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View Full Version : Why should bridge pins be still used on ukes?



kerneltime
10-29-2018, 11:25 AM
The pass through bridge with knot works well, needs smaller holes, is safer for the top.
Why should bridge pins be continued? More fidgety, everyone at least once has seen pins fly, the act of pulling out pins damages the pin and the bridge..
In other words bridge pins donít belong on ukes.
This has been the reason why I never considered ukes by Pete or numerous other makers..
The tie bridge is my 2nd fav, ie I am ok with it, cause they are the simplest.

Doc_J
10-29-2018, 11:47 AM
The pass through bridge with knot works well, needs smaller holes, is safer for the top.
Why should bridge pins be continued? More fidgety, everyone at least once has seen pins fly, the act of pulling out pins damages the pin and the bridge..
In other words bridge pins don’t belong on ukes.
This has been the reason why I never considered ukes by Pete or numerous other makers..
The tie knot bridge is my 2nd fav, ie I am ok with it, cause they are the simplest.

As it was explained to me, a pin bridge takes less space than a tie bridge.

Pin hole slots can help prevent strings/pins from popping out. I also use beads larger than pin holes when the pin bridge holes are not slotted. Personally I like the look of a pin bridge.

My least favorite bridge is the through-hole bridge. Makes it harder to try and re-use strings.

kerneltime
10-29-2018, 11:56 AM
As it was explained to me, a pin bridge takes less space than a tie bridge.

Pin hole slots can help prevent strings/pins from popping out. I also use beads larger than pin holes when the pin bridge holes are not slotted. Personally I like the look of a pin bridge.

My least favorite bridge is the through-hole bridge. Makes it harder to try and re-use strings.

I have gotten quite used to the through hole bridge, the hole is smaller and grabbing the string is pretty easy when changing. I hate it when pins fly, scared it will poke someone in the eye. The look is cleaner as well.

During the Baritone retreat at Pistol River, this topic came up and it seems bridge pin bridges tend to need repair more often.. (I am paraphrasing). Stansell has a tie bridge and Kinnard, Mark Robert and Ono use through bridges.

EDW
10-29-2018, 12:11 PM
I like the clean look of the through bridge. I think pins look too heavy on smaller sized ukes.

70sSanO
10-29-2018, 02:05 PM
In all honesty, I've never had a bridge pin fly on me; either uke or guitar. But I have had strings come loose on a tie and multi-hole (8/12) bridge. That said, tie is still my favorite.

John

Doc_J
10-29-2018, 02:27 PM
I have gotten quite used to the through hole bridge, the hole is smaller and grabbing the string is pretty easy when changing. I hate it when pins fly, scared it will poke someone in the eye. The look is cleaner as well.

During the Baritone retreat at Pistol River, this topic came up and it seems bridge pin bridges tend to need repair more often.. (I am paraphrasing). Stansell has a tie bridge and Kinnard, Mark Robert and Ono use through bridges.

I agree with you that a through-hole bridge is less likely pop off. But, then I’ve never had a bridge come off any uke I’ve owned. I’ve never thought too much about what bridge a uke has. They all work. I like diversity. Whatever type a luthier prefers to use is fine with me.

Pin bridge looks just right on my Hive. And the through-bridge on my Ono 6-string bari is also just right. :)

Nickie
10-29-2018, 04:15 PM
I guess it's personal. I prefer through the bridge stringing myself, soooo easy.
Pin bridges look hideous to me, on a uke. They belong on guitars, I think.
A friend of mine builds all his ukes with pin bridges cause he's a guitar guy, he thinks through the bridge stringing is silly. I wouldn't buy any other type of bridge, but he won't build me a uke with one on it. ARGH.
Each to his/her own.

DownUpDave
10-29-2018, 04:26 PM
Funny enough two of the very best, highest regarded custom ukuleles , Hive and the Ko'olau CS model come with bridge pins. So do Kanilea and they are seriously good instruments. I like the look of through hole bridges best, neat and clean. The tie bridge reminds me of a classical guutar and I like that. Pin bridge does seem out of place on a uke but I have a Koolau CS spruce and myrtle with them, it sounds fantastic and strings are so easy to change. To each there own.

hollisdwyer
10-29-2018, 07:42 PM
Funny enough two of the very best, highest regarded custom ukuleles , Hive and the Ko'olau CS model come with bridge pins. So do Kanilea and they are seriously good instruments. I like the look of through hole bridges best, neat and clean. The tie bridge reminds me of a classical guutar and I like that. Pin bridge does seem out of place on a uke but I have a Koolau CS spruce and myrtle with them, it sounds fantastic and strings are so easy to change. To each there own.

I guess that it depends on who’s doing it. I seriously considered bridge pins for the blonde bombshell as Allen McFarlan does a very nice job on them.

Kenn2018
10-29-2018, 08:01 PM
I have to confess that on one of my Kanile'a tenor ukes the A-string had chewed into the bridge further than the original hole's groove. I could not tie a big enough knot to hold the Fluorocarbon string in place. Fortunately, I read about using a bead in a through-hole. And it worked perfectly for the Kanile'a.

Kanile'a never answered my inquiry about the situation.

Since I play tenors, I don't really care overly much about which kind of bridge is on my ukuleles. They all work well. So, if the maker wants to use bridge pins to give his ukes a different look, more power to him/her.

BlackBearUkes
10-29-2018, 08:13 PM
Here is the thing, you only get to decide about the use of bridge pins on your ukes. Bridge pins have been use for many years on ukes, even on vintage ukes. On some ukes they look and work great if they are made correctly and installed correctly. If a pin pops out, it is not made right or seated right in the bridge. Many cheap ukes that use bridge pins are complete crap for the reasons I have stated above. Any professional luthier who uses pins usually knows how to use them. If you don't like them, fine. Its a mater of personal taste, that is all.


correctly
The pass through bridge with knot works well, needs smaller holes, is safer for the top.
Why should bridge pins be continued? More fidgety, everyone at least once has seen pins fly, the act of pulling out pins damages the pin and the bridge..
In other words bridge pins don’t belong on ukes.
This has been the reason why I never considered ukes by Pete or numerous other makers..
The tie bridge is my 2nd fav, ie I am ok with it, cause they are the simplest.

anthonyg
10-29-2018, 10:02 PM
Bridge pin bridges are designed to work with ball end strings. TOGETHER, it is an excellent design. Bridge pin bridges, without ball end strings, IS problematic.
The advantages of the design is that the string is secured under the top so its not going to pop the bridge off and with ball end strings is a fast and secure way to fit the string.

Bridge pins are not designed to resist vertical forces. The design works because the pin is designed to displace the ball end sideways under the top, securing the string which then places sideways force on the pin, which is what its designed to resist.

PLAIN strings with bridge pins are problematic. The problem is that a simple knot isn't big enough to be displace sideways and secure under the saddle. Fit a bead to the end of the string and tie a knot. Then it works great.
Kinelea's design actually has a slot in the front of the hole and therefore its really a slotted under bridge design. Not technically a bridge pin design.

kerneltime
10-29-2018, 11:57 PM
Here is the thing, you only get to decide about the use of bridge pins on your ukes. Bridge pins have been use for many years on ukes, even on vintage ukes. On some ukes they look and work great if they are made correctly and installed correctly. If a pin pops out, it is not made right or seated right in the bridge. Many cheap ukes that use bridge pins are complete crap for the reasons I have stated above. Any professional luthier who uses pins usually knows how to use them. If you don't like them, fine. Its a mater of personal taste, that is all.


correctly

BlackBearUkes!! I have been waiting for new uke postings!!

The pin popping off occurs when tightening the strings and not once it is all set.

Great answer Anthonyg, I now understand the bridge pin design.

kerneltime
10-29-2018, 11:59 PM
Bridge pin bridges are designed to work with ball end strings. TOGETHER, it is an excellent design. Bridge pin bridges, without ball end strings, IS problematic.
The advantages of the design is that the string is secured under the top so its not going to pop the bridge off and with ball end strings is a fast and secure way to fit the string.

Bridge pins are not designed to resist vertical forces. The design works because the pin is designed to displace the ball end sideways under the top, securing the string which then places sideways force on the pin, which is what its designed to resist.

PLAIN strings with bridge pins are problematic. The problem is that a simple knot isn't big enough to be displace sideways and secure under the saddle. Fit a bead to the end of the string and tie a knot. Then it works great.
Kinelea's design actually has a slot in the front of the hole and therefore its really a slotted under bridge design. Not technically a bridge pin design.

Thank you! I won’t shy away from Kanile’a :-)
Give a new uke in a shop, it will not be an easy thing to check if there is a slot..

Jerryc41
10-30-2018, 12:16 AM
But they look nice. :)

MikeHollandGuitar
10-30-2018, 01:24 AM
I am not an expert but to my understanding I would concur with anthonyg's observations. A tie bridge transfers the string forces directly into the bridge which then transfers the forces through the glued bridge area to the top of the instrument. The pin bridge arrangement should allow the strings to be anchored directly under the instrument top, thus eliminating the string forces trying to pull the bridge away. Irrespective of whether it is a ball end or a tied end I would imagine this is a more secure arrangement. Indeed this is exactly why steel string guitar makers use this method. The string tension would be way too high and cause quite a lot of bridges just popping off!

UkerDanno
10-30-2018, 03:33 AM
The pin bridges on my Kanile'a and Islander are my favorites! Easiest to change strings, I've changed strings on both many times and no damage to the bridge or flying pins. I got some Koa pins for my Kanile'a. I wish everything I owned had pin bridges! :shaka:

Rllink
10-30-2018, 04:17 AM
The pass through bridge with knot works well, needs smaller holes, is safer for the top.
Why should bridge pins be continued? More fidgety, everyone at least once has seen pins fly, the act of pulling out pins damages the pin and the bridge..
In other words bridge pins don’t belong on ukes.
That seems like a bold statement. I don't like them, therefore they should not be made. I think that most manufacturers build what people want to buy. If there were not people who preferred them, they wouldn't build ukuleles with bridge pins. So I think that the answer to why should be used would be that people still like them. One thing that I find interesting is people's desire to rationalize everything.

bsfloyd
11-02-2018, 12:11 PM
I think I remember some very early, original Nunes instruments being pictured with bridge pins being used. Perhaps this could be because the early Machete was strung with steel strings (?), but the historical value is still there. Though I have no ukuleles with bridge pins, I like the aesthetics of them and hope to inquire one with bridge pins soon. There are some very nice pins made by Bob Colosi from different natural materials that would look very nice on ukuleles.

(True, if used correctly they will not pop out - seat the string first under the bridge before tuning up)

kerneltime
11-02-2018, 12:45 PM
I guess, to each his own... I personally like the aesthetics of through bridge. From an convenience stand point as well I like the through bridge, there is some fishing of the string involved but if you use a bead it is easier, also once you learn to tie a decent knot plus the bead means there is no risk of pins not being seated properly. No scratches from stuck pins being pulled out..
Thank you every one for chiming in, I was genuinely curious why people still use them..

Jarmo_S
11-02-2018, 12:59 PM
I have always disliked those pins on my acoustic guitar. I guess they are needed for the bridge to hold on, maybe? That steel string tension.

Classical guitars do without, so why some ukulele designs do that? And for that stupidity they need to tie even some beads to last or what?
Acoustic strings have yes a ball or rather a cylindrical tieings.

Besides looking ugly, I don't like the idea of them in ukuleles.

Osprey
11-02-2018, 03:10 PM
All my ukuleles have tie bridges. I have never seen a pin bridge in action until today. I was at a jam I go to where there are a mixture of instruments. One of the guitar players broke a string. He got the appropriate string out of a pack and with the pin bridge he changed it in no time. I was impressed. I don’t think I would necessarily buy one just for a pin bridge, but I wouldn’t avoid one either.

Martinlover
06-11-2019, 04:41 PM
Finally got new tuners installed on my vintage Martin tenor (I’ll post pics on another thread). I was so excited to start playing it tonight but one of the pins went flying when I was tuning up. Couldn’t find it for 20 minutes. Decided to put a new set of strings on because that was my plan anyhow, Chee/Maisel reentrant bari/tenor. Gosh, I hate tightening new strings with a pin bridge. It’s like a jack-in-the-box, pop goes the pin. I hold the pins down while tuning with my right palm. These may be the original Martin pins, they’re a bit chewed up looking—does it matter? Would new ones make a difference? Are some of you suggesting beads with the pins? Or should I try ball strings?

Kenn2018
06-11-2019, 06:57 PM
Do they make ball strings for ukulele?

Kanile'a has an excellent YouTube video on how to change strings on a Kanile'a ukulele with bridge pins. When I got my Kanile'a K-1T tenor I had no idea how to change the strings. This video helped a lot. Especially that the slot on the bridge pin should face the tail of the uke and not towards the nut end.

https://www.kanileaukulele.com/maintenance/

slackkey007
06-11-2019, 07:39 PM
My preference is string through bridges because of the super clean look and functional aspect of it, plus - you don't scratch the top with the string tips at all. Moore Bettah, DeVine, and Kinnard ukes all incorporate the modern string through bridges as their preference of choice. Ko'olau does, too ... but also makes many of their ukes with tie bridges. My 2nd choice would be pin bridges with bridge pins! Yup! I love the look and have never had any of my ukes launch bridge pins during string changes. My least favorite is the traditional tie bridge. Although I do own a few ukes with tie bridges, I find them to be extremely HIDEOUS!!! If possible, I always try to buy ukes with string through bridges or with pin bridges and bridge pins. These are MY personal preferences. To each their own. :shaka:

rainbow21
06-11-2019, 08:24 PM
Do they make ball strings for ukulele?

https://www.kanileaukulele.com/maintenance/

Ball ball strings for soprano and concert sizes:

https://www.ernieball.com/guitar-strings/speciality-strings/ukulele-strings

Jerryc41
06-11-2019, 11:34 PM
Personally I like the look of a pin bridge.

Right. That seems like the main reason - appearance. I like the look of a uke with pins, but I wouldn't want all of them to have pins. I have just one - a Kanile'a tenor. If I make another one, I think I'll use the pins. Another advantage is the large variety of pins available, so you can make a subtle change to your uke.

anthonyg
06-12-2019, 03:09 AM
Finally got new tuners installed on my vintage Martin tenor (I’ll post pics on another thread). I was so excited to start playing it tonight but one of the pins went flying when I was tuning up. Couldn’t find it for 20 minutes. Decided to put a new set of strings on because that was my plan anyhow, Chee/Maisel reentrant bari/tenor. Gosh, I hate tightening new strings with a pin bridge. It’s like a jack-in-the-box, pop goes the pin. I hold the pins down while tuning with my right palm. These may be the original Martin pins, they’re a bit chewed up looking—does it matter? Would new ones make a difference? Are some of you suggesting beads with the pins? Or should I try ball strings?

Bridge pin bridges NEED ball end strings. The two are designed to work together. Bridge pins are not designed to resist vertical forces along their axis. Under tension the ball of a ball end string pushes sideways against the pin which is what its designed to resist and it resists well as he pin is captured in the hole.

Kanilea get away with their design because it only LOOKS like a bridge pin bridge. What they do is have a slot in front of the hole so its really a slotted under bridge design which is a good design in my book.

Anyway. Fit a light bead to the end of the string and the design works a treat. A knot in the end of a plain string doesn't provide enough sideways force against the pin to work properly.

The only thing that surprises me is that people can get bridge pins to work at all without beads.

merlin666
06-12-2019, 06:24 AM
I have no love for pin bridges, and even for my guitars I prefer those with pinless bride design (Ovation). For ukuleles I definitely prefer the classic approach that was probably used exclusively for the first 100 or so years of uke building, which is a slotted bridge where the string with knot at the end can simply be inserted. That looks good and is easy to operate, and strings with tied ends can easily be moved from one uke to another for evaluations.

Kenn2018
06-12-2019, 09:51 AM
Bridge pin bridges NEED ball end strings. The two are designed to work together. Bridge pins are not designed to resist vertical forces along there axis. Under tension the ball of a ball end string pushes sideways against the pin which is what its designed to resist and it resists well as he pin is captured in the hole.

Kanilea get away with their design because it only LOOKS like a bridge pin bridge. What they do is have a slot in front of the hole so its really a slotted under bridge design which is a good design in my book.

Anyway. Fit a light bead to the end of the string and the design works a treat. A knot in the end of a plain string doesn't provide enough sideways force against the pin to work properly.

The only thing that surprises me is that people can get bridge pins to work at all without beads.

The only time a had a problem was with a fluorocarbon A string pulling through the slot in the hole of a Kanile'a tenor. No matter how big I made the knot. I finally used a bead and never had a problem since. I use beads on all the strings just to be sure.

Martinlover
06-12-2019, 10:07 AM
Bridge pin bridges NEED ball end strings. The two are designed to work together. Bridge pins are not designed to resist vertical forces along there axis. Under tension the ball of a ball end string pushes sideways against the pin which is what its designed to resist and it resists well as he pin is captured in the hole.

Ah! I will try a bead with these strings to try and mimic the ball. There is no little slot for my fat strings to rest in, so I thought that was the issue.

gochugogi
06-12-2019, 07:05 PM
When I bought a new GL6 K-1 Premimum from Kanile'a it shipped with plain old knots lodged under the bridge pins and worked fine save for the 1st string. The first string was jammed under the bridge plate and I had to work it loose with a hat pin, so I installed a bead on the replacement and all was well for the next string change.

Gmontema
06-12-2019, 07:32 PM
My Iriguchi has a string-through-bridge. I’m not sure what impact on tone there is, but I like the clean look of it. 118869

UkingViking
06-12-2019, 09:20 PM
I like things simple.
I dont want to bother finding out where to get proper beads or be restricted to that one brand of strings with ball ends.
I dont have a pin bridge ukulele yet.
This far I slightly prefer a plain tie bar over the design with the hidden knot, despite the clumpsier look, since I have had a few knots come undone or popping through.

If the Kanilea pin bridges work with knots due to that slot, they scare me a little less.

UkingViking
06-12-2019, 09:21 PM
I like things simple.
I dont want to bother finding out where to get proper beads or be restricted to that one brand of strings with ball ends.
I dont have a pin bridge ukulele yet.
This far I slightly prefer a plain tie bar over the design with the hidden knot, despite the clumpsier look, since I have had a few knots come undone or popping through.

If the Kanilea pin bridges work with knots due to that slot, they scare me a little less.