View Full Version : New ukulele has bridge pins... thinking of swapping?

09-17-2011, 11:03 PM
I'm a guitarist trying out ukulele for the first time. Went to a local music shop and got an Islander tenor ukulele. It wasn't till I got home that I realized there was a difference in the way strings were tied down. It seems like a big hassle to change strings this way because ukulele strings don't automatically come with the metal ring on the string.

Am I crazy for thinking I want to swap it for something that has a more traditional bridge? I still have a few days left to return it...

09-18-2011, 12:32 AM
Some prefer bridge pins to the traditional 'bridge tie' method.
I don't mind either,but you are not going to find strings with
any sort of ring or bead already fitted! You have one of the
simplest set ups there,try a few string changes and then make
up your mind,it's simple enough!

09-18-2011, 01:55 AM
Yeah it is up to you but I agree the bridge pin set up is nice for changing strings. You just tie a knot in the string and get it to catch on the slot in the pin hole.

Michael N.
09-18-2011, 05:00 AM
Either method is fine. Tying a knot in the end of a string is hardly rocket science as they say and both bridge pins and tie on have been used for centuries.
On the thinner strings I tie a knot and singe the end so it forms a bobble. Careful with Nylon and Nylgut because they can actually start to burn. You need to be prepared to extinguish any flame, however small it is. I then thread a small plastic bead onto the string.

09-18-2011, 05:41 AM
Bridge pins on ukes are rarer than a signed Nunes, Diaz, or Kumulae! One thing that is decidedly different w/ukes is that once you settle on a set of strings you like (which may be the ones it came with...), you just won't be changing strings that often. Especially compared to guitar steel strings, ukulele strings stretch a fair bit when you first put them on & its usually a couple of weeks before they "settle in". After that, they just stay in tune & may not "need" changing for months or longer!

Some like bridge pins since it transfers the upward pull of the strings to under the bridge instead of stressing the bridge glue joint. Another more commonly seen variation is a simple through-hole the size of the string which means that restringing is accomplished simply by pushing the string up from the body after tying a knot or securing a bead where a guitar steel string would have that metal ring.

Kanile'a 'Ukulele is the most well known adherents to the bridge pin design for ukuleles.

09-18-2011, 09:11 AM
I tried loosening one of the strings to see what it would be like and to my surprise there is a ring that is already provided, so what's happening is that a knot is tied in the string and the ring is blocked from sliding on the string as a result.

So it's exactly like a steel-string guitar, the little ring hooks underneath the bridgeplate. It doesn't seem to have a slot in the pin hole.

09-19-2011, 12:19 PM
I have bridge pins on two of my baritone ukes and I like the convenience and similarity to steel string guitars. I just tie a 'figure 8' which is just a simple overhand single knot with a few extra turns. There have been times when the first (thinnest) string pulls through the bridge pin. I just tie a bigger knot. I never thought about threading a bead down the string but it sounds like a good idea.

09-19-2011, 10:30 PM
My Kanile'a has pins. Strings are secured with simple knots. Bigger knots on thinner strings but really simple and it just works.

09-20-2011, 08:16 PM
If my uke's bridge had pins, I wouldn't touch it!

09-21-2011, 02:47 AM
I agree with Bazmaz, if it's good enough for Kanile'as then it's good enough for me. The fact is, it is much harder to string you ukulele and tye the ends down properly,than simply tying a knot on the end of the string.

09-21-2011, 06:47 PM
My uke doesn't have them, but if I had a uke with bridge pins, I'd leave them there!