#1
Hey guys.
managed to lose a couple of bridge pins for my bash about guitar. Not the end of the world but it got me thinking. Do bridge pins make a difference?

Reason I ask is I now have a couple of options.
Buy new cheap pins
Buy expensive fancy pins (seen some bone and some ebony ones) put fancy ones in my tanglewood and put the tanglewood ones in the cheap guitar.
Buy the 'Technofret ASA' for the tanglewood and use those pins in cheap guitar.

Does bridge pin material make a difference? Is the technofret ASA any good?

Thanks guys.
#2
The only difference on which there is any consensus at all is due to mass. I've got bone in one guitar, because that is what it came with, cheap plastic in another, wood replacements (ie the lightest) where I've made a change for some reason, and three brass and three wood in the kona, to mellow the tone a bit.

If I spending a significant amount on pins, it would be old fashioned bone or wood, but I don't suffer anxiety attacks about cheap plastic pins either.

EDIT. If you want to do tonal tinkering on an acoustic, a bone saddle isn't a bad place to start. - After string gauge and type, that is, which will overwhelm any other easy stuff you can do.
Last edited by Tony Done at Jun 7, 2016,
#3
So i take it then that from your experience different material had an affect on tone?
Also im quite a handy individual so is it worth getting unslotted pegs and slotting the bridge.

Edit: already got bone nut and saddle in the cheap guitar and the tanglewood has nubone as standard for both so I don't think I will change them. String wise it was on silk and steel but they need a change so going to try some gypsy jazz strings instead.
Last edited by Thom1989 at Jun 7, 2016,
#4
Mass of bridge pins might affect your tone, but I'm a long way from convinced that different materials of about the same mass will have any detectable effect. There's nothing wrong with going for something different for cosmetic reasons though.

Some (many? dunno) luthiers and experienced repairers advocate using unslotted pins and slotting the bridge. Again, I'm not convinced enough to have tried it it. One thing I am convinced about is that pins should be a drop-in fit, held in by string tension and the string ball - I rarely have to use a pin puller. I see tight pins as an accident waiting to happen, but slotted pin holes are incompatible with loose pins, as the balls might hang up in the slot.

Another thing I have been experimenting with for a long time is something the Stewmac Platemate, but made much lighter so as not to add too much mass:

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Tools_by_Job/Tools_for_Bridges/Plate_Mate.html

The added mass is generally a minus, but on the plus side it hardens the contact between the string balls and the bridge plate and it prevents or provides a cure for bridge plate wear.. I think it increases the brightness, but again opinions vary.
Last edited by Tony Done at Jun 7, 2016,
#5
The plate mate is similar to the technofret ASA. That has a number of alloy washers that go over the string. They spread the load from string tension evenly over a larger area and do away with bridge pins all together. They also stop the ball digging into the bridge plate. Does mean to string you have to string from inside the guitat but it gives you a handy tube with which to do it.
#6
Hmmm. They don't look like very useful to me, I wouldn't buy them. Before I made a plate, I was using 3/16"brass washers attached to the bridge plate with carpet tape. They are exactly the right size for Martin pin spacing and they had the desired effect, but I kept knocking them off when I was replacing the strings. That is why I went to a single piece of brass. If you a good with your hands, there are all sorts of things you could use that would do the job.- brass shim (which is what I use), food can, thin aluminium, laminex, anything light, reasonably stiff and hard.
#7
Just harden the bridge plate off with thin CyA glue. There's no real need for a bunch of BS. You can carefully wick it down to the plate with a tooth pick or similar.

Some of the glue bottles come with a very thin add on spout.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 8, 2016,
#8
Just another opinion: I changed my Seagull's saddle, nut and bridge pins from the original material (tusq I think) to bone.

I think I noticed a slight difference in tone with the saddle and nut but that could very well have been some kind of placebo effect. An "I heard that bone was better so therefore I noticed a difference" kind of thing.
Side by side comparisons might highlight some slight differences but I can't say for sure I could hear any.
Same goes for the bridge pins although I would imagine they'd influence the sound less than the saddle and nut? (Correct me if I'm wrong).

Anyway, I think other things affect the tone a lot more than the material of these parts. For example, if you want a warmer tone - use a thicker pick or eq your guitar a bit differently if you're playing live, if you want a brighter tone - use lighter strings or a thinner pick.

These things might also affect the feel of a guitar but again I think I'd need a side by side comparison of two identical guitars in two identical situations to say for sure.
#9
I did a test with bone and nubone. I found a very cheap bone nut and saddle set which I bought for my cheap guitar. I replaced those at the same time as re stringing my tanglewood which has nubone standard. The only noticeable difference I heard was with plastic. Nubone and bone I couldn't differentiate between, but those 2 and plastic, plastic just sounded dull with greatly reduced sustain.
#10
My Yammie A1R has a cracked bridge that causes a vibration sound. I was thinking of switching the pins out to wood when I get around to repairing it but only because it looks purdy. I can't see any scientific reason why the bridge pins would make any difference in tone. Nut and saddle, maybe because the strings actually rest on them - my preference is tusq. However my A1R (pre-bridge crack vibration) had a more pleasing tone to my ears than my seagull or breedlove even though the yammie has plastic nut and saddle(which I also plan to replace). Might as well upgrade considering the cost is minimal even if it's just for peace of mind. That's the way I look at it.