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Leaving the factory: Bone, Plastic, or Tusq?


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Sorry but you have been missing the point. Almost all the folks that buy a new guitar go out and buy pins that they personally like. They do this at the exact same time they change the strings to the

. I'll mostly agree with Bob.   I'm chiming in because this is one of my pet peeves about Gibson and it's more variable than I'd like. My J-200 came with a bone nut, tusq saddle and plastic pins. I

Tusq is more consistent than bone so they use Tusq for guitars with pick-ups.

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Of course, you're right about the ease of bridge pin replacement Jerry K. The fact is that virtually every time I buy a new acoustic guitar, I go ahead and immediately order a set of replacement pins, bone or fossil Ivory, from Bob Colosi.

 

At $31 (plus shipping... with or without his beautiful Abalone dot inlays...) his artistically-made one-piece bone pins seem to me to be a bargain.

 

I don't even mind spending a few extra bucks to add the "Vintage" look of fossil Ivory to a quality guitar now and then... On a recent Custom Shop Martin "D-45V" that I ordered with a premium-grade Adirondack Spruce top and wide string spacing, I replaced Martin's stock bone pins with a set of Colosi's Fossil Ivory pins that are inlayed highly-colored 4mm Abalone dots. They are really beautiful and add a very special touch.

 

Even though I picked that set mostly for looks (and to add an authentic "Vintage" vibe to such a special guitar), the use of fossil Ivory resulted in a very definite improvement to the Martin's tone.

 

As you say, if some players regard it as a "problem", well... at least it is a "problem" that is easily remedied.

 

It's a "problem" that I've solved for myself many times, and it hasn't ever stopped me from purchasing my next quality acoustic guitar, be it a Gibson, a Martin, or (as happens way too often these days) something that hasn't even occurred to me yet.

 

I just find the inferior quality of the bridge pins that Gibson supplies with new acoustic guitars, even on its most expensive models, to be curious, puzzling, and worthy Forum discussion topic.

 

Thanks,

Jack6849

 

To rar:

 

I agree with your comment Bob. Gibson surely must not see the quality of those pins as "substandard". I just can't understand how they've reached that conclusion. I've kept all the bridge pins that were supplied with my new Gibson guitars. They are, at best of inconsistent quality, and at worst, an embarrassment to term "quality control".

 

Jack - I understand your point. They are kind of cheap looking, if you get right up close. Possibly Gibson should have a word with their supplier and see if they can't do a bit better.

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Incongruent.

 

Charge top dollar for so called high quality, esthetically pleasing, high end guitars.

 

Include crappy looking plastic bridge pins with said guitars.

 

Some people think Gibson is making a good decision here. Those people should visit some other forums and get a look at the many people thank think Gibson makes bad decisions in more aspects of its business then just bridge pins.

 

Bridge pin from a $3500 J-200 - the two halves don't even line up - crap -

BridgePin1.jpg

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Big Kahune, do yourself a favor and work out a way to visit the Bozeman factory some day. It will change your whole notion of whom you are doing business with and you will be able to drop the 'stick it to the man' attitude.

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Incongruent.

 

Charge top dollar for so called high quality, esthetically pleasing, high end guitars.

 

Include crappy looking plastic bridge pins with said guitars.

 

Some people think Gibson is making a good decision here. Those people should visit some other forums and get a look at the many people thank think Gibson makes bad decisions in more aspects of its business then just bridge pins.

 

Bridge pin from a $3500 J-200 - the two halves don't even line up - crap -

BridgePin1.jpg

What's up with the hostility. Crap?? You yourself said you like bone pins so what's the big deal. Gibson doesn't make the pins. They buy them from the same source as other manufactures and there is no way to make them other than to make them in a mold and thus the lines. Do you want the maker of said "crap" to file them down so you can throw them away. Sigh....

 

Some people that post here have real problems. Lines on a discarded plastic bridge pin don't seem to be bad enough to generate the term "crap".

 

Just so you know...I do visit other forums and I don't recall that any of them have had the need to discuss the quality of Gibson pins. I am of course assuming that you are directing this at me. I will tell you this. If this is all you have to complain about you are indeed lucky and Gibson is on the right path. I am amused.... I'm just glad that you like and buy Gibson guitars.

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My take on it is, Gibson and most guitar manufacturers regard bridge pins as similar to strings: a detached element which will generally be changed out by the user to suit their personal preferences. The guitars ship with functional if unimpressive looking pins. If you just want better looking plastic pins, you can get a package of six from stewmac for about nine bucks:

 

Slotted_White_Bridge_Pins_lg.jpg

 

I suspect Gibson could find a slightly better grade of stock pins without increasing the price much, but what do I know, I am not in the habit of sourcing these things in commercial quantities. I agree with the basic premise that it is unwise for the manufacturer to spend much on this item, because there is such a diversity of personal preference. For example, in the case of someone who insists on bone pins, it doesn't make sense to raise the price of the guitar to put in a better grade of plastic pins.

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Maybe I'm the only guy around who truly prefers the look of a cream colored (not white!) Gibson pin. I don't like it when they're badly offset as shown above, so those get replaced. But the basic old creamy cheap plastic just looks right to me on a J200 or J45 bridge. White plastic pins with black dots look right on my Martins. Rosewood or any other dark style of pin looks bad, bad, bad, so those nasty old woodens pins go into the junk drawer. Abalone dots look like an afterthought & cheaper to me than a good old plain Gibson pin. In my humble o-pin-ion.

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If making critical comments about Gibson's bridge pin choices qualifies me as having a "stick it to the man' attitude, I can live with that. I simply disagree with Gibson on this matter, and nothing short of Gibson changing their choice is going to make me feel differently about it, no matter how many may jump to defend and explain.

 

 

..... I suspect Gibson could find a slightly better grade of stock pins .......

 

. . +1

 

 

Jerry - I've currently got a Guild with factory plastique and they're just as smooth as the ones in your photo. I'd like to see that from Gibson.

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If making critical comments about Gibson's bridge pin choices qualifies me as having a "stick it to the man' attitude, I can live with that. I simply disagree with Gibson on this matter, and nothing short of Gibson changing their choice is going to make me feel differently about it, no matter how many may jump to defend and explain.

 

 

 

 

. . +1

 

 

Jerry - I've currently got a Guild with factory plastique and they're just as smooth as the ones in your photo. I'd like to see that from Gibson.

 

So you would prefer to pay more for better plastic, which you would then swap out for bone? Am I missing something here?

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What's up with the hostility. Crap?? . . . . . Just so you know...I do visit other forums and I don't recall that any of them have had the need to discuss the quality of Gibson pins. I am of course assuming that you are directing this at me. I will tell you this. If this is all you have to complain about you are indeed lucky and Gibson is on the right path. I am amused.... I'm just glad that you like and buy Gibson guitars.

 

Uhmmmm . . . . . . Not directed at you. You don't even have a post on page 3 above mine. So I'm at a loss. Maybe "some" and "many"? Just used as relative number indicators, not to direct at anyone.

 

There have been several LONG threads here discussing the Gibson bashing in general on AGF and other forums, I didn't mean for someone to think that I was specifically talking about bridge pins.

 

So, I'm sorry if my comments offended you Hogeye. Or anyone else.

 

But, I still am of the opinion that the pins Gibson sends out on it's high end guitars are some of the worst I've seen on any guitars, including the $100 variety. They're crappy looking two-piece molded pins.

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So you would prefer to pay more for better plastic, which you would then swap out for bone? Am I missing something here?

 

No, your not Jerry. I guess I should've laid out the whole story.

 

Welp, my beautiful and expensive J-200 came with a set of two-piece molded pins that looked cheap. So I swapped them with another plastic set I had that were molded in one-piece - looked much better. But the guitar didn't seem to play-in like I expected it to. I wasn't happy with the sound - muddy low end, and a bit dead on the high end. I asked on this forum for help. Some of the guys suggested loose the tusq saddle - bone nut, bone saddle, bone pins. The 200 had a bone nut. So instead of experimenting with swap outs of the saddle and pins, I just took the lazy way out and swapped them all at once. Result - much better with a more defined low end and more lively highs. I'm still very happy with the sound change.

 

So, all bone is nice. But I use the factory plastique if the sound is fine to my ears. However, even with good sound, I wouldn't use those crappy looking two-piece pins. I'd swap them out for something else - one-piece molded plastic or bone.

 

08GibsonSJ200bridge.jpg

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No, your not Jerry. I guess I should've laid out the whole story.

 

Welp, my beautiful and expensive J-200 came with a set of two-piece molded pins that looked cheap. So I swapped them with another plastic set I had that were molded in one-piece - looked much better. But the guitar didn't seem to play-in like I expected it to. I wasn't happy with the sound - muddy low end, and a bit dead on the high end. I asked on this forum for help. Some of the guys suggested loose the tusq saddle - bone nut, bone saddle, bone pins. The 200 had a bone nut. So instead of experimenting with swap outs of the saddle and pins, I just took the lazy way out and swapped them all at once. Result - much better with a more defined low end and more lively highs. I'm still very happy with the sound change.

 

So, all bone is nice. But I use the factory plastique if the sound is fine to my ears. However, even with good sound, I wouldn't use those crappy looking two-piece pins. I'd swap them out for something else - one-piece molded plastic or bone.

 

08GibsonSJ200bridge.jpg">

 

It seems to me, Big, that the minimalist approach Gibson took on the pins worked best for you as a customer. (I will leave aside your 'so called high quality, esthetically pleasing, high end guitars' remark. I am trying very hard to believe you like Gibson guitars but you are not helping). Even at some great volume discount, getting turned pins like the ones in the stewmac photo I posted above will add something to the price.

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It seems to me, Big, that the minimalist approach Gibson took on the pins worked best for you as a customer. (I will leave aside your 'so called high quality, esthetically pleasing, high end guitars' remark. I am trying very hard to believe you like Gibson guitars but you are not helping). Even at some great volume discount, getting turned pins like the ones in the stewmac photo I posted above will add something to the price.

 

Ahhh . . . . . . . .

 

I see what's happened. I wasn't knocking Gibson guitars. I was (clumsily it now seems) knocking the bridge pin choice. Here's a better wording of what I meant.

 

For me the visual effect of Gibson's expensive high quality, esthetically pleasing, high end guitars is ruined by crappy looking bridge pins.

 

As for the pins working out - I might of kept them if they looked better, but honestly, in this case I would've swapped them out anyway due to the sound tweaking.

 

As for the price, at $3500 I wouldn't be quibbling over a few bucks for better pins. But I understand I'm not Gibson's only customer. And Henry still got the business running, so there's got to be plenty satisfied customers. As Hogeye said, "If this [bridge pins] is all you have to complain about you are indeed lucky and Gibson is on the right path."

 

But let's not loose sight of the possibility of loving a product, and also having criticism . . . . . . B)

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Ahhh . . . . . . . .

 

I see what's happened. I wasn't knocking Gibson guitars. I was (clumsily it now seems) knocking the bridge pin choice. Here's a better wording of what I meant.

 

For me the visual effect of Gibson's expensive high quality, esthetically pleasing, high end guitars is ruined by crappy looking bridge pins.

 

As for the pins working out - I might of kept them if they looked better, but honestly, in this case I would've swapped them out anyway due to the sound tweaking.

 

As for the price, at $3500 I wouldn't be quibbling over a few bucks for better pins. But I understand I'm not Gibson's only customer. And Henry still got the business running, so there's got to be plenty satisfied customers. As Hogeye said, "If this [bridge pins] is all you have to complain about you are indeed lucky and Gibson is on the right path."

 

But let's not loose sight of the possibility of loving a product, and also having criticism . . . . . . B)

 

OK thx for clarifying. Originally it came off with this sort of 'raging against the man' type of thing I see so often on this board which is so misplaced if you have any familiarity with Ren and company.

 

It's funny but now that we've been talking about them and I've been looking closely at these funky pins I have conceived an affection for them and will probably keep them on.

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OK, I'll play.

 

I've not had good luck with QC on the last two Gibsons I've purchased.

 

I think I shouldn't have to rely on luck, but maybe that's just me. Hell, a thousand here and a thousand there, what do you want?

 

Am I the the only one here that thinks there's something a little weird about folks stating that they've kind of fallen in love the shitty cheap misaligned plastic pins they get on their way expensive guitars?

 

If one paid upwards of 3, 4, 5 thousand for a guitar, would'nt it seem just a little more acceptable to see folks saying that they feel more accepting of their bone pins over grossly poorly made plastic?

 

What extra cost? 11 bucks?

 

For goodness sake.

 

What a bunch of malarkey.

 

Make no mistake, I'm railing against Martin, too.

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OK, I'll play.

 

I've not had good luck with QC on the last two Gibsons I've purchased.

 

I think I shouldn't have to rely on luck, but maybe that's just me. Hell, a thousand here and a thousand there, what do you want?

 

Am I the the only one here that thinks there's something a little weird about folks stating that they've kind of fallen in love the shitty cheap misaligned plastic pins they get on their way expensive guitars?

 

If one paid upwards of 3, 4, 5 thousand for a guitar, would'nt it seem just a little more acceptable to see folks saying that they feel more accepting of their bone pins over grossly poorly made plastic?

 

What extra cost? 11 bucks?

 

For goodness sake.

 

What a bunch of malarkey.

 

Make no mistake, I'm railing against Martin, too.

 

Your reply makes me wonder if you read the thread. Sigh. So you would rather pay 11 bucks extra for 'better' but not necessarily excellent pins or even the type of pin you like, to be chosen by Gibson? Rather than having Gibson instead allocate more of your capital for better wood and so on?

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Your reply makes me wonder if you read the thread. Sigh. So you would rather pay 11 bucks extra for 'better' but not necessarily excellent pins or even the type of pin you like, to be chosen by Gibson? Rather than having Gibson instead allocate more of your capital for better wood and so on?

 

I read the thread.

 

Do you really think they took the extra few bucks they saved on crappy pins to improve the wood?

 

There it is again.

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I read the thread.

 

Do you really think they took the extra few bucks they saved on crappy pins to improve the wood?

 

There it is again.

 

I believe that is how assembly line products like guitars are made. A price point is decided and then marketing and the luthiers have to make decisions and tradeoffs about how to budget the monies allocated for parts and labor. How much for wood, tuning machines, bindings, labor costs for bling, etc... I have heard it emphasized many times at the factory that a lot of the value in Gibson acoustics resides in the very high quality wood they choose. You can believe it or not. Or you can choose to believe that evil meanies at Gibson are plotting to rip you off by selling you guitars with cheap bridge pins. It does seem strange to me to get all hot and bothered about $11 on a hypothetical $3500 guitar. That's something like .3 percent. If you paid that much at a dealer they generally would throw in a set of pins of your choice. Whatever.

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Apologists will apologize, I suppose.

 

Personally, I've had hideous experience with Gibson QC.

 

Perhaps you haven't. Good for you.

 

But I don't believe for a minute that someone is sitting in a production meeting, talking about assembly-line product (not unlike toasters or hammers, btw) and making the point that if they cheap-out on bridge pins that they can afford to buy better wood. That's ridiculous.

 

Read a few posts back, and you'll see where I opined that the major manufacturers of high-dollar pieces probably figure we'll all change the pins put anyway.

 

It's not about "quality" at all. Or even about a few dollars out of thousands.

 

I'm just tired of all of the sqwuaking about "quality" when it really means "bottom line". If it takes the difference in the cost crappy bridge pins to keep them coming, I'm all for it.

 

I just don't think that it really is.

 

Read a few pages deep and see where crappy finish is explained away by a Customer Service Rep as an "historically accurate" manufacturing process, etc.

 

You hit the nail on the head when you identified the process of making high-end guitars as an assembly line.

 

It's no more, no less.

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Gibson bashers will bash Gibson, I suppose.

 

If you think I have no reason to be disappointed in my recent Gibson purchases, I suppose that's your right. Do you even know (or did you even care to ask) what the issues were?

 

I don't think so.

 

If you'd have read carefully, you'd have seen me throw a rock at Martin over the bridge pin issue.

 

I think I have a point in both instances.

 

You love the brand, right or wrong.

 

Good for you.

 

If there were no instances of disappointment that you interpret as "bashing", then perhaps the outfit you defend so fitfully might be doing everything just right.

 

As someone said earlier, it's possible to like a product and point out failures as well.

 

Unless, of course, YOU disagree.

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If you think I have no reason to be disappointed in my recent Gibson purchases, I suppose that's your right. Do you even know (or did you even care to ask) what the issues were?

 

I don't think so.

 

If you'd have read carefully, you'd have seen me throw a rock at Martin over the bridge pin issue.

 

I think I have a point in both instances.

 

You love the brand, right or wrong.

 

Good for you.

 

If there were no instances of disappointment that you interpret as "bashing", then perhaps the outfit you defend so fitfully might be doing everything just right.

 

As someone said earlier, it's possible to like a product and point out failures as well.

 

Unless, of course, YOU disagree.

 

Whatever. You've made it very clear that you are here to bury Gibson, not to praise it. Bash and bash, and when called out about it try to deflect attention to 'apologists' and claim victimhood; poor little you, you just want to criticize this itsy bitsy thing and those bad apologists go after you. This stuff is trolling by definition.

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Whatever. You've made it very clear that you are here to bury Gibson, not to praise it. Bash and bash, and when called out about it try to deflect attention to 'apologists' and claim victimhood; poor little you, you just want to criticize this itsy bitsy thing and those bad apologists go after you. This stuff is trolling by definition.

 

I still think you've missed the point.

 

No, I'm SURE you've missed the point.

 

I'm not trying to get you (or anyone else) spooled up over anything.

 

You like 'em. I haven't once tried to talk you out of that.

 

I like 'em. I've seen problems. You have tried to talk me out of that.

 

I just don't see some things the same way you do.

 

That's all.

 

I'm not big enough or smart enough to "bury" anyone.

 

I'm not trying.

 

Goodnight, Irene, goodnight.

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Jerry K,

 

I agree, and thanks for taking the picture of the two-piece pins' overlap.Very helpful reference to the discussion (for those who may interested).

 

Jack6849

 

Actually that's the mold parting line. The pins are molded as one piece but in order to get them out, the molded is "parted" down the middle. The result is flash along the mold line which can be removed by tumbling the pins in some kind of media. Of course, the tumbling process might reduce the gloss level.

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