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Author Topic: Bridge Pins, Saddle and slotting  (Read 13279 times)
randmag
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« on: January 10, 2012, 01:25:30 AM »

Hi,

I own a 2008 L-03 that I've had for a few years. It sounds great but I was thinking of changing the Bridge Pins and Saddle. I was also thinking of slotting the bridge. I've only started playing guitar about 3 years ago and have never done any mods (upgrades) to my guitar.

So my questions are:

which bridge pins and saddle should I go with?

Should I attempt to slot the bridge. Does this make a difference? If I do should I use solid pins?

Or should I leave the guitar as is?

I do have experience working with wood so I'm confidant I can slot the bridge but I would sure appreciate any advise from anyone that has experience with this.

Thanks, Randy

 
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2012, 02:23:27 AM »

Hi Randy,
I've always been one to fiddle with trying to 'improve' my guitars.  I have changed out pins, saddles and slotted/ramped the holes on many guitars.  
Honestly, I think the hardest part is choosing which material to go with for the pins.  
I like my bone saddle and tend to prefer it over Tusq but I have no real reason for my preference other than liking to kill animals (just kidding).
I have always liked buffalo horn pins but I am currently very pleased with the stock pins on my OM-03 as they seem to be very dense and high quality.  When I slotted the bridge on my OM, I just turned the pins sideways in the hole because I wanted to keep the stock pins. 
As far as slotting goes, the UMGF technical section has terrific info on it.  So does Bryan Kimsey's site.  I've never heard of a guitar getting worse after slotting - only better attack, response, loudness, etc. etc.  Some guitars are more dramatic than others of course.  It also helps with the longevity of the bridge plate. 
Hope this helps!
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 03:11:34 AM »

Being a tech I would say bring it to someone.That said is there a reason for wanting to this other then "everyone's doing it"?As for the pin material spend the money and play around with different stuff,take note's and decide which one's give you what your looking for.
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 11:03:35 PM »

Thank you guys.

cbarclay, I checked the UMGF site and there is much on this topic. I also watched a video on youtube that explained the process in detail. It seems like a pretty straight forward procedure, with the right tools.

unclrob, I saw discussion on this topic and thought it would be something to try based on some of the pros mentioned by others who've done it. My guitar sounds great as is and I would be happy to leave it that way. I certainly wouldn't want to risk damaging the guitar if the benefit isn't worth it. I just thought this would be something to look into.

Thanks again and I'll take some time to research more before making a decision.

Randy

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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2012, 11:34:46 PM »

Dan Erlewine prefers to partially slot the bridge and custom slot the pins. I would recommend picking up one of his books or DVD's, lots of great info there.
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 02:57:16 AM »

Randy over 40 years of seeing things done to guitars and I feel at time's that people need to be cautioned because once done you can't take it back.So warnings must be issued to all to think and consider before acting.Getting as much info before doing anything to a guitar even if your having it done by a tech,including myself.
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 03:24:11 AM »

Thanks everyone.

I just put a new set of strings on my L-03 and she sounds great. I think I will be leaving her as is. I apologize if I've waisted anyones time here but I really do appreciate everyone's input.

I may reconsider at a later date but I think unclrob has a very good point so I won't mess with an already fine guitar; at least for the time being.

Thanks 
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 03:45:12 AM »

Dan Erlewine prefers to partially slot the bridge and custom slot the pins. I would recommend picking up one of his books or DVD's, lots of great info there.

Mr_LV19E, I checked out Dan Erlewine's site. Looks like some good info. Since coming to this forum I've definitely learned a lot. I was thinking I will get his DVD on Maintenance and Set-up to start.

Randy
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 02:36:40 PM »

Thanks everyone.

I just put a new set of strings on my L-03 and she sounds great. I think I will be leaving her as is. I apologize if I've waisted anyones time here but I really do appreciate everyone's input.

I may reconsider at a later date but I think unclrob has a very good point so I won't mess with an already fine guitar; at least for the time being.

Thanks 

Randy asking questions is the only way we learn.No need to "apologize",I have found that it takes one brave soul to ask a question others want to ask but are afraid to ask.So keep 'em coming you could be helping someone afraid to ask.
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2012, 06:48:48 PM »

Being a tech I would say bring it to someone.That said is there a reason for wanting to this other then "everyone's doing it"?As for the pin material spend the money and play around with different stuff,take note's and decide which one's give you what your looking for.

What he said....if you have particular issues with your guitar...sound, playability, etc, take it to a good tech and discuss your issues, and listen to his advice.  Just like a doctor, don't be afraid to get a second opinion.
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2012, 10:30:40 PM »

Quote
I just put a new set of strings on my L-03 and she sounds great.

So many guitar "problems"  rolleye  seem to be fixed like that.... new strings please 

Pete
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2012, 01:03:22 AM »

So many guitar "problems"  rolleye  seem to be fixed like that.... new strings please 

Pete

Yes. It always did sound good but these new strings seem to sound better to me (Wyres). I was enquiring about the slotting more out of curiosity and due to my lack of experience. That's why I love this forum; good advise from people that have the experience.
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2012, 04:13:11 PM »

which bridge pins and saddle should I go with?

Should I attempt to slot the bridge. Does this make a difference? If I do should I use solid pins?

Or should I leave the guitar as is?

To be completely honest, you will probably not hear any difference whatsoever if you change the bridge pins. Unless you get metal one's, then you will notice a change: buzzing and distractingly poor tone. The only reason to go with a set of ebony pins is for the looks and/or dislike of plastic pins. After all, who wants plastic parts on their quality guitar?

You could spend lots of money of "exotic" saddles, pins, nuts, etc, but if you did a blindfold test, I don't know that there is a "just-noticeable-difference" in sound. So, I'd recommend leaving it as it is, unless you want to replace the pins. Remember, though, you really won't hear any difference with plastic, ebony, etc. You will notice a buzzy, irritating tone with metal pins, though.
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2012, 04:47:38 PM »

To be completely honest, you will probably not hear any difference whatsoever if you change the bridge pins. Unless you get metal one's, then you will notice a change: buzzing and distractingly poor tone. The only reason to go with a set of ebony pins is for the looks and/or dislike of plastic pins. After all, who wants plastic parts on their quality guitar?

You could spend lots of money of "exotic" saddles, pins, nuts, etc, but if you did a blindfold test, I don't know that there is a "just-noticeable-difference" in sound. So, I'd recommend leaving it as it is, unless you want to replace the pins. Remember, though, you really won't hear any difference with plastic, ebony, etc. You will notice a buzzy, irritating tone with metal pins, though.


Yes, I've decided to leave as is. I was also thinking that Larrivee know exactly how to make guitars and I shouldn't mess with mine unless there's noticeable problems and if that happens it's going to an experienced tech.

Thanks, Randy
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2012, 03:56:13 PM »

Hi Randy,
I've always been one to fiddle with trying to 'improve' my guitars.  I have changed out pins, saddles and slotted/ramped the holes on many guitars.  
Honestly, I think the hardest part is choosing which material to go with for the pins.  
I like my bone saddle and tend to prefer it over Tusq but I have no real reason for my preference other than liking to kill animals (just kidding).
I have always liked buffalo horn pins but I am currently very pleased with the stock pins on my OM-03 as they seem to be very dense and high quality.  When I slotted the bridge on my OM, I just turned the pins sideways in the hole because I wanted to keep the stock pins. 
As far as slotting goes, the UMGF technical section has terrific info on it.  So does Bryan Kimsey's site.  I've never heard of a guitar getting worse after slotting - only better attack, response, loudness, etc. etc.  Some guitars are more dramatic than others of course.  It also helps with the longevity of the bridge plate. 
Hope this helps!
I agree.
     I have gone the same route as you and have come to the same conclusions.  The only modification which can't be undone is the slotted/ramped upgrade.  And I would not hesitate to buy one with that properly done.  As for the pins and saddles-the originals could be swapped back in minutes.   
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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2012, 04:24:57 PM »

I have to point out that it wouldn't require a very big slot for the unwound strings, you don't want to put a big wide deep groove in all the pin holes.
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« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2012, 04:40:39 PM »

I have to point out that it wouldn't require a very big slot for the unwound strings, you don't want to put a big wide deep groove in all the pin holes.
Exactly, just a little divot is good.
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« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2012, 06:12:10 PM »

Hi Randmag
 I'm a relative newby also w/ about 3 years exp. - I was able to check out Erlewines book from the local lib. and reading parts of it along w/ Unc Rob's pointers scattered thruout this forum has let me get brave enough to add a Colosi bone bridge (blem 2nd for $10 that looked fine to me) and confidence to tweak the truss rod and add Gotoh tuners and a PWM pickup.
I'd probably still leave slotting and nut to a tech, but not sure who that might be within reasonable distance from me. It's fun to do a mod and have it turn out OK and maybe even a bit better.  

Twitter update from Larrivee on their 45th Anniv limited run:
"...guitar also features our CNC made bone nut and saddles, as well as our exclusive new bone bridge pins.."
That's gonna be a sweet guitar !!
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2012, 08:12:39 PM »

Hi Randmag
 I'm a relative newby also w/ about 3 years exp. - I was able to check out Erlewines book from the local lib. and reading parts of it along w/ Unc Rob's pointers scattered thruout this forum has let me get brave enough to add a Colosi bone bridge (blem 2nd for $10 that looked fine to me) and confidence to tweak the truss rod and add Gotoh tuners and a PWM pickup.
I'd probably still leave slotting and nut to a tech, but not sure who that might be within reasonable distance from me. It's fun to do a mod and have it turn out OK and maybe even a bit better.  

Twitter update from Larrivee on their 45th Anniv limited run:
"...guitar also features our CNC made bone nut and saddles, as well as our exclusive new bone bridge pins.."
That's gonna be a sweet guitar !!

Wpete, Yes, I've decided to leave my guitar as is since it sounds so good stock but I may do some experimenting in the future. I will definitely bring it to a tech if there's anything I'm unsure of. I'm definitely glad that I asked the question here though. I've still got much to learn but I'm having fun along the way.

Thanks, Randy
 
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2012, 08:41:31 PM »

The little experience I've had working on my own and a few other guiitars is that the only ones that pins made a significant difference in were those with cedar tops. As for ramping the bridge, I thought that was done to increase the downward pressure on saddles that have been lowered so much that the break angle of the string over the bridge was insufficient. The saddle is a conduit that transports the vibes (energy) to the wood. Solid contact with no voids is the goal.

I can't play well but I like studying the physics of it all.
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