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Slim Jim Banjos

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the prompt dispatch of the two new bridges. I’ve just spent a good while recording and playing the banjo with different bridges so for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts . . .

The banjo in question is a Goldtone Whyte Laydie WL250 which i fitted with a John Balch 4 star calf-skin head. It’s a reliable, stable banjo and I play it a lot – especially for gigs. It was fitted with a basic standard ebony and maple bridge, not compensated and I had to angle it to sort out the intonation.

Both your bridges improved the sound of the banjo but I much prefer the dark coloured bridge with the three feet. It gives a very balanced, detailed sound across all the strings and makes the banjo very responsive to a variation in attack and tone production. It gives the banjo a very fine, sweetly ringing sound and seems to bring out the innate qualities of the tone ring. It’s not a plunky sound but conveys a lot of detail both when I ply clawhammer and oldtime three finger picking. I like it a lot.

The maple and ebony bridge with the solid foot is a tubbier kind of sound with fewer overtones; the mid range is a lot less sparkly and less detailed and the treble is muted but a little edgier. There is less detail in complex passages but it has an overall more plunky sound. It kind of plays down the tone ring tendencies. If someone wants to lose detail and gain plunk it may well be a good idea but I don’t usually stuff my banjos with foam or cloth and I like them to ring and play out some detail. I think the original basic maple/ebony bridge was closer to this bridge although even “tubbier”.

To set all this in context, in the middle of a session with fiddle, mandolin, bass etc the details between the bridges may get a lot more blurry! I am talking here as a banjo sound anorak I know but the vast majority of my playing is at home solo and the new bridge makes the banjo more satisfying to play.

Thanks for the great service. I think your bridges bring out a lot of detail and deal well with intonation issues and I will certainly recommend them.

Keep in touch and hope to meet up with you for a play sometime.

All the best,

Sizes Reading Available

When ordering please state string gauges

1/2" or 12.5mm

9/16" or 14.5mm

5/8" or 16mm

11/16" or 17.5mm

3/4" or 19mm

Review of Slim Jim Bridges by Peter Bolton

This shows a standard Maple and Bog Oak bridge and a Pete Seeger style bridge as requested by a customer.

These are handcrafted and made from high quality Maple base with Bog Oak or an Ebony top, which create a brighter sound and improve intonation.

If a more mellow sound is required Walnut with Bog Oak or an Ebony top would help to create the more mellower sound.

Other woods can be requested should a player want to have a more unique sound and setup.