Has this ever happened to any of you all before?  One second I'm happily playing banjo, and the next second:

 

...there is an extremely loud sound similar to a gunshot and the feet of the bridge are flying across the room!  I was using medium gauge strings with a Colby tailpiece, so there was some down pressure on the bridge.  This was only my third day using the bridge which I acquired from Clifford Essex.

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Wow! That looks like the Parke Hunter bridge I had a similar experience with. I was swapping it out (with full tension, I'm lazy, it was my fault!). It was only one foot and I ended up wood gluing it back together and it still works.

I thought it made my banjos sound too shrill and when I played it, and besides it didn't make me sound anything like Parke Hunter :-) The Morley bridge has worked much better for my taste.

At least you didn't get hurt. Who said the banjo was a happy instrument, it's more like a death trap!

It was a Parke Hunter bridge... I'm really torn between what sound I like best.  It's really an hour by hour kind of thing... sometimes I want that really thin and bright sound like I hear on many of the old recordings, and other times I want something rounder with more pop.  One of my banjos does many different sounds quite well- all I have to do is change the bridge depending on my mood.

Have you tried the Morley Bridge? It breathed life into my main banjo, a Bart Reiter Professional and has repaired our relationship since.

I hear you, I get torn between what sound I like best. I think the best sound comes from good practice and musicianship both of which I lack . But yes, I learned how much the bridge matters.


I know Joel Hooks makes bridges and perhaps he could be of assistance.


I guess this is besides the point. Since it broke so soon perhaps you may want to contact Clifford Essex and let them know.  From my experience, they seem like a customer service driven company.

Let us know how you do!

I was thinking about contacting Clifford Essex about it and I think I will.  I have a Morley bridge as well that I use when I'm in the mood, but I preferred the Park Hunter for the brief time I was using it.  My best sounding bridges were made by Joel Hooks but they are too short for the banjo in question.

Oh my!  John, what kind of cables are you using?  FVE tailpiece cranked all the way down!?!

I'll admit I've never had one do that, but I can see how it might happen.  

I've pulled or "chipped" the notches out once before on a maple bridge but I had sanded it too thin.  Also, I was once using a grover no-tip without the center strut and it split in half.

When dealing with wood anything can happen.

FVE tailpiece, but about as high as it will go on this particular banjo.  Very light gauge strings.  It was a real shock when broke!

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