View Full Version : Bridge Pin Problem

07-01-2009, 10:20 AM
I recently bought a Martin baritone. On about 3 occasions the 1st string has pulled free of the bridge without throwing the bridge pin. Most recently the string became very slack and lifted the bridge pin. I can't tell if the inside of the bridge is worn enough to require repair. The pins are slotted plastic and this one appears a bit worn. I'm inserting the pin with the slotted surface facing the string. Each time this happens I try to tie a bigger knot at the bridge end of the string. One solution I've read is to rotate the pin 180 degrees so the slot is facing away from the string. I've also read that the string should catch under the bridge and that the pins don't play much of a role in securing the string in the bridge. Another simple solution is to replace the pins with new ones. I'm leaning that way and have read that ebony, bone and tusq improve tone and sustain. Though they would violate the original appearance of the Martin I think ebony pins would look great. Any helpful suggestions or insights?

07-01-2009, 11:17 AM
If this was MY ukulele, I would go for the tusq, or the ivory pins and keep the originals in case you wanted to (shudder) sell it in the future. I do know that the pins eventually wear out, which is what it sounds like to me. If you want the ebony pins, by all means get them, this is your instrument and nobody can tell you any different. She is pretty by the way!:)

07-01-2009, 11:35 AM
As a last resort, if you buy new bridge pins and they don't cure the problem, you can tie a round wooden or plastic bead on the end of each string and use that to anchor the string from inside the body. I have done this on several of my guitars and the resonance of the instruments actually increased because the string vibration is better transmitted to the body as a result of this arrangement. The only negative with this is that you don't have bridge pins in the bridge pin holes, just the strings coming through. :confused: While this is only a cosmetic problem, you can fix that by cutting the bridge pins off short and stick them in the holes and no one else will ever know they are non-functional bridge pins. :D

By all means though, keep the original bridge pins in a baggie in the case. :)

That is a very nice Martin...

07-01-2009, 11:43 AM
I had similair issues with my aged Kamaka baritone. It hasn't popped in awhile, knock on wood, and I don;t know for sure if this is a fix, but it seems to have worked for me. I tied a double knot in the sting, and made sure the knot was catching on the sound board. Then, put the pin in with the string in the slot, then turned it about 90 degrees once it was all the way in. Finally, I kept pressure on the pin with one hand while I turned the tuning key to tighten the string with the other hand. I took a couple of tries, but it has held up for about 2 months now, so I think it did the trick. Although, I'm not confident enough to trim excess string off the tuning pegs yet, incase I need to re-string it...:)

07-01-2009, 12:40 PM
What works for me is knotting the string through the small end of the little ring from the end of a guitar string (a glass bead would do the same thing). This hasn't failed me yet. Other than that, try and make the knot as large as possible.

07-01-2009, 12:50 PM
It's your uke, do what pleases you!

There would be nothing wrong with ebony bridge pins as long as you save the originals - though I might personally elect for Tusq to preserve the original look.

07-03-2009, 04:46 AM
Thanks to all for the good suggestions. I've ordered bone bridge pins from Elderly and ebony pins as well. The bone pins are a bit expensive but the ebony pins are only a buck30 each so no great loss if I don't use them.