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Bob-in-Alberta
11-01-2014, 02:58 PM
I have recently purchased an Islander tenor that use bridge pins. The pins that came with it appear to be plastic. Would pins made of something else affect the sound any? I've seen pins made of various metals, ivory or other bone like material and various woods and am wondering if it is worth changing over to one of these other materials.

BlackBearUkes
11-01-2014, 03:18 PM
As long as the bridge pins on a uke are not too heavy, the material they are made of doesn't matter much. People like various materials for there looks mostly, not sound production. Plastic pins are fine.



I have recently purchased an Islander tenor that use bridge pins. The pins that came with it appear to be plastic. Would pins made of something else affect the sound any? I've seen pins made of various metals, ivory or other bone like material and various woods and am wondering if it is worth changing over to one of these other materials.

Rick Turner
11-01-2014, 03:33 PM
I'm pretty much with Black Bear on this. There has been a whole lot of hot air about this subject, mostly in the acoustic guitar world. Change the weight, and response will change, and if you go to softer materials, that could change things, but when it gets into "My semi-petrified walrus oosik bridge pins sound better than your camel leg bone pins or that guy's cow bone bridge pins" your eyes should just glaze over. Brass pins will give you longer sustain at the cost of volume because of the weight. We often use wood pins on guitars and pin bridge ukes. I can't hear the difference between them and plastic; I just like the look better.

IamNoMan
11-01-2014, 03:43 PM
Why would the pins effect the sound at all? They are isolated from the vibrating strings and for all intents and purposes a rigid structure. Do the tuners effect the sound too?

Bob-in-Alberta
11-01-2014, 03:46 PM
Thanks to both of you and your prompt replies. This forum continues to impress me with the helpful and knowledgeable advice that it's members give out on a continuing basis.

Rick Turner
11-01-2014, 04:39 PM
Adding or subtracting mass at either end of the strings will affect tone and sustain to a certain degree, and theoretically, the resonant Q of the mass could also affect things. For instance, lead, which is very dense and has a lot of mass, also happens to be a very effective sound and vibration absorbing material because it's resonant Q is so low. "Damping" is the reciprocal of "resonance". Highly resonant = high "Q" High damping = low "Q"

Camsuke
11-01-2014, 06:16 PM
Here's some more information;
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?80750-Slot-head-vs-paddle-weight/page2&highlight=slot+head+paddle

skip
11-02-2014, 10:26 AM
I used to think this bridge pin question(when asked about guitars) was a bit silly.
then i did some experiments on a couple of guitars,using a range of available bridge pins,and found that there WAS a difference,particularily in the trebles.
The ebony pins thinned out the top string noticeably,as did the buffalo horn. Best sound on my test instruments was the ivoroid plastic(galiath?).
Now,what was better comes down to personal preference, but all i can say is that there was a big difference in tone between the various materials.
This may not apply to ukes,but i have changed my mind about guitar bridge pins.

Rick Turner
11-02-2014, 10:32 AM
The folks at Gryphon Stringed Instruments did some double blind testing a few years back, and nobody could tell the difference among guitar bridge pins of approximately the same mass.