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I was thinking of replacing the bridge pins on my Walden D 550 with something "better" the next time I change the strings. I was thinking of using either Tusq or buying a set from Taylor. The guitar came with a proprietary plastic set that the dealer (whom I have confidence in) said were as good as Tusq.

Do any of you have experience in changing pins: does it make a noticeable change in sound? I was checking out product at my local Sam Ash, and besides the Tusq, they had plastic (plain and fancy with fake abalone inlay) and aluminum.

I would think the plastic ones would not improve tone or sound. Any thoughts?

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John, about 8 months ago, I changed from standard plastic pins on mine to ebony bridge pins and endpin. I think the difference in tone and sustain is marginally improved. I will say that it looks a whole lot better, and it was an inexpensive upgrade, along with a bone saddle. Do it, make sure you get good fitting pins, and enjoy the new bling.
Kent, Thanks. As I said, though, the guitar is an inexpensive one. At the worst, I could put them on my Taylor later on.
On my Garrison 600 ce I have changed the original pins to a set of brass pins with abalione inlays.

I think the sound seems louder and more powerfull

I tryed them at my Martin 16 RGT, but I didn´t like it,

It felt rung somehow, and my miss Martin (only sixteen) changed her voice, and became a stranger to me ;-(
A bit late in Posting, but I put some brass bridge pins on my Martin DC16 RGTE and find what you say interesting.
When I put them in I noticed a little bit of "boom" to the performance. It did change the way it sounded, Im thinking after what you have said if some wolly mammoth tusk would be a good idea. I just have to hunt them down next.
One of my guitars is a Yamaha CPX 8-M with cedar top. I like this guitar very much (even if is is now mostly borrowed by my 15-year old daughter and I am not able to get it back easily... ;-) )... Anyway. The original pins seemed a bit too cheap and so I tried. I got a set of metal pins from Jellifish. I think, thy are made from sintered aluminum, very light.
I noticed an immediate change of the sound color. Not in a way that I could not recognize the guitar any more, but it changed the sound a bit in the bright direction, which I really liked.
And I know from some friends who exchanged their plastic with wooden ones who as well noticed real (not only imaginary) changes.
I could imagine that trying Tusq, you would probably improve the sound of your Walden as well. At least a little, but how much, who knows?!
I found this link on Harmony Central . You have the opportunity to listen to mp3 audio

http://www.thekrashsite.com/hcag/

Go to TECH STUFF / bridgepins
ask Edward Sparks - here on Acoustic Guitars, he knows alot about building guitars
I would definately change the pins to Tusq. Plastic is standard for most average guitars. It is definately not as good as Tusq. Changing the pins to Tusq will give you more resonance in my opinion. This is an on going debate. Some people say changing out the pins makes no difference. Some people say it dose. The only thing that really matters is how you feel about it. I would just change them out and you decide. It's all about personal choice in the end. I have a Walden G1070 Supranatura. They came with Rosewood pins and sound great. But once they wear out I'll switch to either Tusq or Bone pins.
My Dad used to whittle when I was a kid. I wish he was still around because I would have had him carve out a nice set of bridge pins for me. Even if it didn't do much for the sound, it would have been great to have my Dad add to my guitar.
I hear you, Dave. My dad died at a fairly young age (61); I still get weepy when I grab a hand tool and realize he used it. One of the most poignant moments in my life was when I finished the last jar of raspberry preserves he made. But Dad could make just about anything: if it were guitar pins, he'd find some piece of furniture or scrap someone threw out as junk, and just start carving.
Definitely worth the 15-20 bucks. I changed out some really bad plastic pins on an acoustic Cort MR-F (laminate) for some ebony pins (Planet Waves) and there is a clear improvement in tone and volume. I had to enlarge the bridge pin holes - some same to get a reamer but I just used a tapered file that I had and carefully enlarged on hole until the pin fit - I marked the depth on the file and did the other holes. Total time was 30 minutes.
I haven't changed out the pins yet, but plan on doing so. I thought that pins were standardized, but apparently not. Most replacement pins seem to be larger than originals, the idea being the pin holes have been enlarged. Somewhere I read or heard that Taylor pins are somewhat shorter than other pins. So even though the modification seems like a good, easy, cheap idea, it is buyer beware.

For the record, the dealer from whom I bought the guitar (and in whom I have complete trust and confidence) doesn't think changing the pins will do much of anything.

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