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Author Topic: Brass bridge pins, some second opinions please?  (Read 1818 times)
jpmist
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« on: May 09, 2012, 08:12:32 PM »

Have been disappointed with the tone of my Taylor 12 fret lately, sounds a little muted, lacking the sparkle Taylors are known for. Of course it might be suffering in comparison to my Larrivee OO sized 12 fret which has tons of brightness.

Read up on brass bridge pins and learned that it can brighten up a guitar's tone but one negative remark was that the extra weight of the brass pins might load the top too much and dampen it smothering the tone so to speak. Anyway, I got a set to try out.

So, to keep this somewhat scientific, I recorded a little fingerstyle ditty I've been working on, installed the brass pins, then recorded the exact same melody again with the exact same recording settings.

While I think I can hear a difference, I'm certainly biased. I've lost a fair amount of treble in both ears so I'd appreciate some objective ears on. . .

a) Is there a difference between the two and how would you characterize it?

b) Any loss of resonance or tone due to the pins being heavier?

Trying not to prejudice you guys,  I promise I'll let you all know in a couple of days which sample is brass.


Sample J7:   http://db.tt/r7HnnWOl

Sample Q1:   http://db.tt/fARnsLOY

Many many thanks and lots o'  !!!
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Mr_LV19E
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2012, 08:43:33 PM »

Sample J7 is louder and harsher (that a word?) definitely brighter than the other but a little brash with the hard strums.
Sample Q1 is warmer and more muted.

Hard to say one is better than the other they both have different attributes.

My opinion? I would try some different strings.  What do you have on now?
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Roger


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jpmist
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2012, 09:31:53 PM »

Sample J7 is louder and harsher (that a word?) definitely brighter than the other but a little brash with the hard strums.
Sample Q1 is warmer and more muted.

Hard to say one is better than the other they both have different attributes.

My opinion? I would try some different strings.  What do you have on now?

Thanks for the listen, I have Elixar 80/20s on. I've read they're brighter than the phosphor bronze. I'm not likely to change strings as every time I try other brands I end up going back to the Elixars. Oh, also, the Taylor 12 is a rosewood guitar FWIW.
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ffinke
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2012, 10:03:56 PM »

To me the J7 has more presence. It has the overtones of rosewood and there is more sparkle. Q1 sounds like the 214 I got rid of (and for the same reason): dead. If the Elixirs are your choice of string stick with 'em.
f
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bobw
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2012, 11:11:38 PM »

Sample J7 is louder and harsher (that a word?) definitely brighter than the other but a little brash with the hard strums.
Sample Q1 is warmer and more muted.

Hard to say one is better than the other they both have different attributes.



I agree with Mr_LV09E's assessment of the sound.

I would venture to say J7 represents brass?! pins.

I have a set that I tried on a parlor "0" size guitar and was not able to notice as much difference as was apparent in your recordings.  The guitar  I tried them on was Englemann/Hog.  Minimal impact so I was surprised at the pronounced difference on your guitar.

Thanks for sharing this info... I enjoy your music very much... bobw       enjoy
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Jan
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2012, 11:49:23 PM »

great playin, sounded nice! the J7 had more sparkle if that helps at all
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07 Lv-03re
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2012, 01:17:29 AM »

Thanks for the listen, I have Elixar 80/20s on. I've read they're brighter than the phosphor bronze. I'm not likely to change strings as every time I try other brands I end up going back to the Elixars. Oh, also, the Taylor 12 is a rosewood guitar FWIW.

I've never used Elixer strings so I can't comment and you're already using 80/20's which I would recommend for more brightness. If you like the sound of the brass pins leave them in. Have you thought about using a mix of brass and wood pins? Just something that is easy to play with.
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Roger


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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 04:09:25 AM »

J7 would seem to the brass. I personally like the tone of the second clip better.
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jpmist
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2012, 04:50:29 AM »


Am very grateful for all the replies, it's really helping me figure out what I'm hearing. Will check back with which one was the brass pins this time tomorrow.

For what it's worth the stock bridge pins are the original Taylor ebony. The Taylor 12 is the rosewood/spruce version and I was wrong about the strings, they're D-Addario's lite 80/20 coated strings (hmmm. . .). The guitar has the original tusk saddle and a custom bone nut.

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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2012, 05:18:31 AM »

I agree with the assessments already given regarding the tone differences.  The J7 sounds brighter and with a bit more "bite" to it, which I like.  Q1 sounds more mellow and a bit muted as stated.  They are both very nice sounding in any case.  I prefer J7 personally.
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jpmist
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 02:28:46 AM »

Once again, thanks for the replies, this has been really interesting. I posted the same question and samples on two other forums, Taylor's Unofficial, and the AGF and got 23 responses.

J7, the first sample, was most frequently described as "brighter", with a few "more sparkle" and "has presence" thrown in. Some weighed in with "tinny" and "brassy". If you guessed this sample had the brass pins you were in good company.

Q1, the second got described as "muddy" a few times, as well as "muted" and with "less resonance", though others described it as "mellower". Only 3 specifically stated this was the one with the brass pins.

The reply I found most interesting was from "wrench68" on the AGF forum who weighted in with: "It looks like your top frequency dropped from 196 Hz to 183 Hz, and the volume dropped a few db, among other things, in the second sample. These are all characteristics of adding mass to the top. I'd say the brass pins are in the second sample, and in my opinion, they did not improve the sound of your guitar."

My initial impression when I played the guitar after placing the brass pins was that it sounded brighter, but I think this clearly shows that is what I wanted to hear, having gone thru the trouble of changing out the pegs. I've since played the two tracks quite a few times, alternating a section at a time, and with the feedback I've gotten I agree with how you guys are describing how they sound, so perhaps my hearing doesn't suck as much as I feared.

I think there is a lot of merit to the idea that the extra weight of the brass pins over the wood ones really does dampen the soundboard, making the tone muddy, less resonant and muted. I weighed the ebony pins at .2 oz, a set of bone pins at .25 oz and the brass pins at 5 times (!) the weight of the ebony at 1 oz. That some of you mentioned trying brass and liking it, I think suggests another consideration might be the size of the guitar and style of bracing. My cutaway grand concert is set up for light gauge strings and has a much smaller soundboard surface area than a dreadnaught, so extra weight would dampen the dread less. The brass pins could work for a larger guitar set up for mediums and as someone suggested one could try a partial set, say 2 on the unwound strings.

I think it's safe to say that the popular notion that brass pins can brighten up your tone has been disproved somewhat, at least for smaller finger-style guitars. They perhaps do some, but they take away perhaps more than that's worth.

The biggest take-away from this experiment for me was that the Taylor 12 sounds pretty damn good as is, I should leave well enough alone. Also I appreciate the kind remarks on my playing. Whoever wants a slightly used set of brass pins can have them for $1 postage, first PM get's it.

Thanks again everyone, I appreciate the help and hope you found the results as interesting as I did.
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2012, 04:31:57 AM »

installed brass pins on my RP-06 parlor(12 fret, 25.4 dread scale) with Elixir nano 12's. Before changing the pins the bass was dull, no bass sustain, awful. After, the change is startling! Clear, crisp, across the board w/bass clarity and depth. Worked for this parlor, might try it on another guitar soon. J.P.D.
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