What is that you say? What is the debate on bridge pins? There have been many opinions (some very passionate I will say) about the value that bridge pins brings to the table in sound enhancement for our quality acoustic guitars. Let’s take a look at the role of the bridge pin and see if we can make sense of this.
First, if you have read any of my articles relating to sound, sound production and the value or detriment of using certain materials in the primary sound-producing areas of the guitar, you know that I have contended that the nut and saddle play a tremendous role in sound enhancement of an instrument. This is because they support the vibrating string and are the devices that handle the primary transmission of these vibrations to the secondary sound production elements, such as the bridge and the guitar bracing and so on down the line.
Therefore, I would have to say that removing any sound isolators, insulators or whatever you want to call them, would definitely be a primary goal for a fine guitar. That being said, let’s now get back to some practical reasons to select wooden bridge pins vs. plastic bridge pins.
The Advantages Of Wooden Bridge Pins:
I have used solid Ebony bridge pins for years and I love them for the following reasons:
The Ebony pins, in my opinion look much better than their plastic counterparts and add quite a bit of class to the instrument, especially if you use the Ebony pins and tie them in with other Ebony trim on the guitar.
Wooden Pins last a lot longer. They will last the life of the guitar or even longer. I have removed so many shrunken, twisted, broken, and discolored plastic bridge pins, that I can’t even tell you the number.
You MAY be able to improve the sound of the guitar. That is a matter of speculation as it is usually such a small and insignificant factor that the human ear can’t tell the difference. But – combine this with several other small improvements and you will begin to tell the difference in tone, most definitely.
The Final Word:
So does this solve anything? Hardly. Still, with the sound issues or arguments aside, it makes really good sense to equip your custom guitar with Ebony Bridge Pins for many additional reasons than sound improvement alone.
Ultimate Guitar Building Tip #1: If you want to add even more detail to your guitar, take a look at the Ebony Bridge Pins with Abalone dot inlays. These are a great option if you have abalone trim around the soundhole, purfling, fretboard binding or abalone trim elsewhere on the guitar.
Ultimate Guitar Building Tip #2: Wooden bridge pins will probably only make a slight difference on a well-made guitar and will be of little value on a ‘cheapie’ guitar, so don’t waste your money if you don’t have to.