Just changed the strings on my new Seagull Maritime dreadnought, it looked like the ones that it came with were hanging in the store for a long while.
Which left me wondering are the bridge pins Tusk or plastic, they seemed to be very light and plasticey feeling. But I would not know by looking at them what material they are made off.
Would be annoyed if I bought a pack of Tusk bridge pins just to find out that is what was already there.
Maybe this fall I'll get up to doing a nut & bridge pin bone transplant, but for now Tusk will do.
I think all newer Seagull guitars come with Tusq bridge pins, but exactly when the change was made I don't know. If the old and new pins look and feel different, I would say the old ones were plastic. I know the original pins in my 03 or 04 Portrait were plastic.
Tusq! Great I can't even spell it right, never mind tell if something is made of it. 8-)
Guitar is fresh from a large Canadian music chain store, so it was most likely made in either 2011 or 2012.
Godin's serial #'s don't seem to help in identifying the actual manufacture date.
Graphtech markets TUSQ as "synthetic ivory", but TUSQ is actually a plastic ... it's just has different properties (harder, denser) from the traditional plastic normally associated with saddles and bridge pins on acoustic guitars. Even though the components themselves are pretty equal to (some say even better than) the natural products made of bone or fossilized ivory, etc., TUSQ can be molded rather than having to be carved, so it's cheaper to produce the nuts. saddles and pins.
This bridge pin thing is starting to make me wonder if it is truth or hype. I simply cannot tell the difference with better pins. I do admit there is the placebo, warm fuzzy thing going on when the pins come in a nice package and cost three/four times as much, but my question is.... Do the Tusq or bone pins really make a noticeable difference to other users?
This is a source of continuous debate. Lots of strong opinions in both directions.
One thing I do know that influences my thinking on the matter .... Lowden guitars costing $5,000+ don't even use bridge pins.
Right.... and a quicker string change also. I find it difficult to believe that whatever string vibration there is, between the saddle and the pin, will somehow have a better transfer to the wood because it is wedged in with a denser pin... or that a better pin is going to change the overall top vibration enough to produce an audible difference.
Breedlove also doesn't use pins on a good majority of their guitars. Mine doesn't have them anyway. Of course, it didn't cost $5K... :-)
Given that you typically replace the strings at the same time you replace the pins, it would be hard to tell whether any improvement was the result of the pins or the strings. I replaced the plastic pins on my Portrait with Tusq and will likely do the same with my Mahogany Folk one of these days. The cost is realistic at about $20 for plain old black dot pins, and they are denser, harder and generally nicer than the el-cheapo plastic.
But do they actually sound better? I dunno. I guess we could do a scientific test where we just replace the pins and play, but it seems like a lot of effort for not a lot of reward. I think the choice of material for the saddle is much more important, and within that, the flatness of the saddle bottom and bridge groove.
I agree that the saddle and its seat is where it's at.
Worth considering ... Martin puts plain old el-cheapo plastic bridge pins on all their "Standard" line models from D-18 all the way up to D-45 ...
A Martin D-45 lists for something like $10K. At that price point, they should be using fossilized Mastodon ivory.
At $10K, they should use moon rocks... ;-)