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  #16  
Old 04-16-2024, 06:57 PM
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Itís a solution searching for a problem for the most part. I wouldnít decide to buy a guitar (or not) based on the bridge style. Iím mostly ambivalent. I have no problem with the conventional pinned bridge and find that it makes things like saddle adjustments easier to do without wasting strings.

I learned the hard way after snapping the ball end of a string into my top that you have to protect the top when changing strings on a painless bridge. Is it a big deal? No.

It can look really nice on the right guitar, I suppose. Other than that, I donít see much advantage . . . just slightly more hassle. Iíd still own a guitar with one if I liked everything else but wouldnít seek one out.
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  #17  
Old 04-16-2024, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Merlemantel View Post
The question isnt that vague. What else would it be compared to? Those are the only options on a steel string acoustic. If the difference is negligible, then fine. I would imagine a luthier would have an opinion as to whether the difference is audible, and I also imagine that they could field my question easily.
Perhaps not to you but I suggest your post could have been more concise
But that does not matter.

As noted while there are differences in the logistical aspects of changing strings and likely differences in the direction of applied forces on the sound board and bridge plate which may or may not be an issue, but a luthier might have an educated opinion about that

However::

As far as audible difference ?
Objectively speaking --- while a luthier might have an opinion as to any audible difference. It would (like anybody's opinion) be founded in speculation not direct experience . Now while there certainly could be some minuscule sound difference, perhaps because say for example the application of tension could possibly be very slightly different,,,, but that is still speculation as to actually being audible with no way to know for sure.
Because again there is no way to play the same guitar with two different bridges at the same time----- which would in reality be the only way to accurately compare and know for sure about any possible audible difference.

So objectively any other answer than "no way to know for certain " would be mere speculation-- not experience based knowledge .
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Last edited by KevWind; 04-17-2024 at 06:07 AM.
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  #18  
Old 04-16-2024, 09:44 PM
Merlemantel Merlemantel is offline
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Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
Itís a solution searching for a problem for the most part. I wouldnít decide to buy a guitar (or not) based on the bridge style. Iím mostly ambivalent. I have no problem with the conventional pinned bridge and find that it makes things like saddle adjustments easier to do without wasting strings.

I learned the hard way after snapping the ball end of a string into my top that you have to protect the top when changing strings on a painless bridge. Is it a big deal? No.

It can look really nice on the right guitar, I suppose. Other than that, I donít see much advantage . . . just slightly more hassle. Iíd still own a guitar with one if I liked everything else but wouldnít seek one out.
Doing a custom build. Wondering if I want to ask for a pinless bridge.
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  #19  
Old 04-17-2024, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Merlemantel View Post
Doing a custom build. Wondering if I want to ask for a pinless bridge.
I have both and could argue either way. I would leave this to the luthier who probably has a preference or even a bespoke design.
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  #20  
Old 04-17-2024, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Merlemantel View Post
Doing a custom build. Wondering if I want to ask for a pinless bridge.
Now that is a concise question Me I would agree with RodB , talk to the luthier as far thoughts as far as preference or structural comparisons and practical application, and let any question of audible, be part of the wonderful mystery of acoustic guitar
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  #21  
Old 04-17-2024, 07:25 AM
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Obviously a pinless bridge produces an acoustic effect called sound ...so I am guessing that is not the question --correct?
Not to speak for the OP, however, I am going to proceed with a "correct" assumption on this one. I suppose one could consider engagement of other senses as there is a periodic post regarding eliminating odors in guitars and, extrapolating, perhaps the various string attachment methods do smell differently. Not my area of expertise however I would conjecture that pinned strings are more of an earthy musk while floating bridges are more aromatically lighter and refreshing and perhaps that pinless treads the olfactory middle ground. Of course taste and smell interact and, while this may be a worthy research avenue, I am hesitant to introduce too many variables, and saliva, in this initial discovery period.

OP, I thought your first post was clear. Best to you on this build.
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Last edited by jmat; 04-17-2024 at 12:28 PM.
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  #22  
Old 04-17-2024, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jmat View Post
Not speak for the OP, however, I am going to proceed with a "correct" assumption on this one. I suppose one could consider engagement of other senses as there is a periodic post regarding eliminating odors in guitars and, extrapolating, perhaps the various string attachment methods do smell differently. Not my area of expertise however I would conjecture that pinned string are more of an earthy musk while floating bridges are more aromatically lighter and refreshing and that pinless treads the olfactory middle ground. Of course taste and smell interact and, while this may be a worthy research avenue, I am hesitant to introduce too many variables, and saliva, in this initial discovery period.

OP, I thought your first post was clear. Best to you on this build.
Since you are quoting me I can only say that pinned is sweet, and pinless is savory
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  #23  
Old 04-17-2024, 08:28 AM
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I used to think it was a toss up. I've had three guitars with pinless bridges and never had an issue with string changes. But, on one guitar with a pinless bridge the action was higher than I like. I made a new saddle to lower the action but the string break angle was so low that the treble strings buzzed on the saddle. If that guitar had a pinned bridge, with the string diving down vertically there would have been more break angle and the shorter saddle might have worked. Maybe it was just that particular bridge design but it's made me think twice about pinless bridges.
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  #24  
Old 04-17-2024, 08:33 AM
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From a builder's standpoint, I would hate a pinless bridge where I had to feed the strings through holes in the bridge toward the nut during the build phase. When a guitar is first strung up till the final set-up I may have the strings on and off 10 or so times. There isn't any easy way to save the strings for those changes. On my traditional series the trussrod access is in the body, so if that needs to be adjusted the strings would probably need to come off. With a traditional bridge with removable pins, I can quickly get the strings out of the way, by just loosening them and popping out the pins. Once the guitar is settled in and set up to play I wouldn't mind a pinless bridge where I only had to deal with it when it came time to change the strings.

As far as tone goes, I don't have any experience with building with pinless bridge. I would not just slap one on to my guitars, as the bridge is part of system that works with my composite bridge plate and bracing system. If I were to go with a pinless bridge (I don't have any plans to) then I would redesign the innards of the guitar too. Those factors would probably have more impact on tone then the pins themselves.
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  #25  
Old 04-17-2024, 08:35 AM
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I've only built with pinless bridges on my guitars for the past 15 years so am obviously a big fan! There will definitely be tonal differences between a pinned and pinless bridge but quantifying what those differences are and how they manifest is another (much more difficult) question to answer. The differences can arise because a pinless bridge doesn't need a hardwood bridgeplate which could have a reasonable effect on the stiffness and weight in that area of the top. If a builder didn't change anything internally and matched the weight between the two style of bridges, there would probably little to no difference between the two styles.

As far as the external forces on the top/bridge are concerned, there is no difference between the two styles. The only external forces on a bridge are the strings "pulling" on the peak of the saddle and the guitar's top holding the bridge down. For those with an engineering background, if you draw a simple free body diagram you can see there is no difference in the external forces.

Within the bridge system, the direction of force applied on the bridge from the saddle will change depending on break angle (which most likely would change between bridge styles), but this is just an "internal" force that affects a bridges ability to handle the stresses. The shear force on either style is the same, but a pinned bridge internally has more to resist that type of failure. Depending on the design, there might be more of a bending force between the saddle and back of a bridge on a pinless, but I think based on the general dimensions of a bridge those differences are probably negligible.
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  #26  
Old 04-17-2024, 12:44 PM
Merlemantel Merlemantel is offline
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Originally Posted by jmat View Post
Not to speak for the OP, however, I am going to proceed with a "correct" assumption on this one. I suppose one could consider engagement of other senses as there is a periodic post regarding eliminating odors in guitars and, extrapolating, perhaps the various string attachment methods do smell differently. Not my area of expertise however I would conjecture that pinned strings are more of an earthy musk while floating bridges are more aromatically lighter and refreshing and perhaps that pinless treads the olfactory middle ground. Of course taste and smell interact and, while this may be a worthy research avenue, I am hesitant to introduce too many variables, and saliva, in this initial discovery period.

OP, I thought your first post was clear. Best to you on this build.
I am retired medical school faculty. I am used to interacting with trees vs forest types. Its all good. Thank you for your entertaining post!
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  #27  
Old 04-17-2024, 12:46 PM
Merlemantel Merlemantel is offline
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Originally Posted by IndianHillMike View Post
I've only built with pinless bridges on my guitars for the past 15 years so am obviously a big fan! There will definitely be tonal differences between a pinned and pinless bridge but quantifying what those differences are and how they manifest is another (much more difficult) question to answer. The differences can arise because a pinless bridge doesn't need a hardwood bridgeplate which could have a reasonable effect on the stiffness and weight in that area of the top. If a builder didn't change anything internally and matched the weight between the two style of bridges, there would probably little to no difference between the two styles.

As far as the external forces on the top/bridge are concerned, there is no difference between the two styles. The only external forces on a bridge are the strings "pulling" on the peak of the saddle and the guitar's top holding the bridge down. For those with an engineering background, if you draw a simple free body diagram you can see there is no difference in the external forces.

Within the bridge system, the direction of force applied on the bridge from the saddle will change depending on break angle (which most likely would change between bridge styles), but this is just an "internal" force that affects a bridges ability to handle the stresses. The shear force on either style is the same, but a pinned bridge internally has more to resist that type of failure. Depending on the design, there might be more of a bending force between the saddle and back of a bridge on a pinless, but I think based on the general dimensions of a bridge those differences are probably negligible.
Super helpful and informative. Thank you
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  #28  
Old 04-17-2024, 12:48 PM
Merlemantel Merlemantel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Osthoff View Post
From a builder's standpoint, I would hate a pinless bridge where I had to feed the strings through holes in the bridge toward the nut during the build phase. When a guitar is first strung up till the final set-up I may have the strings on and off 10 or so times. There isn't any easy way to save the strings for those changes. On my traditional series the trussrod access is in the body, so if that needs to be adjusted the strings would probably need to come off. With a traditional bridge with removable pins, I can quickly get the strings out of the way, by just loosening them and popping out the pins. Once the guitar is settled in and set up to play I wouldn't mind a pinless bridge where I only had to deal with it when it came time to change the strings.

As far as tone goes, I don't have any experience with building with pinless bridge. I would not just slap one on to my guitars, as the bridge is part of system that works with my composite bridge plate and bracing system. If I were to go with a pinless bridge (I don't have any plans to) then I would redesign the innards of the guitar too. Those factors would probably have more impact on tone then the pins themselves.
This makes a whole lot of sense, from a renowned luthier taboot. Thank you.
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  #29  
Old 04-17-2024, 12:49 PM
Merlemantel Merlemantel is offline
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Originally Posted by KevinH View Post
I used to think it was a toss up. I've had three guitars with pinless bridges and never had an issue with string changes. But, on one guitar with a pinless bridge the action was higher than I like. I made a new saddle to lower the action but the string break angle was so low that the treble strings buzzed on the saddle. If that guitar had a pinned bridge, with the string diving down vertically there would have been more break angle and the shorter saddle might have worked. Maybe it was just that particular bridge design but it's made me think twice about pinless bridges.
This is interesting. The break angle is very different between the two types of bridges. Has me thinking.
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  #30  
Old 04-17-2024, 12:50 PM
Merlemantel Merlemantel is offline
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Since you are quoting me I can only say that pinned is sweet, and pinless is savory
This is hilarious.
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