I received my second Jeffrey Weitzel banjo bridge earlier this week. Here’s the website photo of his MODEL 6-10 BRIDGE – 6 Feet, 10 direct vibrational paths to the head:
The high points should face the peghead, and slant down towards the tailpiece. I put it on backward to begin with, and got an interesting if not delightful sound. I spent most of Monday afternoon aligning it and letting it settle in, fussing with the stuffing, and making “Test Drive” videos. Here’s one:
I am really getting the sense that each note is more fully articulated, but more importantly (to me at least) is the string tension and playability. This bridge took the sag out of the strings. I'm still experimenting with setup options. I'm getting a bit more bass line now, which I like to have. I’m finding the pull offs have more snap, and the triplets sound with improved clarity – and I know it’s not something that can be traced to anything that I’m doing differently in my basic playing approach. Sometimes I get the sense that with a slight shift in setup, such as the addition of a tailored bridge, the banjo ends up teaching me how it wants to be played.
Once again, the Standard banjo disclaimer:
I do not have any entangling alliances with Jeffrey, though I have taken an interest in his enterprising effort to rethink banjo design and I did toss some pocket change at his Indiegogo crowd funding effort. My “perk” was one of these bridges.
I have an interest in his inventive efforts, though his banjos will sell way above my pay grade. I did, however, receive a free t-shirt after I ordered a second “perk,” a great baseball hat with his business logo – for my banjo hat collection.
Of passing interest might be a discussion I had with Jeffrey about a banjo built by Jerome Mayberger that I acquired, I believe via an eBay auction, sometime in the mid-1990s. Jerome Mayberger, a New Yorker, who later changed his name to Jerome May, built banjos in the 1860s and 1870s. His 1867 patent, intended to be an improvement on George Teed’s banjo, was designed to channel air through the resonator in unique ways, but what struck me was the unusual configuration for the resonator – the rim set into the “sound board” (resonator), and the neck was jointed to the resonator sidewall. I sold this banjo to a friend in Montana, a like-minded obsessive/compulsive banjo collector (I’ve since reformed).
Not sure whether this is the same Jerome May, but it could be:
Anyway, I was happy to see a landsman involved in banjo design and building.