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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 10:33 pm 
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Mahogany
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Anybody here ever tried the inexpensive bone bridge pins from China for sell on EBay?


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 4:53 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Bone pins are heavy, brittle, tend to chip and even break and we've seen this and I would avoid them.

There is zero benefit in a bone bridge pin. It's possible that an overbuilt guitar needs more mass on the bridge to open up some and then heavier pins can create the illusion that their material is what's creating the difference. It's the mass of the material that can create a change in mass in the bridge region that may make any difference perceived or otherwise.

The same holds true for brass pins. Interestingly enough brass pins got traction in the 70's when the usual suspects were building the heaviest guitars they've ever built.... Correlation vs. causation is always an interesting discussion.

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These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: Clinchriver (Sun May 05, 2019 5:14 am)
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 5:56 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I used them several years ago, so I'm not sure how they are today. They were not heavy compared to brass pins but slightly heavier than plastic. They seemed a little thin, so ream the holes accordingly. They are not as tough as plastic - as Hesh has mentioned. They are generally more expensive than plastic ($5-6+ /set VS.$0.50/set (ebay prices))
They do look nice, and if you are someone who prefers natural materials over synthetics they are not a terrible choice.
Most of the pins I've seen (both bone or plastic) are preslotted, so I usually glue strips of corian into the slots to make them unslotted.


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 6:06 am 
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Koa
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SM plain bone unslotted pins: 7.9g
SM Galalith plain unslotted pins: 5.3g
SM ebony plain unslotted pins: 4.3g
Chinese bone black dot unslotted pins: 7.5g
AA repro black dot unslotted pins: 4.7g
Gurian snakewood w/inlay slotted pins: 6.4g

Martin 1960's BRW through-saddle bridge (0.352" thick/standard size): 25.3g
Martin 2007 ebony drop-in saddle bridge (0.347" thick/standard size): 32.5g
Shop-made BRW through saddle 1940's style replacement bridge (0.360" thick/standard size): 23.7g

We have sourced bone pins from China, but rejected nearly all of the samples we received, due to incorrect head shape, square-edged, very fragile ring, or incorrect size/material inlays (e.g., martin-style 'red-eye'/red dot repro-in-bone pins). One supplier provided us with an excellent repro pin for 1930's Martins for about $5 per set, but those pins have not aged well - cracks have developed on some of them around the inlay, and we have replaced sets proactively when these instruments come in for work. In two cases, the owners have elected to keep those bone pins over any other option, finding what they describe as the brighter tone preferable with their preferred string choice (both instruments are 12 fret-to-neck instruments - a Size 5 and a 00 - strung with Monel).

We do see those fragile, square-shouldered, very brittle pins on some custom instruments, and avoid that supplier, opting for the SM bone pins where the customer prefers that material. The AA or SM off-white or aged Galalith pins seem to be the preferred solution for most customers, although the SM ebony pins seem to be preferred over the black Galalith-like material used in their Style 15, 18, and 21 offerings.

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These users thanked the author Woodie G for the post: olmorton71 (Sun May 05, 2019 8:26 am)
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 8:30 am 
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Mahogany
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[quote="olmorton71"]Anybody here ever tried the inexpensive bone bridge pins from China for sell on EBay?


Ok. So China cheapies are out! How about the Waverly bone pins sold on Stewmac?




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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 8:42 am 
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Yes, slotted, unslotted and abalone dot. Not yet fitted any to a guitar, but reasonable finish and they mic up fine with a caliper.

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These users thanked the author Colin North for the post: olmorton71 (Mon May 06, 2019 7:47 am)
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 8:21 pm 
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I use the Waverly unslotted bone pins. They're not cheap but I like em.

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These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: olmorton71 (Mon May 06, 2019 7:47 am)
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 8:38 am 
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I've used them on parlours, if I'm going for a look, with no issues. I bought a couple of batches and they were consistent enough and do what their suppose to do.

Thank's for the weight comparison! Interesting!



These users thanked the author DannyV for the post: olmorton71 (Mon May 06, 2019 9:00 am)
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 12:12 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I suppose if you were really concerned with bridge weight you could use plastic slotted pins and turn them around backwards.


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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 7:13 am 
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I bought a few sets of the Chinese unslotted bone pins with 3 degree taper.

Haven't used them yet but I tested them with my reamer and they are accurate.

Can't comment about how well they'll hold up but at only $6 a set don't see the harm in having them on hand to test for bridge mass adjustments.

For weights I got:

Chinese bone unslotted pins 7.6g/set
SM/Waverly unslotted celluloid pins 5.9g/set
LMI slotted ebony (no dot) 5.3g/set

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 7:50 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Clay S. wrote:
I suppose if you were really concerned with bridge weight you could use plastic slotted pins and turn them around backwards.


Sure and that's been done for decades now. There is risk though because to use an unslotted pin the bridge, top and bridge plate have to be slotted to clear the string and its windings. Now comes along a new owner, a roadie, someone else who doesn't know that the pins are supposed to be turned slots toward the back and they install them with the slots forward.

We've seen this and it tore up the bridge plate pretty bad very quickly with the string balls trying to migrate upward through the bridge plate and actually making progress in doing so.

That's why if the instrument is set-up for unslotted pins and it has to be set-up for unslotted pins to use them unslotted pins should be what's supplied or used with that instrument. Or someone is going to need a bridge plate cap and a repair person.

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 9:48 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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"Sure and that's been done for decades now. There is risk though because to use an unslotted pin the bridge, top and bridge plate have to be slotted to clear the string and its windings. Now comes along a new owner, a roadie, someone else who doesn't know that the pins are supposed to be turned slots toward the back and they install them with the slots forward."

I agree there is a risk, but if a person is worried about a couple of grams of bridge pin weight they might be inclined to take it. If a person is not knowledgeable about such matters they might also replace unslotted pins with slotted ones (which seem to be more common) and destroy the bridge plate. According to this rationale it would be safer to use slotted pins and not slot the bridge, but even this is not fool proof, and the bridge plate can still be wrecked by improper installation of the strings.


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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 11:10 am 
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Yeah, about the same as expensive bone bridge pins from China for sell everywhere else!

But seriously, I got a set a couple years ago and they look nice and work well so far. no inlay though.



These users thanked the author Pmaj7 for the post: olmorton71 (Wed May 15, 2019 12:27 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2019 11:41 am 
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Koa
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I have used Stewmac bone pins extensively and have had no issues, though for a white pin I prefer Ivoroid pins over bone. I have never heard from a customer that they have any issues with bone.

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These users thanked the author David Newton for the post: olmorton71 (Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:13 pm)
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