Bridge pins are the tiny part in an acoustic guitar that is often ignored by the owners, especially by new and casual strummers. But it is one of the essential elements of a guitar. For this reason, choosing the right size pin is equally necessary for better tune and sustainability. So in this article, we will give you a general idea about acoustic guitar pin sizes.
What is a bridge pin in an acoustic guitar?
Bridge pins are the tiny parts that firmly nail down the strings to the bridge plate. It has a massive role in a guitarist’s playability. Purely because-
- Firstly, it makes sure that the strings are perfectly lined up.
- Secondly, it shifts the vibration of the strings into the main body.
- Finally, the pins ensure greater sustainability. Because when you play the guitar, the strings face tremendous tension. They want to pull themself back from the hole. By nailing them down, these bridge pins protect not only the bridge plate but also the main body.
Does the bridge pins have the capability to make a difference in sound?
Size of the bridge pin doesn’t make a difference in terms of sound in the acoustic guitar as does it’s material. Yet, You have to change them when they wear out. At that time, picking the right size is very important. It doesn’t directly affect the sound but it sure has an impact in your playability.
- If you pick a pin that is a size smaller than the bridge hole, then the nails will easily pop up. Your strings won’t remain in place, that will cause a bit of an annoyance and distraction. The tune will come out sloppy.
- However, if you pick a pin that is too big, then it won’t fit in the bridge plate. And even if it fits, the strings will be held too tightly. That will cause excess tension on the strings, wearing them out too soon. Tunes won’t sound pleasant.
How are acoustic guitar bridge pins measured?
Suppose you want to replace your bridge pins, how will you know the right size? Well, there is no database to pull data from. But you can easily measure it by using these steps-
- First, you will need calipers to determine the length of the pin. Just place the pin between the jaws, and you will get the reading of the length.
- After that, measure the diameter of the top also the bottom.
- With these three measurements, you can calculate the tapper using an online calculator.
When you go to any online or offline instrument store, you will find these measurements written in the bridge pin catalog.
Are all guitar pins the same sizes?
Many acoustic guitarists believe that all bridge pin size is the same. However, that is a myth. Bridge pins come in different sizes. Especially when you will go to a shop to custom make your pin to replace the old one; you will see that not just any size fits your plate.
Most often different sized pins are plugged in the same guitar for better adjustment.
These nails often come in different variety-
- Plastic- Popular, cheap, and vastly available. This material is not reliable, it breaks down easily.
- Wood- Also vastly available. Nevertheless, it is quite expensive, yet sometimes you have to rim out the bridge plate to fit it properly. On the plus side, it improves the tone and doesn’t break down.
- Ivory- The material is not universally available. But it looks pretty & also offers a pleasant tune. Expensive but highly durable.
- Bone- It also looks good and produces a warm tone. Yet on the downside, you won’t find it in your local music store. It lasts long, however you have to adjust the plates.
- Brass- Every small-time guitarist’s dream is this brass pin. It is non-breakable, looks gorgeous, and offers a nice tone. The problem is with the availability.
The size of the different materials varies a lot. 2A size wood pin and 2A size Ivory pin won’t fit the same way on the same bridge plate. You will have to adjust the plate, rim it out, and if all fails buy another pin in the perfect size.
What are the best bridge pin sizes for acoustic guitar?
For an acoustic guitar bridge pin is like a casing of the mobile. It holds the guitar together. So in this part, I will introduce some of the best pin sizes suitable for it-
- Size 2A: This size is perfect for almost all modern Martin guitars since 1994 and old generation Gibson Guitars. The size of its tapper is 5 degrees, and the diameter of the tapper’s shaft is .220 “.
- Size 5A: It has the same tapper size. Just the top is reduced to .215″. Modern Martin guitars have this size pin pre-installed to them. The pins are perfectly placed with ¼ of it sticking out of the plate. You can find the unplugged version in any music store.
- Size 1T: This pin gives an aesthetic feel. Almost all old guitars come with this pin. This pin syncs perfectly with Martin Guitars built before 1994. It also perfectly syncs with other guitars i.g Larrivee, Blanchard & Taylor. It has 3-degree tappers shift with a .210″ diameter top.
- Size 1.3: This size syncs with almost all brands. Be it one of the oldest guitars (D-166T) of Martin or the newest of Gibson it syncs perfectly with everything. Most well known local brand Guild use it in their D-412 series. Apart from that, Brands like Tylor, Froggy Bottom, Huss & Dalton use this size in most of their series. With a tapper shaft of 3 degrees and a top with a .205″ diameter, this pin is the perfect go-to material.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you have come out of the same misconception that bridge pins size doesn’t matter. You need the right size for better performance & also for a nice tune. So measure your pin carefully and buy the one that syncs best with your guitar.