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  #1  
Old 11-17-2019, 12:58 PM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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Default Bone bridge pins too big. Options?

Hi

I bought this set from China for about $4.50 shipped to me. They are not plastic because I tried to melt one and it scorched up real nicely but did not melt. So I assume they are some kind of bone.

They are too big for my Alvarez AD710 but I haven't tried them in any of my other guitars yet. So maybe they will fit but I doubt it.

So what are my options? I could have my luthier pal enlarge the bridge holes for me but I don't want to do that really until I know how good (or bad) these pins are. He may or may not charge me but I don't think he would charge me very much.

Or, as I've read in the past, I could just use some sandpaper and take a few minutes to sand them down by hand. I don't have any other tools to use. If I do that what grit is recommended?

What do you folks think? Is there any other simpler ways to put these pins on a diet so they can fit my guitar?
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:04 PM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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I'd suggest you take it to your luthier friend, have him check out the pins and then if they pass his quality inspection, have him ream the holes in your bridge.

It would be very difficult to sand the pins keeping the exact taper and diameter needed.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:12 PM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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that's probably a good idea. If I don't go up to his shop I may see him at an upcoming acoustic jam next Sunday. The other replies I've read about the sanding didn't bring up that angle at all so that opens some concerns for me.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:41 PM
Bill Sims Bill Sims is offline
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You use sandpaper. Sand a little, then check for fit, sand some more then check for fit. Its actually a good thing to get bone pins a little oversized and sand them until each is a perfect fit for the pin holes; not too tight, not loose; just snug. Bob Colosi ships the bone pins that he makes sized so they can be sanded to fit properly.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:59 PM
maxtheaxe maxtheaxe is offline
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Pins as a rule are either 3 degree or 5 degree taper, but it's hard to say whether they used any such standard on cheap MIC pins. I would think the first thing you want to do is determine which taper your guitar uses. Also, and this is just me personally, enlarging the pin holes in the guitar would be the last thing I would do, and then only if there was no other option.

If you mess up the pins, well...you're out $4.50 and your time, but if you go too far on the guitar itself, you're stuck with it, short of replacing the bridge.

Stewmac has properly tapered reamers for pin holes; I thought about getting one, but like many of their tools, they're hella expensive and I probably wouldn't want to go there anyway, for the reason already stated.

Good luck!
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  #6  
Old 11-17-2019, 02:30 PM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxtheaxe View Post
Pins as a rule are either 3 degree or 5 degree taper, but it's hard to say whether they used any such standard on cheap MIC pins. I would think the first thing you want to do is determine which taper your guitar uses. Also, and this is just me personally, enlarging the pin holes in the guitar would be the last thing I would do, and then only if there was no other option.

If you mess up the pins, well...you're out $4.50 and your time, but if you go too far on the guitar itself, you're stuck with it, short of replacing the bridge.

Stewmac has properly tapered reamers for pin holes; I thought about getting one, but like many of their tools, they're hella expensive and I probably wouldn't want to go there anyway, for the reason already stated.

Good luck!
Actually that is my thoughts pretty much exactly. Worst come to worst I can put them in my beater Esteban (where do I start with this ... thing; it's a long story) to replace the ultra cheap plastic pins in it.
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  #7  
Old 11-17-2019, 04:40 PM
Alan Carruth Alan Carruth is offline
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Most (if not all) of the effect that bridge pins have on tone is due to their mass. Bone pins tend to be heavier than plastic or wood ones, so you can get an idea of the effect on the tone of your guitar by just adding some weight to the bridge. Poster adhesive is good for that. The difference from plastic pins is likely to be in the range of five grams or so, so you could try that to start. It may not seem like much, but it can have a real effect, particularly in the high end tone and sustain.
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  #8  
Old 11-17-2019, 04:49 PM
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Brucebubs Brucebubs is offline
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I would not be reaming holes in any guitar to get $4.50 pins to fit.

I've used those exact same bone pins myself.

They are not hard to thin down - I used a small flat file , slowly , bit by bit, rotate the pin, check for fit.

Worked beautifully.



Here's the finished swap I did from plastic to bone on my EJ-200



If the new pins keep pulling up when you bring the strings up to tension look at extending the groove in the pin a little more - like the pin pictured on the left below

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Last edited by Brucebubs; 11-17-2019 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 11-17-2019, 05:02 PM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucebubs View Post
I would not be reaming holes in any guitar to get $4.50 pins to fit.

I've used those exact same bone pins myself.

They are not hard to thin down - I used a small flat file , slowly , bit by bit, rotate the pin, check for fit.

Worked beautifully.
thanks because actually I had hoped to put them in my Epi AJ500MNS which already has the stock bone bridge and nut. However, the guitar came with two or three types of pins, three black, and three white but one looks a little smaller so at the onset I'd like all the pins to match.

I don't have any file so I think I will just use the technique of wrapping a piece of sandpaper around it and keep grinding it down. that'a good tip on cutting the grove a little higher and I may try that if I need to.

I'm thinking about ordering some ebony pins, too, and see if they may fit better. And ... they're about $1 cheaper or so.
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Old 11-17-2019, 06:07 PM
Bill Sims Bill Sims is offline
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I said sandpaper in a post above but what I have always used for this is those sandpaper fingernail file things that have a different grit on the two sides. They work very well for this.
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Old 11-17-2019, 06:41 PM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Sims View Post
I said sandpaper in a post above but what I have always used for this is those sandpaper fingernail file things that have a different grit on the two sides. They work very well for this.
OK that should work, too
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:01 AM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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Bit of an update: I talked to my luthier friend (he's the guy who makes his own guitars) and he recommended I try to sand down the pins and not to ream out the bridge. I won't have a chance to show him the pins, however, because he is going out of state.

He had an idea to speed up the sanding: He suggested I use a regular power drill, preferably a cordless one, and to carefully insert the pin in the the grip. I suggested using something soft to prevent marks on the pin. And then turn the grip on at slow speed and use the sandpaper to smooth it down. He then suggested using something like those fingernail files to smooth it down more.

I would have to anchor the drill somehow for best results. I will have to try it out if I get tired of doing the process all by hand.

Btw, am I allowed to give his name here or is that against the rules because he is not a sponsor?
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  #13  
Old 11-20-2019, 08:04 AM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucebubs View Post
If the new pins keep pulling up when you bring the strings up to tension look at extending the groove in the pin a little more - like the pin pictured on the left below
Another update: I took the pins out of the Alvarez and put them in the intended guitar, my "new" Epiphone Masterbilt AJ500MNS ... and they fit perfectly, at first. However the E and A strings are riding high in the saddle. I've tried holding them down with my thumb but there is an audible "thunk" and they rise out a little. Not a lot.

I'm thinking I may need to extend the groove, as you suggested, or maybe the groove in that section is not compeltely carved out. What tool can I use to fix the grooves?
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  #14  
Old 11-20-2019, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph124C41 View Post
Another update: I took the pins out of the Alvarez and put them in the intended guitar, my "new" Epiphone Masterbilt AJ500MNS ... and they fit perfectly, at first. However the E and A strings are riding high in the saddle. I've tried holding them down with my thumb but there is an audible "thunk" and they rise out a little. Not a lot.

I'm thinking I may need to extend the groove, as you suggested, or maybe the groove in that section is not compeltely carved out. What tool can I use to fix the grooves?
It's the string end binding that catches on the collar of the pin and pulls it up.

Here you can see where I've got the 6E string pin sitting nicely and you can see how I extended the pin groove above that collar. The 5A still needed a little more work to sit down properly.




At first I bought this small 'Diamond Burr Alloy Grinding Head' attachment pictured for my Dremel rotary tool but that actually turned out to be too big for the job.



So I found this set of assorted sizes for just a few dollars on Ebay - and they've been perfect.

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1972 - Takamine D-70
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2002 - Guild F-412
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2014 - Alvarez ABT60 Baritone
2015 - Kittis RBJ-195 Jumbo
2012 - Dan Dubowski#61
2012 - Epiphone EJ-200/N
2012 - Huss & Dalton MJ Custom
2018 - Rickenbacker 4003 Fireglo

Last edited by Brucebubs; 11-20-2019 at 02:16 PM.
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  #15  
Old 11-20-2019, 01:51 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brucebubs View Post
I would not be reaming holes in any guitar to get $4.50 pins to fit.

I've used those exact same bone pins myself.

They are not hard to thin down - I used a small flat file , slowly , bit by bit, rotate the pin, check for fit.

Worked beautifully.



Here's the finished swap I did from plastic to bone on my EJ-200



If the new pins keep pulling up when you bring the strings up to tension look at extending the groove in the pin a little more - like the pin pictured on the left below

This! Reaming the guitar to fit the pins is like cutting off a toe or two to get new shoes to fit.

I know those pins - I got mine from a local guy who sells them with a small wooden block and sand paper so you can take them down to fit your guitar.
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