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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 let me save you some money, the ONLY THING you really need to change out is the saddle from plastic to either bone or tusq, you will not get any really noticable difference in changing the pins, we have seen this discussion so many times that it's beyond provable we have seen studies that say it does make such a slight difference that it was only noticable to animals with much higher sensitivity to sounds and that most human ears could not hear any sound difference, wish I could find that study for you, but it was lost during one of my crash's, if you change the pins it will be for looks only and do check with Bob Colosi's site first to find the right tapper ( angle ) for your pins, very knowledgable dude and extremley easy to work with to get it right.
You must remember that the sound is coming from the board and if you placed your strings in correctly with the pins plastic or whatever the sound will not transfer any differently as the vibration will be the same against the back plate plastic or tusq or bone.Ship
I bought bone bridgepins from Custom Inlay and they helped with sustain and improved volume a tad.
i put bone on my epiphone masterbilt and it did improve the sustain and allround sound...of course that led to a bone nut and saddle..........................good luck
I have spent an awful lot of money on such things over the years. I even bought a device that sat under the saddle that had a different metal for each string.

Complete waste of time.

I use brass end pins for my mahogany Martin but apart from liking the look I can't tell the difference tonally.

Recently had my ears tested and I have the hearing of a 19 year old apparently
Hi John,
On my Martin 000-18 I changed to the brass pins and immediately noticed a pronounced "ring" and sustain change, making the mahogany guitar sound more like rosewood. When I tried the same thing on the Gibson J45 and Bourgeois JM I owned (but have since sold), a similar change happened with the Gibson (also mahogany) but there was no substantial change with the rosewood Bourgeois. I would definitely suggest a change to brass pins if you have a mahogany guitar and you're looking to change or improve the sound besides just changing to a better quality set of pins. Brass pins definitely affect the sound unless the sound is already superb.
Titanium bridge pins for acoustic guitars WILL improve tone, sustain, color and clarity for ANY acoustic guitar.
Just make sure they are the correct size and shape for your axe ! I've tried practically everything out there over the past few decades and this 21st Century solution is state of the art.
John:
What did you end up doing-did you get new bridge pins to try or decide not to.

I can say that I have a cheapie Gibson Maestro that the plastic pins were brittle in. I replaced them with Tusq black with abalone (along with replacing the plastic nut with a bone one and the plastic saddle with a tusq one). While I can't say that the pins did anything that the new nut and saddle didnt I can say that when I change strings they no longer break by simple pushing them out.
The string vibrates between the nut (or the fret) and the saddle. The bridge pins do not in any way affect the transference of energy from the string to the top of the guitar.
Any improvement in sound is, I submit, illusory. You spent good money on those pins, so they must sound better....
A better (denser, harder) saddle will definitely affect tone, provided it is fitted properly. More efficient transfer of energy.
The nut...Not so much. However, a harder (bone or "Tusq) ) nut will wear better and the strings will not bind as you tune.
This is the John (hmmm?!) with the original question. I haven't done anything to my Walden. I have even had Bob Taylor himself tell me (in "Wood and Steel") that changing the pins wouldn't make a difference. Anyone reading these replies can see that there is divided opinion. Being a dad, I am reluctant to spend money on ANYTHING, let alone something as debatable as these pins. Maybe I will buy new pins if anyone ever pays me to play (as opposed to now, when I am asked not to play ;-)

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