Bridge pins for acoustic guitar

carderoni

Member
Messages
136
Anybody here experimented with different materials? Most acoustics use plastic and I assume that's what my Yamaha has. Would changing over to bone, rosewood, ebony, or some other tone wood yield any audible difference?
 

vanguard

Member
Messages
2,516
if you have plastic, it might by cool to switch over to bone or ebony.

. . .or you could head over to maury's and spend like $500 on the fossilized sh*t of a unicorn sacrificed by moses' step-brother. . .
 

paulg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,782
Not sure if it makes any difference other than estetic. Look at Stewart MacDonald's for a nice selection of pins made from natural materials
 

cratz2

Member
Messages
11,221
I have a cedar-topped dreadnaught. It came with what I assume are plastic pins. I bought a set of brass pins. I actually didn't like the change. Not so much on the bottom strings, but on the unwound string, if felt/sounded like they didn't ring out as clear with the brass.

For what it's worth, I thought this was interesting... mostly because it appears to be well-recorded and there doesn't seem much difference between them. A difference to be sure, but not enough to go too far out of your way in my opinion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYXnb-xdLAE
 
Messages
5,042
Anybody here experimented with different materials? Most acoustics use plastic and I assume that's what my Yamaha has. Would changing over to bone, rosewood, ebony, or some other tone wood yield any audible difference?
The only difference you'll notice is that one set is prettier than another. I've been playing guitar for over 40 years and I've heard every last piece of pretentious 'tone enhancing' nonsense you can think of-much of it on the Martin forum. It's good for a laugh but that's about it.
Save your money for stuff that really makes a difference, like strings and, if necessary, bridge saddle material.
 
Messages
462
For what it's worth, I thought this was interesting... mostly because it appears to be well-recorded and there doesn't seem much difference between them. A difference to be sure, but not enough to go too far out of your way in my opinion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYXnb-xdLAE
My problem with that video is that you can see the angle that he's sitting change quite a bit between different takes. This could account for any subtle differences in the sound.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Supporting Member
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28,304
i once bought buffalo horn bridge pins. true to the fact that they were just strands of hair pressed together, those pins split like no tomorrow, every single one of them. i switched back to plastic on all my acoustics, except for my D-28S, which really did seem like it woke up a bit with bone.
 

baimun

Member
Messages
1,270
I use brass ones.... if for no other reason then they don't crack, or if they get stuck, I can grab them with a tool without breaking them.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
13,871
This thread is a recipe for disaster, and I don't plan to rebut those who want to call me Mr placebo because i know what i hear and i'm just answering your question. Yes, i've tried a lot of them and some make a considerable difference. But there are two disclaimers here....

1)-whether YOU will hear the difference depends on your sensitivity to these things. 2)-if you do, theres no guarantee that you will feel what i felt was good or bad the same way.

That said, i settled on a very cheap plastic set. I bought some nice ones....wood, bone, etc etc. But it's never seemed that "quality" of the materials has anything what so ever to do with what sounds good. It's a matter of whatever happens to work with that particular guitar to create the tone YOU like best.

That said, i'd leave well enough alone because you will either hear no difference, or you will and it will lead to you spending more money and time than it's worth. If your ears are really tweaked and you're a perfectionist like me, then you'll probably be driven to this regardless of what anyone says. All i can tell you is the cheapest garbage ones are the ones that sounded bet to me. So i wouldn't look at quality so much as variety, IE: try as many cheap ones as you can. I found differences between different sets of cheap plastic and you will spend a lot less than if you buy brass and nice wood and all that. Good chance you'll end up with a drawer full of useless expensive pins you don't want to use because they hurt the guitar's tone.
 

carderoni

Member
Messages
136
Appreciate all the input. I asked this not to start a flame war but because I've changed saddles and blocks on various types of guitars and heard audible - to me - differences. Some good, some eh. I may give it a shot with some bone but, frankly, the sound I get out of my number 1 acoustic is great as is...it's just that I'm a tinkerer, like a lot of us, and can't leave well enough alone :)
 

cratz2

Member
Messages
11,221
My problem with that video is that you can see the angle that he's sitting change quite a bit between different takes. This could account for any subtle differences in the sound.
Definitely true, but unless he was specifically trying to skew the test to favor one particular set of pins, it's still relatively even... I mean, if trying to figure out if one set of pins is going to radically transform an all laminate $100 acoustic into a Collings or something.
 

OlAndrew

Member
Messages
2,347
There was a guy on another forum a few years back who did a test on this. He got ahold of all different kinds of bridge pins, bone, plastic, several different kinds of wood, fossilized mammoth ivory, whatever. Played a tune on the same guitar into a good recording setup, and changed the pins and played again. Sent out numbered recordings to all kinds of folks and asked what they thought had the best tone. ( report the number of the recording ) By a considerable margin, plastic was judged the best. Go figure!
 

zul

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,302
I put brass ones on my Takamine acoustic/electric 8 years ago and I sure didn't notice any difference, probably because once they were in I was too lazy to restring with the plastic again for comparison. So, they have been in it since and I sure as heck have no idea where the plastic ones are now.

Like someone else posted, at least they won't break.

I just realized that my contribution to this thread is the equivalent of jogging in place.
 

Barnzy

Member
Messages
3,358
I'll offer my opinion...I switched my Taylor's ebony pins out for bone pins and I think the guitar sounds slightly different. The bone ones seem brighter and there is a little longer resonance to the strings. I'm talking a very small difference however. It's enough for the player to notice (...I've played this guitar almost every day since 1998, so changes are perceiveable...) but listeners will not hear a difference. The saddle swap was a much bigger tonal change (tusq to bone in my case). It's a cheap experiment to try for yourself...only way you'll know is to try it on your own number 1 guitar. I'd suggest that you get Bob Colosi's pins if you do try it...he is a really nice guy and his product is of great quality.
Barnzy
 

Barnzy

Member
Messages
3,358
adding or removing mass to the soundboard would have an impact, i would think
I agree...I think the increased density if the pins and how they "couple" the string to the bridge plate was the varying factor here...just a guess though ...physics was along time ago for me.
Barnzy
 

ef_in_fla

Member
Messages
2,452
Just because plastic is common and inexpensive doesn't mean it isn't a great material for certain applications. We're just conditioned to see it as "cheap" and think it can't be the best. Truth is it's an amazing material. If it were $50 a gram, we'd rave over it all day long.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
13,871
Just because plastic is common and inexpensive doesn't mean it isn't a great material for certain applications. We're just conditioned to see it as "cheap" and think it can't be the best. Truth is it's an amazing material. If it were $50 a gram, we'd rave over it all day long.
+1000

I have been saying this about many things for a long time. For example, we're conditioned to think multipiece bodies must sound horrible. yet consider this....some of those very expensive basses are like a laminated chopping board with 1" strips of different wood all glued together. Also consider this....with a 1 piece, if the particular piece is a tonally mediocre one, thats how the guitar will sound. In a 7 piece strat body you would have less chance of all 7 pieces being mediocre, or even 1/2 of them for that matter than hitting the lottery. Whos to say the glue joints are tonally detrimental? Gibsons have a million glue joints. Thats just one example, but your point is a very good one that shoots down 1/2 of the ideas you hear here. This, along with my experience with them, is why i believe cheap guitars can and often are as good and even better than lots of expensive ones. I often cite the MIA deluxe i recently sold compared to my MIM and how i sold the MIA because it didn't sound near as good. The reason i'm 99% sure is the 2 post bridge compared to my MIM classic's 6 screw vintage. They sound much fuller every time, and all the quality they could pack into that deluxe that cost double what my mim could not overcome that simple bridge design.
 




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