Banjo is an interesting instrument widely used in folk and country music. To make sure that the instrument sounds great, it is important to install the best banjo bridge on it. The reason is that it’s not only strings that affect the sound, as a banjo bridge also has a direct influence on it.
A large number of affordable banjos nowadays require changing it right from the start. Or, you may need to change it over time. In this guide, you can learn how to choose a suitable bridge for your banjo and what options are available.
10 Best Banjo Bridge Options Reviewed
When you look for banjo bridges online, it can be quite overwhelming as they all seem to look the same. Here you can see 10 banjo bridges I have personally tested, so it’s easier for you to choose the most appropriate one for your instrument.
1. Golden Gate 5-String Bridge – Best banjo bridge in its price category
|Dimensions:||3 x 0.25 x 0.5 inches|
|Top Material Type:||Ebony|
|Back Material Type:||Alloy Steel|
The first bridge I will mention in this review is suitable for 5-string banjos, and it is manufactured by Golden Gate. In my humble opinion, this is the best banjo bridge for its price. If you have purchased a banjo but notice that there is not enough articulation and punch in the sound, you may want to try installing this model.
The banjo is made from ebony and maple, while the string saddles are made of bone, which ensures the best brightness of tone. What I noticed about this Golden Gate banjo bridge is its stability, which is highly important for producing clear sound. Its height is 1/2″, which means that it can be installed on the majority of modern banjos.
- Adds more punch and brightness to the sound
- Durable construction
- Standard bridge height
- It may not be suitable for some banjos
2. Grover 5/8 Compensated Bridge – Runner-up 5 string banjo bridge
|Dimensions:||5.1 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches|
|Item Weight:||0.03 Pounds|
Another banjo bridge I consider a great option is the compensated one from Grover. One of my musician friends swears by using compensated bridges, and this Grover one is a great choice for a number of reasons. It is made from high-quality maple with an ebony top, which makes it feel quite durable. This particular model is designed for 5-string banjos.
The bridge is 5/8’’ tall, and its compensating design offers great possibilities for intonation. It has a step-like design, which allows musicians to change keys on their banjo without adjusting the tuning. I was definitely satisfied with the tones I got after installing this bridge on my banjo, so it’s a good option to look into if you prefer compensated bridges.
- Compensated bridge design
- Contributes to the nice banjo sound
- Made from high-quality wood
- It may require some sanding
3. WGOEODI 4-String Bridge – Excellent three-legged bridge for banjos
|Top Material Type:||Rosewood, Maple|
If you are a banjo player, you may have noticed that 4-string banjos have become more and more commonly used along with 5-string ones. At the same time, there are fewer options sold for 4-string instruments compared to 5-string banjos. The WGOEODI bridge is made for 4-string instruments, and it turned out to be a well-made option that offers bright sound. It is made from rosewood and maple, which are both materials that work well in banjo bridges. The height is also standard, so it should be suitable for most modern 4-string banjos.
The downside is that this model is produced by a company that doesn’t really have a prominent name in the industry, so it’s unlikely that you will be able to contact them if you are not fully satisfied.
- Suitable for 4-string banjos
- Three-legged model
- Made from rosewood and maple
- Made by an unknown manufacturer in the industry
4. Swhmc 4-String Bridge — Well-balanced banjo bridge for better sound
|Top Material Type:||Maple, Ebony|
Another 4-string banjo bridge that I decided to include in this review is manufactured by Swhmc. This model has an ebony strip and maple base, so it should be quite wear-resistant and last you for a long time. What I like about this model is that it’s a three-legged model. While two-legged bridges usually offer a mellow sound, this one is a bit more prominent and sharper.
The height of this model is 0.64’’, which will work for many banjos, but some musicians may have to sand it down to achieve the appropriate height, so it’s something to keep in mind. The thickness of the legs is 0.2’’ while the length is 3’’. Overall, I think this is a standard 4-string bridge that does the job.
- Improves the sound
- A three-legged model
- Made from durable ebony and maple
- The height should often be adjusted by sanding
5. BQLZR Maple Ebony Bridge — 4-string banjo bridge from a reliable brand
|Dimensions:||0.03 x 2.17 x 0.63 inches|
|Material:||Maple + Rosewood|
If you are a happy owner of a 4-string banjo, this is another excellent bridge that you may want to consider. Similar to the model from Swhmc, it has three legs, which is the most popular configuration for modern banjos. The base of this model is made from maple, and it has an ebony strip on top with the notches to fit 4 strings. It’s immediately noticeable how close-grained this bridge is, and the overall construction feels stable. The tones you get are clear, so there are no complaints in this sense.
When it comes to the dimensions, the length of this bridge is 3’’ the height is 0.64’’ and the thickness of the legs is 0.2’’. While such measurements are quite standard for such models, you should remember that it may not fit some instruments.
- Close-grained banjo bridge
- Offers clear tone
- Reliable construction featuring high-quality wood
- It may not fit some banjoleles
6. Grover Tenor Banjo Bridge — Popular choice among 4-string banjo owners
|Dimensions:||5.25 x 4.5 x 0.75 inches|
Grover has a range of banjo bridges for different instruments, and this particular model is suitable for 4-string banjos. If you have a 4-string instrument, you should certainly try this model, as it provides great results. My friend has it on his banjo, and I can tell that the sound it gives is fantastic — saturated and sufficiently loud.
It has a height of 0.75 inches that will work for some banjos, but definitely not for all of them, so it’s best to try it in the store if you are not sure whether it will work for your instrument. I think that this is a well-balanced option that can be considered a universal option.
- Made by a respected brand
- Sturdy construction that has three legs
- Manufactured from maple with an ebony strip
- The dimensions may not work for some banjos
7. Jiayouy Banjo Bridge — Stable and convenient 6 string banjo bridge
|Top Material Type:||Maple, Ebony|
Even though 6-string banjos are less popular compared to the 5-string ones, there are still plenty of banjo bridges to choose from for such instruments. One of the best options is Jiayouy, which is a three-legged model that is made using a combination of maple and ebony. Similar to many other modern models, this option has an ebony strip on top, while other parts of the construction are maple.
This model is neatly made and carefully sanded, so it doesn’t feel rough in any way. It contributes to the prominent sound that is characteristic of the three-legged bridges. There is no strange trembling or other flaws, so the sound you get is always clear. The installation process is quite easy, even for those who don’t have the experience.
- Helps achieve a clear tone without trembling
- Easy installation
- Durable construction
- The dimensions may not be suitable for some banjos
8. Performance Plus BBE-5 — Best banjo bridge clawhammer style
|Top Material Type:||Maple, Ebony|
|Back Material Type:||Maple, Ebony|
Performance Plus is a German brand, so only this fact alone hints at the quality of this particular model. This is a well-seasoned model designed for 5-string instruments, and it certainly achieves what has been promised by the manufacturer. First of all, the bridge uses high-quality ebony and maple materials. Secondly, it is lightweight yet durable, which ensures proper transfer of the vibrations when you play. In my opinion, the bridge contributes to an excellent sound, which is both pronounced and clear, so the sound of your instrument won’t get lost when you play with someone.
I am so glad I bought this, I know it’s expensive but this is a piece of furniture for your banjo. If Its height is 11/16’’, which will surely work for a wide range of instruments, but it can also be too high for some.
- Works for old and modern banjos
- Has a maple base and an ebony strip
- Provides a clear tone
- It may be too high for some modern banjos
9. LYWS Banjo Bridge — Best banjo bridge for bluegrass music
|Dimensions:||5 string banjo|
|Material:||Maple and ebony bridge|
LYWS banjo bridge is another great option for 5-string instruments. I had this particular model for a while on one of my banjos, and it works perfectly well. The materials used in this banjo won’t surprise you — the top is made from ebony and the other part is maple. At the top, you will find carefully made notches for strings, and they feel smooth enough, so they won’t cause tearing of strings.
I like the sound that I can get thanks to the use of this banjo bridge. When I installed it on my instrument, the difference was quite drastic. The sound got significantly louder, so if you need a boost, you should look into this option. As for the installation, it shouldn’t cause any trouble.
- Offers great sound
- Suitable for many different banjos
- High-quality construction
- The color may differ from the image you see online
10. Alomejor 5-String Bridge — Affordable high-performance bridge for banjos
Last but not least, I have chosen the 5-string banjo bridge from Alomejor to include in this guide. I had plenty of time to test and compare it to others, so I can confidently say that it’s a good option. This model features a standard combination of maple and ebony, which are known for their durability.
The sound that you can achieve with this Alomejor 5-string bridge is neither too mellow nor too harsh. It is a well-balanced model without any extremes, so it will be suitable for many musicians. The dimensions are standard and the installation process is quick and easy.
- Affordable cost
- Durability and stability
- A three-legged design
- The sound may be not loud enough for some people
Banjo Bridges Buyer’s Guide
A banjo bridge can make all the difference between having a terrible and amazing sound. It is important to find the one that will help you achieve your music goals, so here are a few things to consider.
Types of banjo bridges
While banjo bridges look quite similar, there are still differences that can seriously affect the performance. The types of models currently available for modern instruments include the following:
Flat banjo bridge
This option is flat both on top and the bottom, which means that it is more difficult to press down the strings. At the same time, this is something that many musicians prefer and get used to, which is why it is found in the majority of banjos.
The most popular option among both experienced players and beginners is a compensated one. It has a raised point where the strings are placed, so it achieves more precise intonation and tone.
This option is not as widely used as the previous two, but more musicians these days are becoming interested in radiused bridges. The saddle of this model is curved in a similar way to the fretboard. Thanks to this curvature, it is easier for players to push strings, as there is less effort needed.
What type to choose?
When choosing the bridge for your instrument, you should make sure that it not only fits your banjo but is also comfortable to use. Some people are used to using two-legged compensated models, while others rely on flat ones. It is largely a matter of personal choice.
If you are a complete beginner and you don’t know what type to choose, it is best to begin with the most commonly used one, which is a three-legged compensated bridge. It is easier on the fingers compared to the flat one and also offers the benefit of improved tone control.
What to consider before buying the bridge?
The type is not the only thing to consider before you decide what model to purchase for your instrument. There are also several other characteristics that you should pay attention to:
The wood used in the banjo bridge is highly important. It acts as the sound conductor and directly influences the tone that you will get. The most commonly used types of woods are maple for the bottom part and ebony for the top part where strings are placed. As opposed to some other types of wood, ebony is durable enough so that there will be no sagging even when the tension of strings is applied. You can also find other woods, such as rosewood, birch, and more, but such options are less traditional.
You should keep in mind that thicker bridges tend to provide more volume and more bass. It is important that the bridge is not so thick that the sound becomes dull. The thinner models offer a brighter and crisper sound, but when they are too thin, the sound can become sharp, so it’s something to keep in mind.
The most common heights of modern bridges vary from 1/2” to 11/16” and more. It is important to choose just the right height so that there is no buzzing of the strings and you can properly adjust the action. The 5/8 bridge height is a commonly used one in the majority of banjos, but it all depends on your particular instrument.
FAQ on Banjo Bridges
Dealing with banjo bridges can be confusing for beginners. Here are some questions that are frequently asked by players.
How to put a bridge on a banjo?
To install a bridge on a banjo, you should:
• Place the instrument on the flat surface and then slide the new bridge under the strings.
• Near the tailpiece, you should slightly lift the strings and make sure that the bridge is upright.
• Place each string into a corresponding slot.
• You should now slide the bridge toward the tailpiece, so it’s about two-thirds of the way from the instrument’s head.
• Now you can tune your banjo.
Can a banjo bridge be sanded?
Yes. If you do this carefully, a banjo bridge can be sanded. It can happen that you purchase a model that is too high, so you can use a piece of fine sandpaper to achieve the desired height. This will only work if there is a slight difference, and you should make sure not to remove too much, as this will affect the sound.
Install the Best Banjo Bridge to Improve the Sound
If you take playing banjo seriously, the importance of a proper bridge cannot be underestimated. The materials it is made from, its height, and other factors will directly influence the sound of your instrument, so it’s not something to take lightly. In my opinion, the Golden Gate banjo bridge is a great choice if you have a 5-string instrument. It is made from high-quality wood, has a standard size, and delivers a well-balanced sound.
What do you think about these banjo bridges? Do you have other suggestions? Please, share your thoughts in the comments below!