Why should bridge pins be still used on ukes?

Jarmo_S

New member
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
682
Points
0
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.
 
Last edited:

Osprey

New member
Joined
Sep 23, 2013
Messages
972
Points
0
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

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Jul 31, 2016
Messages
827
Points
18
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

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
3,786
Points
63
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

Member
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
405
Points
16
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:
 

Jerryc41

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 4, 2015
Messages
8,436
Points
63
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

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 13, 2012
Messages
2,158
Points
48
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.
 
Last edited:

merlin666

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Messages
2,013
Points
63
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

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
3,786
Points
63
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

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Jul 31, 2016
Messages
827
Points
18
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.
 
Last edited:

Peter Frary

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
1,105
Points
48
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

New member
Joined
Aug 12, 2018
Messages
135
Points
0
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. 29F7AE11-D6AA-4CDA-84CD-35829C9CFE1C.jpg
 

UkingViking

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
1,332
Points
48
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

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
1,332
Points
48
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.
 

Martinlover

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Jul 31, 2016
Messages
827
Points
18
Last edited:

Kibes37

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Messages
433
Points
16
I like my bridge pins on my Kanile’a. Not the best looking plastic (which I have), ebony is sweet in my opinion however. I like the string changing process the best personally.
 

ukuleleabe

New member
Joined
Jun 2, 2018
Messages
92
Points
0
I disliked bridge pins for a long time. But they keep the top clean. Unlike a string-thru bridge, you can deal with the string without having to go in the uke.

I have to admit that I like the look of the string-thru bridge more. But check out my last purchase, from Jay Lichty.

https://lichtyguitars.com/2018/10/17/custom-cocobolo-baby-bard-g116/

This thing takes a bit of work to change the strings, but I totally love it over any other bridge option.
 

ukuleleabe

New member
Joined
Jun 2, 2018
Messages
92
Points
0
Congratulations Abe, that is a really beautiful instrument! How is it strung? :D

Thanks! At the moment it's eaDGBE. So it's like a guitar with the 5th and 6th strings up an octave, or a baritone uke with two reentrant strings. Mine's 19", so linear E to E is tough, but A to A works well, too.
 

Kenn2018

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
3,786
Points
63
I disliked bridge pins for a long time. But they keep the top clean. Unlike a string-thru bridge, you can deal with the string without having to go in the uke.

I have to admit that I like the look of the string-thru bridge more. But check out my last purchase, from Jay Lichty.

https://lichtyguitars.com/2018/10/17/custom-cocobolo-baby-bard-g116/

This thing takes a bit of work to change the strings, but I totally love it over any other bridge option.

Wow! Great looking instrument. So, do you have to fish the strings all the way to the top of the upper bout to change them?
Are both sides sound holes? I couldn't quite tell if the right one was open or a bevel.