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Keonikapila
06-04-2008, 04:56 PM
Howzit everybody...

I just picked up a guitar not to long ago and I've been digging around on the net, looking to replace the plastic bridge pins with something "nicer"...during my search I learned that the material of the pins has an effect on the tone...(which was news to me, since I'm not really a guitar player and I've never dealt with bridge pins before!)

Anyways, one of these days I'm gonna get a custom uke (see, this post IS uke related...haha) and I'm wondering if bridge pins have a better effect on tone than the simple tie bridges that most ukes come with

The only company that I can think of off hand that uses pins instead of ties is Kanilea (I'm sure there are others), anyways I thought I'd toss this out there and see what anyone in the underground has to say about bridge pins on a uke...the good, the bad, and the ugly--any info about what you think of ukes with bridge pins would be helpful

Also, for those of you that have ukes with bridge pins, how do you change your strings? Do you need to tie a bead the end? Or do you do some kinda crazy wrapping-tie-deal on the bottom of the pin?

Mahalo!

brokenwing
06-04-2008, 05:15 PM
hey, just thought I'd comment on the effect bridge pins have on a guitar's tone. This comes up on guitar forums from time to time.

The pin's only job is to anchor the string and doesn't really have any noticeable effect on tone. In fact there are a number of builders who utilize a pinless bridge design, not so different from what you see on ukes. I've used a variety of pins on guitars over the years and honestly I never could tell the difference. Bone, ebony, fossilized walrus - it doesn't matter. Some people who have bought brass pins do say they can hear a difference and generally not a good one.

IMO changing strings makes a much bigger difference in tone than changing pins, so save your money.

Keonikapila
06-04-2008, 05:29 PM
The pin's only job is to anchor the string and doesn't really have any noticeable effect on tone.

Thanks for the reply, you know when I first set out to replace my bridge pins, that's what I thought was case...and I'm glad you cleared that up for me.

I honestly don't remember where I read that they have an effect on tone, but it was more than likely from a manufacturers description of their bridge pins and makes sense they'd say that there's a difference in order to lure in the guitar noobs like myself! haha

Thanks again!

russ_buss
06-04-2008, 05:41 PM
not sure if this will help, but from the reviews for these Tusq artificial ivory bridge pins, they say it increase the sustain. i've also seen Tusq bridge pins and nuts featured in some higher end guitars. so i suppose they couldn't be that much of a sham. plastic pins probably absorb a little of the string vibration thus lessening sustain.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Graph-Tech-Tusq-Ivory-Acoustic-Guitar-Bridge-Pins?sku=365808

i'm no guitar expert or engineer so excuse me if i'm way off on this one. just thought i'd share what i've researched in the past.

brokenwing
06-04-2008, 06:14 PM
I would be willing to lay 10 to 1 odds in a blindfold test that anyone could accurately discern the difference between pin materials (except for metal pins because they do impart a nasty coloration). It's just not there.

Here's the funny part about positive reports on changing pins: many people don't even take into consideration (or make it part of their review) that they put new strings on when they changed the pins.:rolleyes:

GX9901
06-04-2008, 06:29 PM
I've got 3 ukes with bridge pins. As far as I know they don't affect the tone at all and their sole purpose is literally to plug the hole. The string actually stays in a notch inside the bridge hole and the pins do absolutely nothing to hold them in. If you don't believe me check this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDgXPcoTiGA)at about 3:23, where I pull out the pin while the uke is tuned to pitch. Also, on that very Kanile'a super-soprano, I switched from plastic pins to koa pins and did not detect any differences in sound. Of course, it could just mean that my ears aren't good enough to hear it, but I really doubt bridge pins could actually affect the tone to the degree that the majority of us would be able to tell the difference.

salukulady
08-21-2008, 07:44 AM
I've got 3 ukes with bridge pins. As far as I know they don't affect the tone at all and their sole purpose is literally to plug the hole. The string actually stays in a notch inside the bridge hole and the pins do absolutely nothing to hold them in. If you don't believe me check this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDgXPcoTiGA)at about 3:23, where I pull out the pin while the uke is tuned to pitch. Also, on that very Kanile'a super-soprano, I switched from plastic pins to koa pins and did not detect any differences in sound. Of course, it could just mean that my ears aren't good enough to hear it, but I really doubt bridge pins could actually affect the tone to the degree that the majority of us would be able to tell the difference.Okay, so according to your video, if you're using strings without the ball on the end, you just tie a knot in the end and the pin will hold the string in? My neighbor, who is 93 just asked me to restring his at least 50 year old guitar (the strings haven't been changed in 30 years) and I bought nylon strings at his request. Then I noticed the thing had bridge pins and of course when removing the old strings I broke a very brittle bridge pin and his nut fell off. So with no knowledge of what I'm doing, I'm attempting to repair his guitar. I just wasn't sure how to keep the string without a ball, in the hole. I welcome any advice from anyone here.....

Keonikapila
08-21-2008, 09:32 AM
Okay, so according to your video, if you're using strings without the ball on the end, you just tie a knot in the end and the pin will hold the string in? My neighbor, who is 93 just asked me to restring his at least 50 year old guitar (the strings haven't been changed in 30 years) and I bought nylon strings at his request. Then I noticed the thing had bridge pins and of course when removing the old strings I broke a very brittle bridge pin and his nut fell off. So with no knowledge of what I'm doing, I'm attempting to repair his guitar. I just wasn't sure how to keep the string without a ball, in the hole. I welcome any advice from anyone here.....


You could probably get away with tying a small arts-and-crafts-type-plastic bead at the end...

I'm not sure what the consequences of using nylon strings on a steel string guitar are (if any)--so hopefully someone will chime in and correct me if I'm way off base here, but I'm assuming that you won't get as much volume (steel stringed guitars have heavier bracing than nylons)...the tension of the strings are probably going to be quite a bit lower as well, so you'll probably need to adjust the action...you might have to widen the nut slots too...