridges

Current Banjos:
Ozark Custom 12-inch Figured Cherry
Vega No. 2 Tubaphone
OME North Star Walnut
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
__________________
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Guild F-212XL STD
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-05
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Yamaha FGX5
Avian Skylark 2A
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2

Last edited by SpruceTop; 09-28-2022 at 02:55 PM.
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  #8  
Old 09-30-2022, 03:10 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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It's may not be apparent in your mind's ear but until you actually play a dreadnought guitar with a flatpick immediately after playing clawhammer style on an open-back banjo just how loud your real ears tell you that a banjo sounds! I just finished playing my Taylor 717e Builder's Edition dreadnought after playing my new Ozark Custom 12" Figured Cherry banjo and I'm kind of shocked. Guitars as "banjo killers?" Does anyone believe any of the hype some brands put out there?

Current Banjos:
Ozark Custom 12-inch Figured Cherry
Vega No. 2 Tubaphone
OME North Star Walnut
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
__________________
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Guild F-212XL STD
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-05
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Yamaha FGX5
Avian Skylark 2A
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2

Last edited by SpruceTop; 10-02-2022 at 04:02 PM.
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  #9  
Old 10-02-2022, 09:19 AM
Maryc-k Maryc-k is offline
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It’s the voice range of the banjo that overpowers the rest of the band when playing together. It’s like playing a mandola with two guitar players….they bury the mandola.
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  #10  
Old 10-02-2022, 10:48 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryc-k View Post
It’s the voice range of the banjo that overpowers the rest of the band when playing together. It’s like playing a mandola with two guitar players….they bury the mandola.
Thanks, Mary, yes, frequency-range has a lot to do with it. Another reason I think banjos are loud is that their construction quickly expends most of the energy imparted to their strings whereas guitar construction more slowly releases string energy (sustain) after the initial fairly loud tone.

Current Banjos:
Ozark Custom 12-inch Figured Cherry
Vega No. 2 Tubaphone
OME North Star Walnut
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
__________________
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Guild F-212XL STD
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-05
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Yamaha FGX5
Avian Skylark 2A
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2

Last edited by SpruceTop; 11-26-2022 at 11:32 AM.
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  #11  
Old 11-12-2022, 07:07 AM
Dotneck Dotneck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
Okay, so I wanted to lower the action on my new Ozark Custom 12-inch Figured Cherry, so what did do? …<snip>…Total time to perform this operation: 10 minutes = Happiness
I’m thinking of changing the strings on my new Gold Tone. The stock strings feel so thin and slinky…I wonder if a more stout string would be better. Might as well switch out the bridge at the same time.

What size strings do y’all like?
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  #12  
Old 11-14-2022, 09:07 PM
Stringmaster Stringmaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dotneck View Post
I’m thinking of changing the strings on my new Gold Tone. The stock strings feel so thin and slinky…I wonder if a more stout string would be better. Might as well switch out the bridge at the same time.

What size strings do y’all like?
As a guitar player new to banjo that was the first thing I noticed—the strings felt way too slinky. I’m not sure what gauge they are, but I’m going to put some mediums on, although I think these are mediums. As I’m working on the basic clawhammer strum, I’m getting more used to the feel of the strings, but at first it was “shocking” to me, and I kept checking my tuning to make sure it was to pitch! The intonation is driving me crazy though, which I hope improves with new strings. It’s going in the shop tomorrow for a little work/setup—will report back. Good luck!
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  #13  
Old 11-14-2022, 09:58 PM
jacot23 jacot23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dotneck View Post
I’m thinking of changing the strings on my new Gold Tone. The stock strings feel so thin and slinky…I wonder if a more stout string would be better. Might as well switch out the bridge at the same time.

What size strings do y’all like?
I prefer Ernie Ball Eartwood Frailing strings on my Clawhammer banjos. 10 24 15 13 10
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  #14  
Old 11-26-2022, 10:59 AM
bluemoon bluemoon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dotneck View Post
I’m thinking of changing the strings on my new Gold Tone. The stock strings feel so thin and slinky…I wonder if a more stout string would be better. Might as well switch out the bridge at the same time.

What size strings do y’all like?
I’m running medium strings from Pisgah banjos/balsam banjo works. I like dadarrio pb mediums too but they are a wee bit stiffer.
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  #15  
Old 11-26-2022, 11:32 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemoon View Post
I’m running medium strings from Pisgah banjos/balsam banjo works.
These are what came installed on my custom Pisgah and they feel really nice (this is the set with the .024" Wound 4th string, correct?). I'll likely put these on all my banjos when changing strings.

Current Banjos:
Ozark Custom 12-inch Figured Cherry
Vega No. 2 Tubaphone
OME North Star Walnut
Rickard 12" Maple Ridge Dobson
Pisgah 12" Walnut Tubaphone
Bart Reiter Regent Whyte Laydie
__________________
Martin HD-28 Sunburst/Trance M-VT Phantom
Martin D-18/Ultra Tonic
Adamas I 2087GT-8
Guild F-212XL STD
Huss & Dalton TD-R
Taylor 717e
Taylor 618e
Taylor 614ce
Larrivee D-05
Larrivee D-40R Sunburst
Larrivee C-03R Tommy Emmanuel/Trance M-VT Phantom
RainSong BI-DR1000N2
Emerald X20
Ovation Elite Plus
Yamaha FGX5
Avian Skylark 2A
Republic Duolian/Schatten NR-2
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