Nylguts + light bridge = great pop!

When I first put nylon strings on my Stewart, I kept using my usual Grover bridge with the ebony inset. I liked the strings but they seemed quiet.

Then the banjo’s neck needed a repair, which lowered the action, so I wanted a taller bridge. Luckily I found this page, where Joel Hooks describes the type of bridges that work best with nylon strings.

I ended up getting a tall maple “minstrel style” bridge by Bill Morris. It has no ebony inset.

minstrel bridgeNow the Nyguts have a surprising amount of volume and “pop”—more than the steel strings ever had. After hearing the minstrel bridge, a banjo buddy made a similar light bridge for his Nylgutted banjo and also got the boost in volume.

So if you try nylon strings, you might try a lighter bridge, too!


2 Responses to “Nylguts + light bridge = great pop!”

  1. 1 rick Ceballos April 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Cathy, I set up my Tubaphone like this with a minstrel bridge and Chris sands strings a few years ago. I had the same results with much more volume and less overtones. When i tell other musicians they are skeptical so thanks for affirming my contentions

  2. 2 David Brooks September 7, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I’m very interested in your comments about this bridge, Cathy. I have a couple of old Bay State banjos, and the nicer one is on the quiet side. I have a Sosebee Bosnian Maple bridge on it now. I read the Banjo Sessions article and didn’t have an idea of where to go for a bridge in the style he recommended, so your experience with the Morris bridge is very helpful. Unfortunately, Elderly is out of stock. I hope Mr. Morris is still building bridges because I want to give this a try.

    I’ve said this before on the Banjo Hangout, but you site and videos address a niche that no one else is doing much with — taking intermediate skills and turning them into music. Thanks for your efforts here.

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