Slotted bridge vs slotted bridge pins

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    • #2765
      haasome
      Participant

      I asked this to be considered in Richard’s blog, but perhaps it is better addressed here.

      I would appreciate hearing Richard’s thoughts on slotted/fluted bridge pins vs slotted bridge with solid pins. In general I find it easier to string up a guitar that has a slotted bridge & solid pins. I’ve heard mixed opinions that a slotted bridge allows the ball ends to align perpendicular to the axis of the bridge reducing the likelihood of damage to the underside of the bridge when compared to using fluted pins. Trusted luthiers have differing opinions on this as well. SCGC, Froggy Bottom, Goodall and H&D all use fluted pins. Collings, Bourgeois, some Martins and others slot the bridge & use solid bridge pins. Does either method impact tone? Durability? What is the reasoning that supports either method?


      – Paul –

    • #2768
      Richard Hoover
      Senior Moderator

      Hi Haasome,

      Efficiency of string energy to sound is determined by the degree of contact and the resonance of the material the string contacts. Assuming the bridge pin material doesn’t absorb energy the connection between string, pin and bridge will determine how well the vibration will transfer from string, to top to ear. Without a slot to encircle the string we’d allow an airspace that would compromise the transfer. Likewise if we only slotted the pin, OR the bridge, the unslotted component would not make total contact. The most complete contact is achieved by slotting each, pin and bridge with half the diameter of the string. If this is done to insure the string is encircled for the whole of its diameter, the most efficient transfer can be achieved.

      An important exception is in the “do no harm” philosophy of the restoration of an historic instrument. Here  a luthier is honor bound to maintain originality, without any discernable modifications that will devalue the piece. In old guitars you will find all combinations of slots and not.

      All the best,                                                                                                                                                                                           Richard

       

    • #2769
      haasome
      Participant

      Thank you.


      – Paul –

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