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  #61  
Old 04-27-2019, 04:23 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Lee is correct: Martin Carthy quite methodically developed a bridge pin set made up of different materials for different strings. I forget exactly which pin is which, but I think the two lowest strings have pins made of cow horn.

I know this because I read an interview with Carthy, probably in Acoustic Guitar Magazine where he discussed it in depth. A few months later Whistling Swan Productions brought him up to play a concert in Anchorage, along with his wife and daughter, who are great singers.

Anyway, with Carthy there is a method to his bridge pin selection, and when Martin came out with a Martin Carthy signature model a few years later it came with the exact same bridge pin set that Carthy uses.


whm
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  #62  
Old 04-27-2019, 04:37 PM
bufflehead bufflehead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie Voltaire View Post
I barely even notice what kind of guitar they're playing.
Well, if I can see your tuners, you're facing the wrong way.

I was in my favorite restaurant in Vancouver, BC over Easter weekend, and the fellow playing the bar was strumming the most wonderful-sounding J-45. I had to ask him about it while tipping him between songs. It perfectly matched his style of playing. Turns out he was using a simple LR Baggs Element undersaddle piezo pickup, and an LR Baggs preamp. No Tonedexter or anything like that.

I told him that although I was a Martin guy, he was about to change my religion.

Now that you mention it, I failed to notice his bridge pins. Looks like I'll need another road trip to British Columbia. Drat.
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  #63  
Old 04-27-2019, 07:06 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Lee is correct: Martin Carthy quite methodically developed a bridge pin set made up of different materials for different strings. I forget exactly which pin is which, but I think the two lowest strings have pins made of cow horn.

I know this because I read an interview with Carthy, probably in Acoustic Guitar Magazine where he discussed it in depth. A few months later Whistling Swan Productions brought him up to play a concert in Anchorage, along with his wife and daughter, who are great singers.

Anyway, with Carthy there is a method to his bridge pin selection, and when Martin came out with a Martin Carthy signature model a few years later it came with the exact same bridge pin set that Carthy uses.


whm

Hmmm. He did know something that I didn't know. Interesting...
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  #64  
Old 04-27-2019, 07:47 PM
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Brucebubs Brucebubs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Lee is correct: Martin Carthy quite methodically developed a bridge pin set made up of different materials for different strings. I forget exactly which pin is which, but I think the two lowest strings have pins made of cow horn.

I know this because I read an interview with Carthy, probably in Acoustic Guitar Magazine where he discussed it in depth. A few months later Whistling Swan Productions brought him up to play a concert in Anchorage, along with his wife and daughter, who are great singers.

Anyway, with Carthy there is a method to his bridge pin selection, and when Martin came out with a Martin Carthy signature model a few years later it came with the exact same bridge pin set that Carthy uses.


whm
Wade is an incredible source of guitar knowledge.
This is a picture of the Martin 000-18MC 'Martin Carthy' signature model.



And here's some detail about the pins.

Bridge Pins

On Carthy’s original 000-18 he appears to have used various combinations of brass and black acrylic – some photos show four brass pins on the bass strings and two black pins on the treble strings, some show two black pins on the bass strings and four brass strings on the treble strings and most earlier photos show six black pins and no brass pins. The 000-18MC signature model features three black pins with abalone pearl dots for the bass strings and three brass pins for the treble strings.
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Last edited by Brucebubs; 04-27-2019 at 08:31 PM.
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  #65  
Old 04-27-2019, 07:47 PM
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Grant plays a 1944 000-18. Source: He's my buddy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
A am a true guitar nerd.

I take notice of everything. Those who play older Martins/Gibsons etc., rarely mess around with pins.

Whenever I can I sit in the centre of the front row, for two reasons, one so I can watch fingers and look at the instruments, and two: to avoid the main blast of the p.a. system.

At the last gig I attended , I found myself sitting next to an old friend and many time picking partner. We spent a considerable time discussing whether Grant Gordy was playing an OM18 or a 00018.

What do you think?

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  #66  
Old 04-27-2019, 08:24 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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Here is my standard set up for all my guitars.
I think most people would notice even from 10 feet or so.


And here is something I was doing a few years back, even more noticeable.
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  #67  
Old 04-27-2019, 09:03 PM
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Just by sheer numbers, most musicians I see and hear (briefly) these days are buskers, many impoverished, so often they will make do with whatever material they can access for bridge pins - varying colours of plastic etc, out of necessity but not specifically for sonic performance. Do I notice rag tag materials? Sure but Im not close enough to make note. Some very famous songwriters of the past made due with whatever they could find (Townes V Z).

With regard to tuners Im now entirely prejudiced toward open gear, so if I notice an older Martin with closed back tuners, my interest wanes.
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  #68  
Old 04-27-2019, 10:03 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Mycroft wrote:

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Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
I guess that the takeaway from this thread is that no one is really looking at your unobtainum bridge pins or tuners. The reality is that beyond around 10-15 feet, they are just light or dark spots n the bridge, and the tuners are hidden behind the headstock anyway.

I might notice something like a wildly colored bridge pin or tuner button when someone is 10 feet away. Or even better when the guitar in question in in my own hands and I am looking it over. Then I might note "hey, cool pins/buttons." Tuners themselves? More likely would only notice if they do not work smoothly or hold a string in tune.
That's basically what I expected when I started this thread, Tony, but this thread has provided confirmation for what I already suspected: most people never even look at the bridge pins or tuners on anyone else's guitars, even most of the super detailed-oriented guitarists like the ones who participate here.

I do have something of a fixation on tuning gears, and know exactly where it comes from: my many years of teaching mountain dulcimer to both private students and large classes.

In recent years most of the mountain dulcimers I see people carrying at folk music festivals have pretty decent tuning gears. But back in the 1970's and 80's, the overwhelming majority of dulcimers that my students showed up with had really crappy friction pegs on them, either wooden ones like these:



˚˚˚

or else the Grover Sta-Tite metal friction pegs like those on this McSpadden dulcimer:



˚˚˚



Grover Sta-Tite friction pegs

While at first glance those Sta-Tite pegs might look like geared banjo tuners, they have no gears in them, they're just held by the tension of a bent washer.

In some ways those Grover friction pegs are actually worse than the wooden ones, because when they're new they hold a tune pretty well, but the more the instrument gets used the worse they become, to the point where they actually have to be screwed into place in order to hold a note, then unscrewed to change a tuning. And then back and forth ad nauseum. They're awful!

Since it was part of my responsibility as the teacher to try to get and keep my students as in tune as possible, I had to wrassle with WAY too many terrible tuners to ever have patience with mediocre tuners on my own instruments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
So the reality is that are tuners, tuner buttons or bridge pins functional is the most important consideration. That said, I have swapped out pins and buttons for a different set that I thought looked "better" on that particular guitar. Which is one of those gravy things. I don't do it because of any other reason that it please me.
Exactly. I like cutting the weight of the sealed gear tuners that I prefer, so I invariably swap out the stock metal buttons with lighter weight aftermarket buttons machined out of wood or high grade plastic. I like the visual contrast they offer, as well, but it's strictly for my own satisfaction: I've never had anyone other than a few bandmates notice them, or comment on them if they did.

A former interest of mine (for a few years) was getting cool original fingerboard inlays on the custom instruments I had built. I know you remember the McAlister baritone guitar that Roy McAlister built for me because you played it the first time you and I met, but I'd be very surprised if you remember the art deco fingerboard inlays for it that Roy designed and had Larry Robinson make for him. Roy and I were very proud of the design we came up with (I was and remain a serious Art Deco fan,) but nobody ever notices them. I've gotten so I don't even see them myself.

Somewhat surprisingly, original headstock inlays sometimes generate admiring comments (perhaps because those stick out away from where the instrument's being played,) but I've never had anyone notice fingerboard inlays. I think you'd have to have ornate tree of life inlays like this one to get anyone else to notice:



˚˚˚

As for myself, while I'm more interested than most players are in tuning gears, I'm utterly indifferent to the mystique of exotic bridge pins. I simply Do. Not. Care. about those. But as the many threads about bridge pin materials on here show us, some players are deeply interested.

That's why I asked the question, to get a sense of how representative of most of the guitarists on here that heightened interest really is.

Not much, it seems safe to say.

What it comes down to is that changing and "improving" peripheral appointments like tuners and bridge pins is really for the personal satisfaction of the player who owns the instrument, exactly as you just stated. It's a stamp of ownership, basically, just a slightly more elegant expression of the same impulse that motivates some folks to get fuzzy dice and swaying hula girls for their cars....



˚˚˚

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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  #69  
Old 04-28-2019, 10:37 AM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post

I do have something of a fixation on tuning gears, and know exactly where it comes from: my many years of teaching mountain dulcimer to both private students and large classes.

Exactly. I like cutting the weight of the sealed gear tuners that I prefer, so I invariably swap out the stock metal buttons with lighter weight aftermarket buttons machined out of wood or high grade plastic. I like the visual contrast they offer, as well, but it's strictly for my own satisfaction: I've never had anyone other than a few bandmates notice them, or comment on them if they did.
So primarily functional customization, with a smidgen of personal aesthetics in choosing the buttons that you think look the best. I think that is pretty much the spectrum that most people work across, from one degree to another. On the one hand pure functionalism, and on the other, pure aesthetic. Not that there is anything wrong with ether.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
A former interest of mine (for a few years) was getting cool original fingerboard inlays on the custom instruments I had built. I know you remember the McAlister baritone guitar that Roy McAlister built for me because you played it the first time you and I met, but I'd be very surprised if you remember the art deco fingerboard inlays for it that Roy designed and had Larry Robinson make for him. Roy and I were very proud of the design we came up with (I was and remain a serious Art Deco fan,) but nobody ever notices them. I've gotten so I don't even see them myself.

Somewhat surprisingly, original headstock inlays sometimes generate admiring comments (perhaps because those stick out away from where the instrument's being played,) but I've never had anyone notice fingerboard inlays. I think you'd have to have ornate tree of life inlays like this one to get anyone else to notice:
You are right: I don't remember that your McAlister even had fretboard inlays. I just remember the sound of the guitar.

Heh, I was going to have Robinson do a headstock overlay for my first McAlister, but never made the order, in part because it does nothing for the sound.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
As for myself, while I'm more interested than most players are in tuning gears, I'm utterly indifferent to the mystique of exotic bridge pins. I simply Do. Not. Care. about those. But as the many threads about bridge pin materials on here show us, some players are deeply interested.
It is a subject of deep concern amongst many guitar fora gearheads. Personally I've guitars with pins made with ebony, bone Walrus Ivory, Fossilized Mammoth Ivory and, having just had a look at my '57 00-18 sitting on the stand by my chair, possibly 1950s vintage plastic. Some have dots, some have not. Some are one color, some are mottled.

In my case it is entirely aesthetic. I've tried doing a serious A/B of different pins, but between plastic, bone, wood or ivory I was never sure if I was actually hearing a difference or if I was hearing a difference because I was trying to hear a difference. And a difference that close is not going to effect me one way or another. The exception was with some brass pins that a friend had loaned me. Personally I think that he was hoping that I'd like them enough to buy them off of him, as he admitted later that he did not like them. I could clearly hear a difference, but I did not think that it was a positive. (All due respect to Mr. Carthy, whose name came up earlier in this thread. The proof is in the pudding as they say, when it comes to him. But as a wise man once said: others mileage may vary...)

I change 'em out because I like the looks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
That's why I asked the question, to get a sense of how representative of most of the guitarists on here that heightened interest really is.

Not much, it seems safe to say.

What it comes down to is that changing and "improving" peripheral appointments like tuners and bridge pins is really for the personal satisfaction of the player who owns the instrument, exactly as you just stated. It's a stamp of ownership, basically, just a slightly more elegant expression of the same impulse that motivates some folks to get fuzzy dice and swaying hula girls for their cars....



˚˚˚

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
Must... get... Fuzzy... Dice... for... my... headstock...
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  #70  
Old 04-28-2019, 10:44 AM
ManyMartinMan ManyMartinMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
..What it comes down to is that changing and "improving" peripheral appointments like tuners and bridge pins is really for the personal satisfaction of the player who owns the instrument, exactly as you just stated. It's a stamp of ownership, basically, just a slightly more elegant expression of the same impulse that motivates some folks to get fuzzy dice and swaying hula girls for their cars.....
Actually Wade, the fuzzy-dice make the Hula dancer shake faster and that makes the car handle better......
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  #71  
Old 04-28-2019, 10:57 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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I agree, Mycroft, you need some fuzzy dice for your headstock. Since you own a whole bunch of guitars, and generally have at least half a dozen of them out on stands in your living room, I suggest you get six or seven sets of fuzzy dice in a rainbow array of fashion colors and use them to festoon all of the guitars that are out.

It’ll help you keep track of the guitars, too. When you say: “Now which one of these is the Martin and which is the McAlister?” then you’ll remember and say: “Oh, right, the Martin has the red fuzzy dice and the McAlister has the neon green...”

I find it helps to be methodical about these things.


Wade Hampton Miller
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  #72  
Old 04-28-2019, 11:00 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManyMartinMan View Post
Actually Wade, the fuzzy-dice make the Hula dancer shake faster and that makes the car handle better......
I just KNEW there had to be a sound automotive reason for hanging fuzzy dice from your rear view mirror!!


whm
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  #73  
Old 04-28-2019, 12:13 PM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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Fun Post Wade! And I have to say that in general I would agree with you that most guitarist would not notice things like Pins and Tuners.
However, AGF people are not you average guitarist. They are people who be more likely to take notice.

So I did a little count on those that replied directly to the question

Of the 46 (rough count, it’s hard to count! ha ha)
No’s = 19
Yes’s = 14
Yes’s ? = 6 (debatable- to my way of thinking probably yes) =
No’s ? = 4 (Debatable- to my way of thinking probably no )
? = 3 (Debatable either way)
Any of the question marks can be debated either way.…As they use Phrases like:
+I generally don't notice-
+ I think so,
+ So If I notice older Martin with closed back tuners -
+ I confess that I did start to pay attention-
+ Tuners possibly,
+Once in a blue moon,
+I've probably noticed tuners if it's a vintage guitar with the wrong tuners,
+I generally don't notice

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  #74  
Old 04-28-2019, 01:04 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
I agree, Mycroft, you need some fuzzy dice for your headstock. Since you own a whole bunch of guitars, and generally have at least half a dozen of them out on stands in your living room, I suggest you get six or seven sets of fuzzy dice in a rainbow array of fashion colors and use them to festoon all of the guitars that are out.

Itll help you keep track of the guitars, too. When you say: Now which one of these is the Martin and which is the McAlister? then youll remember and say: Oh, right, the Martin has the red fuzzy dice and the McAlister has the neon green...

I find it helps to be methodical about these things.


Wade Hampton Miller
With matching red or neon green bridge pins...
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  #75  
Old 04-28-2019, 07:51 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
With matching red or neon green bridge pins...
Naturally.


whm
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