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Bridge pin rattle on J200/pin material question


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Hi everyone!

 

I'm experiencing some kind of a rattle in the bridge pins/saddle area of my j200 standard.

The pins and the saddle are factory ones, and when the strings are being changed, the pins are completely loose until the strings are tightened up to pitch.

Meaning that the pins are sliding up and down their pin position in the bridge 100% smoothley. The bridge looks completely fine and shows no wear and tear or cracks whatsoever.

I'm not really sure if that's something that could be the source of the buzzing i'm hearing, but i would like to try out some more quality pins.

I've seen people over here talk about how choosing the wrong pins/saddle material altered their sound a bit, so i would love to hear some

suggestions for the material i should go for in order to alter the current tone of the guitar as little as possible.

 

Thanks a lot for your time

 

Gordan

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When re-stringing, are you able to pull the string so that the ball end of the string wedges snug against the bridge pin & bridgeplate? When no strings installed, do the pins sit in too deep in the bridge?

 

Also- are there onboard electronics? Something loose in that department is quite likely. ' Recently found a washer causing a rattling/ vibration.. The inside nut to the output jack was not tightened all the way.

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That's the thing, when i'm restringing, the pins are completely loose and they slide up and down into the pin position completely effortlessly. so basically if i turned the guitar upsidedown, they would literally just slide out of their position and fall out. They seem to be firmly positioned in their place only when the strings are tightened up to pitch.

 

And yeah, the guitar has electronics, but because of the pin issue, i assumed the pins would more likely be the cause. I'll check the electronics too, definitely.

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....i would like to try out some more quality pins.

I've seen people over here talk about how choosing the wrong pins/saddle material altered their sound a bit, so i would love to hear some

suggestions for the material i should go for in order to alter the current tone of the guitar as little as possible.

 

The nut and saddle on the J200 are bone, which is standard for high-priced guitars. I expect the pins are also bone, but I don't see that in the specs. The typical upgrade for lesser-priced guitars is from hard plastic to bone for the nut/saddle, which yields increased clarity and sustain, better overtones, and better high to low end balance. I guess a saddle upgrade to a material harder than bone makes these qualities a bit better.

 

Does the material of the pins make any difference to the tone? I've seen several opinions. This guy who sells these things seems to know what he's talking about:

 

"On some guitars, the pins have produced definable, measurable and unquestionable acoustic advantages. On others the results showed negligible difference."

So there you have it. Maybe so, maybe not, lol. Upgrading from bone, here are your choices:

 

  • Elephant ivory.
  • West African hard ivory.
  • Fossilized walrus ivory.
  • Buffalo horn

You can see the differences and qualities of these materials at this site. (I'm not affiliated, and there are probably other such custom sites.)

 

I recently picked up an Epiphone Masterbilt EF500RAVS that has upgraded saddle and pins made of fossilized walrus ivory. I don't have a connoisseur's ear, so I can't tell you what a difference they make, but they do look cool.

 

rav221.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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Agree with the above. I would guess the pins are not the cause of the rattle. I would check the ball ends of the strings though to make sure they are not hanging loose.

 

That said, while I would not worry about what material the pins are made of they should seat properly.

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On a maple '200, although you might get a negligible increase in volume, you really don't need to go for more brightness with bone. Might be interesting on a rosewood model, though.

 

Do the current pins have the tendency to want to "climb out" of their holes when you bring the strings up to tension? Seems if they were loose, this would be a given. I'd first stick a cell camera or a mirror in there to ensure ball ends seated properly. Or, you might try to eliminate pins as the cause; slacken the strings enough to pop the pins (capo at 1st fret, or rubber band above nut to keep windings tidy on tuner shafts), wrap a little masking tape around 2 or 3 pins at a time, and see if anything changes when you tune 'er back up.

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It seems we went through this before with another forum member and it turned out to be the endpin jack. However, rattles we hear in one area can be the result of something elsewhere. Loose tuners, loose pickup wiring vibrating against the top, a bad string, truss rod/nut, loose bracing, 'back-buzz' (which will drive you nuts), etc. Locating rattles/buzzing can often be like locating a vehicle electrical problem and requires taking it step-by-step, ruling out possible culprits one-by-one.

 

Good luck in locating the problem and getting it taken care of. I hope it's a simple fix.

 

DC

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Yes, I recently sussed out a rattle on the output jack. No question that access there is a challenge. Rather than trying to get your hands on it, it might be easier for troubleshooting purposes to pack a polishing cloth or some paper towels around the jack while the guitar is positioned on it's tail, and see if it is still giving you that rattle.

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On a maple '200, although you might get a negligible increase in volume, you really don't need to go for more brightness with bone. Might be interesting on a rosewood model, though.

 

Do the current pins have the tendency to want to "climb out" of their holes when you bring the strings up to tension? Seems if they were loose, this would be a given. I'd first stick a cell camera or a mirror in there to ensure ball ends seated properly. Or, you might try to eliminate pins as the cause; slacken the strings enough to pop the pins (capo at 1st fret, or rubber band above nut to keep windings tidy on tuner shafts), wrap a little masking tape around 2 or 3 pins at a time, and see if anything changes when you tune 'er back up.

 

yeah, the pins do have the tendency to climb out when bringing the strings up to tension, i just press them down with my thumb :)

 

as far as the sound color goes, i was thinking the same thing - no need for more brightness, nor volume.

 

I'll try out the masking tape trick!

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Last week I was tuning up my Hummingbird and also heard a rattle. After the initial panic on what now, I felt the endpin jack and sure enough it was loose. I cranked it tighter and that was that. Sometimes when we change a light bulb we want to go through the theory of electricity instead of just changing the stupid bulb. Good luck, hope your fix is simple.

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Last week I was tuning up my Hummingbird and also heard a rattle. After the initial panic on what now, I felt the endpin jack and sure enough it was loose. I cranked it tighter and that was that. Sometimes when we change a light bulb we want to go through the theory of electricity instead of just changing the stupid bulb. Good luck, hope your fix is simple.

 

For sure. As far as i can tell, the end pin feels really tight on the outside. I'm gonna have to give it a check on the inside. Do i just take the strings off and stick my hand inside, see if anything is loose?

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For sure. As far as i can tell, the end pin feels really tight on the outside. I'm gonna have to give it a check on the inside. Do i just take the strings off and stick my hand inside, see if anything is loose?

 

Clamp a capo on the neck. Then loosen the strings enough to get them out of the bridge. Saves you restringing at the headstock

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Well sometimes a visual inspection is probably the easiest. It really sounds like something is loose in there. I know some people have a tiny mirror that they can look inside the actual guitar to see if there is a loose wire or some other component. Otherwise I have tapped my finger on various parts of the guitar to see if I can see something move enough to cause a rattle that way. You also mentioned your original quality pins and possibly changing them. I have an SJ200 and haven't heard any rattles in mine. For what a J200 costs I can't imagine people around the world are changing materials of pins because they are getting a rattle. While it's frustrating until you find it, I hope you can fix 'er up soon and just get back to the joy of playing.

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oggw43.jpg

 

here's a pic of how it all looks like from the inside, high E string being on the far left. The ball ends are all against the bridge plate, but i'm not really sure if this supposed to look like this.

Also, as i was detuning the strings to loosen them so i can stick my phone inside, i noticed that the G string produced even more of that rattle/buzz as i was detuning it.

So now i'm pretty positive that it's something to do with the strings and/or pins.

 

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR HELP AND INPUT!

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Check every washer, screw, wire, etc. that could conceivably make a rattle. Check it out top to bottom. Like someone else said, it's like trying to tell the mechanic where the squeak in your car is coming from. Thanks goodness many less parts on a guitar. If all else fails just leave it, then use your J200 to play heavy metal only! Good luck, I hope you find it. Let us know.

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Check every washer, screw, wire, etc. that could conceivably make a rattle. Check it out top to bottom. Like someone else said, it's like trying to tell the mechanic where the squeak in your car is coming from. Thanks goodness many less parts on a guitar. If all else fails just leave it, then use your J200 to play heavy metal only! Good luck, I hope you find it. Let us know.

 

will do man :) thanks!

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Wow, you have a lot of, uh... stuff going on in there:

 

ScreenShot2015-02-04at64434PM_zps79fb7bdf.png

 

ScreenShot2015-02-04at71820PM_zpsd9bc310a.png

 

Check out the image of the jack below. The strap button can be tight against the washer & guitar, but the thin nut on the inside may not be tightened all the way down against the tail block, allowing the washers to vibrate. This almost sounded like a rattle or even loose brace when fretting (mostly) the 5th string above the 3rd fret (? !).

 

ScreenShot2015-02-04at63329PM_zpsc12a7e7c.png

 

BBG: The capo trick is good, but it's a 2-parter. 1st slackening the strings enough to pop the 'pins, maybe placing a hand up the neck to keep windings under control on the tuner shafts. Then capo. Sometimes I'll put a big rubber band over the strings above the nut to provide more downward pressure.

 

Gordan- I've abandoned the retain some tension on the neck & only change one or two strings at a time thinking. When you go to install or remove pins, it's good to have a hand inside the guitar to give a little support the guitar's top & bridgeplate when pushing down the pins. Also sometimes better to pop a stubborn pin out from inside rather than mucking up anything around the bridge with removal tools, and of course, before you tune all up, you can stick your head in there n' make sure your ball ends are up to the plate ; 0.

 

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Thanks for the info, i'll definitely look into it. The specs for j200 standard say tusq saddle on the gibson site though? Should i upgrade to bone?

 

The pins aren't defined, and although i'm no expert, but they definitely look like plastic to me.

If it is a stock standard then it would be a tusq nut and saddle and plastic pins. They use tusq with under saddle pick ups because bone and other natural materials can be uneven in density and not transmitt the vibrations evenly, so the pick up doesn't "pick up" as clearly as tusq. There is a lot of debate if bone is actually an upgrade or not. In my mind there is nothing wrong with tusq, it just isn't what was used 75 years ago.

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I noticed when I looked at your picture that many of the strings are not positioned in the slots of the bridge pins but are just jammed in alongside the pin. You need to make sure the strings sit in the slot along the whole length the the pin where it's jammed into the hole.

 

One more thing. If you sanded the small ends of the pins so they have a flat 45 degree bottom, they'll work better when you string the guitar. Kind of like this -

 

Bridge%20Pin%20and%20String%20End.jpg

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