Has anyone here tried the Graph Tech TUSQ Bridge pins?

CloneTone

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718



Are these man-made ivory pins an improvement over plastic, in your experience?

I'll want to use these pins with a Guild F-1512e, with bone saddle, and bone nut.

Thanks!
 

CloneTone

Member
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718
In your experience, do you notice if the video claims are accurate, regarding sustain and brightness?

What guitar do you use these pins on, and do you have the entire TUSQ set, like nut and saddle?

Thanks, DeSolo!
 

DeSolo

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414
I have them on a couple of Westerly guilds from the late 70s, a D35 and a D212. The original plastics shrunk and became loose and brittle.

I also have them on my 1957 Gibson J50. I went with bone initially, but after 2 of the pins cracked while changing strings I stopped screwing around. That's all I need on a gig or in the studio to make a broken string a real disaster.

The guitars are all in good repair and are very good/loud/even. The J50 is spectacular. The pins didn't detract from their character and in the case of the 12 string, they probably helped just due to better fitment.

I have a tusq bridge and nut on the 12 strong, and a tusq bridge with the original plastic nut on the D35.

The Gibson has a bone bridge and the original nut.
 
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evening_crow

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349
They get the job done pretty well but I prefer the look of ebony. If I wanted something that looks like bone I'd just go for bone. Definitely a step up from stock plastic though in terms of durability and looks. As far as sound, you may or may not notice a difference. I didn't notice much from Tusq to ebony in one guitar, but did in another going from plastic to Tusq.
 

mccreadyisgod

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420
I have four guitars that came from the factory with the full Tusq set (pins, saddle, nut). They work and sound great. I can't compare them to anything else, since I've never tried replacing them, but I've never felt the need either.

The theory goes that Tusq is about as close as they can get to synthesizing bone-like material. It has pretty close to the same sonic character as bone, but with man-made consistency and durability. I'd call it 85% of the tone, with 99% reliability, whereas bone has that magical possibility of getting into the 95-100% tone category (through some trial and error), but has much worse reliability.

Ultimately, I'd be willing to invest in a good set of bone for a nice, well-cared-for studio instrument, but I'd use Tusq for a touring/gigging instrument.
 

CloneTone

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Messages
718
Thanks for the info guys, I really appreciate hearing your personal experience!

I found out last night that the Guild F-1512e I'm getting, has NuBone bridge and saddle, which is another version of the Graph Tech TUSQ series.

Found some demo videos on the differences in pin materials.

Ebony vs. Plastic:

Bone vs. Plastic:

TUSQ vs. Plastic:

 

CloneTone

Member
Messages
718
The difference between the pin materials and their tone, is really subtle, but some are more obvious than the others.

It's interesting too that some sound better at single-note, and others better for strum. I'm hoping the TUSQ pins are a best-of-both-worlds solution.
 

Kilaen

Member
Messages
347
You, as the player, are likely the only one that will notice. If you play for an audience, no one will notice, or comment that your tone is "85% of the way there". If YOU like them, and they make you want to play more, buy them. I have replaced cheap plastic pins with Tusq pins and noticed no difference in tone. I have also replaced plastic pins with bone and heard little to no difference as well. Both my 6 and 12 string Rainsongs came with Tusq, and they work and look great. I sprung for bone in my 1968 Harmony because I liked the look and they fit better with the aged appearance better than the stark white plastic pins.
 

Adagietto

Silver Supporting Member
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3,161
I have them in three acoustics and like them. They're inexpensive, well made, readily available, and seem more robust that plastic pins.

They replaced stock plastic plastic pins in two guitars, and ebony in another. Not sure if I can hear any difference, but they may be a hair brighter than ebony in my Eastman E10OM (Sitka/hog 000).
 

CloneTone

Member
Messages
718
I received the TUSQ pins today and installed them. They sound good and look good, not a huge difference in tone, as everyone has already mentioned, but appreciable sustain in my experience, with NuBone nut and saddle. The top feels more alive when I dig in and pick harder, seems to have unlimited volume that stays clean. These are a nice upgrade, and worth it to me, I'll keep them.

Before:


The pins are more colorful in person, phone cam not picking it up
 
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Standard 64

Member
Messages
879
I bought a set for a Ibanez AVC9,all mahogany guitar wih a solid top only that is thermo aged and open pore.Comes with a bone nut and saddle.Best 399$ I have ever spent.The tusq killed the tone and I hate to use the word "mojo" for sure in my opinion.i put the stock pins back in and could tell right away they were better for the overall formula off the guitar.Maybe with the bone nut and saddle the plastic pins are neutral? I bought into the hype and it did not work for me in my case.
 
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beatcomber

Member
Messages
640
In my admittedly limited experience, bridge pins can significantly affect the tone on some guitars, and not at all on others, and this is why it is such a controversial topic.

Examples...

Farida OT-25: I tried swapping the stock plastic pins with ebony, and the guitar became dull/soft, and with less volume.

Martin 000-15SM: I tried swapping the stock ebony pins with plastic, and there was no appreciable difference.
 

Bluedano1

Member
Messages
7,045
I actually had a luthier ( 2 years ago) install unslotted bone pins in my Martin D-1, as he said they may help with a ' chewed up' bridge plate and the usual plastic slotted pins - not seating properly.
But, he later installed the brass ' Bridge Plate Mate' and I went back ( new set) of the usual Martin plastic slotted ones ( the guitar came with white pins with ' tortoise Shell dots- compliments the tortie pickguard and binding!
Both style of pins sounded the same to me, just prefer the look of originals.

My ( new) Blueridge came with cheap looking plastic pins, I replaced them also with Martin plastic pins ( white pins/black dots)
 

MikeEd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
950
I've always found this video pretty interesting:

I like the sound of the bone best followed by rosewood. i think the key is to avoid adding a third type of material into the mix. If you have a rosewood bridge with a bone saddle then it would best to make the pins out of bone or rosewood. If you add a third material for the pins it won't have the same resonate frequency as the bone saddle or rosewood bridge.
 

lkft

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Messages
1,271
My Rainsong came with them as standard equip and what I like about them is there is a noticeable "clink" when they touch each other which you don't get with plastic so there is a tonal advantage over plastic I'm sure.
 
Messages
5,046
No, but I use TUSQ picks which seem to bring out the best in my D-18. The "clink" mentioned above is also evident in the picks when dropped onto a hard surface.
 




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