Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
nodehopper

Strings - Nut - Saddle - Pins - They are essential to TONE!

Recommended Posts

I've read this thread with great interest. My Martin is currently in the shop getting the action adjusted. I'm contemplating a bone saddle (and now after reading this thread, a bone nut and different pins!). One thing that was lightly touched on in a couple of comments, but not really elaborated on was: has anyone considered what the manufacturers intentions were? Are Martin and Gibson using plastic bridges because they are cheaper, or because they think they sound the best? My Martin was very expensive when new and I'd like to think they weren't being cheap with the materials! (but would not be surprised if they were).

 

Well, I just checked my guitar specs - looks like it came with a bone saddle, nut, and bridge pins! Maybe that answers the question? (mine is a D-28 Marquis)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I just checked my guitar specs - looks like it came with a bone saddle, nut, and bridge pins! Maybe that answers the question? (mine is a D-28 Marquis)

The pins as well !?!, , , aha. I allow myself to doubt that, but could be wr. . .

 

The topic has been touched earlier in the common section.

Some had the idea the plants use plastic so people can upgrade themselves (if it is an upgrade - as we know tusq is more even than organic bone).

Another thought could be the cost, , , and of course the possibility to present bone on deluxe versions as known with the Gibson TVs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've recently been using D'Addario 85/15 light medium strings on my J15. I really like the extra bottom end and the feel that comes with the slightly heavier 4th, 5th and 6th strings. I may at some point experiment with using a 13 and 17 with this set. Next up though I intend to try Rotosound Tru Bronze which have the similar gauages but in my long time favourite 80/20 material. I'd say these are well worth a try if you are looking for more bottom end and than 12-53 give and like to dig in without moving to true mediums.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never thought it would happen, , , , or did I.

Was there a clue, , , a tiny spot somewhere inside that knew it should be tried out sooner or later :

The effect of brass pins.

Well, here we are after 3-4 days with them in 3 guitars. Both contemporary Birds and the 2005 Custom Martin D-18. But only for A and low E.

Went back and forth several times and it was hard to judge.

Still it felt as if the bass came on a hair louder thus clearer, , , without losing thump or Gibson character, which of course would have been a no-go.

 

Not thought with this. Have to experiment further and ordered 4 sets more the day I got the first. The material is simply too otherly not to investigate.

And if it's placebo or the change is almost none, , , , it would be strange too. .

 

Takes a pair of mind-shades to see b[r]azz-pin E and A shine there on the bridge - but assume time will dampen them down.

That look will actually be rather cühl. .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never thought it would happen, , , , or did I.

Was there a clue, , , a tiny spot somewhere inside that knew it should be tried out sooner or later :

The effect of brass pins.

Well, here we are after 3-4 days with them in 3 guitars. Both contemporary Birds and the 2005 Custom Martin D-18. But only for A and low E.

Went back and forth several times and it was hard to judge.

Still it felt as if the bass came on a hair louder thus clearer, , , without losing thump or Gibson character, which of course would have been a no-go.

 

Not thought with this. Have to experiment further and ordered 4 sets more the day I got the first. The material is simply too otherly not to investigate.

And if it's placebo or the change is almost none, , , , it would be strange too. .

 

Takes a pair of mind-shades to see b[r]azz-pin E and A shine there on the bridge - but assume time will dampen them down.

That look will actually be rather cühl. .

I wonder if you could speed the aging process - Overnight in some sort of brine or whatever else might not be great for brass?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if you could speed the aging process - Overnight in some sort of brine or whatever else might not be great for brass?

Hereby done = 2 brass pins now swim in a bath of saltwater, organic lemon and vinegar-acid.

Will they still exist when I wake up tomorrow. .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here there are my opinions on the matter:

 

1) Generally the denser and more homogenous material for nut and bridge is the better it is...I use fossil ivory (I don't want any elephant killed for my guitars) when available on my good guitars. TUSQ is IMO better than soft bone.

 

2) Pins have no influence whatsoever on the sound, but the string angle has, Ovations don't have pins and some like the 40th anniversary Balladeer are excellent guitar on the level of my Martin HD28V for instance. However I like fossil ivory because they look cool on Martins while as Gibson usually have rosewood bridge I tend to use rosewood and they look better IMO. Yes I usually source them from Colosi and I like my pins as low as possible on the bridge, so I usually make countersunk collars.

 

3) Strings: I don't usually like PB unless the guitar is very bright, my favourite make is John Pearse, caliber 12-56. Unfortunately they are hard to procure and they last not too long, one of the few guitars I like with PB is my 1981 Guild D25. I also tested the new nickel brass D'addario and they are quite good, a sort of middle ground between PB and 80/20.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have an email address for Bob Colosi ?

 

All his available contact info is on his website: www.guitarsaddles.com

 

 

Email I have for him may or may not be current: rcolosi@tds.net

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the record - I was playing with string life.

 

Input I had is the only real reason you need to change strings is they're about to fail, so I figured I'd leave a pair till they failed, lasted close to 6 months when I finally decided to swap them out. No issues, sounded fine to me... and then I changed them. Ooooooh do new strings sound good!!! IMO gives the guitar life. I personally prefer them after a couple of days of playing where the big chimeyness is gone, but still got the new string sound. I'm giving 2 mo a try and will see how big the delta is when I put a new set on.

 

Just saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the record - I was playing with string life.

 

Input I had is the only real reason you need to change strings is they're about to fail, so I figured I'd leave a pair till they failed, lasted close to 6 months when I finally decided to swap them out. No issues, sounded fine to me... and then I changed them. Ooooooh do new strings sound good!!! IMO gives the guitar life. I personally prefer them after a couple of days of playing where the big chimeyness is gone, but still got the new string sound. I'm giving 2 mo a try and will see how big the delta is when I put a new set on.

 

Just saying.

 

non coated strings with my hands are ok for about a 6 to 8 weeks.. then it's time..

 

Coated, I can get 4 months easy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

non coated strings with my hands are ok for about a 6 to 8 weeks.. then it's time..

 

Coated, I can get 4 months easy.

 

hmmmmmm.... there's a case to at least try coated. Seems a little on the wild side though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve also purchased from Bob Colosi. Have a couple sets of bone pins and I bought a matching strap button for my Martin D18. Great stuff. 

I was surprised that my J15 came with bone pins. I still replaced them with a Colosi set I had that had abalone inlays, just for looks. But agree on the nut/saddle upgrades. 

As for strings I cannot stand Elixirs. Don’t like how they feel or sound and what tone they do have seems to die after about 3 days. I use Martin PB 12 or 13s on basically everything. Although I would like to try the Santa Cruz Parabolic tension strings on the J15. I tried them on the D18 but they were too mellow for that guitar (an already very mellow toned 1968 model). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/20/2019 at 11:54 AM, kidblast said:

 

non coated strings with my hands are ok for about a 6 to 8 weeks.. then it's time..

 

Coated, I can get 4 months easy.

My experience has been the opposite with coated strings. 

I change my strings about once a month, regardless of what I’m using because I like the freshness of the sound.  And I play a lot so they need it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have owned over dozen Gibson Acoustics over the years. I think I’m the minority here when I say this but all My Gibson’s thus far sounded better with TUSQ saddle. I tried bone many times only to return to TUSQ. Maybe because I’m just a strummer but TUSQ to me sounded more crisp and woody which my ears prefer. 

I just bought a Songwriter Deluxe and it came with bone saddle. Guess what? I have custom radiused TUSQ on order. 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently bought a 2019 J-45 Standard. I read mixed reviews about nut, saddle, & bridge pin replacements and their affect on tone. My guitar came from the factory with a tusq nut and saddle and tusq bridge pins (I've read tusq compliments the factory LR Baggs Element UST best). However, I'm replacing the Element with a K&K Pure Mini and ordered a Bob Colosi bone saddle to not only replace the tusq one, but also compensate for the loss of slight height from the UST. In addition, I just swapped out the tusq bridge pins for Waverly ebony pins. I haven't even had the bone saddle installed yet, and the tone is so much warmer and more natural. I liked the sound of the guitar before, but the ebony pins have really scaled back the brightness of the 'off the rack' tone. I know people argue against pins making much of a difference either way, and I know it can vary from guitar to guitar, but in my case  the difference I've noticed is way more than subtle.

Edited by GreyGrayDays

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...