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AJ-45 ME bridge pin issue

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I purchased an AJ-45ME a few months back and love it. I recently got some Tusq bridge pins to put on my guitar. The fit on 4 out of the 6 holes on the bridge are perfect. There are two that don't go down quite all the way, as they sit about 1/4 inch too high. I tried different pins to make sure that the pins did not vary in size, so it appears to be the holes. Am I better off trying to widen these two holes slightly, or sanding down the pins to fit?

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Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

 

I think on balance, and this is just my opinion, I would be inclined to very carefully widen the holes. While I don't fully endorse this method I seem to remember Mick (themiller) saying he'd done this recently with a pair of nail scissors, he may well chime in later.

 

Whichever you decide to do let us know how you get on, and I'm definitely curious as to how it affects the sound of your guitar.

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Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

 

I think on balance, and this is just my opinion, I would be inclined to very carefully widen the holes. While I don't fully endorse this method I seem to remember Mick (themiller) saying he'd done this recently with a pair of nail scissors, he may well chime in later.

 

Whichever you decide to do let us know how you get on, and I'm definitely curious as to how it affects the sound of your guitar.

 

I was thinking about getting a small round file and CAREFULLY widening the two holes just until the pins fit. In my mind, I think it would be better to have all the pins fit all the holes instead of having to use a specific filed down pin for those two holes. I will keep you posted and let you know how it turns out.

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I would not touch the holes on the bridge. If the pins the guitar came with fit correctly, it means the issue is with the new pins. Either the taper or the fluting is not right (the channel that runs down the pin to accommodate the string). If you widen two holes in the bridge, the original pins or future replacements may not fit.

 

What size did you get?

 

Red 333

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It's not unusual to have to take the pins down a little here and there, even Colosi gives you an average size for the six, and you usually have to sand down one or two. I wouldn't mess with the bridge holes on an expensive guitar, so I wouldn't mess with the bridge holes on that guitar either.

 

rct

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Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

 

I think on balance, and this is just my opinion, I would be inclined to very carefully widen the holes. While I don't fully endorse this method I seem to remember Mick (themiller) saying he'd done this recently with a pair of nail scissors, he may well chime in later.

 

Whichever you decide to do let us know how you get on, and I'm definitely curious as to how it affects the sound of your guitar.

 

Yes I did use the blade of a pair of scissors - the pointy blade, kitchen scissors. I used it to gently scrape the hole a bit wider to fit. I have updated my tools since and have used a small round file. You could try a piece of rolled up sandpaper - rough side out - and gently work the hole a bit wider. It's up to the owner to do what they do, I polished my top which some think was crazy. BTW I put new pins on mine, not sure if they were the black horn or the ebony ones I had. And oh! The guitar is still sounding better and better, almost as nice as my J15.

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Your guitar, your call.

 

If, as you say you have, you've tried swapping the pins around and pins that fit perfectly in the other four holes stand proud in the two offending holes then logic dictates that those two holes have more material in them than the rest. I really don't see how it can have an adverse impact on your guitar to widen those two holes out to the same size as the other four.

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Thank you for all of your replies. I think I'm going to try and widen those two holes to make all of them consistent. I looked at it again last night and the two holes that I'm having issues with don't look as smooth as the other four. I measured my new bridge pins with a caliper and they are all very consistent in size. I think the factory pins fit in those holes because they are plastic instead of bone and were just shoved in there. Those two were particularly hard to pull the factory pins out. I think it was just a shoddy job from the factory. I don't think I will have to remove much material to get them smooth and the pins fitting. I would rather have consistent size holes. I will let you know how it turns out.

 

Also, the pins I purchased were the Tusq Traditional style pins - white with pearl inlay. They measure .202 inches below the shank which is what Gibson/Epiphone customer support told me the factory ones measured when I emailed them to ask. I believe this translates to a size 1.3T pin.

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Thank you for all of your replies. I think I'm going to try and widen those two holes to make all of them consistent. I looked at it again last night and the two holes that I'm having issues with don't look as smooth as the other four. I measured my new bridge pins with a caliper and they are all very consistent in size. I think the factory pins fit in those holes because they are plastic instead of bone and were just shoved in there. Those two were particularly hard to pull the factory pins out. I think it was just a shoddy job from the factory. I don't think I will have to remove much material to get them smooth and the pins fitting. I would rather have consistent size holes. I will let you know how it turns out.

 

Also, the pins I purchased were the Tusq Traditional style pins - white with pearl inlay. They measure .202 inches below the shank which is what Gibson/Epiphone customer support told me the factory ones measured when I emailed them to ask. I believe this translates to a size 1.3T pin.

 

Think about it. The factory pins fit. The new ones do not. What makes you think the factory pins are somehow the problem? Magically, two are mishapen in exctly the right way to fit the two mishapen holes they were luckily put into?

 

.202 inches below the shank is not enough info to chose a pin. You need to know how many degrees the pin tapers. You also need to make sure the the flute is the same as on the old pin--meaning it either stops at the skirt (the rim around the pin below the top) or goes through it

 

The chart in the link below (under Products--scroll all the way down) will show you how to correctly measure the pins, and show which pins have flutes that end at or dissects the skirt, so you can best determine which pin size you need. This is from Bob Colosi's site, and he is one of the best known if not the best known maker nuts, saddles, and pins.

 

If indeed you have the right pin already, then please take Bob Colosi's advice and work on the pin, not the hole.

 

Red 333

 

Bob Colosi Products Page

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If all six pins fit in four of the holes and none of those same pins fit in two of the holes then the problem is the holes not the pins. Making two undersized pins to fit two undersized holes seems a pretty bizarre solution to me.

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If all six pins fit in four of the holes and none of those same pins fit in two of the holes then the problem is the holes not the pins. Making two undersized pins to fit two undersized holes seems a pretty bizarre solution to me.

 

Yet all six factory pins fit all six holes! So we don't know what is undersized or oversized--the old pins, the new pins, or the holes. Why risk having two oversized holes on the guitar without any evidence of whether the pins or the holes are the culprit?

 

IF the taper is wrong on the new pins, or IF they are not fluted through the rim, the string guage would be enough to cause imperfect fit. Those are two ifs the OP has not provided any info on, so we really don't know. But he should check first.

 

Aside from that, even if two of the holes are slighly smaller for the new pins, it's proven they are correct for the old pins. Trying to enlarge the holes in the bridge for the sake of new pins without a tapered reamer leaves open the possibilty for a mistake. Why risk mucking up a guitar that costs hundreds of dollars, and end up with two or three sizes of hole on it? I'd rather risk mucking up some sub $20 pins. I think I could be so well-organised during a string change as to not get them out of order [smile] .

 

That's just how I would approach it.

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Yet all six factory pins fit all six holes! So we don't know what is undersized or oversized--the old pins, the new pins, or the holes. Why risk having two oversized holes on the guitar without any evidence of whether the pins or the holes are the culprit?

 

IF the taper is wrong on the new pins, or IF they are not fluted through the rim, the string guage would be enough to cause imperfect fit. Those are two ifs the OP has not provided any info on, so we really don't know. But he should check first.

 

Aside from that, even if two of the holes are slighly smaller for the new pins, it's proven they are correct for the old pins. Trying to enlarge the holes in the bridge for the sake of new pins without a tapered reamer leaves open the possibilty for a mistake. Why risk mucking up a guitar that costs hundreds of dollars, and end up with two or three sizes of hole on it? I'd rather risk mucking up some sub $20 pins. I think I could be so well-organised during a string change as to not get them out of order [smile] .

 

That's just how I would approach it.

 

I appreciate your input. To answer the questions above, the new pins are the same taper and have the flute running through the rim, just like the stock pins. The new ones are just slightly bigger (larger diameter) than the factory pins. The factory pins are actually a little loose in 4 of the holes and snug in the two holes in question. That is without the strings in. Should the pins be snug without the strings?

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Should the pins be snug without the strings?

 

The pins need the strings to stay put is the way I'd phrase it avoid any imbiguity.

 

It sounds like you have the right pins, so the solution is six of one, half dozen of the other like someone wrote earlier. But personaly, I'd concentrate on adjusting the pins if I didn't have a reamer.

 

I'm sure everthing will be fine as long as ou're careful, so things slowly, and check fitment frequently.

 

Good luck!

 

Red 333

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The pins need the strings to stay put.

 

Red 333

 

Got it. So if I go the route of making the pin the correct size to fit, what is the best method of sanding down evenly?

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Just wrap some fine grit around the length of the pin and rotate it. The important thing is to avoid flat spots, and check the fit frequently so you don't take off too much.

 

I have also seen people use a razor or similar flat blade to scrape up and down the pin, rotating a little bit after each scrape, but I think you'll get more consistent results with sandpaper.

 

It's not hard, and you wont hurt anything unless you take too much off, preventing the pin from holding. So check your progress frequently.

 

By the way, it's OK if a pin or two sticks up, as long as they do thier job. As a matter of fact, Martin used to ship all their guitars with the pins sticking up. They purposely made all the holes a little small, theorizing that over time, wear and tear would widen them. This way, the life of the bridge and bridge plate (the wood plate on the underside of the top that protects the top from the ball ends of the string) were prolonged.

 

Good luck,

 

Red 333

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Used to be said that you could tell a good pin fit (Gibson, not Martin) by inserting all six pins into the bridge without the strings and then turning the guitar over. Ideally, the pins should fall out! Lots of people have split the ebony bridges on Martin guitars, especially D-28s, by jamming those high set pins too deeply into the holes.

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Used to be said that you could tell a good pin fit (Gibson, not Martin) by inserting all six pins into the bridge without the strings and then turning the guitar over. Ideally, the pins should fall out! Lots of people have split the ebony bridges on Martin guitars, especially D-28s, by jamming those high set pins too deeply into the holes.

 

THAT is unambiguous.

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Check Bob's instructions on sizing pins. When I replaced the pins on my J45 I sent him one of the old ones for comparison.

The new ones he sent fit perfectly.

I would never touch the bridge holes. Simply sand the pin down.

http://www.guitarsaddles.com/products.asp

 

Yup. This is the link mentioned in one of my posts above.

 

Red 333

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Yet all six factory pins fit all six holes! So we don't know what is undersized or oversized--the old pins, the new pins, or the holes. Why risk having two oversized holes on the guitar without any evidence of whether the pins or the holes are the culprit?

 

IF the taper is wrong on the new pins, or IF they are not fluted through the rim, the string guage would be enough to cause imperfect fit. Those are two ifs the OP has not provided any info on, so we really don't know. But he should check first.

 

Aside from that, even if two of the holes are slighly smaller for the new pins, it's proven they are correct for the old pins. Trying to enlarge the holes in the bridge for the sake of new pins without a tapered reamer leaves open the possibilty for a mistake. Why risk mucking up a guitar that costs hundreds of dollars, and end up with two or three sizes of hole on it? I'd rather risk mucking up some sub $20 pins. I think I could be so well-organised during a string change as to not get them out of order [smile] .

 

That's just how I would approach it.

Then we will have to agree to disagree.

 

The guitar has an anomaly, my instinct would be to address that anomaly, your approach is to create a second anomaly as a workaround for the first. I personally don't think that's a good way to tackle any problem.

 

The only other question is how many times can I shoehorn the word anomaly into one sentence? [biggrin]

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I purchased an AJ-45ME a few months back and love it. I recently got some Tusq bridge pins to put on my guitar. The fit on 4 out of the 6 holes on the bridge are perfect. There are two that don't go down quite all the way, as they sit about 1/4 inch too high. I tried different pins to make sure that the pins did not vary in size, so it appears to be the holes. Am I better off trying to widen these two holes slightly, or sanding down the pins to fit?

PLEASE DON'T MESS WITH THE HOLES!!

It makes much more sense to simply get some 400 grit, cut it in 1" strips, wrap it around the shaft and start twirling the pin. Wipe the dust off and try the fit. Repeat if necessary. Within 5 minutes you'll get the pin where it needs to be.

Once it fits snug, you can smooth out the 400 grit with some 800 or 1000 grit doing the same procedure.

Sandpaper is far less expensive than bridge pins or even bridge plate replacement.

 

Thank you .... thank you vurry much!

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As I said in my first post I used the same pins in my Masterbilt just used 400 grit to sand to fit then used extra fine 1200 grit auto body paper to smooth them out took all of 30 minutes. If you go to Graph Tech site they tell you the pins are made of dens material and sanding does not change them in any way. For what its worth I figure sanding the pins was far easier than cracking or over sizing the bridge. Mik B)

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