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Guitar Bridge Pins and their effect on tone

Most guitars come equipped with standard plastic bridge pins.  The job of the bridge pin is to hold the string in place at the bridge, and while plastic pins get the job done, there are several other materials that can greatly improve your guitar`s tone.  Bone, Ebony, Rosewood and Buffalo Horn are just some of the better pins on the market today.  Some of the improvements you can expect from a bridge pin upgrade are increased sustain, more clarity,  and overall volume.  Depending on which material you choose, you can also steer your guitar towards more bass or more treble.  When using plastic as a reference, I would describe the different bridge pins like this:

  • Tusq can add a moderate amount of treble, sustain, clarity & volume.
  • Bone offers everything Tusq provides, but in bigger doses.
  • Ebonycan add bass and warmth, along with a signifigant increase in sustain & volume.
  • Buffalo Horn sounds almost identical to bone, and is a great choice if you want a dark looking pin with bone tone.


Changing your bridge pins can be a fun experiment, its a relatively inexpensive one.  The only modification that changes your sound more dramatically is a change in saddle material, which can also be a good idea. Tusq, Bone, Buffalo Horn are also excellent saddle materials, and the above tonal descriptions are also true for saddles when compared to plastic & micarta.  Whether you`re looking for that extra bit of tone, or just plain curious - take the plunge and see what you come up with.  Your guitar just might surprise you!

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