So, brass bridge pins, brass saddles, and now these PowerPin things... Is there any reason to install them that would have a positive outcome?
There are two Powerpins threads happening on a site I am on, and it is almost impossible to talk to 'Those Who Believe' that these things actually sap tone and volume, just like the infamous 'Gibson Adjustable Bridge of old.
They say that since no one here on this site actually 'did an A/B test, that the 'Power Pins Anybody?' thread is moot. I was looking for threads that talk about the derogatory effect of mass added at a bridge, and search engine here is just not up to it.
Maybe Frank himself will pop in here and comment?
Personally, on my builds, I build my bridges to under 20 grams and tune the resonances of the finished guitar to frequencies between scale notes. I would not want to see it "improved" by adding brass pins, saddles or Power pins.
If you are looking for acoustic performance (rather than plugged in) then I don't believe adding mass to the bridge can be justified unless it is to move the resonant frequency to avoid a wolf note.
Adding mass may help sustain, but at the expense of cutting responsiveness and volume.
I am not impressed with the process of putting a product like this out in the marketplace with a variety of bold claims, but without valid testing, just leaving it to anecdotes from purchasers.
Yes, ‘Power Pins’ were discussed ad nauseaum in a former post started by Mike Kolb.
As I recall, the general consensus of this forum’s senior members was that they were snake oil (at best) and a tone killer (at worse).
The ‘inventor/marketer’ of those pins popped in and offered the pins gratis for anyone who would like to try them. As I recall, one person reported back an improvement for an inexpensive Yamaha, but both the source and the statement of results sounded fishy, like an advertisement. I believe Frank Ford was also sent an evaluation set.
Here’s how I view all aftermarket ‘upgrade’ products:
They will help the tone of some percentage of inexpensive instruments.
They will harm the tone of some percentage of inexpensive instruments.
They will help the tone of some percentage of Quality instruments.
They will harm the tone of some percentage of Quality instruments.
They will not affect the tone of some percentage of inexpensive instruments.
They will not affect the tone of some percentage of Quality instruments.
Results will vary between instruments just as identical instruments of the same materials and build quality from respected manufacturers may sound completely different. The reason? The natural and inarguable uniqueness of wood.
Now, without re-opening that can of worms, refer to the original post from Mike, and I bet you’ll agree that there’s NOTHING about the Power Pins that would make them attractive to a professional repair person or a ‘guitar construction’ hip player. I'm sure the marketing is geared toward unknowledgeable novices.
Let's say you have a tone generator which you've run through an amp to a studio monitor. You turn up the level to 80db and sweep the frequencies. Q: Which materials vibrate first in sympathy? A: The ones with lower mass. The greater the mass the lower the frequency required and the more acoustic energy needed to elicit a response.
Well, there's no doubt we have a continual flow of products and inventions that are designed to solve nonexistent problems. How many different capo designs are really that useful? They'll still keep coming anyway. Marketing, you know. People love to try new stuff - me included, much to my chagrin at times.
As to adding mass to the bridge, my own experience is that brass bridge pins tend to mute the volume, so they're not of interest to me. I do encounter players who really like the tonal change with brass pins, so I guess I'd say there are times when adding mass may be desirable, at least to a few. I suppose that even applies to the grotesque Gibson adjustable bridge with all the metal and ceramic tone and volume killing components.
About the search function -
I must admit I'm not particularly fond of the NING forum tools, but this place was particularly easy for me to set up because (at the time anyway) I had a good friend working in the NING office here in town who helped me get things rolling. I really don't know what I'd be up against or whether I have the energy (or $$) for a different platform. I figure I'm lucky enough to have things working as well as they are here considering my lack of time these days.
Add my vote for the current NING-powered forum. I've noticed that a couple of my favorite discussion sites have "fixed what ain't broke" lately and moved to WordPress for the so-called "convenience factor". The results haven't been pretty.
This current format seems to be quite user-friendly & easy to navigate. It's easy to add pictures and media without needing to use third-party hosting apps.
Could the "search" function be a little slicker? Oh, maybe, but not at the expense of retooling the whole discussion site and adding additional expense (in both time and money) for Frank. This works just fine.
Insofar as the whole "Power Pins" deal goes, I've decided to just leave 'em be. They're not for me and I wouldn't recommend them to customers.
If someone wants to toss their money around and tinker with "miracle accessories" for their guitar, fine... I guess it's just good for the economy in general.
Frank, no one is suggesting that you change this site from NING. The site has been stable a few years now and the 'backdoor' programer thing seems to have finished. No more SPAM coming in...
Please don't change the site and make me figure it all out again for a better search feature.
Topic at hand.
I think the "quality" of sound produced by any instrument is almost completely subjective in detail and only broadly defined and accepted in the broader sense. Some people I've known loved their "bell brass" nut and bridge and swore by their brass pins. I mostly didn't like them IF I could detect any difference worth mentioning. To each his own.
I can't help wondering how much their thinking was altered by the money they spent having these thing installed and think it's probably true that they were more interested in opinions that supported their expenditure than my opinion that it was a waste of money. Most of them didn't seem to appreciate my opinion that the money could have gone towards something that would really make a difference like more regular string changes.
I've played several guitars that left me completely flat but the owners loved the sound. I've never been a fan of very long sustain OR short, thumpy sound both of which, I think, may result from some of these sorts of mods. There probably are guitars out there that might benefit from these "fixes" but, IMO, they probably weren't built correctly to begin with.
I've heard guitars that I think improved somewhat with a Bridge Doctor and I've heard some that I don't think changed. There is no doubt that including one of these adds mass to the bridge but the position of the mass is significantly different so maybe that has something to do with it. On the other hand... Maybe I was effected by the money and effort I put into the guitar...
A friend of mine had a jeweler make a nut, saddle, and bridge pins out of silver. I installed them for him. It was almost 35 years ago, but the best I recall I couldn't hear any difference. It was a D 18 and he played it very hard, so volume wasn't an issue. He moved to the east coast with it so i didn't get to keep up with it over the years. It was kinda cool to look at. I didn't know as much back then as I do now. Today I would recommend bone for the saddle. And a silver nut is more work than I want to do. And no way would I recommend trick bridge pins.