Guitar Bridge Pins

(Video) Bridge Pins Keep Popping Out

The ball end of the string locks against the bridge plate and prevents the strings from flying out, but once the round hole becomes elongated it can permit the string's ball end to pull up into the bridge plate. As the ball end pulls into the hole it forces the bridge pin out, usually with gusto!

As a means to lesson the effect you can put a gentle bend in the end of the string (at the ball end) which will encourage it to lock onto the edge of the hole. You can also turn a fluted bridge pin around, placing the groove away from the string to further close the gap as well. Severe wear will require bridge plate repair.

Why do my bridge pins want to pop out when installing new strings? The ball end of the string wears away at the bridge plate, causing a once round hole to take on a keyhole shape. This wear permits the ball end to pull "up" into the plate instead of locking against it. Read more about bridge plates.

Types of Bridge Pins


Fluted (grooved) and Solid bridge pin

Fluted bridge pins have a groove cut in them which provides room for the string to pass between the pin and bridge.

Solid bridge pins require notches in the bridge to accommodate for the strings diameter.

Because the bridge pin material can effect the tone and sustain on an instrument, some may desire to experiment with different bridge pin materials.

Common Bridge Pin Material

  • Wood- Ebony, Boxwood, Rosewood etc.
  • Bone - FWI, Mammoth Ivory, Bone
  • Plastic - Tusq®, ABS etc.
  • Metal - Alloy, Brass

Fitting

Though bridge pins come in different sizes/tapers the most common is 3° and 5°. On occasion it is necessary to fit bridge pins so they will seat correctly, this is done with bridge pin reamers. A bridge pin reamer normally has only one cutting edge/blade to produce a nicely rounded bridge pin hole free from chatter.

I have seen some factories drill the hole thru the bridge and bridge plate without reaming it for proper bridge pin fitting. These pins often sit very high on the bridge.

When purchasing custom bone or ivory bridge pins, make sure to inquire about the different bridge pin sizes available. This will allow you to choose the correct bridge pin reamer to create a proper fit. If unsure, ream a hole in a test block and check the pins seating first.


Without proper fitting, these bridge pins sit high above the surface.

Martin Bridge Pins

Taylor Bridge Pins

Bone Bridge Pins

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