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Old 05-29-2019, 07:38 AM
wralston1025 wralston1025 is offline
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Default Martin GPCPA4 Bridge Pin, Nut and Saddle Replacement

I'm currently doing solo acoustic gigs with a Martin GPCPA4 and have been told that replacing the bridge pins, saddle and nut might give me a little tone improvement.

Has anyone has any luck or experience with this? I haven't done many repairs and don't want to screw anything up because it plays well now. I'm just looking for a little more bottom end if possible.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:47 AM
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Check out the topic Bone Saddle for Taylors
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:48 AM
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It's tough to tell. But, if you have factory plastic pins and a Tusq saddle, it's unlikely that you will pickup any bottom end with those changes. Some people report more bass with a bone saddle. My experience with acoustic electric guitars is the opposite. However, adding a little more relief to the neck and using medium strings (if you aren't using them already) will add bottom end.
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:23 AM
El Cheapo El Cheapo is offline
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Most acoustic guitars I've owned have sounded better with a bone saddle. Usually you get more volume and better string to string balance. Doesn't happen in every case, but most of the time it does so I recommend this modification if you're looking to improve your sound. If you want more bottom end try out some bluegrass strings. Light/mediums can beef up the sound of a smaller guitar (OM, 00, etc.). Won't sound like a dread, but a definite improvement to my ear. Good luck!
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:30 AM
wralston1025 wralston1025 is offline
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I've been using lights for play-ability over the 3 or 4 hour shows but I'll definitely try some mediums and see if that boosts the bass.
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:32 AM
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"GPCPA4"... now THAT'S a catchy name!
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:34 AM
wralston1025 wralston1025 is offline
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I might try the bone saddle as well. I read elsewhere today that ebony bridge pins can increase bass but I wanted to hear what some pickers here had to say.
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:41 AM
wralston1025 wralston1025 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Side Man View Post
"GPCPA4"... now THAT'S a catchy name!
Lol well, Grand Performance always sounds obnoxious to me.
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wralston1025 View Post
I might try the bone saddle as well. I read elsewhere today that ebony bridge pins can increase bass but I wanted to hear what some pickers here had to say.
I've been down the pins and saddles rabbit hole like a lot of people. There is no definitive answer, so you have to try for yourself. My suspicion is that you will find that Martin tested a number of different materials and used the ones on your guitar for a reason. This isn't always the case, but I suspect it is in your case.
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:10 AM
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Of the three things you mention, the nut change will have the least effect, and corian is very hard already. If the nut slots are the correct depth, I suggest leaving that alone.

I replaced the pins and the saddle on my GPCPA4 with bone. I didn't notice much difference after the pin change. I played it for several months before addressing the saddle. I do think the saddle made a difference, but not night and day.

I haven't done this yet, but some folks say removing the piezo sound pickup under the saddle makes a difference. In theory, it makes sense. No matter how good the pickup is, there is some compliance (vibration absorption) that can reduce the energy transferred to the bridgeplate. If you do this, you will need a new saddle to make up the height of the pickup. Also, if you are gigging and need electronics, you'll have to install a different pickup, like a K&K, that does not mount between the saddle and the bridgeplate. If you are careful, you should be able to leave the original pickup inside the guitar (maybe tied to a wire so it doesn't rattle around). This would enable you to return it to stock if you ever sell the guitar.

John
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:37 AM
JackB1 JackB1 is offline
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Are looking for more bottom end plugged in or unplugged?

If unplugged....strings and pick choice could have more of an effect than
saddle, nut and pins.
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wralston1025 View Post
I'm currently doing solo acoustic gigs with a Martin GPCPA4 and have been told that replacing the bridge pins, saddle and nut might give me a little tone improvement.

Has anyone has any luck or experience with this? I haven't done many repairs and don't want to screw anything up because it plays well now. I'm just looking for a little more bottom end if possible.
It's tricky. Most people change entire sets of bridge pins and claim they hear little difference. There is a reason for that: When you change an entire set of pins you shift the tonality of the entire guitar and your ear then adjusts to the differential (neuro-sensory adaptation). The tones of the strings largely remain the same in relation to each other.

However, if you change (only) one bridge pin (or sometimes in pairs) with the correct material in the appropriate string position you can affect a more dramatic change because not only does that string's tone/reponse get altered, but the sympathetic vibrations/overtones/resultant harmonics change in the other strings as well!

So the trick is to identify what you'd specifically like to change and then have the understanding of the pin materials so that you can affect the change in a positive way. I'll keep it simple and limited, but describe 4 bridge pin materials' sonic properties as it relates to most guitars...

1) Blackhorn buffalo horn- This material provides a piano-like quality with more clarity, definition and sometimes more volume. Often a great selection for the 6th string.

2/3) Ebony: Warm and lush and full. A great basic set to begin with and possibly a slightly warmer alternative to bone pins which are slightly "colder" sounding than ebony.

4) African Blackwood- These pins do the opposite of Buffalo horn. They reduce the clarity and definition and often tamp down excessive highs in strings. They can sometimes reduce volume of the perception of the loudness of the strings they secure.

As for bone saddles? I'm a proponent of them and haven't had a guitar that didn't sound better when the existing non-bone saddle was supplanted by bone. Bleached and unbleached bone have slightly different properties from one another.

Good luck.
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:29 PM
lowrider lowrider is offline
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I have a Road Series GPCRSG. When it was new I replaced the saddle with bone and could hear some nice improvement. A while later I replaced the bridge pins with bone and again heard a little more clarity.

Recently, I removed the piezo element and made a new bone saddle and it was a huge improvement on a guitar that I already liked a lot. Much more clear, much more presence. Like a much better guitar!

Last edited by lowrider; 05-30-2019 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:59 PM
jschmitz54 jschmitz54 is offline
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I have a Martin GP35E and when I put mediums on the guitar I thought it was a different guitar. I havenít gone back to lights. Bass response was enhanced and volume was bigger. It was just more of mostly everything. Mediums may give you what youíre looking for.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:23 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Another option to try, before you go spending money on swapping out the appointments, is Bluegrass gauge strings. You don't have to play bluegrass music to benefit from them: what they are is medium gauge bass strings with light gauge trebles. They can give you the best of both worlds: more bass response while retaining most of the greater playability of lights.

These are the strings I'm using on my 00-21:



˙˙˙

I have that gauge arrangement on several of my guitars these days, in varying alloys. On some instruments they're perfect.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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