View Full Version : Anyone else hate bridge pins?

03-07-2009, 09:57 AM
I love everything about my Lanikai LK-1s EXCEPT the bridge pins! Every time I change out the strings, I literally break into a sweat anticipating those bridge pins popping across the room as I tighten the new strings. I'm the kind of person who hates balloon pops and other loud noises, and these pins are no different. They shoot about 10 feet like bullets with a loud *WHACK*.

Is there any way around this? I have so much trouble with them, even if I try to line up the notch in the pin with the string notch. :( Would it help to replace them with koa pins that lack the notch?

03-07-2009, 10:44 AM
I don't even like bridge pins on guitars.

03-07-2009, 11:13 AM
...Would it help to replace them with koa pins that lack the notch?
Solid bridge pins only work with a bridge that has string notches.

03-07-2009, 11:20 AM
What I've come to understand is that the pins themselves don't really do diddly as far as holding the string down. They're partly an aesthetic and partly an aid in directing the knot into the notch in the soundboard. But really it's the knot fitting into that notch that actually holds the string in place. It's just difficult sometimes because you're essentially working blind and it can come loose as you tighten and the pin doesn't hold it which is when it pops.

I have found that as I start to tighten the string up to proper tune that I can push the pins back down tight every once in a while to help keep things from shifting too much and things from popping up. Doesn't always help, but it's something.
The main thing is to just brace yourself for it when you get ready. Just anticipating that there's going to be swearing involved usually helps me.

03-07-2009, 12:14 PM
Wow, I have never had a problem with my bridge pins, and I switch my strings out regularly (usually a couple of times a month -- still looking for the perfect strings and trying new ones out). I have the non-slotted koa bridge pins from StewMac on my Kanile'a (which should be similar to your Lanikai). But I shaved them down a bit so they fit perfectly. As others said, they have no real function, the slot holds the string, so mine are snug enough to need to be popped up to remove, but not so tight that they go flying across the room. But maybe I'm just lucky?:confused:

03-07-2009, 01:09 PM
I've never had any issues with the bridge pin shooting out from 4 ukes I have with such bridges. As Lanark said, the pin themselves don't hold in the strings, they sort of guide the strings into the slots.

What I do is loosely insert the pin after I put the string in the hole. Then I pull on the string while holding the pin in until it catches on the knot inside the bridge. Then I push the bridge pin in a bit more and start tightening the string while keeping a thumb on the bridge pin. This seems to work everytime so far.

03-07-2009, 01:38 PM
The Lanikai LK-1S is made by Kanile'a. Assuming Kanile'a uses the same bridge setup on the Lanikais as their normal production ukuleles, the string ends should be secured by slots under the bridge and not by the bridge pins. I have removed my bridge pins on my concert and tenor Kanile'as even without having to loosen the strings. So it shouldn't matter which direction the slots on the pins are facing as the strings sit flush around the bridge pin holes. But then again, I don't own a Kanile'a made Lanikai.

Jon M

03-07-2009, 04:08 PM
I've never used bridge pins on a uke, but they're troublesome on some of my guitars. I found the best way to keep them in place is to rub them with chalk and twist them a little while pushing them in. Also helps to hold them down as you tighten the string so they aren't fired at someone's face. ;)

03-07-2009, 04:34 PM
Bridge pins are not a problem if the instrument manufacturer machines then properly. I own numerous high-end guitars on which the pins and holes are a precision fit. But on my custom Kanile'a K-5 Tenor, they are not done very well. The grooves for the string are oversize, and even the knot will slip up and out. Worse yet is that the pins they use have grooves in them, totally unnecessary if the bridge is grooved for the string already. I have to orient the groove in the pin away from the bridge grooves. I even had to use a small glass bead before the knot to keep the pin from flying out. I am not happy with Kanile'a's quality in this regard.

If your bridge is slotted, rotate your pin grooves towards the rear. And more importantly, make sure the knot, ball-end or bead is up against the bottom of the bridge, and not at the end of the pin.

Aldrine Guerrero
03-07-2009, 04:57 PM
i've worked with bridge pins on guitars only. never really owned an ukulele with one yet. im impartial to the tie-bar because the bridge pins give me the hardest time on my acoustic guitars. i recently played a tenor with a bridge pin and the g-string slacked on me while playing (abusing) the ukulele.

im getting an ukulele soon with bridge pins so im gonna look into it and try to see if i can figure something out to make them easier. once i do, i'll make sure to do a uke minute on it to share with you guys.

03-07-2009, 05:18 PM
Thank you all for your help. I knew that the bridge pins aren't what holds the strings in place, but I still have trouble with them staying in while tightening strings. I think I'll look into some non-slotted pins since the bridge already has the slot for the strings, like you all have mentioned. That's one negative about my LK-1s (the bridge pins aren't good quality and they're ugly white plastic!)

03-08-2009, 03:33 AM
And more importantly, make sure the knot, ball-end or bead is up against the bottom of the bridge, and not at the end of the pin.

THAT is in my opinion the most important thing! I had the same problem with my acoustic guitar till I realised where the ball ends belonged. If the knot is at the end of the pin the string will just catapult the pin out, no way around it.