Choosing the right bridge pins for your acoustic guitar may seem like a fairly trivial decision, compared to the strings choose. However, these minute tools are very important when it comes to the practicality and the aesthetics of the instrument.
There are several materials used to build high-quality bridge pins. Depending on the style of your acoustic guitar, some are likely to be better suited for your guitar than others. In the following guide, I’ll highlight the best options on the market for you to choose from.
The Best Acoustic Guitar Bridge Pins
1. Taylor Ebony
Taylor is best known for its extensive range of premium acoustic guitars, which have been consistently produced for decades. For that reason, it's unsurprising that they also manufacture high-quality bridge pins.
Several materials are commonly used for the construction of bridge pins, all offering varying benefits both aesthetically and practically. With this set, Taylor has opted for hard ebony.
This solid wood type offers undeniable robustness and is sure to hold your strings firmly in place once installed. The dark, understated appearance means that the pins won't detract attention from your guitar or playing skills.
On the end of these Ebony bridge pins, Taylor has added abalone dots. This nice touch furthers the classiness of the pins’ appearance. Although they are a direct replacement for the bridge pins on Taylor’s T5, they are compatible with the vast majority of acoustic guitars.
The Graph Tech TUSQ bridge pins provide acoustic guitarists with an affordable, simplistic way to improve the function and sound of their instrument. This manufacturer has steadily built a reputation for paying extra attention to detail, as is evident with the TUSQ pins.
Designed to ensure that no vibration goes wasted from the strings to the guitar’s body, the TUSQ bridge pins improve the high-end frequencies and encourage harmonic overtones to flourish.
Despite many guitarists overlooking bridge pins as being purely aesthetic features, they impact the overall tone of the instrument more than they are given credit for. A good set of pins links the body to the strings, and encourage resonance.
The Graph Tech TUSQ, made from artificial bone and ivory, promotes a consistent flow of energy through the guitar. On top of that, they also look the part. Minimalistic in design, with black dots on the end of the white pins, the TUSQ set is a great choice for all guitarists.
It’s impossible to discuss the history of acoustic guitars without mentioning Martin. One of the best-loved manufacturers in the industry, they have maintained their place in the top-tier of acoustic guitar production for many generations.
Martin understands that a guitar is only as good as its components, and therefore they have designed these exceptional Luxe Liquidmetal bridge pins to evoke the best out an instrument.
Liquidmetal is a zirconium alloy. Rather than absorbing energy, it deflects it, and therefore allows the vibrations from the strings to resonate freely, resulting in a warmer, and more immersive tone.
In addition to the improved resonance, the acoustic guitar is also capable of producing higher volumes when the Liquidmetal bridge pins are installed. They have a vintage look that includes red dots on the top of each shiny metallic pin.
D'Addario's Boxwood bridge pins are a great way to upgrade your acoustic guitar. Not only do they create a more distinguished look, but they also cause a marked improvement in the instrument's sound and resonance.
If you're familiar with guitar strings and accessories, you've likely come across D'Addario before. Arguably the most popular string producer in the business, they are trusted by millions for their expertise in getting the best tones out of guitars and basses.
For these bridge pins, they have chosen to use high-quality boxwood. This material is adequately robust to handle the tension of holding strings onto the guitar’s bridge, in the same breath, it allows the vibrations to pass through it without being dulled or dampened.
Consequently, the overall tone of the acoustic guitar is blessed with more sustain and warmth with the Boxwood bridge pins installed. The changes are subtle, but they do make a significant difference which can be hard when recording acoustic guitar with a condenser microphone.
If you're looking for an affordable, easy-to-install set of bridge pins that will go relatively unnoticed on your acoustic guitar, the Taylor Black Plastic set could very well be a perfect choice.
Composed of durable and resilient black plastic, these bridge pins are ideal for guitarists who want a quick replacement that isn't going to buckle under the pressure of holding strings into the bridge slots.
Technically speaking, Taylor designed the Black Plastic bridge pins, especially for their outstanding 200 Series guitars. However, the measurements on these guitars are generalized, thus the pins can be easily slotted into any standard acoustic.
Although some guitarists prefer the look of wooden material for their bridge pins, this can sometimes cause a color clash with the rest of the woods used for the guitar's body and neck. Black plastic is a safe and neutral choice that will blend in with most color schemes.
When you're searching for components to add to your acoustic guitar, it's important to consider not only the appearance but also the effect that they can have on the sound and playability of the instrument.
D'Addario's attention to detail makes them the preferred choice for all-things-guitar amongst many musicians over a wide span of styles and genres. Again, this meticulousness is evident with their Ivory bridge pins.
Despite the modest price tag of these pins, they perform to a very high standard. With universal dug-out-grooves which cater for all string types and gauges, the pins can securely hold them in place and create enough tension to not budge.
They may look like genuine ivory, but of course, D'Addario has used plastic to create this illusion. The high-quality ABS has a fairly neutral appearance that won't look out of place on the majority of acoustic guitars.
How to Choose the Best Bridge Pins for your Guitar
A sign that bridge pins need replacing is when they become stuck and difficult to remove when restringing your acoustic guitar.
This can also, in some cases, indicate that there is an issue with the bridge plate. But it’s more likely that the pins have simply become worn over time due to the tension of holding the strings in.
It's a good idea to check on the bridge plate because the wearing out of this mechanism can lead to further issues with your guitar. The majority of steel-string acoustic guitars use bridge pins for holding the strings tightly against the bridge plate.
Although all bridge pins essentially perform the same function, they come in various sizes and designs. The materials used to compose them also change from model to model, offering a range of aesthetic options to suit the design of your instrument.
The most common materials used to make bridge pins are:
In addition to the aesthetic qualities of bridge pins, they can also enhance the sonic performance of an acoustic guitar. The aforementioned materials each produce different results when in tomes to the effect they have on tone and sound.
Plastic bridge pins are usually the most cost-effective option. However, there are drawbacks to this variety. They have little impact on the tone and are prone to wearing out easily compared to other materials.
Wood bridge pins, on the other hand, do have a positive impact on tone. They promote sustain and add warmth to a guitar's sound. Wood bridge pins are often tricky to install and require the removal of the bridge to properly secure them.
Ivory is arguably the premium material for bridge pins and was traditionally used on the high-end models of years gone by.
As you might have guessed, there are moral and environmental issues surrounding the use of ivory, and this has forced manufacturers to come up with artificial alternatives that still offer some of the tonal enhancements and classy appearance of the genuine material.
As guitarists, we are prone to changing the obvious when trying to improve the performance of our instrument. Strings are often the first thing we consider, but bridge pins are also vital to shaping the whole tone. The high-quality offerings in this article will provide numerous benefits to your acoustic guitar.