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Old 06-18-2019, 09:23 AM
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vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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Default Mids too scooped? Sound preference and balance experimentation.

Disclaimer/warning: If you don't like reading about or discussing the advanced use of bridge pins, stop reading here!

After one of our members posted that wonderful 15 string shoot-out I wanted to try some Gibson Masterbuilt PB strings. They were stand-outs on his recording in all areas. So I ordered some.

My Martin D35 was due for new strings (DR Sunbeam 12's are the usual strings for it) and that seemed like a good guinea pig for the first test. At first blush they sounded wonderful, but the high E was shouting at me, so I tamed that down with an African blackwood pin and brought it all into balance for the moment. [Note: I routinely use a Buffalo horn bridge pin in the low E in most of my guitars now.]

A few days later it's still sounding lush. And if I were using the D35 for vocal accompaniment I think it would be perfect. But after a couple days of settling the mids, which tend to be scooped anyway on a D35 lost some of the articulation of the fundamentals that I initially heard. [Bridge pin configuration then: 6= buffalo. 5,4,3,2= bone. 1=African blackwood.] That pin configuration was working, but I wanted to bring back some of the mids for solo and the little bit of bluegrass I'm practicing.

While bone had been my slight choice over ebony for bridge pins for this guitar, I elected to try all buffalo horn pins, even with the 1st string which rang too loudly initially. And while my D35 will never sound like a D28 or D18 the buffalo horn set brought out the mid articulation that it was missing. I was expecting that high E to project too much and need a pin swap, but it seems to have settled down and while slightly more prominent than the others I didn't feel it was enough to warrant a different pin. So now resides a complete set of Buffalo horn pins.

Another discovery that I think I'm hearing...So before with the sole buffalo pin in the low E, that pin increased the projection of the low E and transmitted vibrations across the string set causing additional harmonics which of course then compete with the articulation of the fundamentals. By increasing the fundamentals across strings 2-5, it made the harmonics less prominent, thus allowing more mids and audibly less scoop.

While this is all more than just basics, I think one major take-away is that every brand/type of strings has both its natural built-in tonal qualities, but can differ in balance from string to string within a set. I am learning that I can take advantage of the good qualities of a string set and fine-balance the volume and tone to get closer to what I want out of a set. And while I accept that some might not hear the differences or think (for themselves) this is an utter waste of time, I share this with others who may have not even have noticed any of this before. I know that I am often oblivious to stuff until pointed out- and at one time TOTALLY oblivious to even the most basic difference in guitar sounds.

Just thought I'd share my experiment.
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:17 PM
tippy5 tippy5 is offline
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Interesting. I play mid guitars and scooped mid guitars, typically for different genres. I was wondering if all of the different material pins are the same diameter and close to similar angle for a snug fit?

I have fond memories of Gibson Masterclass strings- 4 or 5 years ago. I will order a set.

I usually like ebony pins for woody tone. Bone pins for modern fingerstyle tone. Thank you for the writeup. I will have to order some other types. I remember a $250 Gretsch, 2005, 00, Rancher Jr. ply guitar that I used brass pins on. I won't patronize ivory but some of these other bone densities - tone enhancements - sound interesting.
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:12 PM
rokdog49 rokdog49 is offline
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Yeah, but do you like the strings?
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“Some of life’s best lessons are learned at the worst times.”
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:57 PM
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Brucebubs Brucebubs is offline
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Aren't the scooped mids simply the character of rosewood guitars ... just as highlighted mids are the character of mahogany?


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