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Acoustic bridge pins....is there really a difference,??


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Well been thinking of replacing the plastic pins on my little Taylor. 

 

Thought about ebony ones, then read about bone was good ....now I discovered tusq makes them too.

I am gonna buy something though

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A good inexpensive self experiment, and there is endless debate about it. I come down on the side of them making hardly any or no significant tonal difference. Their job is to secure the string ball end firmly against the bridge plate, involving no vibrational additive or quality of their own.

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I have an ebony set for my Martin.  Sgt Pepper (forum member) has them too if I recall correctly.  I personally don't think the ebony ones sound any different than my stock pins.  Maybe the bone pins would make a difference - I never tried those, they are expensive for sure. 

 

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I have ebony pins on all my acoustics (7). Not sure if they sound better, but to me they look better than plastic (too me least). Here is a bunch of guitars all with ebony pins. The 41 has been traded for a HD-28V. The HD-28V, D-35 and 00-18 are not in the pic.

eZiIjqe.jpg

 

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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My HD-28V came with plastic ones but I switched out to the ebony w/ abalone dots because of the looks.

I don't know if it made a difference or not.  For such an expensive guitar I would think Martin went with plastic for a reason (other than just being cheap and trying to sell you a pack of ebony pins).

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8 minutes ago, SteveFord said:

My HD-28V came with plastic ones but I switched out to the ebony w/ abalone dots because of the looks.

I don't know if it made a difference or not.  For such an expensive guitar I would think Martin went with plastic for a reason (other than just being cheap and trying to sell you a pack of ebony pins).

I can't understand why a $1200 guitar like a D-15M comes with ebony pins but a $9000 D-45 comes with plastic. Maybe the tone is in the cheap plastic and we ruined our tone by switching to ebony.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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There's also different grades of plastic, as you guys know. Martin has gone to the cheap product on pins, but better grade are available. They all bear similar tonal results.

Edited by jedzep
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Well the thing is,  some guys put in  all kinds of different pins in there, and they last about 20 minutes, take them out and put the stock ones back.

Same with nuts and saddles.

it's not an automatic "WOW! There it is!"  as golden light from heaven spills down on you and a host of seraphim sing Glory To God!

It's really one of those things that with each guitar you're trying to change, you don't know till you try and the results are not predetermined.

you heard it hear first folks. (LOL)

 

 

Edited by kidblast
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18 minutes ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

Maybe the tone is in the cheap plastic and we ruined our tone by switching to ebony.

Entirely possible.   Reminds me of that Carlin bit:

"And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?”

Plastic… a$$hole."

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13 hours ago, bigtim said:

Well been thinking of replacing the plastic pins on my little Taylor. 

 

Thought about ebony ones, then read about bone was good ....now I discovered tusq makes them too.

I am gonna buy something though

'Bout 15 or so years ago I replaced the plastic pins on my old Epiphone FT-145 with Ebony.  Does sound better than the plastic pins, but can't speak for or against tusq or bone.  Only that at the same time I replaced the old plastic saddle with bone.  HUGE improvement.  

Whitefang

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Senior Chief  , Sgt..Nice collection there...Love all of the Martin's you have.   I do have a question.  I am wondering about the Luxe end pins they sell.  Anybody tried them?  Can they be that good?  and why does the liquid metal make a difference?  199.00 is expensive, at least to me.

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16 minutes ago, kelly campbell said:

Senior Chief  , Sgt..Nice collection there...Love all of the Martin's you have.   I do have a question.  I am wondering about the Luxe end pins they sell.  Anybody tried them?  Can they be that good?  and why does the liquid metal make a difference?  199.00 is expensive, at least to me.

I have played a Modern Deluxe D-28 and D-18 in a shop, and I think those come with them. I won't pay 2 bills for bridge pins. I didn't notice any thing better about them.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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With this endless topic going around on different sites, I have lately paid more attention to the argument that correctly sized unslotted pins go the extra mile to prevent the ball end from working it's way up into the bridge/pin slot, reducing that vital direct footing against the bridge plate. This connection to maximize that rigid point of contact does more to insure you'll get the tone that was built into the particular instrument, regardless of the pin material.

Aesthetic preference is another facet, of course. For the hardest plastic pins...

https://www.stewmac.com/parts-and-hardware/endpins-and-bridge-pins/waverly-ivoroid-bridge-pins.html

Edited by jedzep
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There is a long discussion in the Acoustic Forum (right up at the top) about the different materials for bridges and pins and those guys generally know what they are talking about.  I have never changed pins on an acoustic so can't say from personal experience that it will make a huge difference.  My Hummingbird has Tusq pins, my Taylor has Ebony, as do both of my Collings guitars.  I like how they all sound so wouldn't bother with changing them out.  I put a new set of strings on my Collings D2H recently and did notice that the pins did NOT have a slot in them, so they must think that is a better way to secure the strings.  As said it doesn't have to be an expensive swap so I'd say try it and see if it is to your liking.

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2 hours ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

I have played a Modern Deluxe D-28 and D-18 in a shop, and I think those come with them. I won't pay 2 bills for bridge pins. I didn't notice any thing better about them.

I agree .  I just recently played the deluxe D-28 and thought it was nice the things I liked about it I dont think were to do with the pins.  No way I would drop two bills on them either.

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Fossilized walrus tusk bridge pins and saddles were the very thing a few years back.

I like my ebony pins.

Knight-ACFeb13-Web.jpg

Edited by jdgm
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A number of years ago Gibson used really cheap plastic pins for a while - the mold halves didn't even line up. Below is a pic of one that came in my new J200 back in 2008. I got a nice bone set from Colosi and never looked back - and it sounded better to my ears.  I've got guitars with plastic, bone and ebony pins. If the sound/tone is off, bridge pins are down near the bottom of my list of culprits - but, to my ears, sometimes a change in bridge pin material can make a difference in the sound. And surprising, sometimes plastic sounds best. Go figure.

2omIBqx.jpg

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Swapped the plastic saddle on my Epiphone EJ-200 to bone and could hear an improvement - the very next day the bone pins I ordered were delivered so I swapped them too - sustain and volume both improved again.

uYcyw5Rl.jpgoE8SoNpl.jpg

Edited by Brucebubs
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5 hours ago, kelly campbell said:

I agree .  I just recently played the deluxe D-28 and thought it was nice the things I liked about it I dont think were to do with the pins.  No way I would drop two bills on them either.

They are nice, but I have owned mostly standard modes from Martin. My HD-28V is killer and is considered vintage series I think, and are not made any more. The Standard HD-28 is. The neck is different than my other 6. I like the MLO necks better, but am getting used to it. I am not a fan of gold hardware, but its not a deal breaker as the 41 and BB King both had gold hardware.

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1 hour ago, fortyearspickn said:

So,  to look at this from a different angle ...    

Will  $200  Bridge Pins in a $200 guitar  make it sound like a $400 guitar?    

nope, but a few shots of Knob Creek can get ya half the way there.,

 

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