nut, saddle, & bridge pin upgrade for martin d-18v

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by blazzrock, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. blazzrock

    blazzrock Supporting Member

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    i just picked up a 9 year old d-18v that has never been played. it currently has a corian nut, micarta saddle, and plastic bridge pins. i would like to upgrade them, but i'm not sure what materials to use. after a little reading i'm leaning toward fossilized mammoth ivory for saddle and nut, and buffalo horn for the bridge pins. the guitar has pre-war scalloped bracing, mahogany back and sides, and sitka spruce top. i want to pick materials that will make the guitar sound it's best when used for a variety of styles. am i on the right track or should i consider something else?
     
  2. The Pup

    The Pup Supporting Member

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  3. Steve Gambrell

    Steve Gambrell Member

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    You might want to go with Tusq forpins, saddle, and nut, but the only reason to go more exotic would be aesthetics. Bone is good, but it tends to be denser in spots. If you don't like the way the guitar sounds, then PLAY it. A LOT! I've heard several vintage Martins, largely unplayed, that sounded dull, till somebody played the dickens out of 'em for a few months.
     
  4. uncletele

    uncletele Member

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    I got a used D-18GE a few years ago that some knucklehead had shaved down the saddle and nut to lower the action to "fairy" level.
    I replaced them with bone, and put ebony pins in the bridge, which is standard on Martin 18 series. Sounds great now. I tried fossil ivory pins once, but they were too harsh on a mahogany guitar, although they do make them louder. FWI works good on my rosewood guitars though, giving them more definition.
     
  5. blazzrock

    blazzrock Supporting Member

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    thanks for the input. i had my tech put in a bone nut and saddle and i've got ebony pins on the way. so far so good. how long does it take for the bone saddle to break in and stop sounding brittle?
     
  6. bunuel

    bunuel Member

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    After having swapped in pins in several axes, I'm a strong believer that it makes a major difference in clarity, punch & overall tone. Altho I was very skeptical of the rec's of Larry Cragg, N. Young's guitar tech, about using ebony for the 3 bass strings & buffalo horn for the 3 treble, having done it for several axes, I'm now a total believer. I think that that folks that say pins don't make a difference really want to believe that they can't--I hear the difference & so do most of my musician friends. Enjoy!!
     
  7. The Pup

    The Pup Supporting Member

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    I believe you.
     
  8. blazzrock

    blazzrock Supporting Member

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    i decided to go with ebony pins for now until the guitar opens up some and the bone saddle breaks in. then i will probably try buffalo horn as the guitar mellows a little. i've heard that buffalo horn pins on a sitka top will give you a little more of what an adirondack top brings to the table. i totally believe that materials change the tone of an instrument. some are just more subtle than others. the bone saddle significantly improved the tone from the stock micarta one.
     
  9. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    Where does one acquire ebony pins and a bone nut and bridge for a Martin?

    I've got an HD-28 that I'd love to upgrade a bit!

    Brian
     
  10. doublee

    doublee Member

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    Check the UMGF (forum) for answers to all...
     
  11. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    I can't, for the life of me, figure out how to create an account for that forum! Oh well....anyone else got any info on where to get these things?

    Brian
     
  12. Steve Gambrell

    Steve Gambrell Member

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  13. Lazy J

    Lazy J Member

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    Has anyone else tried titanium pins?
    I think they sound great, but that could be my opinion (I'm biased, I shelled out $68 bucks for them). But how do you explain that an open strum rings out for about two seconds longer? (same guitar, same strings - only different pins...)
     
  14. in a little row

    in a little row Member

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    dont forget corian as a nut material!

    Metal pins, bad IMHO
     

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