Bridge Pin Question

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by AceBSpankin, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. AceBSpankin

    AceBSpankin Prince of Ales Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    How tight should the pins fit in the bridge. I built a Martin Dreadnought style guitar and I'm thinking I may have reamed the bridge out a little too much. ​
    They slide up when I try to tune up to pitch. Is there a fix.......
    Thanks,
    Neal
     
  2. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    It is normal that the scoot up a bit while getting to pitch. The function of the bridge pin, as I understand it, is to bend the ball end around the string hole and against the bridge plate. Once the string is at pitch, the tension of the string holds it in place. You should actually be ok to remove a bridge pin without the string letting loose.
     
  3. AceBSpankin

    AceBSpankin Prince of Ales Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Oh, Ok,
    good to know!!!
    Thanks

    How much movement?
    Should I push them back down?

    Thanks Again,
    Neal
     
  4. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    I think it's probably that the ball end is hanging on the end of the pin. The ball end should slide up the side of the pin and stop at the bridge plate. I usually put a little bend on the string so the ball end doesn't hang on the pin as I tune. On my upscale Martins I can easily remove the pins with my fingers once string tension is relieved. That's correct.

    It also helps when tuning up a new string set to put a thumb on the pin you're tuning while you do it.
     
  5. bunny

    bunny Member

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    On any good guitar I prefer pins without slots and slots in the bridge/top/bridge plate. Having a reamer with teh same angle as your pins help a lot. Normaly the pins should hold well but you shuold be able to remove them without tools.
    Yes, the string ball should find itself in the corner between the pin and the bridge plate. If it doesn't it's usually caused by the slot too narrow for the string (that thicker part at the ball). Stamped plastic pins can be beveled a bit at the end to help the ball slide where it should. Look at this:
    http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Trade_Secrets/Chopping_the_ends_off_bridge_pins.html
     
  6. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    Just the opposite of the previous poster, I prefer slotted pins to a slotted bridge. The slot, to me, just increases the wear and tear on the bridge plate ... ie, the ball end is against the slot. There's no "correct" way.
     
  7. AceBSpankin

    AceBSpankin Prince of Ales Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    So I broke 1 of my StewMac pins and have ordered some bone ones.
    I used a 5 degree reamer on the bridge and bought the same degree pins.
    I will bevel the ends of these like the video above!! Thanks, bunny

    Does anyone open up the slot on the pins for the wound strings??
    With a 50+ dia. string it gets very hard to get it all down the hole.
     
  8. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    ehh, i'm with david collins on this one, he makes a pretty convincing argument as to why unslotted pins are far better, with cutaway examples and everything.

    i myself have seen orders of magnitude more trashed and chewed up pins and destroyed bridgeplates with slotted pins than with un-slotted. (to be fair, i've seen orders of magnitude more slotted pins than unslotted in general, but the mechanics still seem pretty straightforward.)

    as for that other clip of the dude who bevels the tips of the pins so the ball doesn't catch on them, that's a good idea but he makes way too big a project of it! after seeing that clip, i figured out that all i need to do is have a flat plate with some 120 or 220 grit paper on it (like i use to true up saddle bottoms) then give each slotted pin a quick swipe on the end, with the slotted side against the sandpaper. that puts the bevel in the end and takes no time at all.
     
  9. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    how did you break a stewmac pin? they shouldn't be tight enough for that to happen, you can get yourself a bridge split between the pin holes that way!

    anyway, i'd say the fix here is to create or widen the slot in the bridge hole, not the pin, to make room for the fatter string. that way all your bridge pins will work in any string hole.

    a clean and easy way to do that is with a 1/16" drill bit in your dremel, you can quickly make smooth, clean slots in the holes and even continue them up a little for nice smooth string ramps behind the saddle.

    just press the side of the spinning bit against the wood, it'll slowly cut a smooth channel.
     
  10. AceBSpankin

    AceBSpankin Prince of Ales Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I know Walter, I know....

    But I have been a concrete worker for to long!!!

    I broke the pin, by hitting it with a hammer.
    It would not even slide down into the hole with the 56 dia. string.
    So I thought..............I'll tap it down in!!
    The ivioriod pin shattered.

    I'll put the hammer away, and my...... if it doesn't fit smash it with a hammer attitude.
    And try to be more guitar builder and less concrete worker!!

    Thanks for the great tips guys, and be gentle Walter!!!!
     
  11. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    "if it doesn't fit, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyway!" :banana

    you're definitely gonna need to put a channel in the front of each string hole to accommodate the string, slotted pin or no; the correct fit should be that after hooking the ball end on the bottom edge of the hole you can push the pin home with your thumb and little pressure.
     
  12. bunny

    bunny Member

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    No hammers on guitars! Unless it's a "hammer-on"
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  13. Jim Moulton

    Jim Moulton Member

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    Love stew mac, great store, bought my fret file there. I saw some of guitar today for sale somewhere that had no bridge pins, but some type of balls glued underneath where bridge usually goes
     

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