View Full Version : Johnny Marvin professional tenor - Bridge pins Problem

09-20-2011, 05:40 AM
Hi everyone
Finally i got it! A really nice Johnny Marvin Uke! :D
it is my dreams uke.
The only problem is that it doesnt have the bridge pins.:(
I bought some acoustic guitar pins but they just dont fit in.

Any marvin owners here that could help me? I would really appreciate it
thanks in advance!

cheers from argentina!


09-20-2011, 06:38 AM
I don't know anything about your uke but Stewart-MacDonald (stumac.com) has a wide selection of bridge pins of different sizes.

09-20-2011, 07:52 AM
I don't know anything about your uke but Stewart-MacDonald (stumac.com) has a wide selection of bridge pins of different sizes.

Thanks a lot! i will check there!

09-20-2011, 08:21 AM
you could try sanding the ones you have down. they sand pretty easily.

09-20-2011, 08:53 AM
you could try sanding the ones you have down. they sand pretty easily.

you are right! thats a good idea! will try that.
thank you :)

09-20-2011, 09:27 AM
The last I knew, there was a guy at Elderly Instruments in Lansing Michigan who will make custom bridge pins. He makes ukulele bridge pins for Dave Talsma. Ask for "Stretch".

09-20-2011, 04:37 PM
Awesome! Another Johnny Marvin owner! I think that it's an absolutely amazing instrument, and I'm loving it more and more every day. Yours still has the headstock logo, too, which I love.

On mine, someone replaced the pins ages ago with carved pieces of rosewood. I have one of the original ivory pins and I was thinking about trying to get a set so they match...but on my uke I think I love the mismatch, it adds to the character mine has picked up over the last 80+ years.

Here's my bridge:




09-21-2011, 03:45 AM
Beatiful pics! I agree, it looks cool with the missmatch pins.
I have resolve the pins problem in mine! Acoustic guitar pins could be sand down so easily. Now they fit in those small holes.
I think that these johnny marvins are one of the most beatiful sound ukes ever. Mine has a lovely mahogany sound.
Here is one pic with the new strings and pins:)

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/317398_2342987927167_1024024043_32788431_164779224 _n.jpg

09-21-2011, 03:54 AM
It looks great! I love the airplane bridge and the pins. The aesthetics of the Johnny Marvin are so neat. You should post a video :)

09-22-2011, 11:47 AM
Ahora veo donde van a parar mis cuerdas aquila,deja de comprar cosas raras Gaspar.

09-22-2011, 01:16 PM
Gaspar,....you might consider working with the pins a little more. I shortened the overall length of the guitar type bridgepins on my Kanile'a soprano to where they just clear the string knots by a few millimeters.

Next i removed most of the ball shapped top to give them a lower profile. Still plenty of pin to grab onto and slip a nail underneath to remove, especially with the factory taper to the start of the holes.

The last thing i did, since each bridgepin was closely fitted to a specific hole, was to mark the pins bottoms in a kinda neat way. A small ball shaped bur was used to mark them with 1, 2, 3, or 4 shallow holes, which i then filled with an easy to see white paint.

By the way, shortening the bridge pins and reducing the ball height on the tops is beneficial to the tone and volumn produced for any instrument. The lighter the bridge can be made (including add ons like bridge pins), the more the improvement.

.......see below for what they ended up as:

Today i got in my set of 6 ebony guitar bridge pins from Stew-mac,.....unslotted, and the ebony grade is much better.

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Hardware,_parts/Acoustic_guitar:_Bridge_and_endpins/Acoustic_Guitar_Bridge_Pins,_Endpins_and_Strap_But tons/Unslotted_Ebony_Bridge_Pins.html

They originally stuck up about 1/8" too high. I pushed them onto the open jaws of my Foredom flexable shaft handpiece while it was in my workbench mounted vise. Carefully pushed on while spinning, it self centers and spins true. Then a small file was used while the pin spins and i could turn down the shaft to get close. (easy to pull the pin out of the handpiece and check the fit often) When it was close i used 320 grit sandpaper, and when really close finished up the shaft with 600 grit paper. The ball ends were similiarly finished off with 600 grit paper, but additionally brought to a high polish with a jewelers polishing compound and small wheel.

All the main work was done while the new pins were full length, as the handpiece jaws leaves small grooves in the ends. Those sections are cut off in the end anyway, but it's much easier to work on the pins this way.

I decided to make them with a little more rounded defination to the top, and fitted them really close to each individual hole. To keep them straight, i came up with a simple way to number them that is easy to see and looks pretty cool. I had some small round ball burs that i cut into the tails of the pins, and painted white into the holes for easy visability. When changing strings it will be easy to get them into the right holes.


Here you can see the more rounded profile of the mushroom heads. The white plastic pin is one of the originals, the long ebony pin one of the extras from the set of six just purchased. Overall length of the new pins is just 15.5 mm, and they clear the knots by about 1/8" or so.


...top view:


.....and the height savings over the original. With the factory bridge hole camphoring, there is plenty of room to get a thumbnail under the pin lip to lift them out when needed.


One other thing i will do when i change the strings is to rig a small sander to work off the small burs and splinters generated when the drilling thru the bridge and top was completed at the factory. Not necessary, but it will be cleaner and the string knots will seat faster. (and release easier when getting a string out)
You can see the splinters with a mirror and flashlight, and since this is a keeper i'll do the little extras.....

09-26-2011, 10:27 AM
Joejeweler I cant thank you enough for that awesome respond!
I will work better in my pins. Thank you a lot!:D