Struggling to get the rich, resonant tones from your acoustic guitar? The problem could be your bridge pins. Though often overlooked, these small parts significantly impact vibration transfer and sound quality. To achieve optimal acoustic performance, choosing the right bridge pins is critical.
In this blog, I share my picks for the best bridge pins for acoustic guitars, from traditional wood to composite pins. With 20 years of experience as an acoustic guitarist and gear expert, I’ve extensively tested various bridge pins to demystify the selection process.
After rigorous testing, I highly recommend C.F. Martin Liquid Metal Bridge Pins as the top option. Their patented alloy optimizes vibration transfer while reducing buzzing and rattling for an upgraded tone.
You should read this article because I’ll explain how bridge pins influence your guitar’s sound and showcase the best options to unlock your acoustic’s full potential. Discover how small bridge pin upgrades can deliver the rich, resonant tones you desire.
What to Look for in the Best Bridge Pins
If you can’t decide between different options, here are some pointers to consider to help you narrow down your choices.
The material used to make the bridge pin affects vibration transfer and tone. Common options include wood, bone, graphite, brass, stainless steel, titanium, and composite pins made from patented alloys.
Traditionally, wood and bone pins provide a warm, vintage tone. Modern composite materials like graphite and liquid metal alloy aim to optimize resonance and sustain. Consider the tonal profile you want when selecting a pin material.
Another important factor to consider is the durability of the bridge pins. As much as possible, you should pick one that uses premium and durable materials. This way, you don’t have to worry about frequent replacements – and that ensures great value for the money.
Like our guitars, bridge pins come in different sizes. With that said, you have to find the perfect-sized pins for your guitar. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use those pins at all.
Bridge pins also come in different shapes. Some bridge pins are made to have an angle that could help improve how you play. If you’re a beginner, be sure to find bridge pins that will help make practicing easier.
Review of Acoustic Guitar Bridge Pins
With so many bridge pin options on the market, I comprehensively tested the top contenders to determine which truly delivers when it comes to acoustic tone and performance. Let’s check all details:
1. C. F. Martin Liquid Metal Bridge Pins
- 6 bridge pins per set
- Red inlay
- Color: Turkish Emery
- High-tech pins are made from Liquidmetal that reflects energy
When we think of the best acoustic guitar bridge pins, we instantly think of the C. F. Martin Bridge Pins. With its stylish design and liquid metal construction, it’s easy to see why it’s a top choice among professionals.
The secret to its success lies in its Zirconium alloy construction. This liquid metal material helps reflect energy – which is how it ensures an improved sustain, volume, and tonal quality.
And with its dark gray with red inlay design, it’s bound to compliment any guitar’s aesthetics.
For its superior sound enhancement and style, there’s no doubt that this set from C. F. Martin is one of the best bridge pins available for acoustic guitars in the market.
- It produces more sustain
- It is very durable
- It helps create a brighter sound
- It helps increase the volume
- As of writing, there are no negative reviews of this item
While the C.F. Martin Bridge Pins comes with an expensive price tag, it was able to deliver high-quality sound that’s beyond compare. For serious musicians, this is a set that’s worth the investment.
2. Waverly Ebony Guitar Bridge Pins
- High-quality, precisely machined bridge pins
- 5-degree taper on a 1-inch long (25.40mm) shaft
- Polished to accent the beauty of the genuine ebony
- Includes 6 slotted ebony bridge pins
Another top contender for the best acoustic bridge pins is the Waverly Ebony Bridge Pins. If you want the C.F. Martin Bridge Pins sound without spending that much, this is your budget-friendly alternative.
These slotted bridge pins are made of high-quality material to ensure durability without sacrificing sound quality. It helps deliver a superior sustain and a stronger sound, which is a big improvement compared to standard plastic bridge pins.
These wood pins are also polished to perfection to deliver that flawless ebony beauty. That makes it the perfect accent for any acoustic guitar.
- It is very stylish and durable
- It offers great value for the money
- These ebony pins help build a stronger sound
- It may be too big or long for some guitars models
If you’re looking for ebony bridge pins to complement your guitar, the Waverly Ebony Pins will be perfect for you. Aside from its polished aesthetics, it also delivers a strong and full sound for your acoustic guitar.
3. Power Pins 2.0 – Black Chrome Set with Power Plate Upgrade
- Patented bridge pin system for acoustic guitar
- Protects bridge pin and bridge plate
- Offers improved sound
- Makes playing, tuning and restringing easier
For those looking for the best bridge pins for beginners, look no further than the Power Pins 2.0.
These bridge pins come in a black chrome design that’s sure to make heads turn. But aside from its superior aesthetics, it also delivers an impressive performance – which is quite impressive for its price.
It’s also quite easy to play the guitar with. It offers a softer action with less restraining, so tuning and playing won’t be a hassle.
And thanks to its aluminum alloy construction, you can expect rust and corrosion-free performance that will last for years. That’s how you know these bridge pins are worth the money.
- It is easy to install
- It helps deliver excellent acoustics
- It helps guitar playing easier for beginners
- It is very stylish
- It is not compatible with some guitar models
- It produces a metallic twang
For those who are looking for bridge pins that can help them play better, you can’t go wrong with the Power Pins 2.0. With a patented system that improves string tension, these bridge pins are bound to make any beginner feel and play like a pro.
4. GraphTech PP-1122-00 TUSQ Acoustic Guitar Bridge Pins
- White w/ black dot
- Martin 2mm
- 6 pc set
The GraphTech PP-1122-00 TUSQ Acoustic Guitar Bridge Pins is another set of quality bridge pins that you might want to consider.
These bridge pins are made from man-made iron that’s been heat and high-pressure-treated. It produces a tonal quality that’s similar to that of authentic ivory – minus the unsustainability of it all.
Despite their durability and improved sound, these pins come with an affordable price tag. And that’s one of the reasons why we think it’s one of the best acoustic bridge pins.
- It helps deliver an improved sustain
- It helps improve tone
- It is very affordable
- It is easy to install
- It may not be compatible with some guitar models
The GraphTech PP-1122-00 TUSQ Bridge Pins for acoustic guitars offer superior durability at an affordable price. It also improves the guitar’s overall sound quality – so it’s the best replacement bridge pin for the basic plastic ones.
5. Crosby Pure Bone Bridge Pins with Abalone Dot Inlay
- Add clarity, tone, sustain and volume to your acoustic guitar
- The standard 1T size pegs fit most guitars
- Feature a pronounced collar for easy removal
- Won't easily break or deform
When it comes to sound quality, bridge pins made from bone are second to none. And we mean that because the Crosby Pure Bone Bridge Pins with Abalone Dot Inlay wowed us with its performance.
Thanks to its bone material, these bridge pins deliver superior clarity with added volume and sustain. It also helps deliver a fuller tone on your acoustic guitar, which can easily make you feel like a true professional while playing.
These handmade bridge pins are also made in the standard size to ensure the best fit for most guitar brands. That ensures an almost universal fit for every guitar player. And if they’re too big for your guitar, you can always sand them down to ensure the perfect fit. What more could you ask for?
- It is highly durable
- It delivers improved tones
- It is easy to install
- It helps enhance overall sound quality
- It has inconsistent sizing
If you’re looking for the best bone-made bridge pins, then the Crosby Pure Bone Pins with Abalone Dot Inlay is your best option.
6. D’Andrea Tone Pins Brass Bridge Pin Set
- Designed to fit most acoustic guitar bridges
- Increase clarity, sustain, and brightness of tone
- Enhance your guitar's appearance
- Different styles available
And finally, we have the D’Andrea Tone Pins Brass Bridge Pin Set. This is another affordable option that did not disappoint us with its performance.
Being made of brass, these bridge pins are known to be one of the most durable – if not the most durable – in the market. That means that it’s bound to last for a long time, which is quite impressive considering its price.
The D’Andrea Tone Pins help deliver a brighter tone with increased sustain, making it the perfect companion to improve the guitar’s acoustics.
We also love that we have different style options to choose from. That way, we can accent our guitar in a way that reflects our personalities.
- It helps improve sustain
- It increases clarity
- It adds brightness to the sound
- It has a unique style
- It is very affordable
- It may not be compatible with some guitar models
The D’Andrea Tone Pins Brass Pin Set is an affordable option for guitar players who are looking for bridge pins that can provide a brighter sound for their guitar.
Different Types of Bridge Pins for Acoustic Guitars
Now that you know our top picks, we want you to know more about bridge pins. Let’s start with its different types.
As to style
Slotted: Slotted bridge pins are those with grooves to accommodate the strings. It is compatible with guitars with an unslotted bridge.
Unslotted: Inversely, an unslotted bridge is one without grooves, and that allows it to fit on guitars with a slotted bridge.
As to material
Bone: This type of pin is often made of animal bones, like a cow or ox. It delivers an enhanced sustain, clarity, and treble to produce a fuller and brighter sound.
Metal: Bridge pins made of metal materials are known for their durability. It helps the guitar produce a bright and brassy sound, which is perfect if you have a low-sounding instrument.
Wood: Wooden bridge pins are often made of ebony, which helps add warmth to the overall guitar tone. It also helps enhance the guitar’s volume for improved acoustics. Besides ebony, some other woods like rosewood, cocobolo, boxwood and maple are also commonly used for producing wood bridge pins.
Plastic: The most affordable type of bridge pins are those made of plastic. Plastic pins are often the default bridge pins that guitars come from, so they do not make a lot of changes to their sound quality.
What is the best material for acoustic guitar bridge pins?
Bridge pins are made of different materials, with each highlighting a certain aspect of the guitar’s sound. But if we were to choose the best among these bridge pin materials, it would have to be bone.
Bridge pins made of bone not only offer unparalleled durability but also give the guitar a brighter sound along with a richer tone. It also helps increase sustain, which makes it the ideal choice for most professional guitar players.
However, bridge pins made from genuine bone can be quite pricey. That’s probably its only downside.
Understanding Acoustic Guitar Bridge Pin Sizes
Acoustic guitar enthusiasts often encounter a common misconception – that all bridge pins are created equal.
In reality, the size of these seemingly small components can significantly vary, depending on the make and model of your guitar. The importance of selecting the right size becomes apparent when aiming for optimal tone and playability.
Here’s a brief overview of different acoustic guitar bridge pin sizes:
Size 1: Featuring a 3º tapered shaft with a diameter of 0.210″ at the top, this pin suits Martin guitars prior to 1994, Collings guitars before 2002, and various others, offering a tailored fit for specific models.
Size 1T: Similar to Size 1, but designed for Gibson guitars post-November 2009, this 3º tapered shaft ensures compatibility and enhances your playing experience on newer Gibson models.
Size 1.3: With a 3º tapered shaft and a slightly smaller diameter of 0.205″ at the top, this pin is a match for Gibson Guitars from later years to 2009, as well as other brands like Huss & Dalton, McPherson, and Takamine.
Size 2A: Sporting a 5º tapered shaft and a larger diameter of 0.220″ at the top, this pin is tailored for Martin guitars since 1994 and certain older Gibson guitars.
To avoid complications, it’s advisable to measure your guitar’s existing bridge pins or consult the manufacturer’s specifications for accurate sizing.
Never resort to modifying your guitar to accommodate ill-fitting bridge pins. The key to unlocking your guitar’s full potential lies in the precision of selecting the right size.
Do Guitar Bridge Pins Make a Difference in Sound?
A question often asked by beginners is this: do guitar bridge pins make a difference in sound?
The answer to this question is in the affirmative.
We have repeatedly mentioned that the material used in making the bridge pin can change the way your guitar sounds. It can complement the guitar’s sound to make it seem richer, brighter, or louder, among others.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see that bridge pins do make a difference in sound. We should get rid of the misconception that it’s a mere tool that holds the strings in place.
Still not sure if upgrading your acoustic guitar’s bridge pins is worth it? This helpful video clearly demonstrates the impact bridge pins have on tone and sustain:
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know my bridge pin size?
Finding the right size of bridge pin you need can be quite tricky, especially considering its conical shape. To do so, you have to compute for the pin’s taper using the diameter under the pin’s head, the diameter at the bottom of the pin, and the length of the distances between these two points. The resulting degree will be the size of your bridge pin.
When should I replace my guitar pins?
There’s no exact timeline as to when you should replace your guitar pins. Remember that these pins are made of different materials, and some may wear out faster than others. So as a rule, you should replace these pins once you have noticed signs of wear. Immediate replacement will ensure well-preserved sound quality.
About the Author
Fabian, a Brazilian guitarist now based in Dublin, Ireland, has passionately played the electric guitar since 2003. As a luthier and product specialist, he boasts nearly two decades of collaboration with top musical instrument brands. Fabian is a sought-after expert, sharing his extensive knowledge with fellow guitar enthusiasts.