Gary Sosebee's Bridges
A Preliminary Review
Gary Sosebee has an interesting approach to bridge building. He uses a very interesting type of maple that I have seldom seen in banjo bridges. If you look at the picture of the bridges on his web site, you will notice that they look like they have freckes. These freckles are cross grain, and the smaller they are, the better. These small "medullary rays," as they are called, are highly sought after in violin bridges. Smaller rays produce a tighter bridge, which transfers sound more effectively.
He sent me one of his type 2 bridges, which is compensated like a Snuffy II bridge, and one of his type 3 bridges, which has compensation notches cut in the back side of the ebony at the top of the bridge. These lighten the bridge without weakening it.
The maple in these brides comes from a bowling alley, by the way, so Gary is being very responsible by recycling!
I tried both of these bridges on my Huberized RB-75 clone, and they were both loud and punchy, with plenty of defintion and bite. The bass was excellent. There is plenty of tone color available when you use these bridges. The one with the extra cuts in the top sounds a bit louder to me and has a little more treble. Both sound very good.
I like them.
Gary now has some old wood (submerged maple) bridges for sale. There are two kinds, and each has a different sound. The darker ones, made of heartwood, have a slightly brighter sound than the lighter ones, which tend to emphasize bass a bit more. I have tried these on my Granada and my Scruggs model with similar results. As is true with all the old wood bridges I have tried, these bridges increase the volume of the banjo a bit. The amount of increase in volume depends on several factors, which I have not been able to figure out yet.
If you want to order some of these bridges, visit Gary Sosebee's web site by clicking here.
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